The Man With 9 Lives Review


It’s time to look at a retro thriller film of sorts or you could call it a bit of a sci-fi. Either way it’s pretty interesting to see scientists use ice cubes to preserve people here. It just goes to show how far we have come from the old days of theory and such. The actual premise is decent although the execution means that the characters all have to look pretty bad for it to succeed. Leon should have been pretty much doomed from the start and got awfully lucky here. Things had to go just right for him in order for this to work out.

The movie starts with Tim showing off his new treatment on preserving people by freezing them. He learned it from the great Dr. Leon who vanished 10 years ago. Unfortunately the hospital doesn’t like that he was showing this treatment off without running it by them first and so Tim is told to take a vacation. He takes his partner Judith along and they decide to go to Leon’s old house. They manage to find him and a group of scientists in the basement so the heroes unfreeze them. Now that Leon has a new lease on life he is determined to prove that he can make the frozen treatment work perfectly. The problem is that the others want to leave and Leon won’t let them. He intends to experiment on all of them until he perfects this formula and so in the meantime some of these guys may end up dying. Can Tim stop Leon or will he actually agree with the doctor?

It’s always a bit iffy when the main character starts acting like the villain has a point. Hey, maybe they do once in a while but this isn’t one of those cases. Leon is being pretty dicey from the start with how obsessive he is. He also did a poor job of explaining himself to the committee in the opening act of the film so it’s easy to see why they didn’t believe him. The committee wasn’t planning on being reasonable either though so the whole scenario had a lot of different people to blame. I thought Leon did a good job of locking everyone inside and ensuring his continued existence. In the present they should have definitely taken him down sooner. He’s got a gun but there are around 6-7 of them. If they rushed him they would have been able to claim victory easily.

So I didn’t really care for Tim. As far as leads go he is definitely not one of the better ones. He’s not particularly skilled and falls for traps rather easily. Judith isn’t the best heroine either as she falls for Leon’s tricks just as quickly as Tim. She is easily manipulated by Leon and that doesn’t bode well for her. Through it all, the best characters probably were the committee. I at least liked how tough they were talking the whole time. They were very quick to reassure themselves that they couldn’t be tried as guilty for the murder they helped contribute to.

I think one thing that would have made the film more engaging would have been to have actually had all of the characters locked together in the ice room for the majority of the film. Leon would be the only one who could let them out and they have to gradually try to convince him on why they need to get out. Since Leon has the gun it’s not like the others could force him to let them go and that’s where the tension would be. The movie still had some tension but without this setup the film wasn’t able to capitalize on much. You also have a hard time buying into the fact that Leon is holding them all at bay so easily. When the lights turned off I felt like chuckling at how Tim handled the scene. He went down like a log.

Overall, The Man With 9 Lives is a decent movie. It’s not particularly thrilling or anything but the writing is solid and the pacing is good. There’s not a whole lot to say about it in terms of plot or characters because they’re all quite standard. At the end of the day that’s the best way to describe this film. It’s certainly not bad but it’s not as if it’s very good either. One watch is really all you would need as this has very low replay value. It takes you through the motions with a very clear beginning, middle, and end. It just has no real impact so it survives purely on fundamentals. If you like a classic science story about a scientist taking things too far then this is a solid one to check out. The interesting visual of the main character dropping ice cubes on someone to preserve them for years is enough to at least make you think this film is trying to go for something unique. Otherwise I’m sure you can find better options to check out.

Overall 6/10

Targets Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be far more negative.

It’s time to take a look at a pretty old horror/thriller film. It’s got two main plots that have a big contrast both in tone and quality. The plot about the old movie star was actually pretty interesting and if the whole film had been about that then I think it would have been quite good. Unfortunately the other plot about the serial shooter ends up holding the movie back considerably though. Ultimately the film isn’t quite able to rise back up and make a comeback.

The first plot starts with Byron announcing a sudden retirement. This throws the studio into chaos since they were really counting on him for a few more horror pictures. He’s their main guy and without him these other movies are doomed. Sammy is particularly crushed since he had a movie all lined up. Byron is convinced to go through one last presentation though and heads off to a drive-in theater to do it. Unfortunately this is the same location that the wandering murderer Bobby is going to appear at. Bobby one day cracked and went off to buy some guns and shoot everyone down. He manages to get quite a lot of people down for the count before Byron is forced to step in. Can Byron take Bobby down or will the 40+ year age difference make him lose this fight?

As mentioned, the Byron plot is pretty solid. The story of an actor who has grown tired of the biz is a classic. We see him try to push everyone away but his secretary isn’t having any of that. She’s definitely a very loyal worker and always has his back. Byron’s a pretty charismatic lead as well and his scenes are pretty interesting. You do have to know when to call it a day and he was pretty old so it makes sense that he would want to retire and finally enjoy life a bit. I definitely don’t blame him for leaving. It was sudden but no more so than when a company tells you to skedaddle as well. It was nice that the film was actually using real films for Byron’s character though. I’ve seen quite a few Karloff films over the years and so the footage they showed of the two movies were for films that I had actually seen. I thought that was a real nice touch and helped to make the experience feel a bit more real. It adds some realism to the context of Byron getting ready to retire.

The Bobby plot though is going for more edge. He murders his family and then heads to a highway where he murders a bunch of other people. It takes forever for someone to take him down and his scenes are the equivalent of a guy just shooting at people who can’t fight back in the slightest. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about his plot and it just makes the film drag on. The tone and pacing of the Byron plot was excellent while this one is a perfect contrast in that sense. Bobby also can’t hold his own plot because he has no real charisma. The guy is meant to be very plain and in that sense the film succeeds. There’s nothing interesting about the guy and so a whole plot about him was destined to fail. This plot is definitely also a little more violent than the Byron one. You do actually see everyone getting shot whether it be from a zoomed out distance or up close.

