I’ve seen some embarrassing cash grab sequels in my many decades as an avid shitty movie fan, and this one is among the more shameful.
From writer/director Edward Bernds comes Return of the Fly, the sequel to The Fly, released in 1959. The first thing viewers of The Fly will notice is that, unlike its predecessor, Return was not shot in color. I cannot recall another sequel in film history that has gone from color in the original to black and white photography in the sequel. There are a couple examples the other way, notably The Hustler and The Color of Money.Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Return of the Fly”
Gimmicks present unique problems when it comes to film, or art, or anything. Gimmicks may be useful for an initial draw, but people tire of them. Gimmicks are also used to disguise, or make up for, a lack of funds or competence. That is why William Castle, despite throwing some interesting gimmicks into his films, is remembered for being a shitty movie director as much as an innovator.
Most of the films featured in the October Horrorshow: It Came from the ’50s reviews haven’t been all that good. Some have been downright cheap and awful. Such is the life of the shitty movie fan. But then there is something like today’s film, The Fly. I wouldn’t characterize it as a classic, other than in the sense that it’s old. Rather, it’s just a decent film from the time.
Released in the summer of 1958, The Fly was produced and directed by Kurt Neumann from a screenplay by James Clavell, who would go on to write some of the lengthiest novels known to man. There’s a plodding nature to this film that I think can be blamed partly on Clavell. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Fly (1958)”
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 reading “October Horrorshow: The Abominable Dr. Phibes”
“These caps[sic] are on the biggest murder case of their lives...their own.”
So declares the DVD box art for the 1988 zombie action flick Dead Heat. When searching for a shitty movie to idly pass an evening, a typo on box art is a pretty fair indication a viewer has found a winner. Any movie called Dead Heat and starring Joe Piscopo doesn’t need any extra hint that it’s a special film, but the fact the producers didn’t care enough to release the flick with a simple bit of copy editing on the box is just icing on the cake. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Dead Heat (1988)”
The 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 reading “October Horrorshow, Retroactive: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend”