Empty Balcony: Walking Tall (1973)

Joe Don Baker is Buford Pusser, real-life Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, in this violent drive-in classic from 1973. Directed by Phil Karlson, Walking Tall is the fictionalized account of one man’s war on crime in rural America.

After giving up his career as a wrestler and returning home with his wife, Pauline (Elizabeth Hartman), and kids to McNairy, Pusser finds that his home county has been invaded by organized crime. Gambling dens and houses of ill-repute have opened in the once-lazy locale, and Pusser doesn’t hold with any of that. After getting angry and trying to beat up an entire casino, Pusser is cut to ribbons and left for dead on the side of the road. But, the bad folks of McNairy underestimated Pusser’s resolve. Being almost murdered just made Pusser angrier, and he continues going after the criminal element. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Walking Tall (1973)”

Giant Monstershow: King Kong Lives

What a gloriously stupid movie. Today’s movie is the movie I was looking forward to seeing the most for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow. It’s a movie of such shitty grandiosity that I was, in fact, giddy at the prospect. It’s not the easiest movie to find for viewing, either. As of this writing, none of the popular streaming services has it for rent or purchase. The only bootleg streams I could find were not in English, and even trying to find a torrent was fruitless. In the end, I had to buy a used DVD from eBay. It cost thirty-five bucks. That’s a lot of money for a shitty movie. Alas, it was worth every penny. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Kong Lives”

Giant Monstershow: King Kong (1976)

The 1976 remake of King Kong might be peak Dino De Laurentiis. The legendary Italian producer’s films whipsaw back and forth between the grandiose, the absurd, the exploitative, and the just plain shitty. King Kong is a prime example.

Clocking in at an interminable 134 minutes, this King Kong is meant to be an epic retelling of a cinema classic. Everything about this film, directed by John Guillermin, seems meant to showcase how film has improved and grown in the forty years since the original film was released. The original King Kong was severely limited by what was possible at the time, yes, but it never felt like a failing. Nor is this film an indictment of what came before. But this film does live and die on an implied promise that it will be a better technical film than that which came before. Other than making money, there really isn’t much more reason for this film to exist. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Kong (1976)”

Giant Monstershow: The Food of the Gods

This is an important day for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow. The featured auteur of this month of reviews has returned. For the seventh time this month, a review features a film by Bert I. Gordon. Yes, a filmmaker that showed mastery at failing to master the art of filmmaking is back. Today’s film, from 1976, also shows that although more than twenty years had passed since Gordon’s first movie, he stayed true to his unique abilities as a filmmaker. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Food of the Gods”

Giant Monstershow: Gorgo

What’s this? Orchestral soundtrack? Hand-illustrated title font? Technicolor? Hey, wait a minute…did this film have a respectable budget? Sacrilege!

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on with Gorgo, Britain’s very own kaiju film. From 1961, Gorgo was directed by Eugène Lourié (making his third appearance in the Monstershow) from a screenplay by Robert L. Richards and Daniel James. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Gorgo”

Giant Monstershow: Reptilicus

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! After spending nineteen straight films in the 1950s, we have our first feature from after that defining decade of the monster flick, but all that’s changed is that today’s movie was filmed in color.

Reptilicus, from 1961, is a joint Danish-American monster flick that was filmed in two versions. One was shot in Danish, directed by Poul Bang, and that’s the version Danish audiences saw. The other version was directed by Sidney Pink, used most of the same performers, but was shot in English, for distribution in the United States. But, American International Pictures, which distributed the film in the US, didn’t like the English cut, and ordered substantial changes. The changes were enough for Pink, who was also the film’s producer and a credited screenwriter, to take AIP to court. It was a brief dispute, but an indication of divergence between the two versions of this film. I’m curious just how different the Danish version is from the English, but not curious enough to sit through this dog again, at least for now. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Reptilicus”

October Horrorshow: The Lost Boys

To some movie fans, filmmaker Joel Schumacher is still paying penance for Batman and Robin. This page reconsidered that film a few years back, and concluded the problem lay more with viewers’ expectations than Schumacher’s final product. Still, no matter how people feel about that film, Joel Schumacher will be forever associated with putting nipples on the batsuit, when his greatest contribution to film was this operatic gem from the 1980s. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Lost Boys”

October Horrorshow: Matango, aka Attack of the Mushroom People

Forget the original title of Matango. It was the Americanized title of Attack of the Mushroom People that grabbed my attention. People that look like giant fungi on the attack? Sign me up. I’m not naïve about movies like this. I know, before ever seeing it, that a title like that promises more than it can deliver, but I’m okay with it. Should the film be dragged out and the mushroom people only make significant appearances during the last few minutes, that’s just fine by me. I wanted this movie to be bad, after all. And it is! Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Matango, aka Attack of the Mushroom People”

Giant Monstershow: The Cyclops

Exactly one month after Beginning of the End was released in 1957, another epic Bert I. Gordon schlock-fest hit theaters. Both written and directed by Gordon, The Cyclops is about as worthless a film as this terrible filmmaker ever made…for half of its Spartan 65-minute running time. But then the titular cyclops finally appears onscreen, and all is forgiven. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Cyclops”