Thursday, March 23, 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023



Monday, March 20, 2023

DOG TAGS (1987)


Awwwwwwww, if only there WERE zombies!  Only 20 minutes in and I was looking at my watch.  The problem with DOG TAGS is that is suffers from PLATOON-itis.  Released a year after (that terrible movie) PLATOON, DOG TAGS takes itself way too seriously.  A group of POW's (this is during the Vietnam War) held in tiger cages are rescued by an Army Captain who takes them on a secret mission. 

Soon the men find a cache of gold bars and that ole devil greed takes over.  So yes, this is basically TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE in the jungle.  But there the similarity with that superb movie ends.  Going in, the synopsis led me to believe this would be kinda a KELLY’S HEROES type of movie but it’s not fun at all.  The mention of a “cache of gold” brings to mind more of a fun caper movie in the jungle (which this is not).  Seriously in need of the editor’s scissors.  Also most of the ‘emotional beats’ in the film are not earned so we get the clichéd Vietnam soldier mental breakdowns etc. without any emotional lead-up to them hence they seem even more clichéd and we couldn’t care less.  These characters/actors constantly emote different emotional states but they have not been established by the script or the performances so they are basically faceless nonentities whom we also couldn’t care less about. 

The one ‘Dustin Hoffman in PAPILLON’ character with the monstrously oversized eyeglasses was the only one I hooked onto and . . . well . . . let’s just say don’t get too attached to him.  The thing is beautifully shot and the new Vinegar Syndrome print is flawless!  The script is way too heavy-handed and melodramatic so I can’t really slam the actors for not being able to do anything with it.  If the direction for the film wasn’t going to be ‘fun’ then it’s perfectly acceptable for it to be a serious action flick but there’s precious little action in it and, when there is action, it’s oddly anti-climactic and uninvolving.  Director Romano Scavolini also directed the video nasty NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN which I own but haven't watched yet.  I certainly hope Scavolini brings more life to that one.  Kinda really disappointed with this.  

Sunday, March 19, 2023



That's right, I've finally revived my sister blog after giving up the ghost 7 years ago.  I have turned the blog over to Pope Hilarius II, the Horror Pope!  His Goryness will be using it to provide a list of the icons of horror whom he will canonize as the Horror Saints!  So head on over to THE COBWEBBED ALCOVE as the Horror Pope declares the Saints of Horror. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Professor Miller's pure joy as experiment takes unexpected turn (1964) |...

This is so terrific!  Julius Sumner Miller was a science guy that I only knew from his occasional appearances on THE HILARIOUS HOUSE OF FRIGHTENSTEIN as "The Professor".  But the joy and wonder he shows in this video when an experiment doesn't quite go as expected, is wonderful to behold!

CROWN COURT (1972 - 1984)


I just randomly stumbled across this long-running British courtroom drama series made by Granada for ITV for most of the seventies until 1984.  This groundbreaking show is apparently being currently rerun on British TV after an absence of 40 years.  I, however, stumbled upon the show randomly on youtuberz and was immediately hooked.  The show dramatizes court cases using actors following a written script.  The show is shot live like a stage play with several stationary cameras and no retakes; it's done straight through.  Also really interesting is the fact that, while the cast in the courtroom all all actors, the jury is selected using real people -- actual citizens -- who watch the proceedings and are given a half hour to render their verdict based upon what they've seen.  Because the show is filmed live with no retakes, the cast rehearses two endings -- based on a guilty or not guilty verdict from the 'real people' jury -- so that they know what to do at the end of the show depending on the verdict.  Each case usually spans three 25-minute episodes and I've watched over a dozen already.  This shizzle's addictive!  Another major drawing point for me is the fact that not only is it full of that 1970's ambiance I love but also is filthy with character actors I love.  The programme was apparently well-known as the show that launched a galaxy of stars.  Colin Firth has his first TV job on CROWN COURT
OMG it's a 12 year old Colin Firth!!!

and the cast features everyone from Oscar-Winner Jim Broadbent to ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE's Richard Wilson to late great Hammer Horror icon Barbara Shelley
Stylish and sexy Barbara Shelley!

(that's her in the hat up above).  There are TONS of actors here who've appeared on DOCTOR WHO -- you can also see Ian Marter in the photo up top as well) as well as a couple actual Doctors:  Patrick Troughton and Peter Capaldi can also be seen in court on this wonderful show. 
OMG a punk Peter Capaldi from 1984!!!

All the shows are on DVD (in British Region 2 only so you'll need a multi-region playah) and I've picked up over half of them already!!!  Some are incredibly easy to get and inexpensive while a couple volumes are impossible to get and outrageously overpriced!  But at least there are some episodes on youtuberz you can see (including the Patrick Troughton one). 
Patrick Troughton has been naughty . . . maybe


Thursday, March 09, 2023



  Sorry, I just HAD to start with that.  If you've seen the movie, you'll know why.  The has to be the weirdest viewing experience I've had so far this year!  I never saw the original version entitled "TWIXT" in 2011 which most critics lambasted while Cahiers du Cinema simultaneously named it one of the best film of the year.  I only watched the brand new "Authorized Version" Francis Ford Coppola released last month.  So naturally I cannot speak to whatever differences there are between the two versions.  However, THIS 2022 version wow-ed me in the oddest manner and has sat with me since I saw it days ago!  I can see why people in 2011 (and those watching the new version now in 2023) either love it or (more probably) hate it.  Especially with the almost violently abrupt ending!  At first, when I realized the movie was over, I had a momentary knee-jerk "NO!!!!" reaction but seconds later I changed my mind and thought it was right for some reason totally unknown to me.  If this is all very confusing, it's appropriate for a mystifying film which was based on a spooky dream Coppola had.  The director recorded his recollections of the strange dream into a tape recorder immediately upon awaking and the dreamlike logic is expertly ported over into the film.  Besides Coppola's dream, the director also works through the grief and trauma of the death of his son Gian-Carlo in that bizarre boating accident!  Grief and dream-logic are the two main themes in this movie and keeping those two concepts in your mind will hopefully make the viewing of this film ring true.

Val Kilmer plays lower-grade horror fiction writer Hall Baltimore who has arrived in a small

town during a book signing tour.  The town doesn't have an 'actual' bookstore so Baltimore sets up the best he can.  The town DOES have a 7-sided clock tower/belfry which is infamous for having 7 clock faces each telling a different time!  Not a single person comes to see Baltimore at his book signing -- until Sheriff Bobby LaGrange drops in on the author to get a book signed but also to ask Baltimore if he'd like to collaborate with the Sheriff on a book about the local murder spree!  In the morgue is a dead woman with a large wooden stick stuck in her chest.  This seems to be the serial killer's trademark.  Or, more to LaGrange's thinking, they're vampires.  The Sheriff wants to collaborate with Baltimore on a book entitled "The Vampire Executions".  LaGrange also has a big sign in front of his house that reads "GOT BATS?" because he has a sideline in building bat houses (birdhouses but for bats)!    Hall Baltimore is desperately in need of money as well as a 'bulletproof' idea for a new book which will make him a best-selling author once again.  Especially since his wife (hilariously played by Kilmer's actual former wife Joanne Whalley!!!) is threatening to do something terrible to his first edition of Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS unless he comes up with a book advance PDQ!  Baltimore is also an alcoholic who is still grieving at the death of his young daughter (which is revealed to be in exactly the same type of accident which killed Coppola's son Gian-Carlo).  The town also is known for an old, abandoned hotel in which Edgar Allan Poe once slept. 

While out walking in the night, Baltimore encounters the boarded-up hotel as well as a pale 12 year old girl (looking rather goth) named Virginia or V. as she prefers to be called (beautifully played by Elle Fanning).  She says she is teased by the other girls who call her 'Vampira' because of her braces-enmeshed teeth.  Coming back to the abandoned hotel, it is suddenly lit up and open for business.  V. refuses to go inside but Baltimore goes in (at the proprietoress's invitation) for a beer and possibly something to eat.  All this is shot in a wonderful, atmospheric, dreamlike way which brings to mind Coppola's baroque BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.  Amongst all this spookiness there is also the fact that, in the past, 12 children were murdered in this very same hotel by Pastor Allan Floyd and are all still buried underneath the stone floor in the dining room!  Oh yes, and there are a bunch of 'evil' Satan worshippers down by the river led by one Flamingo (played nicely by Alden Ehrenreich) who are probably vampires.  And I can't forget the fact that Hall Baltimore is visited by a ghostly Edgar Allan Poe himself (spokily evoked by Ben Chaplin).  I'm sure there are dozens of other details I'm leaving out (including the dead woman in the morgue communicating with Baltimore and the Sheriff through a Ouija board) but this film is loaded with spooky treats.

But fair warning, this is not your ordinary movie!  Coppola mixes hilarious comedy with intense emotion focusing on grief, death and coping with both.  While there is a very definite story/plot, it is wound up in bizarre dream logic of the flavour of a Lucio Fulci 'Gates of Hell' movie.  This is a meditation wearing the cloak of a horror movie.  Your tolerance for such things will directly influence how you respond to this film.  The cast (yes, even Val Kilmer) is top notch and all seem to 'get' what Coppola is going for here.  Val Kilmer's 'breakdown' scene in which he probably ad-libbed some celebrity impressions (including his co-star Marlon Brando from DR. MOREAU) I found to be quite funny (while others seem to hate it).  Bruce Dern, as always, is a welcome presence and his goofy Sheriff Bobby LaGrange hits all the comedy without overselling it.  As I already stated, the fact that Kilmer's ex-wife Joanne Whalley plays his character's estranged and hostile wife Denise is absolutely inspired casting!  Ben Chaplin looks uncannily like Poe and Elle Fanning is suitably haunting as V.  So if straightforward movies are your thing, B'TWIXT is probably not for you.  But if you're open to tons of atmosphere, the working through of grief and dream-logic, you might like to give this movie a try.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

February 2023 Top Ten List


  1. THE FROGMEN  (1951)
  2. THE FABELMANS  (2022)
  4. BEAT STREET  (1984)
  6. BERNARD & THE GENIE  (199)
  8. BENEDICTION  (2021)

Thursday, February 16, 2023

DOCTOR WHO: DOOM COALITION 1 [2015] - The First Half


Embarking on the Big Finish 8th Doctor box set DOOM COALITION 1.  Warning to self:  there are 4 box sets in the DOOM COALITION series!  Struth! I'm leaping ahead from the last two Big Finish audio adventures in the early 2000s to this rather newer one.  The 8th Doctor Paul McGann has had quite a run of box sets and this follows the epic DARK EYES saga (4 box sets there too).  The storyline features one of Big Finish's excellent ideas (presumably thought up by Matt Fitton who pens the first episode) and that is a new kind of mad time lord.  His name is The Eleven and he is played with diabolical relish by Mark Bonnar.  The Eleven is suffering from a rare timey-wimey psychosis in which he retains all his previous incarnations and personalities inside his mind each time he regenerates.  Being called The Eleven, you can guess he's on his 11th regeneration so he has 11 distinct and warring personalities battling inside his head constantly.  I can understand why he goes a bit mad sometimes . . . .


Unusually for Big Finish (at least the ones I've heard), the episode opens with a pre-theme 'cold open' scene in which the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy in a surprise cameo) has captured a villainous Time Lord called The Eleven and brought him to an ultra-high security stasis prison on Gallifrey.  Cue Doctor Who theme song.  The Doctor (Paul McGann) and his companion Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) are in the middle of wrapping up an encounter with some spiders as we get into this episode.  Meanwhile on Gallifrey, a young time lord named Kilani (Bethan Walker) has applied and been granted an interview with The Eleven for her research on naughty time lords and their time crimes.  I hope I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that The Eleven manages to escape and wreak havoc on Gallifrey.  From Big Finish's own blurb:   "The Eleven. A Time Lord whose previous personalities live on in his mind: arguing, plotting, jostling for supremacy... He is also Gallifrey's most dangerous criminal. And he has escaped.  
The Doctor is recalled to his homeworld to lead the hunt. As they search the Capitol's corridors of power, the Academy halls and the cells of the highest security penitentiary, Liv realises the worst monsters may be among the Doctor's own people.  For inside his fractured mind, the Eleven has a plan. And its deadly consequences will extend through space and time... "  This first episode of the quartet sets up The Eleven nicely.  Kaili's first encounter with her interviewee is very reminiscent of a similar scene in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS where Clarice goes to the cell to meet Hannibal Lechter.  Bonnar's warring personalities are portrayed in a bewildering, swirling myriad of 11 different voices which the actor manages to pull off very well indeed.  The listener even gets to recognize certain different incarnations by their voices -- all done by Bonnar -- the violent 6, the bewildered 8 etc.  Once he escapes, The Eleven runs through the endless secret tunnels of the Capitol (with Liv in tow) cooking up his mad scheme.  This is a noisy, bang bang shoot-'em-up kind of episode which admittedly is not my favourite kind but still it's quite enjoyable.  Each story in this box set is only about an hour each so they never overstay their welcome.  Bonnar as The Eleven is suitably malevolent and threatening and his ultimate goal, once revealed, makes a lot of sense.  This episode is written by Matt Fitton and directed by Ken Bentley.


Another cold open where we learn about and antiquarian's art collection which all seems to feature a distant figure of a woman with flaming red hair . . . and possibly a mask.  After the theme song, The Doctor and Liv head back to 1963 London (gee, he likes it then, dunt he?) following a temporal anomaly that possibly leads to The Eleven's whereabouts.  They encounter museum worker Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) who is struggling against the inherent sexism of the time in her profession.  Since the cold open, we learn that McCallum the antiquarian collector of all the art featuring the 'Red Lady' has died (along with his entire family) and willed that his art objects be locked away permanently.  His executor can't bear the thought of that and has Helen's boss Professor Walter Pritchett (David Yelland) put them in the museum where Helen works.  Later, the executor calls Helen's boss and says he's made a terrible mistake and Pritchett must destroy all the artworks.  During the phone call, it sounds like the executor is being killed . . . and that's just what IS happening.  After the murder, the sound of heavy breathing is heard coming down the phone line.  This is really creepy and effective!  Later, when Helen gets a panicky summons from Pritchett, her boss tells her what happened and shows her the tapestry with the woman in it.  However, whereas Helen sees the distant figure, Pritchett now sees the woman much closer . . . . as if she's coming nearer . . . .   This is more up my corridor:  a nicely spooky DOCTOR WHO with a creepy concept.  Who is this woman in the paintings/artworks and what will happen when she manages to come closer?   The trope of a haunted painting has been seen many times but to me it's always a winner!  For instance in the first "story" in the NIGHT GALLERY pilot where Roddy MacDowall keeps seeing the walking corpse getting closer and closer to the house.  I mean, great stuff.  And that's what this 8th Doctor story is too:  great stuff!  THE RED LADY is written by the great John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley.

So, hit a speedbump after listening to the first half of this box set.  Guess I'll have to write about the last two stories when I get a chance to listen to dem.

Monday, February 13, 2023

IT'S IN THE AIR [1938]


"Oh, mother!"  How could I have gone so long without seeing a George Formby movie.  I'm no stranger to him; I've got a cd or two of his recordings.  But never, until the inimitable Terry Frost (of Paleo-Cinema fame) chose this movie as one of his "random hidden gems" on a recent youtuber video here on his channel "Terry Talks Movies".  I've posted Terry's video below because it's wonderful and would make a great movie marathon list!  Now, I've seen a passel of Will Hay movies and a bevy of Norman Wisdom movies (mostly through the auspices of my friend Weaverman) but until now, no George Formby movies.  And since I'm going to try to watch all the films in Terry's 'Hidden Gems' video, I figured I'd start with this Formby fillum.  IT'S IN THE AIR is a pre-World War II romp featuring George as what I'm gathering is his patented movie character; a well-meaning but bumbling, naive but good-hearted nit who constantly gets himself into trouble usually from the cynical behaviour of others.  The ladies he encounters usually take a shine to him as they can see his inner heart of gold.  Basically the mother instinct kicks in.  George's character is a bit of a clod but I don't think he's stupid; he's just a mug who is taken advantage of by others. 

