Friday, September 30, 2016

The Velvet Vampire (1971)

"She's Waiting to Love You... To Death!"

That's like something I'd come up with to describe a movie.  I'm not going to lie, I know next-to-nothing about this vampire flick.  I will totally admit to picking it because I saw a picture of Celeste Yarnall (who played the titular Velvet Vampire, as well as the episode "The Apple" on Star Trek) from the movie and immediately said, "I'm on board."

So, based on a picture, and a title that I can only assume indicated that this was going to be a silky smooth sexy vampire flick, I decided I'd select this as the official/unofficial kickoff to my vampire theme for the month of October.  That's right, what is more Halloweeny than a vampire movie?  Nothing.  Or at least mostly nothing.

Since it is September 30th, and October starts tomorrow, I just thought we'd go ahead and kick things off now.  The next four weeks will feature more vampire movies.  Since this is the only one I had no knowledge of whatsoever, let's just get this one out of the way and hope the rest of the Halloween Vampire-bration goes smoothly.

Our plot comes to us from Wikipedia today: "Sleepy-eyed nice guy Lee Ritter (Michael Blodgett) and his vapid, but pretty wife, Susan (Sherry Miles) accept the invitation of mysterious vixen Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall) to visit her in her secluded desert estate. Tensions arise when the couple, unaware at first that Diane is in reality a centuries-old vampire, realize that they are both objects of the pale temptress' seductions."

Seems like a typical movie for this blog.  Let's dive right into The Velvet Vampire!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)

This week's B-Movie Enema is a bit of a treat - and the man who made it is fascinating.  I'm going to take a look at Teenagers from Outer Space.

This film, made almost single-handily on a production level by Tom Graeff, is not exactly all that well-known.  It didn't receive particularly good reviews.  It isn't exactly remembered in any spectacular way.  In fact, the most famous it probably ever got was appearing on a 1992 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

However, I find it to actually be pretty decent and an interesting movie.  The title is not particularly important to the movie.  Yes, the main alien is, basically, a teenager, and there is some nice puppy love between him and the lovely Betty (played by Dawn Bender, though cast as Dawn Anderson officially), but it's not necessarily playing on anything societal other than to lure teenagers to come to the drive-in for a date.  So it's kind of a title that mirrors the exploitation of the late 50s and early 60s to entice a younger audience.

But let's get to the really interesting factoid about the filmmaker, Graeff.  As I previously stated, he basically bankrolled this movie solo.  He had gotten his start under the tutelage of Roger Corman so he had a bit of movie making knowledge.  When this film came out, the reviews weren't great, but not damning.  What tipped Graeff over the edge, though, was the poor box office.  Seeing how he wrote, produced, directed, and financed this movie himself, the poor box office caused him to suffer a mental breakdown.  The same year this movie came out, he proclaimed himself "Jesus Christ II" and demanded to be referred to as that.  He would be institutionalized (no shit, right?) and later would spend the 60s destitute and unable to find work.  In 1970, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage.  I definitely recommend you check out his page on Wikipedia.

Let's take a look at the synopsis from my Sci-Fi Classics box set and dive into this curious piece of 50s sci-fi goodness: "Beings from another planet are coming to Earth to raise the "Gargon Herd", an unstoppable torrent of giant lobsters.  When one of the aliens realizes that there is intelligent life on Earth, he heroically sets out to warn the population.  He must make the ultimate sacrifice to stop the incoming horde of deadly creatures."

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Giant Claw (1957)

The Giant Claw.

I think it was only a matter of time before it came to this.  This is one of those staples of bad movies.  While maybe not be a Plan 9 or The Room, this was a movie that seemed to step up to the proverbial plate and swing hard for the fences only to pop the ball up right in front of the plate.

It's like you should hear a sad trombone play every time you mention the title.  It's not without a couple of really great pieces - a great performance by Jeff Morrow (who was in This Island Earth), and a neat idea springing forth from actual scientific discovery through particle physics.  However, you see that fuckin' bird with those goofball eyes and doofy expression and everything just goes right into the crapper.  This movie is universally hailed as one of the worst attempts ever at a sci-fi monster movie.

It's also quite well known for how often the giant claw is referred to as being as big as a battleship, but I'm going to try to keep the criticism of that to a minimum.

