Shitty Movie Sundays: They Saved Hitler’s Brain, aka Madmen of Mandoras

Madmen of MandorasThey Saved Hitler’s Brain, the 1968 sci-fi dog from director David Bradley, has one of the more unique stories in shitty movie history. It was originally released in 1963 as Madmen of Mandoras. A few years later, the owners of the film wanted to sell it for television distribution, but the original running time of 74 minutes was too short. Their solution? Hire some UCLA film students to shoot a new first act, featuring none of the cast from the original, with only a tangential connection to the main plot. These new scenes are an anachronism, looking completely out of place, because they are. The two main characters in these scenes, one of which isn’t even listed in the cast, are both killed off before the movie switches to its original content. These new scenes are a disaster in every way, from plot, dialogue, to acting. Just this part of the film is enough to make this among the worst films I’ve ever seen, and there’s still a whole hour of movie to get through. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: They Saved Hitler’s Brain, aka Madmen of Mandoras”

October Horrorshow: The Blood Beast Terror

Hammer wasn’t the only production company making gothic horror films in England in the mid-20th century. Amicus productions dipped a few toes into the waters, as did Tigon, the company behind The Blood Beast Terror.

Released in 1968, Terror is all-but indistinguishable from contemporary Hammer productions, all the way up to its star, Peter Cushing. The only thing I could find that really separates this film from a Hammer production is that this film had a lower production quality. Hammer didn’t exactly break the bank when it came to financing their pictures, and one has to have a strong suspension of disbelief to watch them. Those familiar with Hammer films will know to what I’m referring. For everyone else, this film’s production issues are apparent in the questionable quality of the film stock, the poor sound quality of the rerecorded dialogue, and the plainness of the set decoration. It never feels as if this film inhabits the distant past, especially in moments when horse-drawn carriages trundle over asphalt pavement. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Blood Beast Terror”

October Hammershow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

It is now the halfway point of this year’s Horrorshow, and I’m enjoying watching all these classic Hammer horror flicks. But, watching them all close together like this means I’m more aware of when they are repeating themselves compared to watching them on a normal release schedule. For example, the three Mummy flicks I’ve reviewed so far this month have basically been the same film. There is still a good film to be made from the idea, but by The Mummy’s Shroud, I’m not sure the filmmakers were trying. Today’s film, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, suffers from some of the same sort of creative malaise that doomed The Mummy’s Shroud. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave”

The Empty Balcony: Becket & The Lion in Winter

In 1998 Peter O’Toole played Dr. Timothy Flyte in Phantoms alongside Ben Affleck, Liev Schreiber and Rose McGowan. I love it when fine actors slum it. One can read just how closely their patience is being tested on their faces. Oh? Filming my part is going to stretch longer than a week? My apologies, but I must be on a flight back to England by Friday. What’s that? You have more money? I would be delighted to stay! Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Becket & The Lion in Winter”

October Horrorshow: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living DeadOctober has arrived. The leaves are changing, the air is cool and crisp after a brutal summer, and blood is in the air. October is the best time of the year to watch horror films, for obvious reasons. With that in mind, it is time, once again, for the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test devotes the entire month to watching and reviewing horror films. The good, the bad, the putrid, it doesn’t matter. Missile Test never met a movie it wouldn’t watch, for at least fifteen minutes, anyway. But that’s not a problem today, for today’s review is of the horror classic Night of the Living Dead, from iconic filmmaker George Romero.

Before watching for this review, I hadn’t seen Night of the Living Dead since I was a teenager, possibly even as long as twenty years ago. It didn’t scare me then, and it doesn’t scare me now, but that doesn’t mean Night of the Living Dead is a bland horror film. It just means that it came from a different era. It is only after being long inured to anything less than mercilessly graphic horror that old horror films lose some punch. Luckily for the viewer, Night of the Living Dead isn’t all scares. It’s a well-crafted film, still very taut throughout, and well worth the watch. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Night of the Living Dead”