Monday, May 30, 2011

Paul Naschy Tumbler site

I'm not sure how I've managed to miss this fantastic collection of Naschy images But I'll certainly be checking in regularly to see what gems turn up from now on.

Fuck Yeah, Paul Naschy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Euro-Spy movies on NetFlix!!

I've been alerted once again to great news by the fantastic blog Double O Section. Several Spy movies that remain unavailable on DVD are on the NetFlix streaming service just waiting for discovery and although I had heard of very few of them I now have added all of them to my cue. How can I resist a movie that stars my beloved Marisa Mell alongside Cliff Robertson, Jack Hawkins and Charles Gray?

Or a film starring Yul Brynner and Edward Woodward called THE FILE OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE?

Or a Seth Holt directed spy tale with Richard Johnson, Carol Lynley, Barbara Bouchet and Diana Dors?

I'll be trying to see all of these and several more Euro-Spy offerings through NetFlix very soon and thanking my lucky stars that such an option exists. I might prefer a DVD but just the chance to see these rare movies is pretty damned cool.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Endings are hard

I'm probably very late to the party with this but I laughed long and hard.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WORLD WITHOUT END (1956) poster art

This film gets very little respect but I love it. I can't defend the giant spider scene but I still love it! One of the movie's finer elements is that it was shot very widescreen and the full image is used effectively even for the sillier moments. All praise CinemaScope science fiction from the 1950s!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


After a small Franco binge I now present some thoughts on Dr. M schlägt zu (1972) a.k.a. THE VENGEANCE OF DR. MABUSE. From what I can find out this was the last entry in the revival series of Mabuse films started when Lang was induced to crank out the brilliant 1000 EYES OF DR. MABUSE in 1960. Much like the Fu Manchu films of the same period it was left to Franco to slam the door shut in such a way as to make it pointless to make another for years to come.

Everyone’s favorite wooden Indian, Jack Taylor, plays Mabuse or Farkus or whatever damned name the dub you come across labels him. Holed up in a sinisterly lit lab consisting of one room with some random computer-like objects and a basement hallway with a few makeshift cells Mabuse/Farkus plots to……uuuhhh…...he uuuhhhh..... I can’t actually remember what exactly he was trying to accomplish but it involves sending out his butch lesbian helper and his monstrous creature Andros to kidnap gorgeous women to make their fathers or husbands do something or another. I think it had something to do with building a death ray but don’t quote me! And, of course, there is a character named Orloff that figures in the tale but don’t get too attached to him.

Anyway- we have the Bad Doctor Mabuse/Farkus assembling his victims at the same time we watch the local sheriff and his deputy lackadaisically investigate the disappearance of the women that are being carted off. The film seems to be set in the desert Southwest of the United States with several mentions of escaping over the border to Mexico tossed around. This is made almost believable visually with some clever framing to crop out obvious European locales but I have no idea what ocean they are near. Is it supposed to be the Pacific? If so, the coast is way wrong… what am I doing? It doesn’t matter – we’re in Franco Land! At the edge of this (inland ?) sea there are several supposedly touching scenes of a disconsolate and depressed Andros dumping the occasional corpse and weeping like a big wuss. Poor guy. I can understand. I often fall in love with the helpless prisoners my overbearing boss makes me kill too.

The strangest element of this strange movie is the two policemen. They are dressed like they stepped off the set of a TV western although they drive a crappy, overheating sedan and don’t seem to carry guns. I wonder if the cowboy sheriff character was a nod to the McCloud TV character or if Franco just had them dress that way for no good reason at all. Did Franco ever make a western?

Much time is wasted in THE VENGEANCE OF DR. MABUSE watching the police fail to figure anything out as the evil master plan that makes little sense implodes in the usual way that poorly thought out death ray plans do. As was typical during this period of his career Franco manages to conjure an OK story with very, very little in the way of resources. I think there may have been four separate interiors, a couple of other outdoor locations and a couple of cars used. All of Jack Taylor’s scenes could have been filmed in one or two days as he never leaves the lab set and no one seems to have more than two sets of clothes. This is low budget, something outta nothing filmmaking at its…..finest, I guess. If you can get into the mood and get a kick out of the slightly sleazy Mad Scientist pulp story he is telling it can be a good time for the 80 minute length chug. You have to be willing to forgive it the usual sloppiness- day shots colliding with night shots in the same scene; the shadow of the camera and Franco as cameraman creeping into frame; pointless gibberish for dialog; etc.- but if you are aware of what to expect it’s not bad. It’s not too good either, but I kind of got a kick out of it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Peplum Poster Art