The final confrontation of the film also can’t end up being too exciting because Byron is super old. There’s not really anything he can even try to do against Bobby realistically. The film’s trying to go for some deep messages in the end or to show that Bobby is super insane, but realistically he would have won that battle. His sudden breakdown there seemed awful convenient for everyone. The slow reaction of the staff was pretty realistic though as they initially figured the sounds were from the movie or something and didn’t get with the program for quite a while.

Overall, Targets is not a film that’s aged particularly well. It tried to ambitiously have two plots where the characters ultimately have to meet up in the end but it just didn’t work out. You can definitely have two plots meet up at the end for nice results but it’s very difficult in a single movie. If you do it, you also have to ensure that both plots are pretty interesting or it’s just not going to work. Off the top of my head I can’t even think of any big films I’ve seen recently with two plots like that. I think the closest would be Infinity War but that was a sequel so it’s a lot easier for a bunch of plots to converge like that. I’ll try to think of more films where that actually happened, but needless to say this will not be one of them.

Overall 3/10

The Body Snatcher Review


It’s time to look at a bit of an older film with The Body Snatcher. It’s not quite as thrilling as the alien version I saw a while back. The films are unrelated but with the title being so similar I felt like I definitely had to mention the other one. This film’s more of a look at how problems that you avoid tend to snowball until you find yourself right in the middle of it. Had Donald gotten out as soon as he realized that something was shady he would have been fine. Sticking around was not the right move.

The film starts by showing us Donald, a promising lab student. Unfortunately he is not all that wealthy at the moment and will not be able to continue as a student. Professor Wolfe decides to keep Donald by having him become a lab assistant. This dynamic works well enough and together they dissect a lot of bodies and really lead a good science session. Something seems to be off with how many bodies they always have on hand and a mysterious guy by the name of John Gray appears and seems to have a lot of influence over Wolfe. Donald will have to watch out of he will really be in over his head.

Here’s the problem with Donald. The film expects us to buy into the fact that he is oblivious to how shady the business is until well into the film when he recognizes one of the bodies as a lady he walked past during the day. How did he think they were getting so many bodies? It’s not like this is a huge hospital with global connections. The town actually seems very poor from the locations the movie showed off. I mean, I wouldn’t expect him to jump to the assumption of murder right away, but at the very least he shouldn’t be too shocked.

Then once he learns the truth Donald goes along with this because he is worried that this will incriminate him which will cause a lot of trouble. Clearly he has his priorities straight. In some ways Donald is a good guy and he did want to help the little kid get her ability to walk again. It’s just outweighed by the fact that he is so complicit in what is going on. By the time he makes any kind of move you can’t help but feel that it is way too late.

Multiply all of those negatives by 10 for Wolfe. He is deep in the dirt with this business. He wants to get out, but John will never allow that since he can blackmail Wolfe over an old court case forever and ever. Wolfe finally thinks to take him down for the count towards the end of the film, but so much damage is done by then. Either way Wolfe was already a villain so I feel like he should have really hurried to take this guy down. Better late than never, but factor in how he didn’t want to help the girl walk and this is definitely not a guy you could root for.

John Gray is really the main antagonist in the film. He’s pretty strong and really had the other characters on the ropes here. You can definitely respect his power, but otherwise that’s about it. One of his wins was also a little suspect since the guy he was fighting was a true sucker. How do you go to someone’s house to blackmail them because you found out that they are a mass murderer….and then don’t expect a fight? I don’t really know how that would work out. It just doesn’t add up….

So this is a bleak film where all of the characters are either evil, helping evil characters out, or totally oblivious. The Mom and her kid certainly didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t blame the kid for not trying to walk for a little while either since I’m sure that was a pretty scary experience. It’s hard to just get up and start walking around after not being able to for so many years. It definitely didn’t help that the doctor was rushing so much. I do think the kid was a little unreasonable during their first meeting though. He hadn’t actually done anything yet so it was strange that she didn’t want to talk.

I suppose the writing isn’t terrible and yet it isn’t engaging so it’s hard to call that a positive. The movie also doesn’t fall into the animal violence trap at least. The fight scenes are definitely sub par though. There isn’t really any choreography as it’s just the characters going for the choke and the eye attack each time. Neither attack option will really do much to help the movie out.

We get one decent visual as Wolfe starts to crack near the end. The body next to him begins to shift into someone else. You know that it is in his mind the whole time, but with the thunder in the background and the heavy rain it works really well as an intimidating backdrop. It’s a shame that the movie couldn’t have had more dynamic moments like that because it really would have made a good difference. That or the main characters being more likable.

Overall, The Body Snatcher is not really a film that worked for me. It’s a little on the dull side and the plot just isn’t engaging. There isn’t a whole lot to keep your attention here and that’s probably due to the slow pacing. By the time events actually happen it feels like you have already figured things out a long time ago. If this film sounds interesting then check it out, but I can’t really think of anything in particular that makes me think “You’ve gotta watch this film!” There’s no solid soundtrack or good characters. There’s no mystery or any moments that will make you think this was super clever. It’s just a film going through the motions.

Overall 3/10

Bedlam Review


It’s time to take a look at an old asylum horror film. It’s not by the Asylum crew but it takes place in one and I can’t think of too many settings that are worse than this. Bedlam just isn’t the kind of place that you really want a film to take place in. The whole film is rather dreary and it can get rather dark for the inmates. While the film has a happy ending it does take a long while to get there and in the meantime there just aren’t many reasons to like this film. The characters can also be annoying and I’m basically spoiling my review here so lets get started.

