Shitty Movie Sundays: Point of Terror

Point of Terror is the final film in a career cut short. Actor/producer Peter Carpenter only has four credits on his IMDb page, and this is the last. There are conflicting stories in the tubes, but what they all agree on is that Carpenter is dead. It happened at any time between 1971, not too long after this film was released, and the early 1980s. Either way, Carpenter was poised to have a fantastic career in shitty movies, akin to that of Andrew Stevens, but it wasn’t to be. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Point of Terror”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather

Chrome and Hot Leather walks and talks like drive-in outlaw biker gang flick, but it’s missing the two most important elements of true exploitation cinema: blood and nudity. It starts out promisingly enough, and, overall, it’s a quite enjoyable shitty movie watch, but it’s like a cake with no icing. It’s still good, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to make it better.

From way back in 1971, Chrome and Hot Leather was directed by Lee Frost, from a screenplay by Michael Haynes, David Neibel, and Don Tait. Whomever came up with the title isn’t listed in the credits, but that mysterious person certainly did more for this film’s longevity than anything that was captured on film. Perhaps it was producer Wes Bishop. No matter who is responsible, they did a nice job. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather”

October Hammershow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie

Hammer, in a wise decision, jettisoned much of the tropes they had used in their previous Mummy films. For three consecutive productions, they had made basically the same film. British archaeologists discover ancient Egyptian tomb, said tomb has a curse on it, ancient Egyptian mummy resurrects and kills those who dared desecrate the tomb. It really was the same thing again and again. That was all well and good when they did it the first time, but by the last film, The Mummy’s Shroud, the plot was too familiar, and everyone involved seemed to be just going through the paces. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Vincent Price has been woefully underrepresented here in the Horrorshow, but partial restitution will be made today. Vincent Price may have spent much of his career far from the glitz and glam of big Hollywood, but that wasn’t because of a lack of skill as an actor.

Vincent Price was a bit of a rollicking performer. It didn’t matter how silly the role or the movie. In fact, the more absurd a project, the more Price seemed to enjoy what he was doing. Sometimes actors are the victims of typecasting, but in the case of Vincent Price, he thrived. Today’s film features one of Price’s most iconic roles — that of the hideously disfigured Dr. Anton Phibes. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Abominable Dr. Phibes”

The Empty Balcony: Wake in Fright

I can get the heart of this review out of the way quickly. Wake in Fright is the best movie I have seen in at least the last couple of years. Directed by Ted Kotcheff and written by Evan Jones, Wake in Fright has an interesting history. From 1971, it was close to being a lost film for a long time, with the only known copy in existence of such poor quality that it was unfit for transfer to home media. Twenty years ago, Anthony Buckley, who edited the original film, began to search for an intact copy. After much effort, he succeeded. A restoration was finally undertaken in 2009, and the film was released to the general public once again. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Wake in Fright”

The Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry

Dirty HarryThe tough-nosed cop with a disdain for the rules is a staple in film. Always butting heads with desk-bound lieutenants and mayors more concerned with getting reelected than cleaning up the streets, this breed of law enforcement officer has little time for procedure or the niceties of due process. Largely a fabrication of Hollywood, this cop operates in a world where the worse the crime, the more likely the guilty will go free due to the dreaded plot device known as “technicalities.” It’s all the more galling because there is never any doubt to the audience or to the hero that the bad guy is bad. Letting the bad guy go free because his rights were violated is nothing less than a miscarriage of justice, and it’s always left up to the hero cop to right such grievous wrongs. No film comes to mind that explored these ideas more effectively than 1971’s Dirty Harry. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry”

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend

The Omega ManThe three films adapted from Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend vary widely in scope, story, and distance from the original source material. They are all shaky and mostly forgettable, but The Omega Man maintains a special place in cinema as one of star Charlton Heston’s many 1970s forays into post-apocalyptic science fiction. For that, it is the most interesting of the three adaptations, if not the best, edging The Last Man on Earth by a close margin.

The Last Man on Earth was the first of the adaptations, released in 1964. It was an Italian production following the spaghetti western model, and was credited with two directors, Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow. The film stars Vincent Price, at his Priciest, as it were. Price’s acting style takes some getting used to. He was a consummate professional who was more than capable in most of his roles. In Theatre of Blood, he was excellent. But he was victimized not just by type casting, but his own insistence on becoming a caricature of himself at times. The Last Man on Earth is b-cinema, and unfortunately, Price, playing protagonist Robert Morgan, fits right in. His many solitary scenes all seem to play like the boat deck scene in King Kong, where Robert Armstrong screen tests Fay Wray, giving audible directions for her first off camera encounter with a wild beast, finally yelling for her to “scream, Ann, scream for your life!” Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend”