I was so stoked to actually have a film from the 90’s here… I enjoy 80’s and 70’s schlock, but sometimes a little fresher in needed.
From IMDB: “Employees of a software company discover a conspiracy to use the games made by the company to control the thoughts of its customers.”
If I didn’t know better, I’d swear someone saw the Lawnmower Man and decided to try and make their own version, but without access to the special effects. However, Lawnmower man came out a year later so perhaps I’m just sniffing something in the zeitgeist of the time. Indeed, it’s a shame it’s going to inevitably draw comparisons to that movie because it’s really got it’s own character to it. The detective angle is very much played up here, I almost feel as if I’m watching a sort of alternative giallo…where instead of black gloves, we have cybernetic memorization.
This one is definitely worth a watch, and would go well with a screening of other outdated cyber-thrillers like Arcade or Horrorvision.
You know what? I didn’t expect such suspense from a film done in 1963. Perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised at the level of violence from the era that brought us Night of the Living Dead, but I was.
From IMDB : “A masked lunatic kills off people in a haunted house. ”
Well that doesn’t tell us much does it?
At the core is a college student fascinated with fear. He spends the first half of the movie pontificating about it to his girlfriend and his professor – After the first shock in the opening it switches to a lot of set up and unfortunately it drags. however when we get into the second half of the film and he’s being stalked by a surprisingly creepy assailant in a mask, who has some entertainingly brutal fates in store.
The look of the villain works better than it should and this film has one of the creepiest cemeteries around. The old western-looking town is a bit off-putting though. It pulls me out of the film a bit. Still for 1963, this is a gem. Fast forward though the first 40 minuets and get straight to the good stuff. This is exactly the kind of movie I’m looking for in this set!
Trip With Teacher
From IMDB : “A teacher and her class of female students take a class trip to the desert. Their bus breaks down, and they find themselves terrorized by a gang of psycho bikers. ”
That’s really about it. This is a perfect example of seventies grindhouse film. It’s a paper thin plot with some action and a lot of exploitation, and reminds me a lot of Graydon Clarke’s Satan’s Sadists. It doesn’t quite qualify as a Biker movie, or an action one. It’s not quite a rape/revenge flick, though it comes close.
What’s interesting is I can see some potential here, but I suspect time and budget didn’t really allow for any development – even if the producers were so inclined. We have whole unlikeable characters (every one of the girls on that schoolbus are utterly distasteful) and the missed opportunity for a character arc in any of thier cases, opting instead for titillation. It’s what the film was made for I suppose, but it’s not my thing. Check out the trailer instead of the movie. It’ll be largely the same experience but at a fraction of the time.
Nightmare in Wax
From IMDB : “The disfigured curator of a wax museum murders his enemies and then uses their bodies as exhibits in his museum. ”
All I can say about this one is it’s a poor man’s “House of Wax”. Indeed it really feels like a remake…but without Vincent Price. I even get a dash of the Mad Magician in the performance. There’s nothing particuarly bad about this movie, Bud Townsent directs a fun saturday afternoon horror flick here and I wish it could stand on it’s own, but in the end, I find myself watching Cameron Mitchell and insted longing for Vincent Price.
This would likely make an excellent double feature with house of Wax though (and is far superior to that remake Dark Castle did some years back anyhow….)
From IMDB : “A sex-crazed nympho helps speed along her father’s death so she can use the inheritance to help out her depraved boyfriend. ”
It dismays me that this is marketed as a horror film. It’s got some thriller elements – certainly some violence, but it’s really more of a soap opera. He loves her, but she loves him instead and lets kill this guy to steal his fortune….It’s really neither bloody nor maniacal and even the opening credits push a horror element that really isn’t here.
This isn’t Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s closer to Basic Instinct. I think I would have liked it better if I’d know what I was going in for.
I get the strangest feeling I’ve seen this before – or maybe that’s just some thing in the whole Crown International Pictures style? There’ve been a LOT of Satanic Cult films here…not that I’m complaining!
From IMDB : “A coven of devil-worshiping monks living in New York City search for victims for their sacrificial ceremonies.”
Like most of these movies, it’s a simple concept, drawn out to entertain a feature length. While we get some interesting kills along the way, infused with a hefty dose of Catholic iconography and mysticism, you can tell they pretty much spent the bulk of their budget at teh very beginning of the movie and the very end with glimpses of the demon they serve and some well done gore shots that close the film. It’s forgettable fun, and I can see myself revisiting this in the future.
Madmen of Mandoras
I think these guys are trying to pull a fast one on me! I’ve seen this movie before haven’t I? This is obviously “They Saved Hitler’s Brain”!
Well… not exactly. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
From IMDB : “At the end of World War II, Nazi officials spirited the living head of Adolf Hitler out of Germany to a hiding place in the South American country of Mandoras, in order to revive the Third Reich at a later date. By the 1960s these men believed the time had come, so they kidnap a top scientist in order to force him to help keep Hitler alive. Several intelligence agencies find out about the plot and send agents to stop it.”
Here’s the thing, I HAVE seen They Saved hitler’s Brain…but that’s actually a longer movie. Extra footage was shot so they could release it under that name. THIS film; Madmen of Mandoras, is actually the original. There’s less to see here, and quite frankly, that’s a blessing. See, the extra footage was shot over a decade later- and it shows. Radically diffrent haristyles of the late sixties as opposed to the early 50’s, diffrent clothing fasions, diffrent cars – there’s no attempt made to hide the extra footage being fro ma diffrent era.
It’s baffling as well – this wierd detective kind of story that’s been grafted on to the movie clashes with the mad scientist intrigue. The styles are jarring against each other and it dosen’t help that the new “B” storyline is terrible. I have to say, the ending with the head melting is actually a little gorier and I do like it better, but that’s all that I like better.
Do youself a favor and stick with Madmen rather than They Saved – the shorter running time combined with the purity of the B film is far more satisfying.
Blood of Dracula’s Castle
From Imdb : “Count Dracula and his wife capture beautiful young women and chain them in their dungeon, to be used when they need to satisfy their thirst for blood.”
I’ve actually seen this one before on Svengoolie’s show. It actually always made me think of Happer’s “Scars of Dracula” from 1970, with a dash of Elizabeth Bathory thrown in and then set in a modern setting. It’s not the masterpiece that the Hammer Dracula fims are, but it’s certainly cut from the same cloth, but executed with a bit less skill and money – and unfortunately it shows. It’s a genuinely fun film for the halloween season, but I’m not sure that there’s much more to it than that. Box sets and horror host shows are the perfect homes for this particular kind of movie.