Unfortunately for George, he was refused admission into the R.A.F. because he doesn't know his left from his right.  While trying on his brother-in-law's RAF uniform, he discovers a dispatch in the pocket which he assumes have been forgotten.  So George hops in a motorbike (wearing his brother-in-law's RAF uniform) and heads off to deliver the documents.  Naturally, he is immediately mistaken for a dispatch driver from H.Q. and  is shanghaied by the Sgt. Major to chauffer him somewhere.  George in quick succession finds himself corralled into a host of military activities and is absolutely unable to escape from the air base!  This is a situation we've seen in quite a few comic actors' movies of this vintage (Hiya, Bud & Lou) but here the bits seem a little different and fresher.  And more importantly, genuinely funny.  There is a definite warmth to Formby which makes his character someone you want to root for. 

The Sgt. Major (gruffly played by film vet Julien Mitchell) is a wonderful, grouchy foil for George's character.  It is discovered that the Sgt. Major is an amateur ukelele player which you would think would immediately endear George to him but, naturally, things go wrong at every turn.  Speaking of ukelele, Formby plays a handful of great songs which keep things lively.  Often in films of this era, musical interludes stop the film dead but Formby's infectiously fun singing and ukelele playing are most welcome.  Polly Ward is lovely as the Sgt. Major's daughter Peggy as she slowly realises that George is being shamelessly pranked by a few of the military boys and becomes George's protector.  Of course, it should come as absolutely no surprise to you that George ends up somehow stuck inside a plane which takes off.  But again, this seemingly tired old trope here is oddly fresh and funny.  Terry Frost called George Formby movies 'comfort viewing' owing to his growing up watching them but, from this first-time viewer, I can tell you they're no less comfort viewing for me too!  Brand new eyes and ears can come to this movie (and I'm hoping all Formby's others) with a full appreciation of how charming, funny and comforting it is.  During the dark days leading up to World War II, I can see why this kind of film (and this kind of film star) would be just what the audience needed and wanted.  Fingers crossed that other George Formby movies are just as fun as this one!


Sunday, February 05, 2023



Here is the latest of those cartoon analyses which my doddy Cheeks got started -- only here's one he didn't request.  He has seed this cartoon, though.  This B&W Looney Tunes cartoon from 1940 is when Porky Pig still ruled the roost at Warner Bros. animation division.  But Bugs Bunny & Daffy Duck were right on the doorstep ready to semi-eclipse our porcine performer.  I chose to "analyze" this one because it also features a ton of old time radio/1930's movie stars  whose appearance may be confusing to know-nothing tots out there who get glassy-eyed at anything over 5 years old.  

The opening title cards proudly proclaim this cartoon is starring Porky but our hammy hero is barely in this one.  We open on Porky's Farm where Porky has for sale 'Miracle Eggs':  "If it's a good egg, it's a miracle!"  At dawn, Porky is seen plowing a furrow whistling "I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee" for you Looney Tunes aficionados.  Porky says hello at a cow who responds "How dooooo you doooooooooooo!" 
Bert Gordon & Eddie Cantor

This, of course, is the catchphrase of Bert Gordon, The Mad Russian; a frequent member of the cast of Eddie Cantor's radio show.  In fact, there was even a movie starring Bert Gordon called HOW DOOOO YOU DO! 

For more of Eddie Cantor . . . . stay tuned.  Soon, we see a rather rotund chicken approach a box marked 'gravel'.  The chicken shovels up a bunch into it's mouth and waves off camera with a "Hiya, Butch!"  This is a parody of actor Andy Devine.
Andy Devine

The actual catchphrase parodied here is "Hiya, Buck!" which Devine would yell every time he met Jack Benny.  This is a reference to the film BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN in which Devine co-starred with Jack Benny. 

