Thursday 8 February 2018

Quickies -30 exc. tv - some of these I barely sat through, to be honest = that bad - Slithis, Golem, Czech, Fantastic Voyage, Euro-SF

Slithis (1978) - Quirky but badly-acted. There are a few neat images - the disfigured expert, and the titular monster. But even Humanoids from the Deep did this better. As I said, the book Nightmare USA by Stephen Thrower shows that all these regional exploitation films usually have far more interesting stories behind the scenes. Even the ones with good casts tend to be oddly bland and oddly transgressive at the same time, but no real fun. For a film to be fun, a mix of good plot, good direction, good cast, good imagery.

The Golem (1979)  - Actually a Polish post-apocalyptic android story, inventive but samey, all shot in a sepia tone. Elements of Gilliam and Jeunet/Caro seep in. It's quite slow, then a soft-rock escalator/concert scene lightens things up. Typical Soviet SF, but with added stock footage.

Underground (1995) - Emir Kusturica tries too hard to do Yugoslavia's Amarcord, quirky for quirky's sake, Annoyingly quirky a la the Avengers under Clemens or Gormenghast. Kusturica also behind Harry Saltzman's last production, Time of the  Gypsies (1988). Not quite my thing. "Quirky".

Trouble In Mind (1985) - Dull Kris Kristofferson (my dad's hero) vs an out-of-drag Divine (my dad's nightmare) in boring "is it the future?" sub-Blade Runner neo-noir nonsense involving a baby.

Je T'aime, Je T'aime (1968) - Not very good Alain Resnais time-travel "art". Creep fails to commit suicide, and uses a giant crystalline breast-mushroom to time travel, and starts reflecting on his past. Spawned a whole subgenre of tepid Gallic time-slip thrillers.

Flesh Eaters (1964 - B/W) - Slow, though well acted and nicely shot B/W shocker, quite bloody. Though there is an annoying beatnik,Martin Kosleck good value as a Nazi scientist, but overlong. The titular monsters are just an excuse for early gore. The explosion scenes are cleverly executed, though.

Interesting how early 1930s cinema flops of international cinema like FP1 (1933 - B/W), High Treason (1929 - B/W), Just Imagine (1930 - B/W) were futuristic sci-fi nonsense. Immediate post-silent sci-fi was mostly feeble. Visually interesting at times if a little samey (like the myriad 50s jungle movies or various interchangeable low-budget  50s sci-fi movies - swap jungle for desert and little separates the Flame Barrier or Pharaoh's Curse)...

The Silence of Dr. Evans (1973) - Waterloo director Sergey Bondarchuk stars in this wondrously odd Mosfilm alien abduction drama, almost a Soviet giallo, set in either or both the US or UK, with a strange faux-Western world feel, and a Engrish-lyrics theme tune with lyrics like "you are my dream, my fairy queen", "you love so freely". A psychedelic thriller that almost feels like it was made by aliens, especially in its preachy message about aliens being too smart for Earth. The air crash is particularly well done, with Indians meditating as they die.

Lobster Man From Mars (1989) - A shite Matinee with Tony Curtis. Seemingly set in the modern day when it should be the 50s.

Malevil (1981) - Fil (or considering it features the likes of Jean-Louis Trintignant, Le Lendemain). Depressing.

The Manster (1959 - B/W) - "American" in Japan played by Peter Dyneley (the unmistakable voice of Jeff Tracy in Thunderbirds) grows two heads. Caught between two stools - schlocky US sci-fi focused on one idea and running with it, that if you swapped 75% with another SF film of the same time, no one would notice, and the stranger, more ideas-based Japanese sort, but the head-growth scenes and rampage are fun.

Blue Sunshine (1978) - A horror for hippies, i.e. about going bald. Otherwise not much flack. The Crazies but bald.

The Lathe Of Heaven (TV- 1981) - Though shot on film, this PBS one-off feels like a US equivalent of Plays for Today like The Flipside of Dominick Hide. Dull, although Kevin Conway gives a good performance.

The Lucifer Complex (1978) - Why are Keenan Wynn and Robert Vaughn in a stitch of random footage that pretends to be a ripoff of the Boys from Brazil?

Lifespan (1976) - Forgettable Anglo-Dutch clone-y thriller.

The Lift (1983) - Dutch killer lift in dystopian future schlock, played too seriously. Jokey concept more suited to an Amicus anthology. Eventually the last segment becomes incredibly tense and atmospheric, but it is too late.

The Neptune Factor (1973) - All-star Canadian disaster movie actually a tax shelter excuse to pad undersea wildlife footage.
Again, there were very few good Canadian films of this era. I even found voodoo killer-child nonsense Cathy's Curse (1977) a load of cobblers, and not even visually awesome like The Visitor (-1979). See also the space-Beachcombers boredom of Starship Invasions (1977).

Rat Saviour (1976)- Attractive period Yugoslavian setting hides rat mutations, in what in the 1950s would be a typically stupid bland American horror, is a well-produced gothic thriller in Yugoslavia.

The Bubble (1966) - No budget, just an abandoned fairground and western town and suspended Halloween masks - and an excuse for 3D.

Amphibian Man (1962) - More Soviet SF, from Lenfilm, though imported to US TV by National Telefilm Associates. Imagine Creature from the Black Lagoon via Tales from Europe, with all the sentimentality pushed to the forefront.

Acción Mutante (1993) - Loud, brash, horribly unlikeable - styled like a terrorist recruitment film, and as the Radio Times put it, "terminally camp". The characters don't appeal.

Coma (-1978) - Boring 1970s pseudo-SF thriller. A typical 70s medical drama with conspiracy thriller elements. Maybe it is because God Genevieve Bujold is a very stiff actress.

 A Nice Plate of Spinach (1978) - a rejuvenation-themed Czech comedy with many of the same cast as Tomorrow, I Shall Wake Up And Scald Myself With Tea (1978), but does not quite translate as well, despite a fun feel, it's just children with adult voices, and adults with children's voices fighting like babies resulting in slapstick fun. Though there is fun in a kitchen, which is always a plus.

Long Live Ghosts! (1977) - Oldrich Lipsky's Barrandov-shot Czech Children's Film Foundation-esque "kids meets ghost girl" comedy, Czech 3 Investigators at Motley Hall.See also the similarly CFF-ish Saxana by Nice Plate of Spinach director Vaclav Vorlicek. (1972).

Read today that Fantastic Voyage (1966) was intended as a period piece. It might have worked better that way. It feels too much like an Irwin Allen TV show, with its gung-ho attitude to scientific problems.

Also watched Supermarionation-via Button Moon German kids TV fluff Robbi, Tobbi und Das Fliewatuut, was left unamused by the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes  and laughed at the pantosploitation joy of The Steam Video Company.

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