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Season 5

14 Aug. 2009
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
by William Beaudine starring Narda Onyx and John Lupton. If this seems like the worst possible premise for a low budget western/horror hybrid film, you'll be astonished to hear it was half of a 1966 double feature along with Billy The Kid Versus Dracula. These were the last two films by William 'One Shot' Beaudine, who directed such screen dogs as Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie and Jean Parker in a career that stretched from silent films to colour television. Beaudine was dubbed 'One Shot' not because he did everything in one take, but because the quick and cheap approach made ...
 
21 Aug. 2009
Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
by Bernie Kowalski starring Yvette Vickers and Bruno VeSota. Tonight's exciting presentation is a swampy classic ripped straight from the dripping fundaments of Roger Corman's basement. At last, a film for men in rubber raincoats, made by men in rubber raincoats. I am extremely proud - no, that's not the word. Ah. I'm extremely hesitant to present for your enjoyment Attack Of The Giant Leeches. No doubt you're thinking with a title like that it's a parable subtly highlighting how the power elite live off trusting poor people, directed by some genuine left-winger like ...
 
28 Aug. 2009
Terror Creatures from the Grave (1965)
by Massimo Pupillo starring Barbara Steele and Walter Brandi. It's an atmospheric supernatural thriller based on a traditional recipe handed down from my old pumpkin-headed friend, the late great Edgar Allan Poe, but the resulting dish is a rather cheesy story about revenge from beyond the grave - much like every other Italian horror movie from the sixties. Nevertheless, it has all the right ingredients. Blood, guts, Barbara Steele in a bath tub, murders, the undead, Barbara Steele in a sheet, severed crawling hands, plague, beautiful landscape photography and Barbara...
 
4 Sep. 2009
Tormented (1960)
by Bert I. Gordon starring Richard Carlson and Joe Turkel. The admirers of the novels of my old friend H.G. Wells have yet to forgive Mister Gordon for twice-murdering the same book, first as Village Of The Giants (1965), and then again under it's original title The Food Of The Gods (1976). Although it's far from being Herbert's best work, it certainly didn't deserve that fate. Hopefully you'll be able to put aside the righteous indignation and craving for revenge, and calmly watch Tormented, which is a ghost story. Yes, I too was taken aback by that revelation. When ...
 
11 Sep. 2009
Lady Frankenstein (1979)
by Mel Welles starring Rosalba Neri and Joseph Cotten. The plot is paced quickly enough that we rarely notice its jagged edges don't quite fit together. Tania's notion of creating a monster to not only vindicate her father's theories but also to clean up his mess makes for a nice twist on an old story. If the monster is rather too obviously composed of mortician's wax, a glass eye and rubber gloves, it's at least a novel concept for the Frankenstein Monster. And I should mention the suspiciously modern-looking hats the men wear and their amazingly fake sideburns. ...
 
18 Sep. 2009
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
I bring you tidings of comfort and joy, for tonight I present a good film which, like Christmas, only happens once a year. It's the original version of Mystery Of The Wax Museum, featuring the fabulous Fay Wray. It was effectively remade in 3-D as House Of Wax with Vincent Price in 1953 and...that's where they should have stopped, really. The 2005 House Of Wax had more in common with Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and it's only real redeeming feature is the demise of Paris Hilton. Really, a spike through the brain shouldn't have killed her, she wasn't using it, after all. ...
 
25 Sep. 2009
Werewolf in a Girls Dormitory (1961)
by Paolo Heusch starring Carl Schell and Curt Lowens. Compared to many of the films I've presented, this one isn't so bad. For instance, the film is only eighty-three minutes long, and the filmmakers put some work into it, supplying us with a large number of suspects and making sure that everybody is acting suspiciously at all times. The only practical way to figure out who the werewolf is, is by simply waiting until everyone but the villain has been killed off. Let's hope this is what happens during the exciting conclusion of Werewolf In A Girl's Dormitory.
 
2 Oct. 2009
Planet Outlaws (1953)
by Ford Beebe starring Buster Crabbe and Constance Moore. It strikes me that Planet Outlaws is like a male fantasy come to life. Just think of it - Buck gets to take a nice five-hundred-year-long sleep-in. With my busy schedule, I'm ecstatic if I can get twenty minutes nap on the weekend. Then, when he wakes up, Buck is the smartest, most dynamic guy around. In reality he'd be treated like something that's escaped from the zoo. And finally, everyone needs Buck to go on exciting missions, fight the bad guys, test exotic equipment and crash rocket ships. Out of the ...
 
9 Oct. 2009
Revolt of the Zombies (1936)
by Victor Halperin starring Dean Jagger and Dorothy Stone. You might be asking yourself how anyone could possibly make an unbearably boring movie about zombies in Cambodia, amongst the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat. It's an awfully tall order, but the Halperins found a way. Here's how. This time the zombies are merely a figure of speech, and the film doesn't really take place in Cambodia so much as in front of obviously enlarged picture postcards. I haven't felt so cheated since I shoplifted U2's last album.
 
16 Oct. 2009
Killers from Space (1954)
by W. Lee Wilder starring Peter Graves and James Seay. This may well be the first alien abduction movie. UFOs were on people's minds in 1954, and yet abductions were not the UFO headlines of the time. Killers From Space wants very badly to be a Martian Manchurian Candidate (1962) and, with somebody like Jack Arnold in the director's chair, there's a good chance that that's exactly what it could have been. But instead, Killers From Space got stuck with W. Lee Wilder's virtuoso tedium and half-assedness.
 
23 Oct. 2009
Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977)
by Alfonso Brescia starring John Richardson and Yanti Somer. The story is lame, the acting is terrible, the dubbing is worse, and there are more minor characters than a Charles Dickens novel. One of the major problems with War Of The Planets is the huge number of throw-away characters who shuffle anonymously across the screen to their inevitable doom. As with many Italian films from this era, everyone in this movie is actually speaking English, but their accents were so thick that the dialogue was re-dubbed by voice actors so it would be understandable. This practice ...
 
30 Oct. 2009
The Day of the Triffids (1962)
Imagine waking-up in an English hospital after having eye surgery to discover the world's population had been ravaged by unstoppable flesh-eating monsters. And if that's not a bad enough way to start the day, there lurks a terror from beyond at the bottom of the garden path. No doubt some of you out there with shorter memories are thinking "Good lord, Nigel's going to screen 28 Days Later!" Well, you'd be half-right - the "Good lord, Nigel's going to screen..." half. Director Danny Boyle told me he was inspired to make 28 Days Later in 2002 after watching tonight's ...
 
6 Nov. 2009
Slipstream (1989)
by Steven Lisberger starring Bill Paxton and Mark Hamill. It's directed by the same hack who brought us Tron which, although very pretty, was bad science and worse fiction. Given Tron's eventual popularity, you'd think it would have launched Mister Lisberger's film-making career. It didn't. In a Hollywood career that spans three decades, Mister Lisberger has only ever made four films, the fourth and final nail in his coffin I present for you tonight. I'm talking about Slipstream, a post-apocalyptic science fiction film which has a remarkable cast featuring Mark Hamill...
 

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