The film starts with a prisoner trying to escape Bedlam, but quickly being murdered by the warden. His name is George and he runs a tight ship around here. He is called in by the rich to explain what happened and George responds by showing the world how enslaved his prisoners are. The corrupt laugh at this spectacle and decide not to press charges, but one rich lady decides to put a stop to this. Her name is Nell and she decides to remodel the prison. George can’t have that so he has her arrested under guise of insanity and through Nell’s poor choice of words at the event she is found guilty. Nell is thrown inside the prison and must now try to communicate with them or she may not make it out alive.

First of all, we have to look at how bad Nell is throughout the film. She doesn’t make a stand against the malicious practices of Bedlam until she is goaded into it by a Quaker. Once she does make a stand, she really doesn’t do a good job of it. She doesn’t enact any actual changes until she is in the prison. Before that she goes to court to prove that she isn’t crazy. You’d expect her to have a calm head on her shoulders as she answers questions without sass right? No, instead she is sarcastic to the council and insults them quite a few times. She refuses to answer their questions and admits to doing crazy things like eating money. Naturally the council banishes her. Sure, the council was definitely bribed here, but she made their job so easy. Why did she have to be so antagonistic right from the start?

Then, Nell doesn’t even give the prisoners a chance once she is in the cage as she asks the Quaker for a weapon to defend herself. She considers the prisoners to all be savages and you wonder what happened to her lofty goals. Gradually the prisoners get her to join them in a game of cards and she realizes that they can be good. From here she is a good character who does make things better for the prisoners but it sure took her a while. I don’t blame her for not getting in the cage with the violent prisoner as that really could have ended pretty badly, but otherwise George actually had a point that she was all talk for a while.

Naturally George isn’t a very likable main character as he plays the cruel villain role. He likes asserting his dominance over the criminally insane and as we saw with Nell, he basically chooses who he thinks is insane. A lot of these people may be innocent but apparently the whole town is rather corrupt. Everyone looks the other way when it comes to George but that does backfire on him in the end. His end definitely plays out as you would expect as there was no way that he was going to live through this. He had simply done too much by this point.

Then we’ve got the Quaker. Unfortunately he is a very annoying character the whole time. He wants George to stand trial instead of being murdered by the inmates. A noble sentiment, but since he owns the town we all know that he would have gotten away scot free and then he would have murdered the inmates. The Quaker refuses to lift a hand to help anybody since he is a complete pacifist so it’s not like he would have helped to protect them. He comes across as oblivious to the world and rather naive. He could have been a good character, but they took him to the extreme and anyone could do what they wanted to him. It’s a shame since otherwise he probably would have been the best character here.

The film never actually shows much so it isn’t all that violent or anything, but things definitely get rough for the characters. The prison implies as much violence as it can and the living conditions are certainly abysmal. There is also a parrot that gets arrested by the end and I don’t really like where that plot may have gone even if we didn’t see the conclusion. This just isn’t a good film and it drags on quite a lot. At the end of the day, the only way to fix the prison is to get rid of the head so if George wasn’t forcibly removed then it’s not like Nell would have actually fixed much. Given that he was going to experiment on her and nobody was going to stop him, it just shows how far gone the town is.

Overall, Bedlam definitely isn’t a fun watch. While it has a happy ending, that’s only the final minute or so as the rest of the film can be rather dark. The only happy scenes before the ending are when Nell is talking tough to George, but she never ends up with the last laugh there. George is always one step ahead of her which severely limits how entertaining the scenes can possibly be. Prison films in general don’t tend to be great as even the Naruto film that dealt with this was one of the weaker installments in that series. I suppose at least some of the prisoners like the ex judge were fun characters. If you want to watch a good film about overthrowing a corrupt person in power…then you better start looking as I can’t think of a good one off the top of my head. Still, I’m sure that there are more than a few out there, you just have to know where to look.

Overall 3/10

The Black Cat (1934) Review


It’s time for a big team up between the big horror actors of the old days, Karloff and Lugosi. Although in the actual movie they are going up against each other with two travelers being caught in the crossfire. Suffice it to say, we’re in for another old school horror film where the main characters are terrible and the villains spend more time bantering than actually doing anything. We’re definitely at the right film.

So the film starts off with Peter and Joan taking a train for their honeymoon. It’s all going well until a mysterious man shows up and asks if he can share the room. Peter already gives off some red flags since he isn’t intelligent enough to refuse. Once the couple appears to be asleep this man, Vitus, attempts to get a little too comfortable with Joan. Peter wakes up and glares at Vitus but doesn’t do anything reasonable like kicking this guy out of the car or even becoming big time enemies. Instead he decides to forgive and forget. One thing leads to another and the couple follows Vitus to the mansion of Hjalmar. The old man is a big time enemy of Vitus since he stole the guy’s daughter and murdered his wife. Vitus has come here to get revenge while Hjalmar wants to take Joan since she is the reincarnation of the late wife and he aims to use her vessel as a way to bring her back. It’s all pretty twisted and clearly we are watching two villains go at it. It’s hard to pick any one of them to root for.

This film is fairly dark and not in a natural atmospheric way, but in an artificial gritty sense. Characters are tortured both on screen and off screen. Vitus’ family certainly gets the short end of the stick since they are all murdered by Hjalmar. The ending is even someone getting skinned alive. You can tell that while this is an older film, it’s not one of the classier ones. It’s going for the shock value scenes and it takes away from everything else.

