Leviathan 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 more negative

It’s time for a monster movie but unfortunately not one that comes close to topping a bunch of the classic ones. This plays out more like Alien than Godzilla after all. Some interesting ideas here for sure and I liked every moment with corporate but in the end this could not become a winner. Instead it is doomed to be forgotten as one of the titles that just couldn’t keep up in the end.

The movie Steven and his team of underwater miners getting ready to finally leave the submarine. They’ve been down here for months and are eager to get back to dry land. They just have to grab some more materials and then they are set. Their group is slowly starting to crack up too so this was really good timing but one of the guys gets greedy and brings up a treasure chest. It’s not just any old chest either and contains a drink that implants a monster. This creature will not stop at anything in its quest to destroy them all. Can Steven and his group stop this thing or are they about to be completely eliminated?

Now with a movie like this it’s not a huge surprise that the cast is unlikable but it’s still disappointing. There is only so much that you can do when the cast is unlikable after all. I’ll get into each crew member in a second here but Steven did not have a lot to work with. Steven could be a little naïve as well with how he thinks corporate is looking after them so he’s not perfect but I suppose he probably wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t thought that to some extent. Who would really think that corporate is absolutely leaving you to dry right?

The film is not subtle about how corporate is corrupt here. Every time Martin appears on the phone it’s to tell the heroes that there are some delays or not to worry about things. She says it all in a very fake voice the whole time though so you know that she never means it. It makes for a very satisfying scene at the end of the movie while also making her not look very smart though. Lets just say that by the end of the film she shouldn’t be expecting a warm reception and should have some kind of backup plan at the ready. Otherwise she’s just not putting herself in a good spot here.

Okay so lets talk about the rest of the characters. Sixpack is the worst member by far. He just wants to mess around with one of the ladies on the ship and doesn’t think about anything else. He defies orders all of the time and puts the whole crew’s safety in jeopardy. He’s absolutely not the guy that you want to have your back because odds are that he won’t have it. Doc is one of the main characters and while he’s not as bad as Sixpack, he’s certainly not very responsible himself.

Picture this, you’re underwater and end up damaging your suit. This is serious but you know that you have a doctor watching you so it’ll be okay. That’s when you get the call that the doctor stepped out. Really? Doc does this kind of thing a lot based on how the characters discuss this and it’s basically because he wants to drink. A character very nearly dies in the opening minutes because he wasn’t there and Doc does not care.

Doc then makes some horrible moves at the end like trusting corporate one last time and backstabbing his allies. From there I knew that he had absolutely no chance of making a comeback for me. There’s just no excuse for any of this when you’re the ship’s doctor and the one that everyone is depending on. That’s just an awful look all the way around.

Bowman was rather reasonable so she’s one of the few crewmembers that wasn’t annoying. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a place to escape to on this ship and her role ends up being rather small. Ultimately the experience was too much for her and she probably didn’t suffer as much as most of the others ultimately would. Justin was probably the most helpful member of the crew and did a lot to support Steven here. That’s why the ending feels like a bit much because of how things play out. This guy really put in a lot of work.

The movie doesn’t seem to be too sure of what it even wants to do in the end though. There is happy music playing throughout the climax even when it should be a very somber tone at the time because of how things went down and you know….almost everyone is dead. Still the happy music goes on and then we get the big punch at the end. The punch was hype at least, that’s definitely the way to end things even if I think corporate could have played that a little smarter. You don’t want corporate to win per say but just make it an interesting fight and I think that makes for a more interesting climax.

Sadly the monster doesn’t have a great design for most of this. It’s more of a Blob than anything as it controls the human hosts. Think of it like a symbiote that’s running around but instead of a cool Venom design, it’s just undead. It makes the human hosts rather warped and isn’t super fast but makes up for that with power. If it catches you then it’s game over. The shark that appears for a second for no reason had more intensity to it than the monster.

Monsters reanimating a person’s body will never be as threatening or scary because that means it’s bound by how a person can move. Switch that out for a creature that can zip around at super speeds and now you’ve got something more dangerous. It also makes for more gross scenes like when we come close to the Alien chestburst scene and just in general the humans begging to die as the alien walks around a bunch. (It’s basically an alien after all) This film very much wanted to redo the Alien story while underwater and I gotta say that it did not work. Going for an actual underwater creature would have been a whole lot better.