On the back of the Sci-Fi Creature Classics 4-pack DVD box, we're told: "Global chaos erupts when an enormous bird from outer space ventures to Earth and begins killing scores of innocent bystanders in this awe-inspiring sci-fi thriller starring stunning Mara Corday and Jeff Morrow.  Four times faster than sound, the bird is bigger than a battleship and surrounded by an invisible radar-resistant shield which repels existing destructive devices.  It's a race against time for scientists Mitch MacAfee and Sally Caldwell to devise a weapon against this abominable creature before it obliterates the United States.  Can they do it??  See for yourself in this terrifying adventure of man against monstrosity!"

I hope whoever got paid for writing this copy for the back of the box got a raise because that description sounds amazing.  Too bad this movie isn't going to live up to it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Blackenstein (1973)

1. Blaxploitation
2. Frankenstein Monsters
3. Dating emotionally scarred women
4. Crazy bonkers 70s movies
5. A bunch of other shit

These are just a few of my favorite pastimes.  Today, we cover some of those.  Well, except #3 (Dating emotionally scarred women).  We're not going to cover that one in today's article.  Well, unless you are an emotionally scarred woman looking for a date.  Then, well...  We can suss that shit out later.

Seriously, hit me up.

Today's feature is Blackenstein.  Or as it's also known as Black Frankenstein.  Or Blackenstein: The Black Frankenstein.  This movie may have a titling problem, but that doesn't keep it from being awesome.  Like the earlier Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde, we have another early 70s Blaxploitation horror movie that puts that "urban spin" (as crusty white people would say) on the genre.  It also manages to includes some stuff about the Vietnam War!  Bonus!

The back of my DVD box says: "Dr. Winifred Walker (Ivory Stone) and Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Stein (B-movie icon John Hart) believe they can restore dismembered Vietnam vet Eddie Turner (Joe De Sue) to the man he once was.  But the results turn monstrous, and the Blackenstein Monster goes on a rampage of murder and disemboweling, unaffected by fists, bullets and blunt objects.  Who or what can stop this menace?  And will Dr. Stein have to return his Nobel Prize?"

Ah-mazing.  Is that even a thing - to be told to return your Nobel Prize?  I mean if you win one, and then you do a bad science thing out of good intentions, do they show up and demand you give it back?  This movie box wouldn't lie to me would it?

Let's see if he's told to return that prize or not...

Friday, September 2, 2016

King Kong Lives (1986)

Fuck this movie right in the ball sack.

No.  No, I suppose I should try to be professional about this.  I shouldn't just leave it with the incredibly aggressive opening salvo I gave this article.  Instead I should try to be a little more grown up about it.

Have sexual intercourse with this motion picture unto its testicle bag, also know as its scrotum.

There we go.  All better.  But seriously, I cannot tell you how much I love the 1976 version of King Kong.  That John Barry score.  That incredibly sexy Jessica Lange.  That dickwad Charles Grodin.  That lush Jeff Bridges beard.  That incredibly sexy Jessica Lange.  Jessica Lange's legs and body.  Jessica Lange's southern accent.  Or!  That line Jessica Lange says about being saved by Deep Throat.  God-fucking-dammit Jessica Lange was hot in that movie.

Er...  Let me get back on track here.  That movie was a goddamn masterpiece of my youth - a movie I grew up with and have probably watched, like, 50 times.  This movie is a fucking dump truck of garbage.  You might think it will satisfy your needs to see a giant rampaging monkey.  It doesn't.  You might think it's gotta be good because Linda Hamilton is in it.  It isn't.  This movie is like the sort of shit you can expect to happen when a bar crosses nickel beer night with circus freak night.

And that's saying a lot because that would a million times more interesting than this turd.

The synopsis from the back of my bootleg DVD copy (yes, assholes, I bought this as a bootleg because I'm an idiot) reads: "Picking up where the 1976 version left off, King Kong Lives resuscitates the mighty ape through the miracle of modern medicine and brings him together with what will be the love of his life, Lady Kong."

Way to shit on the emotional ending of the '76 version by saving him from a shit ton of bullet wounds and a tumble from the World Trade Towers, jerkoffs.  Whatever.  Let's get this over with.