Alas, it wouldn’t be a terrible horror film without an animal showing up in some capacity right? Well, Vitus is afraid of cats so the other villain always uses this against him. Vitus will destroy the cat but it just comes back for more since it has 9 lives. As a result, not only is the scene terrible but it’s pointless. The cat phobia never actually does much and at the end of the day it’s just a random excuse for the film to bump off a cat. Pretty disgraceful if you ask me.

I suppose the writing is decent although you will have to stretch your disbelief to its absolute limit. The whole point of Vitus coming over is to murder Hjalmar and he has dozens of opportunities to do so. In fact, his subordinate is an inside agent working for Hjalmar. He is Hjalmar’s only minion so the two of them can beat the old guy easily. Instead Vitus is constantly content to simply watch things play out and just go with the flow. There’s no narrative reason for Vitus to totally disregard his actual mission for 90% of the film.

As for Hjalmar, he is just as bad. He already murdered the first two people he was with so now he wants Joan even though it’ll probably just be to murder her at some point. Considering that he never poisoned them or anything the same question about waiting rears its head. Why not just destroy them right away or in the dead of night? It’s his house and the main characters are gullible enough to actually go to sleep at night. They’d be easy pickings.

We also can’t forget to talk about Paul and how terrible he is. He gets knocked out several times and never puts much of an effort. The only time he is finally able to air up the nerve to do something he manages to shoot the guy who was trying to help Joan. Clearly he isn’t good at reading body language but I can’t honestly say that I was too broken up about the whole thing since Vitus is basically still a villain in my book. Paul just comes off as really incompetent. Even after seeing how shady everyone is he decides to leave Joan by herself while he sleeps in a room way down the hall. He was just accepting this until Vitus came over to switch rooms. What this means is Vitus would have been in the room next to Joan and since the connector isn’t locked he could have gone to her room whenever he liked. Did I mention that Paul was terrible yet? You get the idea of why this guy was so bad. He doesn’t even understand a threat when it’s being blatantly said right in front of him.

Unfortunately Joan is no better. Not only is she fainting too much, but she gets possessed rather easily. I can’t blame her for falling off the rails after this since Paul lets the villains inject her with something while she asleep. Joan just never seems like a real character during this adventure. She ends up being in a state of shock throughout the movie instead and lets everyone else make decisions for her.

While the premise of someone going to get revenge may sound good on paper it’s clear that the execution is just off from start to finish. Subtle banter between the villains is a decent concept even if they are really trying to destroy each other. At the same time, it just gets unrealistic if it goes on for too long. We could have also been given a motivation for why these two are to be locked in combat without going full tragedy. Considering that Vitus basically knows for a fact that the other guy is guilty you’d think he would make a move of some sort before he is put in a bad position. You just end up questioning the characters quite a bit here. The highlight would be the Chess game. I definitely wasn’t expecting such high stakes for a mere board game, but if that had to be the case then Chess is naturally the perfect pick.

Overall, This definitely isn’t a good film and the other Black Cat films I’ve seen seem to have had more quality. The actual Black Cat in this film certainly doesn’t get the respect he deserves. What really buries this film in the long run is the fact that it is too dark at times and there is nobody to root for. The main characters certainly aren’t very smart and make all of the wrong choices while even the villains don’t seem to think things through. The polite banter that I like from these films only hurts it in this case since these characters should be doing something as opposed to doing nothing.

Overall 1/10

The Invisible Ray Review


It’s time for a film about a mad scientist’s quest for power. This film is quite old so you are ready for a classic thriller right from the start. Unfortunately, the film slips up with some animal violence thrown in which I had to shake my head at. The film was so promising at first and it really looked like it could have been a winner. Alas, it fell one fist short, but I’ll give it some props for effort. At least it made a fair attempt right?

The film starts off with a rambling mad man by the name of Janos inviting a bunch of scientists to see his latest invention. After a lot of insults are hurled around from all of the cast, the scientists are amazed as Janos shows them something that has happened millions of years ago using a new material. Dr. Benet declares that they should team up. Janos’ Mom tells him this is a bad idea since they are always insulting him and have discredited Janos’ theories for years. The main character decides to go anyway though and joins the team in Africa. They are here to find pieces of the rock that crash landed. Janos decides to take point so he goes ahead of the others. His wife Diana isn’t thrilled about this, but complies for the moment. Weeks pass by and everyone starts to get worried.

It turns out that Janos has been poisoned by the material and is essentially a Radiation Man. A single touch with any living thing causes them to perish. Benet makes him a cure, but he’ll have to use it every day for the rest of his life or he’ll destroy everyone along with himself. Janos doesn’t let this distract him and builds a weapon of mass destruction. Whatever he points the cannon at disintegrates into a million pieces. It can also be used as a healing ray to give someone back their sight and other such senses. Unfortunately, his wife has gone for a rebound and the other scientists have left with his idea so Janos decides to murder them all.

That was a rather long plot summary but it was necessary because I feel as though Janos trying to murder everyone is the main plot of the movie even if it took a while to get there. No worries, the film made Janos as obvious of a bad guy as possible right from the start. He was shady even when inviting people into his house and then he basically had slaves work for him under threat of death if they tried leaving. There was never a moment where I thought “This guy is heroic.” Throw in the fact that he is very quick to start murdering everyone and he is really doomed to the villain role. I can’t say that he is particularly likable either. He holds himself in check better than most villains, but that isn’t quite good enough. His powers are pretty useful though. Imagine being able to destroy your opponents in a single blow. That is really handy if you ask me.

Benet is the other main scientist in this film. He’s pretty charismatic and the best person in the film. He’s reasonable and while he doesn’t like Janos, he puts that to the side in order to help science move along. Unfortunately, he can be a little slow on the uptake at times like when he walked to the door even though he knew Janos would show up soon. He put himself in the worst possible situation at the time and that’s just not where you want to be. He probably shouldn’t have been so quick to cure Janos, but it was the hero move so I can’t fault him for that.

I can’t say that Diana and Ronald were good characters though. Diana was married to Janos so rebounding to Ronald wasn’t a very good idea. Sure, they didn’t get along too well, but she should have at least officially separated from Janos first. She acts as if she never loved him either and only did it because she promised her father. That’s such a terrible reason to marry someone and I just see her as having a lot of fault in this as well as the main character. Ronald went after her even though he knew she was married so he is probably the most guilty character of them all. I just never liked th guy and he didn’t even get a particularly large role in the film. After a while he just stayed in the background for good.

This film’s writing is pretty strong as it is so old. Despite being such a retro classic, the characters are all pretty mean to each other the whole time. They do it in fairly polite ways, but there just aren’t any nice people here. They all have an axe to grind with someone. Even if Diana wasn’t going for the rebound she would be pretty sketchy as she is generally pretty rude to the Africans they’re working with. Most of the characters have that in common.

Unfortunately, the animal violence is pretty bad as mentioned before. There was a fun dog throughout the film who would follow the main characters. It would have been better if he wasn’t even in the film then to be destroyed by the main character. We also got to see the aftermath of a hunt as the main characters take a animal to be eaten. We don’t need any of this, especially in a film that would otherwise be pretty peaceful and happy.

Getting past that, the atmosphere and pacing for the movie were pretty solid. Quite a lot happened in a relatively short amount of time as you can see from the plot summary. The film just kept going on as the plot would adapt and follow. There also was another good character in the form of Janos’ Mom. She kept giving him good advice even if he did end up ignoring it and she made the tough calls at the end of the film. You don’t just break one of the big Science rules and hope to get away from it. That’s just not how things roll here.

I do have to question how smart these scientists are. They believe the whole picture of a meteorite hitting the Earth millions of years ago so easily. Did they not suspect it was some kind of illusion or trick. My first reaction certainly wouldn’t be to stand there and just accept that the man has broken new ground in scientific history. It’s a little hard to swallow and the motion picture wasn’t all that impressive either. They should have called him out on it.

Overall, The Invisible Ray had potential. It has a reasonable cast, at least as far as the banter is concerned and a good amount of action. The characters have to lay traps for one another and rely on mind games for the rest. It’s a pretty interesting film and it’ll definitely keep your attention. The dog scene just stops it from being a good film and the romance was also pretty terrible the whole time. It’s just hard to get past two big negatives like those so I’d recommend avoiding this film. You can certainly find better ones if you look around for a few minutes. That’s all the time you’ll need.

Overall 4/10

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff Review


Abbott and Costello are back in yet another adventure. The two of them always make for an entertaining experience and this film is no different. While it may not be their best outing it still hits all of the right notes. It’s a timeless classic that most modern comedy films can learn from.

The film doesn’t really try anything new so it is all the same gags that you have come to expect from the series. That can work well for some and others may find it too predictable. For me, I’d say that it still worked well since if was executed well. Even if you know how various jokes are going to play out, it’s still fun to see them unfold. I’ve always liked Abbott and Costello’s joke style. The only joke that probably didn’t pan out was Freddie cross dressing and getting hit on by a random hotel guy. It seems like comedies love to use that trope at least once.

As this film is essentially a parody, most of the suspects are rather crooked. While there is one main villain who murdered the hotel guy, the rest of the suspects had wanted to do it, they were just beat to the punch. As such, this made it difficult to actually question anybody since they were all covering for each other. The detective certainly had a hard case on his hands.

Casey is the voice of reason here and probably the best character in the film. Even when he would be betrayed or woken up in the middle of the night he rarely lost his cool. Towards the end of the film he finally started to lose it but it was hard not too. He had a stroke of bad luck when he slipped and sprained his ankle in the cave. That part was so sudden that I definitely had to wonder how genuine Casey was. Was he actually in on the threat or did he want to finally get some sleep while Freddie wasn’t around?

Freddie was the main character though and he was pretty good. He doesn’t drink and does his best to think about what to do next. Thinking isn’t his strong suit so it’s nice to see the effort. He takes the initiative on putting the bodies on the elevator after all. He also knows what he saw even if everyone else doubts him. The guy may panic a lot and resort to stammering gibberish but we can’t all be super brave. His one iffy moment was when he kept on doubting Casey and putting him on the spot.

To Freddie’s defense, I also suspected Casey for a few minutes there. It seemed awful convenient that he had to head back home immediately after such a small fall right before the villain showed up. It was a pretty good red herring. I also wouldn’t have minded if Casey was actually evil. It would have hurt his character for sure, but it could have been the ultimate twist. It would explain why he is always so cool under pressure. Casey has a natural air of confidence about him as he talks with the cops and the suspects. Nobody ever makes him back down and he laughs at bullets. While he may get too enthusiastic about the murder at times, he always means well.

Even beyond that, it was just hard to guess who the guilty party was. Everyone had secrets and many characters in the film tried to write Freddie out of the picture. There were dangers around every corner so he was never really safe. The most dangerous situation for Freddie was either dangling from a rope in the cave or being stuck in the sauna. Both were tricky. I guess no matter who you chose as the guilty party, you’d be right to an extent since pretty much the whole cast was evil. Still, it wouldn’t count unless you got the person who was apprehended at the end.

The film teaches you a valuable lesson about how it is never wise to hide evidence to save your own skin. For a while there it was hard to even know who to root for. The heroes were just looking out for themselves after all and Freddie was practically asking to be arrested. Of course it may not have gone well if they had showed the bodies to the inspector but it would have been the right call.

As you would expect, the writing is quite solid here. I would expect nothing else from a retro film like this one. The witty banter between the characters is fun and makes Freddie’s character work. If the writing had been bad or halfhearted then he probably would not have been all that funny. You need solid writing for films like this one and I can only imagine what a disaster a modern version could be. There’s no language here and no dirty jokes. Try selling that in Hollywood nowadays, it would get tricky.

Overall, This film holds up really well. The gags are as solid as they ever were. The film moves pretty quickly and you’ll barely even notice the time as it whizzes by. The film doesn’t really make any mistakes either which is certainly hard to do. With the writing being on point as well, this is a film I can totally recommend you check out. It’s not quite as good as Who Done It as that will probably always be their best film, but I’m pretty early on with these team up films so it’s hard to say for sure.

Overall 8/10

The Terror Review


Prepare yourself for a very eccentric film. I know that I sometimes critique films for not having any real twists or turns, but this film takes that a little too literally. There are twists within twists and nothing that you see or hear can be trusted in this film until the very end. Even the atmosphere of the film is fairly mysterious and eery. One thing’s for sure, you may not remember the specifics of this film, but you won’t be forgetting the actual adventure.

Andre is a lost soldier who somehow got separated from the rest of his French regime. Luckily, he was saved by a fair maiden by the name of Helene. The girl vanishes, but Andrew asks around and figures out that she lives in the Baron’s castle. An old lady in a cottage told him this and while she seems to practice voodoo and has a Raven who can shape shift, she is clearly trust worthy. The Baron does not want to let Andrew in, but the “hero” threatens to bring down the full wrath of the French government if he is now allowed entry. (He is a high ranking officer so he can do this)

The Baron has no time for these games though. He is being haunted by the ghost of Ilsa. She wants him to destroy himself because he murdered her after finding out about the man that she kept around on the side when she thought he wasn’t looking. Meanwhile, his loyal butler Stefan murdered the side man (Eric) The Baron is reluctant to comply with the ghost for obvious reasons, but he starts to wonder if maybe he should. This Andre person is complicating things though because he can see the ghost too, but calls her by a different name and while she did try to murder him a few times, he never takes it personally.

All right, lets pause here before getting into the twists. Yes, there will be spoilers this time because you can’t not explain the twists here. It’s what makes the film so priceless. First off, Andre is clearly not the brightest bulb on the block because the murder attempts that Ilsa goes for are fairly obvious. Her ghost leads him to a marsh of quick sand, but he noticed in time because of a pebble that he kicked. She almost led him off a cliff as well, but he noticed on time. She tried to destroy him several times, but Andre is oblivious to all of this and just wants to find her anyway. The Baron acts as if he doesn’t know what Andre is talking about, but it’s a little too obvious to try and deflect. Moreover, acting tough and trying to talk back to Andre fails when he is shaking in his boots the whole time because of Ilsa.

All right, you may be wondering what happened to the old lady and the shape shifting Raven right? This is where the film slaps you silly with plot twists. First off, The Baron and Stefan never managed to murder Eric and Ilsa. See, we thought that Stefan murdered Eric while The Baron took care of Ilsa right? Wrong! Somehow, The Baron managed to get to Eric after taking down Ilsa, but Eric ended up murdering him instead. Eric then suffered a complete mental breakdown and began to really think that he was The Baron. Stefan knew about this, but played along for kicks so I guess he was never that loyal after all.

The old Witch was the mother of Ilsa and she blamed the Baron for her death. She couldn’t have known that Eric had actually beaten the Baron and assumed his identity. She was pretty clever and used her black magic to give a Raven the ability to turn into Ilsa, but with the ability of flight, super speed, and shape shifting so fast that it appeared as if she vanished into the fog each time. How did she manage to keep this up for 2 years while having Ilsa appear everywhere and nobody ever noticing that it was actually a raven? It’s magic! Thing is, the Raven began to have ideas of its own and somewhere along the way, Ilsa’s actual ghost decided to show up. Perhaps she was tired of watching “Amateur Hour” being played out by all of these second rate villains. Ilsa decided to finish everyone off once and for all by breaking the underwater dam that “Baron” kept around to drown them all. We get a pretty fierce fist fight between “Ilsa”, “Baron”, Andre, and Stefan.

Suffice it to say, Andre managed to get out of there alive with Ilsa, but then she decomposed since her mission was complete. Now Andre can go home and share this story with the other soldiers…if they’ll ever actually believe him. A lot happened in this film all right. It may take you a little bit to process just how crazy this film got. It may have gone overboard, but I salute the enthusiasm that the film showed and it was a good effort. It really kept you guessing the whole time…even if the plot twists didn’t always make a lot of sense. You really can’t trust anyone here.

This is the kind of film where everything is so strange that you wouldn’t be shocked if it was all just a dream of meta with some kind of deeper meaning. Regardless, the film did a good job with the tone. Between the mist, the empty backgrounds, and the creepy castle, this film always had a tense and mysterious atmosphere. It accomplished that part of the film pretty well. I can’t say that the film was all that good though. The main character is pretty annoying and the black mail may have been hardcore but it didn’t make him any easier to root for. The Baron was clearly unhinged and likewise with Eric. This film certainly shows you that rebounding never pays, but it’s not as if any of the characters got to live anyway.

Overall, This film is a tricky one to score. It’s a rare film where I didn’t even know what score I was going to give it as I was writing the review. It’s partially because the film wraps itself up in a haze so it’s hard to remember some of the specifics. I can’t remember a whole lot of negatives except I do remember a general recollection of not thinking the movie was all that good. I suppose it’s not that bad either so a solid 5 sounds about right. It’d definitely a strange little flick and I’d recommend checking it out if strange is what you’re looking for. You can think of it as a Twilight Zone episode of sorts, but the slightly modernized version. It’s not all that long and giving it at least one watch may be good for you. I won’t really recommend it, but I wouldn’t tell you to steer clear of it either. The film’s just around and it’s one that I won’t soon forget.

Overall 5/10

Black Friday Review


It’s time for a retro film. It feels like it’s been a while since I reviewed an oldie, but I suppose it hasn’t been all that long. This film’s a fun take on the whole mind switch concept and you can think of it as being similar to Frankenstein. It’s done a whole lot better than Frankenstein ever was though and the characters are actually pretty likable and endearing except for one guy who goes off the deep end.

The plot involves Ernest, a scientist. He is a genius whose only real friend dies in a car crash one day. To save his life, Ernest decides to do an experimental brain transplant. It’s a success, but the problem is that George (The friend) now has a split personality. He’ll be George one minute and then he’ll be Red Cannon, the gangster. Ernest could help George’s personality pull through, but he really wants to be rich and everyone knows that Red Cannon buried 500 million dollars somewhere in the city. Ernest will have that money and then he’ll save George. Can he really have his cake and eat it too or is something sinister about to happen?

As you can expect, Ernest is the character that I don’t care for. At first, his motives were good. He went pretty far to save his friend and his gamble paid off. Unfortunately, his desire for fame and glory corroded him. It was even a bit cheesy at one point as Red Cannon was afraid of Ernest. I find that hard to believe since he was such a hardened gangster. Ernest doesn’t get away with it which is good, but he put everyone in a sticky situation. He’s certainly not a team player.

On the other hand, George is a solid character. He constantly reminds everyone that he is a Professor of English Literature and that’s why he has a hard time dealing with all of the gangster drama. He’s a very polite guy who simply made the mistake of trusting his old friend. Even when a side effect of the serum caused George to be a little cranky, he was always ready to apologize for it. George is a real stand up guy and that’s why I’m glad that he got a good ending. He didn’t ask for any of this and did the best that he could to see to it that everything went all right. He even gave the Cab driver a huge tip, which was pretty neat.

Red Cannon was an okay gangster, but as I mentioned earlier, he did get scared by Ernest. I’m not really sure how I can take him seriously after that. He did a good job of beating up most of the guys who had betrayed him though. Messing with the boss is definitely not a good move. I mean, he was dead so they won…….lets ignore that for now. The gangsters were fairly confident and since they had Red Cannon’s girlfriend on their side, how could they lose? She actually did trick Red Cannon a few times though so he’s got a ways to go when it comes to running a gang biz. That’s why you’re not supposed to mix work and romance, it makes things risky. I did have to chuckle at the fact that the gangsters were forced to hide in a closet as a last resort. That normally shouldn’t buy you a whole lot of time. Leaving the secret beer cabinet open as well is another critical mistake.

The unsung hero here has to be the cab driver. He’s the kind of guy who wasn’t going to let Red Cannon walk all over him. I like how he calmly walked up to the cops and saw to it that justice was served. Red Cannon was gone by then of course, but it’s the thought that counts. The students were also pretty nice as they helped George out and even when he randomly shape shifted, they took it in stride. They were certainly pretty accepting of the whole thing, despite how strange it all was.

Aside from that, the rest of the film was also pretty realistic. Even the energy drain since George should definitely be tired from living two lives. That’s a lot of exercise for a rather old fellow. The writing was very good from start to finish as well. It had that dignified feel that you really can’t find in a more modern adventure. Not to mention that it’s what helped make George a good character. Bad writing would have made him cheesy or just fake while he felt like a real likable fellow this time.

The fight scenes were also solid. They did a good job of showing why Red Cannon was so feared throughout the land while not going overboard and making the minions look weak. After all, they did keep the gang running well after his death so they had to be at least a little competent right? The film is rather short so the pacing stays quick throughout the adventure. The only slow parts is when Ernest is trying to turn George back into Red Cannon by taking him around town, but it’s more screen time for George so that is always a good thing.

Overall, Black Friday is a film that I can recommend wholeheartedly. All of the characters are either likable or written well as villains. The fight scenes are good and the plot is engaging. Even the secondary characters like the Bellhop are fun to have around. It shows why you should always be skeptical when you’re given a life saving medicine or start to feel tired for no reason. On the other hand, it reminds you that you can always suppress any foreign minds that try to inhabit your body. You may not become a shape shifter, but that’s fine. The film blends together a nice mix of humor and seriousness. There’s really nothing negative to say about the film and the only thing keeping it from being an 8 is just not having enough content to quite get up that high. It’s a solid all around film otherwise.

Overall 7/10

The Mummy Review

The_Mummy_1932_film_poster
Looks like it’s time to check out the original Mummy film! This one came out almost a century ago so you shouldn’t expect the effects to look quite as good as Tron’s. That being said, a film can still manage to be pretty good without effects as long as the writing is strong. That’s what helped a lot of the previous retro installments. Alas, it could not last. This film is nowhere near as good as the remake although I applaud the supernatural elements that made things pretty intriguing at points. Let’s see where the film messed up.

The plot involves an Archeologist and his partner as they are pretty sad. Their expedition into the desert turned out to be a waste of time and they are getting ready to rejoin civilization so that they can be mocked for their efforts. At that moment, a suspicious character tells them of a hidden tomb that is nearby and his minions uncover it for the heroes. The courageous fellows quickly inform the press and send their findings to the museum. This has all been too easy…why would this person help them? It makes more sense when you watch the flashback before this scene as the Mummy is uncovered because a man opened the legendary chest that had a curse inside of it. (Don’t worry, the curse isn’t random, we find out who placed it there towards the end of the film) The Mummy awakens and one of the guys goes insane with laughter as his mind breaks at the mere sight of the Mummy. In the present, The Mummy needs the ancient manuscript for his devious plans and he also wants to revive his partner. Time for the heroes to do something about it!