Overall, Leviathan is not a winner here. It starts off on the wrong foot by having a really rough main cast of characters and doesn’t get any better with that underwhelming monster. When you mix it all together, you’ve got a thriller that isn’t ready for prime time. I would say the movie for once would be better without a monster. Have them stuck down there and they have to figure out how to get up without corporate stopping them. Then you could have a good thriller story with a lot of mind games. Not sure the writing would be up to it but the premise would work a whole lot better if you ask me.

Overall 3/10

The Giant Gila Monster Review


This film came out just a few years after Godzilla which is pretty cool. It definitely didn’t wait long to try and capture that giant lizard kind of feeling. It’s a pretty good film even if the budget is noticeably low for the monster so half the time he looks like a normal sized animal. The camera angles weren’t quite clever enough to try and hide this either. The writing is strong though and the film is always keeping things interesting with a human antagonist in the mix for when the creature isn’t around.

The movie starts off with a bang as the Gila monster takes out two teens who were on a pleasant drive. This is within 5 minutes of the film starting so that’s definitely one way to make your Kaiju have a lot of presence right out of the gate. From there we cut to the actual main character Chase. Chase is someone who really likes his cast cars and learning how to hot-wire them so they can go at crazy fast speeds. He is more responsible than the rest of the teens though and keeps them in check which is why he has the respect of the Sheriff. Initially they don’t think much about the kids vanishing and figure they may have just gone off to elope.

Mr. Wheeler insists that the sheriff does a more thorough job on all of this though so he enlists Chase’s help to figure out what happened. Part of the issue here is that the area is incredibly large and the Sheriff force is quite small. It’s really just the Sheriff most of the time which is why he needs to ask the teens for help. Another issue is that this area is really dense and hard to get through because of all the branches and shrubbery. It’s possible that the monster could have been here for years and nobody noticed.

While Gila does appear early on, it’s a long time until we see him show up again after that. The human story is good enough so you’ll stay engaged but I would have liked a little more creature action. It may have been hard on the special effects team but that would have been a really good way to make him appear more as a true threat. Then the characters would definitely not want to mess with this guy. It would probably change the film’s plot a bit since more disappearances would mean that the town would have to take things serious a little sooner but I think it would have been a good move.

Instead the film is more about showing what a responsible guy Chase is. He does make his mistakes like towing one of the vehicles before the Sheriff can see it, but he does help a lot more than he doesn’t. Chase also still manages to balance out time to hang with the other teenagers, do the detective work, while also working on his car business. He’s quite busy and we quickly find out why. His little sister Missy needed some work done on her legs so that she could walk again and so Chase has done his best to put up the money. He’s used all of his savings on this and works really hard so that he can get more money.

In short, Chase is really shown to be a great guy who does his best at all times to make ends meet and to help out. Without him the Sheriff would have really been in trouble here. At the same time I did like how Chase’s mistakes come back to haunt him later on when Mr. Wheeler gets involved. Little scenes like Chase stealing the broken car’s tires and headlights (Since he figures the owner won’t need them anymore) are brought up as evidence for Mr. Wheeler that Chase needs to be detained. It’s hard to argue against some of that evidence as well. We know that Chase was hard up for cash but theft is still theft.

Mr. Wheeler made for a solid antagonist in general. He isn’t a complete villain or anything as he just wants to find his kid but along the way he gets more and more unreasonable. In a way that’s probably how he is coping with his loss here. Wile the death happens immediately in the film so it’s not too sad for the audience, it’s certainly crushing to Wheeler as he has to start contending with the idea that his kid is dead as the movie goes on. I was almost starting to think they would find a way for the kid to have lived in the end as part of some perfect twist ending but the film doesn’t go back on that.

Chase’s girlfriend Lisa also does well here. She definitely doesn’t want to be split up at any point and so she accompanies Chase on his more dangerous mission. She helps out a lot with the nitro and also covers Missy when the bombs go off. Throughout the film she is very supportive and does what she can to help. The movie certainly knew how to develop strong characters. Same with the Sheriff who would stick up for Chase and called Wheeler out on his bluffs. The Sheriff was a very reasonable man and I would say he handled the situation quite well.

This movie has very strong writing which makes up for the monster not appearing all that much. You really get to enjoy the human characters here and their dialogue. The movie can feel a little long at times so for once I won’t say that the pacing was perfect but there’s really nothing to dislike in this film. It’s just a pleasant title from start to finish. I will say that I was skeptical about the nitro containers not bumping into each other with the way the characters had it set up though. Holding them all less than an inch from each other while driving a car? That’s not happening and I wonder how Chase thought he could have done this on his own. Seems to me like he would have been doomed there.

If the film has any negatives it’s that the songs aren’t very catchy. It’s definitely going for a very old beach movie kind of vibe which makes sense since this was the era but the songs haven’t aged really well. The actual soundtrack was really impressive though. There was a Twilight Zone kind of theme that would play every now and again that I thought was really solid. It helped build up the intrigue and suspense for whenever the monster would show up or even when the characters were investigating it. That was surprisingly solid.

Overall, The Giant Gila Monster is a fun film. The effects may not have aged well but the writing certainly did. The characters are all very professional and know how to get things done. It’s hard to picture a character being quite as responsible as Chase nowadays. I could have used more monster action but fortunately the human moments were strong enough where this was able to work out in the end. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a solid creature feature.

Overall 7/10

Creature from the Haunted Sea Review


When you have a film with a title like this you know you’re in for a treat. After all, films with monsters in them tend to be fun and this one is no exception. A whole lot happens throughout the movie so while it is fairly short, it doesn’t really feel that way. Roger Corman’s films tend to be rather sub par but this one surprised me as it was actually fairly good.

The movie starts out with Capetto making a deal with some resistance leaders. He will get their men onto safe land and will transport their treasure using his boat. He’ll get a nice commission of course. The general and his men agree to this deal but what they don’t know is that Capetto plans to backstab them and take the money for himself. His plan is simple, he’ll leave traces of a fake monster aboard the ship and bump the henchmen off one by one. Eventually they will all get scared and run off while Capetto keeps the money.

What Capetto doesn’t know is that an American agent known as Sparks as infiltrated his crew and is trying to find some proof of their wrongdoing. He intends to fight as hard as he can in part because he thinks Capetto’s main girl Mary-Belle needs saving. The guy is so hopelessly obsessed with her that no matter how many times she says she likes the life of crime he doesn’t believe her. What none of these characters know is that there is a true monster running around as well.

From the start you can tell that the film is having a lot of fun with this concept. It’s definitely not a serious creature feature as even for its time you’re not meant to take it seriously. The costume for the monster is really good though. His eyes kind of pop out at you that’s for sure. He also has good gripping strength so if he grabs you then it’s all over. There is just no escape at that point. It doesn’t do a whole lot in the film at first but by the end lets just say that the body count is pretty high here.

Capetto and his crew are to blame for a lot of it as well though since they bump off a lot of the resistance guys themselves. They want the treasure after all and bumping people is really the only way they know how to get it. Capetto is a smooth customer and works well as the main villain. He is able to gain people’s trust rather easily considering that he is openly a criminal. That takes a lot of skill and intelligence.

Then you have Mary-Belle who is a reasonable heroine. She certainly doesn’t mind insulting the rest of the characters quite a lot. In particular she definitely insults Sparks a lot but it’s certainly justified since the guy is way too obsessed. He has a lot of fun dialogue as the narrator but as the character himself he is clearly too distracted to do his job properly. The guy is always messing up and if he is America’s best agent then we are certainly in trouble.

Then you have Jack who falls for one of the island girls in a subplot that seems rather pointless. See, the characters crash land on an island where naturally they meet up with an island girl and her mother. Both of them get their own romantic subplots as Pete, the animal guy also falls for one of them. Pete’s gimmick is that he can mimic any animal cry with ease. He can sound like an elephant to suddenly a giant monster. Naturally you can see how this would help the plans that Capetto had in store for the others. It also leads to a rather odd sequence of Pete and the island girl communicating through the roars. One of them was also throwing a lot of insults constantly but these guys only understand English so they never picked up on it.

