Monday 29 June 2020


Sweethearts (1938)/New Moon (1940)/Bitter Sweet (1940) - Routine Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald nonsense.

Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944 - b/w), The Chinese Cat (1944 - b/w),  Meeting at Midnight (1944 - b/w), the Scarlet Clue (1945 - b/w), The Shanghai Cobra (1945 - b/w) - Charlie Chan Monogram mundanity. Mantan Moreland bugs out.

Sombra Verde (1954) - Mexican The Tempest with Ricardo Montalban in one of his few roles in his homeland.

Half-Human (1955) - Comic strippy Toho Yeti movie.

Teenage Doll (1957) - Ropey JD saga.

The Camp on Blood Island (1958 - b/w) - Tiresome POW antics from Hammer.

The H-Man (1958)/Human Vapor (1960) - Toho make the same film twice.
See also Invisible Man (1954).

The Couch (1962 - b/w) - Ropey Warner thriller.

Matango (1963) -Ludicrous Giligan's Island-meets-the-Mushroom-People from Toho.

Le Streghe (1966) - Bizarre psychedleic De Laurentiis anthology by the likes of Visconti, Pasolini and De Sica. The only non-Leone Italian work of Clint Eastwood, but this is a vehicle for Silvana Mangano. Toto (the comedian not the Italian restaurant in Dublin based around him) has wacky hair. It's as comic booky as Barbarella and Diabolik, and even has cameos by the Phantom, Mandrake,  Flash Gordon, Kriminal, I think Diabolik, a red Phantom, a goofily inaccurate Batman, and there's a mad professor. Seeing Clint on Italian TV is weird. It's a peekaboo in that universe where Clint never returned home, and instead of becoming a Great American Filmmaker, he stayed in Italy...

Gamera vs Barugon (1966) - Kiddy kaiju nonsense.
See also Gamera vs Gaos (1967), Gamera vs Viras (1968), Gamera vs Jiger/Gamera vs Monster X (1970), Gamera vs Zigra (1971) and the truly shite Gamera - Super Monster (1980)

The Anniversary (1968) - Bette Davis  tortures Sheila Hancock, transvestite James Cossins, Jack Hedley, Christian Roberts and Elaine Taylor. The highlight is Bette using an Orphan du Pis water pistol.

Succubus (1968) - Still not hung up on Jess Franco.

The Human Goddess (1969) - Shaw Brothers do I Dream of Jeannie/Bewitched.

Loving (1970) - Forgettable mid-life dramedy with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint, from Irvin Kershner.

Mark of the Devil (1970) - Memorably nasty Herbert Lom vehicle. Director Michael Armstrong was replaced by producer Adrian Hoven for the sequel, Mark of the Devil Part II (1972), which instead stars Anton Diffring.

Dream No Evil (1970) - Colorful but unmemorable dreamy horror with Marc Lawrence (did he own that gangster's outfit? I think he's wore in it in every film I've seen him in, even the Bonds) and Edmond O'Brien. There's Irish dancing and accordion playing in what appears to be a western set. O'Brien looks like he's in a dreamland himself. Michael Pataki is sinister.

Colossus  - The Forbin Project (1970) - It's typically clinical early 70s sf, but it sticks in the memory.

Golden Apples of the Sun (1971) - Amateurish Canadian home invasion thriller.

Ginger (1971) - No-budget sexpionage with the baffling Cheri Caffaro.

Feast of Satan (1971) - Hoary Spanish horror.

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) - Strikingly grim Italian thriller with Martin Balsam and Franco Nero.

The Slasher is the Sex Maniac (1972) - Rough giallo.

3 On A Meathook (1972) - Rough William Girdler trash.

Wacky Taxi (1972) -Ropey dramedy with John Astin as a Puerto Rican, masquerading as a sub-Disney comedy.

Blood Sabbath (1972) - Dreary country-infused Satanist gubbins from one Brianne Murphy.

The Devil's Wedding Night (1972) - Dreary Countess Dracula knockoff with Rosalba Neri.

Savage (1973) - Junky Filipino blaxploitationer from Cirio Santiago, set in a phony South American republic, about a black mercenary and some circus girls. Forgettable.

The Clones (1973) - Junky sub-Clonus story of a man on the run.

Joe Bullet (1973) - Apartheid-era underground blaxploitation from South Africa with Ken Gampu. It's rough and it's messy, but its heart is in the right place. And some of the background actors with broken teeth and weathered faces look like they've had hard times.

Oklahoma Crude (1973) - Worth it only for old west prospector John Mills.

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) - Routine chaser.

Rape Squad (1974) - Perverted junk.

