Saturday, May 30, 2009

Don't Look in the Basement

Don't Look in the Basement (1973)
AKA: The Forgotten

[Hell No]

Set in a secluded nut house in Florida where they believe that the best way to cure the insane is to humour their insanity. When the presiding doctor (Michael Harvey) is accidentally killed by one of the patients and a new nurse (Rosie Holotik) shows up, bad things start happening. Sort of. First, the phone goes out (!), then... I dunno, I pretty much tuned out after that.

Nothing really happens until about seventy five minutes in and even then it's not that spectacular. Mr. Blue and I pretty much called the shocking twist in the first ten minutes. Turns out the replacement doctor (Anne MacAdams) is actually one of the patients who just thinks she is a doctor, and she's been killing everybody who threatens her deluded fantasy.

Oh dear, I've spoiled the ending. However, anyone who's seen, like, any other movies or read books would have seen it coming.

So there's that. There are also some serious logic problems in the movie - like how the fuck did this place get funded anyway? It's the most lax mental hospital in the world. Sure, if they were just treating, like, ex drug-addicts, mild cases of depression and lightly insane rich people, that would be fine, but some of the patients in the movie were clearly very dangerous, a fact they demonstrated by jumping out of closets with knives every twenty minutes or so.

And obviously the doctor's crazy scheme about humouring the mentally ill wasn't working very well. The patients pretty much got crazier by the minute. I mean, isn't there somebody who, like, checks up on this shit? Isn't it government regulated? Seriously.

Moving on, I'm pretty sure I missed the point of the movie entirely because I kept waiting for there to be some ominous doom lurking in the basement. There wasn't even much mention of the basement, I don't think. Every now and then popcicle guy (Bill McGhee) or the creepy old lady (Rhea MacAdams - who was actually the best part of the movie) would say something cryptic possibly referring to a basement, but nothing much came of it.

I think somewhere near the end they finally do go look in the basement and I guess the doctor's body was down there or something but since we already knew he had been killed by one of the inmates, it wasn't that impressive.

This is also one of those movies which tries to diguise itself by assuming many different titles (it's listed on IMDb as The Forgotten, however, the version I watched was titled Don't Look in the Basement), so, you know, that explains a bit I guess.

Um, yeah. On top of all that, the acting, script (sounded like a psychology textbook for morons), pacing (they spent, like, forty minutes introducing the characters, one at a time, with little to nothing else happening), music, editing, sound and picture quality were terrible so it's kind of a shitty movie all around. Although there is a pretty bloody axe murder at the end, but it's not really that satisfying. This movie was pretty much a total waste of time...


Directed by: S.F. Brownrigg. Written by: Tim Pope. Starring: Bill McGhee, Rosie Holotik, Anne MacAdams, Betty Chandler, Gene Ross, Rhea MacAdams, Robert Dracup, Harryette Warren, Jessie Kirby, Hugh Feagin, Camilla Carr, Jessie Lee Fulton, Michael Harvey.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Vampire Lovers

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Extremely Trashy

Run of the mill Hammer vampire film with extra smut. About a beautiful vampire (Ingrid Pitt) who goes around seducing young women (Madeline Smith, Kate O'Mara, Pippa Steele). Eventually people cotton on to what is going down and the nearest vampire expert (Douglas Wilmer - for once not Peter Cushing) is sent in.

And then there's this guy who only shows up once or twice in the movie - he kind of rides around on horseback and hangs out on top of hills and watches what's going on and laughs. I honestly have no fucking idea what the point of that was.

The film was actually really strangely paced, at least for a while. I assumed it was the sequel to something seeing as there are two (almost identical) scenes recapping previous events - one at the beginning and one towards the end - but according to imdb, this is the first film in a series of three.

Which is weird to me. This movie really felt like a sequel. I think it would have been way better if not for the weird recap at the beginning. I didn't understand the point of that, especially since (as I already mentioned) they pretty much showed it again when Douglas Wilmer showed up.

Whatever. Backstory. Moving on, the film was of course nice to look at - the sets, the costumes, the babes, all that Hammer stuff - and Ingrid Pitt spends about forty percent of the movie naked, and seduces basically every other character because obviously she's a slut ("Hey, she's taking her kit off again" - "Are you guys watching a horror movie or a porn movie?" - "It's porror").

So, yeah, lots of sexy time - Carmilla gets way more action than Dracula which is a win for her I guess. I haven't read the source material but I know it's predates Dracula by about twenty years, so I don't know how raunchy it is. Maybe lots. Dracula is kinda raunchy, for the time.

Yeah, apart from the weird pacing, this movie is alright. Not great, not terrible.