I feel a Sword & Sandal viewing is on the horizon. But which film shall I choose?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This week I caught up with the 1967 British produced Euro-Spy film mostly know under the title DEADLIER THAN THE MALE and found it to be an incredibly enjoyable experience. Fast paced, gorgeously photographed, well cast and sporting a pretty clever script it is 90 minutes of very entertaining Jet Age nonsense. I was curious mainly because of my interest in the Spy sub-genre of course but I have to admit that a major draw was the presence of Elke Sommer and Silvia Koscina as a pair of often bikini clad assassins working for a shadowy criminal mastermind. They are great in their roles with Elke getting the most screen time and really making the best of it. I read a review of another film recently with someone criticizing her acting skills as being sub-par. Maybe in the grand scheme of things she isn’t a fantastic thespian but in this movie she shines brightly. Vicious to the point of being bloodthirsty, coldly calculating with business clients and sexy as Hell the entire time Miss Sommer is a joy to behold. Miss Koscina seems less confident here than in other movies in which I’ve seen her. She is good as the kleptomaniac of the deadly duo but I began to wonder if acting completely in English was something she had to become comfortable with as the shooting went on. To be sure, by the time she has a guy tied down to a table and is torturing the poor bastard for information she was hitting every mark perfectly but her first few scenes were a little rocky.

The star of the picture is Richard Johnson who I’ve become a huge fan of over the years. I think I first saw him in the classic ghost tale THE HAUNTING but when I think of him I usually remember his world weary turn in Fulci’s ZOMBIE before anything else. A damned good actor he seems to have known that this picture was a fun sub-Bond adventure and played it as such. The biggest surprise was learning that in this film he plays ‘Bulldog’ Dummond! I’ve been slowly getting my hands on several of the early films featuring this character from the 1930s but was completely unaware that this was one of his later cinematic appearances. It was almost like finding an extra cookie in the jar! And apparently there was a sequel to this film too. I’m going to have to track it down.

If you’re a fan of the Euro-Spy genre or if you’re thinking of finally venturing past the 1960s Bond films for more of that groovy espionage glow this might be the place to start. I might like some of the wilder Italian made movies better but this could act as the gateway drug for neophytes. Hell! I’ve been digging into the genre for years and this film has got me aching for more right now!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jess Franco poster art - Part 8!

Yet another Franco sitting in my 'to watch' pile. That stack is growing higher by the week! I might need to go on a Franco watching binge.

Did I just really type that?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blind Dead shirt!

In my ongoing quest to own as many shirts as possible that feature Amando de Ossorio's iconic Blind Dead creatures I can mark another success. At Wonderfest this past weekend I met artist Chris Kuchta. He had many examples of his fantastic (in two senses of that word) artwork on display and available for us monster geeks as either fine prints, key chains or T-shirts. With only the slightest of delays I grabbed up his great Blind Dead piece in shirt form and lamented that his very cool Waldemar Daninsky wasn't yet available in wearable form. Luckily the reason for this is that he has plans to add other elements to the painting before he considers it completely finished. I would be pleased with an Alaric De Marnac glaring our at me or an image from NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST but any Naschy artwork is good in my view. The more the merrier. Head on over and check out his stuff. Its well worth your time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mummy poster art

There is almost no rational reason for my love of old Mummy movies. They are the slowest of the classic monsters; they only seem to have one (rather hard to trigger) goal in life; without a convenient Egyptian helper to make hot tea they can’t function at all; and they are inevitably tripped up by some damned woman getting reincarnated at just the wrong time and in just the wrong place. Rarely has the term ‘cursed monster’ been more accurate than when applied to these sad moldering crypt dodgers but I still get a thrill from their often inept murderous fumbling and stumbling.

I’m strange.

Monday, May 09, 2011

NaschyCast #16 - HUMAN BEASTS (1980)

As Naschy entered the 1980s his creative vision took on a darker tinge. Feeling that he had been betrayed by business partners and friends alike he began to see the world in a much more negative light and the movies he produced in this period reflect that. HUMAN BEASTS is a good example of him both stretching into types of storytelling he was less known for and strongly presenting his increasingly pessimistic viewpoint. So intent on making his case he may have overshot the mark for some viewers by underlining some aspects of human nature too heavily but luckily the film remains entertaining even when it becomes a bit too unsubtle. Naschy described this film as a tale of ‘devourers, where in one manner or another, everyone is devoured among themselves.’ In his autobiography he states that he was very pleased with the film ‘which, like EL CAMINANTE, sums up my position as regards human behavior.’ Having now watched those two film within just a few weeks of each other I think I would do well to watch a marathon of Looney Tunes just to reorient my outlook on life! Whoa!