Peterson (1974) - The hero is a rapist. Jack Thompson goes to college, loses his head, and ends up going back to Jacki Weaver and their kids. No wonder Rolf Harris turned out the way he went, knowing Australia's problem with toxic masculinity.

The Arena (1974) - Junky peplum for the 70s, with Pam Grier and Margaret Markov as interracial lesbian gladiators. Both are dubbed, because this was made in Italy for Corman.

Cockfighter (1974) - It paints an accurate, realistic picture of the South, with Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton showing the dark side of American masculinity.

The Centerfold Girls (1974) - Pervy sex-slasher. See also the similarly inaccurately titled The Swinging Barmaids (1975).

The Eerie Midnight Horror Show (1974) - Ropey Italian Exorcist.
See also the German-made but possibly British set Magdalena - Possessed by the Devil (1974).

Big Bad Mama (1974) - Routine gangster matriarchy with Angie Dickinson, Tom Skerrit, William Shatner and Robbie Lee, the star of Switchblade Sisters (who weirdly, voiced characters in Superted - albeit the Hanna Barbera version).

Switchblade Sisters (1975) - Rubbishy overaged teenage delinquency.

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1975)/Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) - Routine though darker than normal installments in the saga.
See also Godzilla Raids Again (1957 - b/w), Rodan (1956), Varan the Unbelievable (1958), Mothra (1961), Godzilla vs Mothra (1963), Ghidorah (1964 - a Japanese Roman Holiday knockoff with alien monsters thrown in), Invasion of the Astro-Monster (1965), Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (1966 - the Beach Party one), Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971), Godzilla vs Gigan (1972) and Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) and the execrable Son of Godzilla (1967) and Godzilla's Revenge (1969).

TNT Jackson (1975) - Faux-Hong Kong Filipino blaxploitation junk.

Mean Johnny Barrows (1975) - Fred Williamson vanity project. Rote post-Vietnam anti-Mafia actioner, with Roddy McDowall as a young Mafioso (yes, really), and special guest appearance from Elliott Gould, who was still a big star at this point, so his appearance clearly is a favour to his M*A*S*H costar Fred.

Best Friends (1975) - Dreary indie drama with Richard Hatch. Like Race with the Devil without the Satanists.

The Astrologer (1975) - Ambitious if amateurish New York indie from James Glickenhaus, set in UK, India and in various US states. Lots of brownface. A valiant attempt to create India by having a nearly-naked old man in a nappy at a gas station.

Bruce Lee Against Supermen (1975) - Goofy Bruceploitation.

Lady Cocoa (1975) - Ludicrous blaxploitation from Matt Cimber starring Lola Falana, who sings a cabaret pop version of Pop Goes the Weasel. Often confused this with the completely different realist drama from Jamaa Fanaka, Emma Mae (1976).

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - Not bad, is it, for a little exploitation cop show...

Goodbye Norma Jean (1976) - Shitty, exploitative, threadbare, erotic biopic of Marilyn Monroe, starring Hee Haw's Misty Rowe. From Larry Buchanan.

Man on the Roof (1976) - Chilly but atmospheric Swedish cop caper in the Martin Beck series.

Another Son of Sam (1977) - Dreary rural regional slasher/cop show.

Sidewinder-1 (1977) - Junky motorcycler.
See also C.C. and Company (1970) with Ann-Margret, American football great Joe Namath and William Smith.

Meatcleaver Massacre (1977) - An amateurish load of gory shite bookended by Christopher Lee talking about the supernatural, from an aborted documentary. Features an "ancient Irish Gaelic vengeance chant"

The Toolbox Murders (1978) - Sleazy.

Mistress of the Apes (1979) - Californian-shot Congo-set 50s-style jungle nonsense with added erotic bits, from Larry Buchanan. Took me a while to realise that the bunch of white guys going about with long hair are supposed to be "missing links".

Guyana Cult of the Damned (1979) - Exploitative all-star Mexican cash-in on the Jonestown tragedy. Or in this case, Johnsontown.
See also the Cardonas' Survive (1976).

The Late Great Planet Earth (1979) - Silly sub-Sunn Classics eco shock doc with Orson Welles as God.

Oh, Heavenly Dog (1980) - Oh, feck off, Benji.

Shock Treatment (1981) - Better than Rocky Horror. Yes, kill me.

Hunters of the Golden Cobra (1982)/Ark of the Sun God (1983) - Though tatty, these David Warbeck/Antonio Margheriti Raiders knockoffs are sporadically fun. Hunters is a Filipino coproduction with John Steiner dubbing himself as the RAF sidekick. Ark looks interesting, but it really isn't, despite a quite fun car chase.