The plot sounds rather deep and convoluted thanks to how I wrote it, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. You are aware of the Mummy and the sinister developments for a good portion of the film. The heroes are just unsure of what they can really do about it, which results in a lot of tense scenes. None of the characters are really likable though, but more on that later. The film was doing all right in these moments, but let’s look at one of the big pitfalls that the film threw itself into.

First up…Animal Violence! I expect animal violence when I watch something like Sucker Punch or Toriko, but I don’t expect it from one of the most famous horror films of last generation. The scene comes out of nowhere, which is pretty sad. The main heroine randomly admits that she has a dog and takes him to the villain’s base. Seeking to impress her with his hypnosis, the Mummy tells his slave to take the dog away…then the slave murders the dog. Why would he do such a thing and why would the Mummy allow it? The whole point is that he is tricking the heroine and that shouldn’t help matters. Unfortunately, she is rather weak willed and her strength of character is not enough to even remember how her dog died. It was a rather depressing moment in an uninteresting film and I quickly slashed a few points off the score. (Although, even without the animal violence this film was destined to fall within this range. Animal Violence or not…this was not going to crack a 5)

I don’t really comment on the acting so I won’t get into how terribly awkward it was for the film. I’ll just point to how they wrecked the characters through the drama scenes. A lot of scenes just have the characters staring at each other or making terrible decisions that lead to their untimely demise. With that set up…it’s time to look at the characters!

The main character is Frank. He’s better than his predecessor in the opening who goes insane just by looking at the Mummy, but he’s not much better. (I still can’t get over that though. Do people honestly think that someone would go crazy just by sneaking a glance at a dead guy? That was one of the biggest moments of plot hax that I’ve seen since Colonel actually held his own against Forte in the Program of Light and Dark) Frank is the kind of guy who believes in (fake) love at first sight and he really pushes the point when he meets Helen. She keeps on telling him that she is not interested (For about 5 minutes anyway) but he won’t take no for an answer and she quickly relents. After that, he doesn’t really care about anything except helping her and he can’t do a good job of that either. He knows that the Mummy is playing her like a fiddle, but he still decides to just go to sleep on the couch. It should be noted that his partner tried to help by giving Frank an amulet that stops the Pharaoh’s abilities from working, but Frank decides to hang it on the doorknob as a little keychain. You may admire his courageousness, but you’ll probably just face palm as the Mummy quickly uses the Force Choke to take Frank down for the count. A rather embarrassing end and no amount of main character hax that occurs in the film can take that moment away from us. It was pretty inexcusable.

I can’t say that Helen is much better. Again, she tried to say no to Frank, but then she just agreed that the feelings were mutual. They evidently were not at first so she changed her mind way too quickly. Her mind is also very frail since the Mummy is able to quickly convince her that she must go with him. She always enters a trance and he has complete control over her. She tries to fight it once in a while, but with terrible results. Forgetting about her dog was also pretty inexcusable and she should have been able to fight the mind control. This is definitely a strong example for how you do not write a main heroine. It was a rather poor showing.

There were two old men who tried to help out as well, but they couldn’t get the job done. One of them had the simple task of burning a few papers in the fireplace, but the Force Choke surprises him so much that he drops the papers and starts to backpedal until he bites the big one. (Which is when the slave breaks in through the unlocked door and steals the papers) The other guy just gives advice like “Let Helen go to Imhotep so we can find out where his hideout is” before taping an untimely nap. These guys loves to beat around the bush as seen with their interrogation of the Mummy, but they know that they are outmatched. They actually admit it in front of the Mummy, which is pretty sad.

The actual Mummy isn’t great either. We get a sob story for him about how he did all of this for romance and stuff. Unfortunately, deciding to reincarnate yourself is against the law so he’s quickly destroyed….thereby speeding up the reincarnation. I guess they didn’t have any mages back then to counter the Mummy’s spell. After that, he evidently decided to wait years and years for some archaeologists to come and discover the tomb instead of just going inside of it himself. He would have been able to have gotten the scroll without any objections that way and then he could have searched for his reincarnated partner. Alas, he decided to do things the hard way. He has a strong amount of telepathy and possibly some superhuman strength so I guess it’s okay for him to be confident. Unfortunately, he underestimated the humans or overestimated his Force Choke when push came to shove.

The flashbacks and the ending were intriguing, but they just threw in supernatural elements without any true meaning. I applaud the effort as we actually get a “god” at the end who decides to help out, but just barely. The Mummy still would have gotten away for it if not for a few missteps. I mean, the Mummy Did basically laugh at Isis’ rules by coming back to life so you would expect a little more urgency.

Overall, This was definitely not one of the better retro films. I definitely preferred the newer Mummy film. It was more action packed and while it wasn’t downright amazing, it was a lot more fun. The Mummy just isn’t a fun or engaging villain and his telepathy is the only thing that actually made him a threat. A lot of scenes didn’t seem to have really been thought through either. (The heroes going after the Mummy after the villain had a super long head start and still making it in time.) Strictly speaking from Frank’s perspective, the ending felt like a parody. He’s the big hero, but he never got to be useful from start to finish. I would sooner recommend watching the remake or checking out Speed Racer than this film. This film was lacking in positives while still containing a lot of negatives.

Overall 3/10