Troy and I have a good time dissecting this one. We each find problems and strengths in both the broad strokes of the story and the peculiar details that sometimes seem absolutely pointless. Fascinating and dark, HUMAN BEASTS is a good film but neither of us feel its one his best works. It shows an ability to stretch both behind the camera and in front of it that should have made the 1980s another series of cinematic triumphs for Naschy. That his luck and the vagaries of fate were to hamstring his career by the middle of the decade might be seen as the natural outgrowth of the cynical view of life on display here. Still, for any fan it is essential viewing and quite rewarding as a study in its variations on themes he had worked with a few times before.

Please let us know your thoughts on the show, Paul Naschy and which Jess Franco film we should cover in our next Beyond Naschy episode. Write us at or drop us a comment on the Naschycast Facebook page. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. This is a labor of love but it is still work.

Naschycast #16

iTunes LINK 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

What I Watched In April

A really mixed bag in April. It included more than the normal number of below 5 ratings and although several of those were awful films (I’m looking at you, GREEN HORNET) I actually got a kick out a couple of the ‘bad’ ones. ADVENTURE AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is not in any way a good film but it was fun in the way a kiddie matinee movie can be. GAMER turned out to be a cluster and show that the filmmakers involved cannot handle a serious narrative.

I checked a couple of classics off my ‘need to watch’ list with the brilliant ALL ABOUT EVE and CAPE FEAR. Both are flawless films of very different types but they share a tight, controlled construction that even decades after their release shines from the screen. The sharp often mean spirited dialog of ALL ABOUT EVE is so good I actually backed the film up a few times just to hear sections of it again. And if there has ever been a more frightening force of pure screen evil than Max Cady I can’t imagine where. The only character that seems even in the same range of viciousness was played by the same great actor in THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. You rarely go wrong when you cast Robert Mitchum as your heavy.

In the theaters I was happy with both the romantic THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU and the tense SOURCE CODE. With THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU it has to be said that if 20 years ago someone had said that eventually Philip K. Dick stories would regularly be adapted into smart, entertaining films I would have laughed but that is what happens almost every time. Bizarre! And SOURCE CODE is a great, exciting Twilight Zone style puzzle with some fantastic performances and a clever way of keeping us engaged.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973)- 6 (good, creepy TV movie)
THE GREEN ARCHER (1961)- 6 (fun krimi)
SOURCE CODE (2011)- 8 (excellent SF)
EMBODIMENT OF EVIL (2008)- 7 (Coffin Joe returns for one last time)
THE CREMATORS (1972)- 3 (low budget SF monster film)
LET ME IN (2010)- 7 (not bad but marred by some terrible CGI)
ADVENTURE AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (1965)- 3 (pretty tedious Mexican kiddie movie)
INSIDIOUS (2011)- 9 (an amazing and very scary movie- really got under my skin)
GAMER (2009)- 3 (silly, dumb and fairly dull- wastes some good character actors too)
THE GREEN HORNET (2011)- 2 (stupid and boring – I nearly fell asleep twice)
ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)- 10 (great dialog and performances)
THE INTRUDER (1962)- 8 (excellent serious Corman film)
WILD CAMP (2005)- 7 (tragic French drama)
NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS (1975)- 7 (rewatch)
HANNA (2011)- 7 (well directed action movie)
ETOILE (1990)- 6 (flawed but interesting ghostly ballet tale)
SCREAM 4 (2011)- 5 (starts off well but ultimately hobbles itself)
CAPE FEAR (1961)- 10 (amazing crime film with a great cast)
FIND THE BLACKMAILER (1943)- 6 (fun B-mystery)
HUMAN BEASTS (1980)- 6 (nasty Naschy crime tale)
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (2011)- 8 (romantic sc-fi)
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974)- 4 (rewatch)
CRUISING (1980)- 5 (considering the director and cast I was expecting better)
MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009) – 6 (rewatch)
THE FURIES (1950)- 6 (Anthony Mann Western melodrama)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Poster art for THE HUMANOID (1979)

I would never try to claim that this film is 'good' - in fact its pretty terrible on every level- but I really got a kick out of it. As cheap STAR WARS rip-offs go its one of the best. The plot is ridiculous, the characters cardboard, the dialog awful (even worse than SW) and the acting flat but there is a fun energy to the thing that is appealing. In a way its a perfect silly mindless rainy afternoon film that requires no thinking and indeed punishes it. Just let it wash over you and smlie at the gorgeous Corrine Clery!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tarzán en las minas del rey Salomón (1978)

I am under no delusions about the possibility of "Tarzán en las minas del rey Salomón" a.k.a. TARZAN IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES actually being a good movie but as it stars Paul Naschy I must one day see it. He had no hand in writing or directing it so it might never be worthy of the podcast but I have to admit that seeing him dressed up as the Great White Hunter type is a hoot. Plus its Tarzan so I pretty much have to see it. I'm just waiting for an English language version to appear......