Vice Squad (1982) - Maybe, it's because Gary Sherman began his career in the UK, but this Avco Embassy sex-thriller has an unexpectedly Euston films feel, especially in the climax car chase.

Buckstone County Prison (1978) - Ropey Macon County cash-in starring country star/singer of racist ballads David Allan Coe, from Earl Owensby. Ropey attempts at 50s detail.

The Seduction (1982) - Proto-erotic thriller with Morgan Fairchild and Andrew Stevens, but actually a big-budget theatrical release rather than a DTV schlocker from a decade later.

Dark Sanity (1982) - Terrible slasher with Aldo Ray.

The Hunger (1983) - What a load of cack. Still, Willem Dafoe billed below Shane Rimmer.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) - Style over substance. Nice soundtrack.

Fleshburn (1984) - Cacky actioner starring Dallas' Steve Kanaly.

Jungle Raiders (1985) - Ropey though energetic Cannon Raiders imitation from Antonio Margheriti, starring Lee Van Cleef and Chris Connelly.

Legend of the Stardust Brothers (1985) - Bizarre Japanese glam disco musical. The climax is particularly indescribable.

Malibu Express (1985)/Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) - Andy Sidaris cheesecake espionage nonsense. I find his films asinine - cut and shunt US TV with breast.

Scorpion (1986) - Ropey sub-Cannon actioner starring the Dutch Chuck Norris, Tonny Tulleners.

House of Games (1987) - It kind of leads into itself, like a puzzle. Lindsay Crouse I always found cold, but I can understand why, now

Deep Space (1988) - Ropey Fred Olen Ray alien-invasion cop horror.

Waxwork (1988) - There's bits that work, Macnee and Warner are great, the soundtrack is full of choice picks, but the segments suffer from miscasting (Shouty Brexit Man John Rhys-Davies as the werewolf is fine, but Miles O'Keeffe as Dracula, really). And it's all a bit 80s blanderama teen horror.
The sequel, Waxwork II - Lost in Time (1992) feels more ambitious but cheaper - the medieval bit with John Ireland as King Arthur in a ren fair setting is particularly tacky. It has lots of settings - Victorian London, Martin Kemp as Frankenstein, Bruce Campbell and Marina Sirtis in the Haunting...

The Rejuvenatrix (1988) - Vivian Lanko extremely convincing as an aged B-list Hollywood star in a junky but passable low-rent New Jersey horror.

Police Story 2 (1988) - Routine Jackie Chan stunt spectacular.

Night on Earth (1991) - Jarmusch makes the same film again. Tom Waits sounds like a parody of himself.

Street Wars (1992) - Jamaa Fanaka gangland drama. Surprisingly inventive and engrossing, lots of character building.
See also Penitentiary 3 (1987)

Double X - Name of the Game (1992) - Norman Wisdom and William Katt -together at last.  This is an astonishing, terrible film. Wisdom is in a serious role as a Smiley-type veteran spy, who gets shot halfway through by his supposed partner Katt, who is the hero for the rest of the film as a means of getting Norman out of the picture. The plot makes no sense. We go from Bernard Hill doing a Belfast accent that then goes Dublin, to Gemma Craven to Chloe Annett, to Leon Herbert (Steel in the BBC Radio DC adaptations) as the slick, mysterious black guy, to Vladek Sheybal as the sinister European (what else?) to Derren Nesbitt (always a sign of B-movie brass) to Simon Ward being mysterious. Chloe Annett can't act for toffee even when eating Kellogg's Rice Krispies. And it's all padded with ludicrous sub-Lindsay Shonteff/Cliff Twemlow action sequences involving Sealink ferries and rural canals.  Wisdom tries to do Bond-y action age 75 in a wig. His death scene is just a typical Pitkin pratfall. He even does that face.

Skinner (1993) - Ted Raimi, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords and Richard Schiff in a surprisingly expensive looking DTV murder cheapie.

Messenger (1994) - Interesting though not very memorable black remake of the Bicycle Thief by Norman Loftis.

Summer of Sam (1999) - Two hours of Spike Lee wallowing in his youth.

Felicia's Journey (1999) - Atom Egoyan stifles the potentially interesting idea, muddled up with flashbacks. Bob Hoskins as a Brummie serial killer stalking Irish girl Elaine Cassidy, while obsessed with his dead Fanny Cradock-but-continental TV chef mother, and the music of Malcolm Vaughan.


  1. Norman's death scene in Double X is one of the funniest things he ever did. Seriously, it's absolutely hilarious, the highlight of an unbelievably bad... well, it looks like a vanity project.

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