Directed by: Roy Ward Baker. Written by: Tudor Gates, based on the story Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. Starring: Ingrid Pitt, Madeline Smith, Kate O'Mara, George Cole, Ferdy Mayne, Douglas Wilmer, Harvey Hall, Jon Finch, Peter Cushing, Pippa Steele.

The Satan Bug

The Satan Bug (1965)

Slightly Trashy

Boring thriller. Two killer viruses, one capable of wiping out a whole city in a matter of hours, the other capable of killing every living thing on Earth, are stolen from the lab by... terrorists I guess. Folks must race against time to get the viruses back, while the terrorists have fun destroying major cities.

Put that way, it almost sounds like a pretty cool movie. Throw in Bruce Willis as the lead and maybe you've got something.

But yeah, this movie wasn't all that interesting. I don't actually remember very much of it which is bad seeing as I only watched it on Tuesday. I think I was tooling around on Facebook or playing Runescape or something for the duration of the film.

This movie wasn't bad by any means, it just wasn't remotely interesting. I can't really think of any redeeming perks it had. It just crawled along and I couldn't really figure out why anybody was doing anything they were doing in the movie. One of the guys turned out to be evil sort of towards the end and I guess he explained why he did what he did but I couldn't make sense of it.

It kind of puts some more modern thrillers into perspective - for example, anything with Harrison Ford, made interesting by lots of special FX and explosions (which were notably lacking in this film) but generally convoluted and incomprehensible in the plot department. Like, really. If someone can explain the plot of Clear and Present Danger in a way I can understand, they win a jar of mayonnaise.

So, I guess the reason this movie seems crappy to me is because it is really old. Also, it is disappoitingly mistitled as it has nothing to do with Satan or his/her bugs. Suck.


Directed by: John Sturges. Written by: James Clavell & Edward Anhalt based on the novel by Ian Stuart. Starring: George Maharis, Ricgard Basehart, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews, Simon Oakland, James Hong.

Attack of the Giant Leeches

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Extremely Trashy

This concludes the DVD of 'horror classics' Mr. Blue got from the library, the best of which I guess was Bride of the Gorilla although that's not really saying too much. This one I think I have a copy of somewhere and was the only one I'd ever heard of.

The plot is fairly straightforward: There are giant leeches. They attack. That's basically it. The film is one of many produced by Roger Corman back in the day (yay!) and feels like an uber low-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon knock off.

This movie isn't terrible. As far as crappy B-monster movies go, it's... somewhat subpar. I've seen better (ex: The Blob, et cetera), I've seen worse (ex: The Sound of Horror. God).

It just wasn't really that exciting. It just went along and didn't do anything particularly interesting. It wasn't even that bad. It was just... there. Or something. On top of that, the picture and sound quality of the copy I watched were both really bad. It was sort of hard to watch actually. I couldn't really hear anything anybody was saying, and I wasn't really watching so I think I missed a lot.

The one redeeming feature it had was the cool monsters. Of course, they are explained by nuclear testing (coz, you know, that's what happens when leeches become radioactive) but they were pretty cool looking. Okay, okay, they kind of looked like guys swimming around in garbage bags, but that was okay.

They did make this really weird noise whenever they were on camera - I wasn't aware that leeches made noise, although I guess maybe they're ordinarily just too small for us to hear them - which was sort of amusing. But yeah, they were neat.

That's kind of all you can do in a movie like this. Make the monster look cool. Otherwise the movie really wouldn't be worth watching at all.

Nothing else to say about this one. I'm feeling pretty apathetic towards it so there you go.


Directed by:
Bernard L. Kowalski. Written by: Leo Gordon. Starring: Ken Clark, Jan Sheperd, Tyler McVey, Michael Emmet, Bruno VeSota, Yvette Vickers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sound of Horror

El Sonido de la Muerte (1964)

Extremely Trashy

Another forgotten gem off that horror classics DVD from the library.

A group of treasure hunters poking around in a cave in the Mediterranean accidentally unearth a nest of prehistoric eggs which hatch into monsters who really enjoy ripping the shit out of people. But there's one problem: they're invisible.

Seriously. There is one shot of the inside of the cave that lasts I swear to God at least a minute (that may not sound like much, but it really is) with nothing fucking happening. Nothing. Nothing in the picture moves, the camera does not move, I think there's a little bit of music, but no sounds really. Because... well, the monster's invisible, isn't it? You can't see it.

I shit you not. This movie was maddeningly low budget, and seemed to squander all the budget it had on... I don't know what. Sound effects. Admittedly, the movie is very high concept, but like so much other crap I've been reviewing lately, the execution is agonizingly poor.

And then when the monsters attack... oh God. They did a remarkably good job using only sounds but... it's just not enough. As for the actors, they weren't all terrible but the script was so that sort of cancels that out.

As well as scenes where literally nothing is happening, there are also a great number of scenes where nothing relevant is happening. The younger folk are sitting around talking about something boring. Or dancing to bad pop music.

I thought that this shit was just there to pad out the running time to 68 minutes (which is what it said on the box), but lo, the box is deceitful for the film actually runs much longer than that. 68 minutes is probably when most people stop watching. 68 minutes is about the part where the legal guardian of the female romantic lead nobly gives up his life to blow up the caves and destroy the monsters.

But oh, the film is far from over. They won't let you leave that easily. It keeps going. The man's friends talk about what a great guy was and give their condolances to the girl. 70 minutes. They return to the house and pack up their stuff to leave. Oh dear, Ingrid Pitt forgot her handbag. Oh good, she went back and got it. 75 minutes.

They get out to the jeep and all get in. Buddy tries to start the jeep. Uh oh, it won't start. Well, that's okay, they'll just try it again. No, it still won't start. Hm, what could possibly be wrong with the jeep? Well, let's try it again. Oh no!. One of the monsters is apparently still alive. Run back to the house. 80 minutes. Sit around in the house for a while and try to decide what to do. Chick chick heads up to the bedroom to do whatever and... oh my God, one of the monsters is inside the house. Oh, okay, they got it out again. By this point I am pleading with the DVD. "Just end. Please. End. I'm begging you"

Better go see if the jeep will start now. Everybody get back out to the jeep. Oh, no, the jeep still won't start. Huh. Oh no wait, yes it will. Let's go. 85 minutes. Everything seems to be going fine. I guess we finally made it out. Wrong. The fucking monster is on top of the fucking jeep.

Everybody get out of the jeep. The jeep explodes for no apparent reason, completely incinerating the monster and the one poor bastard who happened to still be in the car. Oh well, fuck him. Is the movie really over? I was getting really suspicious at this point, but it really was over this time, leaving the movie at 90 minutes.

90 fucking minutes! That's almost half an hour longer than the fucking box said it was. I mean, if this movie was fan-fucking-tastic, I would have forgiven it that. I would have even enjoyed it. Hey! 22 extra minutes of goodness. Woo hoo.

But no. It had to be tacked on to the end of, quite possibly, the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I know, that is an impressive statement, but honest to fucking Jesus, watching this movie was like hitting yerself in the head with a brick for 90 fucking minutes.

It really made me question my lifestyle and choice of viewing material actually, which is not something I particularly wanted to question. Sound of Horror = worst movie ever. Stay the fuck away at all costs.


Directed by:
José Antonio Nieves Conde. Written by: José Antonio Nieves Conde, Sam X. Abarbanel, G. Sacristan, Gregg C. Tallas. Starring: James Philbrook, Arturo Fernández, Soledad Miranda, José Bódalo, Antonio Casas, Ingrid Pitt, Lola Gaos, Fransisco Piquer.

Bride of the Gorilla

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)


One of four movies off this DVD of 'Horror Classics' (read: old shit we can't sell) Mr. Blue borrowed from the library, the other three being She-Demons, Sound of Horror (which I will review when I'm done with this) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (which I will review whenever the mood strikes me).

In this particular horror classic, Raymond Burr plays a man in love with his boss's beautiful wife (Barbara Payton) on some jungle island (my guess was somewhere in the Philippines but I'm probably wrong). He murders his boss and marries the girl, however, the murder is witnessed by this random Slovakian wise-woman who puts a curse on him, causing him to turn into an ape-like monster called... shit, I forget what it's called.

Why did she care?, you may well ask. Well, she wasn't really pissed off because he killed the old man, she was pissed off because he dumped her granddaughter or whatever for the other lady.

Anyway, this movie was mediocre at best, but was actually the best movie on the disc and strangely riveting. I don't know why, but I really cared about what happened.

I mean, the story was only barely coherant, being patched together from numerous other movies. Its progressing from scene to scene is merely an illusion created by my brain which seemed to fill in the missing bits. There was a hell of a lot of really irrelevant stuff packed into the seventy minutes (it felt like a lot less, though) and the monster, though shown only briefly, was a major level of suck.

I think perhaps the appeal was the presence of the familiar and comforting faces of Lon Chaney Jr. (as the local, superstitious law enforcement) and Tom Conway (as the local medical professional) - Raymond Burr doesn't count because I've never seen Perry Mason. That's sort of the secret to a crappy horror flick. You have to put a star in it.


Written and Directed by: Curt Siodmak. Starring: Raymond Burr, Barbara Payton, Tom Conway, Lon Chaney Jr., Gisela Werbisek, Carol Varga.