And speaking of Jack . . . the camera pans right to find a rabbit painting Easter eggs on a conveyor belt. 

He says "Hello again, this is Jack Bunny, folks."  This is a variation of Jack's usual greeting at the beginning of every one of his radio shows:  "Hello again, this is Jack Benny talking." 

When a black egg comes by on the conveyor belt, Jack Bunny thinks it's a bad egg and is about to smash it when a black baby chicken bursts out of the sheel and yells "Hold, it boss!" with the gravelly voice of Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, co-star of the Jack Benny programme. 
Jack Benny & Eddie "Rochester" Anderson

Next Porky reads a newspaper headline which says that Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Cackler are expecting a son.  A sign outside the Cackler residence says 'Boy Wanted'.  Now this refers, of course, to Eddie Cantor and his wife Ida (who is also name-checked in this cartoon) who famously had about 100 kids and they were all daughters.  A running joke on Cantor's radio show that he would like a son. 

The chicken Eddie Cackler is also depicted with large eyes; a reference to Cantor's nickname of "Ol' Banjo Eyes" due to his large orbs.  Of course, Ida's 5 eggs hatch into 5 girls.  A passing chicken walks by wheeling 5 boy chicks in a stroller and singing in the unmistakable voice of Bing Crosby. 

When Eddie asks Bing how he does it, Bing proceeds to sing to a hen who lays about 100 eggs containing all males.  By 1940, Bing wasn't really a sex symbol but in the early 1930s he sure was and this is a (admittedly a little late) allusion to that effect Bing had on women fans back about a decade. While Eddie Cackler goes to "ba ba ba booooo" his wife into having a son,

a crow outside grabs a microphone and reports "Flash!" that they will have a son at any moment.  This is a parody of gossip columnist/radio reported Walter Winchell. 

Eddie Cackler skips outside certain he's gonna have a boy and hands out cigars.  He encounters a chicken in a robe and pasteboard graduation hat saying "At last, I'm gonna have a boy!".  The professor chicken says "That's right, you're wrong!".  This is a parody of bandleader Kay Kyser and this is his catchphrase from his radio show KAY KYSER'S KOLLEGE OF MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE. 
Kay Kyser

Eddie next encounters a grumpy-looking chicken and tells him the news saying "Ned, aren't you happy about it".  Ned replied "I'm very happy about the whole thing!" in a monotone.  This is character actor Ned Sparks who populated many 1930's movies with his sourpuss expression and flat voice. 
Ned Sparks

Ida lays an egg which hatches out into a chubby little chick.  "Tell me,"shouts Eddie, "Is it really a boy?!?!?!"  The little chick shrugs it's shoulders and says the patented Looney Tunes button:  "Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, could be!" 

Oh and by the by, SLAP HAPPY PAPPY was also a 2 page strip by Gill Fox appearing in CRACK COMICS around this same time.  This comic book strip has nothing whatsoever to do with this Looney Tunes cartoon (other than the title) but I never pass up an opportunity to post some nice vintage comic book art!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 01, 2023



  1. SYLVIO  [2017]
  3. THE MENU  [2022]
  4. THE WOMAN KING  [2022]
  6. TAR  [2022]
  8. SAHARA  [1943]
  10. SHE SAID  [2022]

Tuesday, January 31, 2023



Only AGFA (through Vinegar Syndrome) could keep releasing beautiful slipcovered blu-rays of

movies which were lucky to get a VHS release.  But here we have another one and my life would not be complete without it!  Also known as “HELL ISLAND” (not sure which title I prefer), ATTACK OF THE BEAST CREATURES is the one and only directorial effort of Michael Stanley.  And for that we should be grateful.  For gather around, children, and you’ll see a tale, a tale of a fateful trip that started from this North Atlantic aboard this tiny lifeboat!  The film starts aboard a lifeboat at night after a shipwreck where a small group of passengers and crew have drifted away from all the other lifeboats.  Not good.  When daylight breaks, the lifeboat has beached on an island.  Could be Greenland, someone says.  Yeah, I don’t think so. 

One guy croaks before he can leave the lifeboat.  The rest move up on shore.  There’s some ladies (dolled up in what looks like 1920’s dresses) and there’s some guys.  No one really stands out personality-wise except for rich prick Mr. Morgan (John Vichiola) who’s snippy and bossy and self-centered and I’m probably on HIS side!  The bane of all micro-budget horror films (especially from 1985) occurs as the first half hour is a heavy slog through uninteresting “character development” convo’s which nobody cares about (including the actors themselves, I reckon).  However, there’s one great break in the monotony as one guy finds an inland lake for some desperately needed fresh water. Psyche!  The lake water is basically acid and the guy sticks his face in the water and his face melts in a bloody mess.  Axe another survivor!  Just after the half hour mark, as night has fallen and our cast huddles around a campfire, a woman notices about a million glowing eyes in the darkness of the forest.  Then an all-out mini-monster attack happens as what can only be described as goofy long-haired, razor-teethed puppets attack and bite everybody.  Now, obviously these “Beast Creatures” are ‘inspired’ by Dan Curtis’s Zuni fetish from TRILOGY OF TERROR and they are a hoot!  I love them I love them I love them!!!  I’m sorry, they’re cute as hell and I want my own licensed life-sized Beast Creature for my very own.  I will love him and squeeze him . . . . 

Moving on.

Besides the obvious TRILOGY OF TERROR callback, this movie also has a serious HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND vibe from the island setting to the puppet-like creature (who is ALSO lovable as hell in that low budget epic.  Another thing which sprang to mind while watching our cast ‘fight off’ these little creatures is the effort Bela Lugosi went through in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER while he desperately thrashed around trying to ‘fight off’ an obviously inert, rubber octopus.  Our cast here gives it the old college try and sells it as best they can.  They also have a habit of splitting up and wandering off alone in the forest.  And with all the trees around, why don’t they break off some club-sized tree branches and bash the hell out of the little buggers.  I mean, one guy does get a stick and I think only uses it as a walking stick.  C’mon, people! 

Also particularly hilarious is that fact that the opposite of stereotypical behaviour from the women occurs.  Normally in these types of horror movies, the ladies get all quivering and scaredy-cat but here the women seem not to be bothered by the mayhem.  While the men wander around fretting, the women frolic in a (non-acid) stream humming and giggling -- one of the women even sings "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh".  Despite some of their party dying and being attacked by mini-monsters who bit deeply into their legs and backsides!  Nope, these women just don't pay it no never mind!  Except, of course, when the beast creatures attack again; then they're all screams.  I mean, this IS a horror movie, goils, you have to hold up your end!  Another priceless bit of business (in a movie apparently overflowing with them), when a beast creature is gnawing on Mr. Morgan's leg, the close-up shot looks like nothing other than it's humping his leg!  But no, frankly the men in this movie are less than useless.  Like I said, whiny bitch tho he be, I'm kinda with Mr. Morgan on this.  I hope they all get eaten.

As far as the no name cast goes, they have trouble sometimes keeping a straight face.  But I'm pretty sure they're having a great time and ham it up in the most enjoyable manner.  They're actually entertaining to watch wandering aimlessly through the forest.  I mean, smarter characters would've probably hot-footed it to the beach and stood ankle-deep in the ocean.  I mean, I don't really think those little beast creature can swim, do you?  Plus they'd get their long, luxurious hair wet.  But then, as if all this wasn't wonderful enough, we get a scene of a gaggle of beast creatures worshipping a large, wooden idol.  I mean, this is something you never realized you'd waited your whole life to see!  And sure, I may seem to be taking the piss out of this movie, but I don't really mean to since I had so much fun watching it.  Again, I'd much rather watch (and re-watch) ATTACK OF THE BEAST CREATURES than AVATAR or VAN HELSING since they were just boring and bad (with no redeeming value) respectively.  This movie right here is entertaining as all hell; even given the slow first 30 minutes which, to be fair, included the fun of the pissy Mr. Morgan and a face melted with acid!  This is one I'll rewatch over the years without a doubt!       

How great is this shot?!?  All those lil knuckleheads worshipping their knucklehead god!


Friday, January 20, 2023



This go round we head into the fog with Doctor number Ten(nant) and Donna Noble.  While I'm no novice the the Doctor Who audio adventures, this is actually the very first Big Finish 10th Doctor audio I've listened to so this was something of an event!  Of course, knowing me, I chose death amidst the creepy London fog as my starting point.  Big Finish synopsis:  

"London, 1952, and a deadly smog envelops the capital.

But something even more dangerous - and alien - is hiding within the mists.

When the Doctor and Donna get lost in the fog, they find a motley group of Londoners trying to make their way home.

Very soon, the stakes are raised, as death creeps along fume-choked streets, and not everyone will make it out alive..."

The Doctor and Donna pile out of the TARDIS in swinging sixties London where Donna wants to snag herself a Beatle.  Only it's not.  It's actually 1952 London and the streets are enveloped in a filthy thick fog.  When they finally discover what year it is, Donna's realization that her Gramps is out there somewhere and it's a really lovely moment.  I can just picture the young Bernard Cribbins running around . . . but sadly imagine it is all we get to do.  Still, it's a really nice, human touch from Roy Gill's script.  Before they can think, the Doctor and Donna hear a woman screaming for help deep inside the fog.  Soon separated, cinema usherette Ivy Clark (Lauren Cornelius) asks for the Doctor's help; all the customers are slumped dead in their theatre seats and 'something' is in there with them -- swarming insect-like.  Meanwhile, Donna stumbles into Terry Hopkins (Theo Stevenson) who mistakes her for a bloke (Ooo, the cheek!) on his way to meet his boyfriend Richard -- (which, you'll remember is actually illegal in 1952 Britain!  Two blokes and all).  This is also a nice bit of characterisation that's not crowbarred into the script but emerges naturally through the writing.  Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to convince Ivy to leave the macabre cinema scene for her own safety.  Ivy resists running away and, even if she did, she'd have to pick up her maybe boyfriend -- if she plays her cards right -- first.  His name is Richard.  Then we have pompous actress Alice Aitken (Helen Goldwyn) and old codger Malcolm Wishart (Stephen Critchlow) who are involved in an accident when her Bentley crashes into a bus.  All our characters meet up in the garage where Richard works.  The Doctor takes Donna aside and tells her this is the deadly 1952 London smog which was the worst on record and resulted in up to 12,000 deaths!    Meanwhile, the Doctor has determined that there is something alien out there in the smog! 

David Tennant and Catherine Tate slip back into their characters like they never left.  Actually, the entire ensemble cast is superb with Helen Goldwyn particularly wonderful in her OTT diva performance; particularly sparring with Catherine Tate.  Here's a nice idea of their repartee:

"ALICE:  Does no one appreciate the pickle I'm in?!?  I'm due on stage in half an hour!

DONNA:  Oh, you mean you're an . . . 

ALICE:  Alice Aitken.  Star of the West End stage.

DONNA:  Never heard of ya!

ALICE:  Well, really!

DONNA:  Do you know who she is?  Miss High and Mighty! 

RICHARD:  I prefer the movies.

DONNA:  What about you, Tezzer?

TERRY:  I only go to pantos.

DONNA:  That'd work cuz right now I'm seeing her as the wicked stepmother.

ALICE:  (LONG, LOUD GASP)  I'm FAR too young for character work!!!  I've never been so insulted in my life!

DONNA:  That's good, Baby Jane, cuz I'm only just getting started!  So pipe down!"

 Stellar acting combined with a cracking script and deft direction by Ken Bentley make this audio adventure a perfect way for me to venture into the 10th Doctor audios.  This was a wonderful time!  Oh yes, and apparently there was a limited edition vinyl LP which I'm totally lusting after!