A comedy/parody like this really thrives on having a lot of fun moments and poking fun at a variety of story elements without dragging on. I would say this one definitely pulls that off without issue. For starters the film is pretty short as mentioned earlier and it is very entertaining. The writing is pretty solid with some good one liners and characters stating the obvious. It can all get quite dramatic like something out of a Noir title but without earning it the way most films would.

The ending is even a little unexpected I would say. There was one character that I didn’t think was going to die in the end who ultimately wasn’t able to survive. As mentioned, the body count here is high, perhaps a lot higher than the average creature feature. The ending is also pretty cool with the monster actually getting some personality in the final shot. Now that’s how you do it.

The voices for some of the characters was also something else. The voice imitation guy for example would sound really deep at some points and then would go back to normal. I would say this was true for a few characters but mainly his guy. I think the sound mixing guy was having some fun while getting this all ready. Ultimately I wouldn’t say this is a film you’ll never forget or some kind of amazing title but it was pretty good and a lot of fun. Ultimately that’s the proper foundations towards making a good movie.

Overall, Creature from the Haunted Sea was pretty good, definitely better than I had expected. It has a good mix of humor and suspense along with an interesting cast. While they are interesting, saying that they are fully likable may be a different ball game. Most of these guys are all either crooks of desperate flirts who may as well be crooks. None of them are meant to be all that likable but at the same time the film doesn’t go out of its way to paint them as terrible characters or anything. They do murder people but by and large they stick to knocking people off rather quickly. If you want to check out a film that’s rather outside the box then this one will be up your alley. Just watch out for the monster because he means business!

Overall 7/10

Fiend without a Face Review


When you have a title like this you know that you’re going to be in for some pretty solid hype. After all, if the fiend doesn’t have a face then how are you going to attack it? Wits alone will not be enough to stop this foe. The movie has a lot of interesting ideas and while it will ultimately go down as just another creature feature, it was pretty fun.

The movie starts off by introducing us to a small town. Things were going well here until the army decided to set up shop with one of their big bases. The locals were not thrilled about this and now that people are vanishing and getting murdered all over the place, the town blames them. The army has Major Jeff take a look into this since they need to find out why people are dying. He meets up with a lady named Barbara and quickly grows to like her but is still getting verbally attacked by the townsfolk.

Now the stakes are higher, if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this then he will never get to be with her. Fortunately there is a suspicious scientist named Walgate who may know more than he is letting on. Jeff will need to keep his guard up though or else he will be buried along with the rest of the town’s secrets.

Jeff is a perfectly reasonable main character. I would say that his romance plot starts a little too suddenly for me to take it all that seriously though. The guy falls for Barbara within a few seconds which will make you shake your head a bit. Keep in mind that he is investigating a lot of murders so he should have too much on his mind for that. He also gets a little sloppy when he enters an abandoned tomb on his own.

Remember, the whole town can’t stand him and one guy even started a fight. So you really shouldn’t be taking crazy chances on your own. Fortunately Barbara and his army partner find him but the guy nearly died. At least he is a good shot though which comes in handy near the end of the film. Then you have Barbara who is a good heroine. She does have a tendency to panic a lot like some of the more retro heroines. It would be nice if she had fought more against the monsters but she tends to lose the battle the instant it starts.

As for Walgate, he’s easily the worst character in the film. I would call him a full on villain even if he tries to play the whole “I didn’t mean it” card. The guy actively tried to murder Jeff and there’s no way to talk his way out of that one. Walgate panics a lot and you wonder what the point of his experiments was anyway. Either way he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to regret things.

As for the creatures themselves, I have to say that their character designs are spot on. Basically they’re brains that are floating around with a spinal cord as a tail of sorts. It’s a very unique design and one that you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon. Now I will say it may not be a very intimidating design but they have a very solid gripping strength. Once they have you around the neck it’s basically game over.

They aren’t quite bullet proof though so once the army is ready for them then things go a bit differently. Their main advantage was being invisible after all. Without that they just didn’t stand a chance. It can be a little violent with how the heroes shoot them though. Between the fact that it already looks like a brain as it is and they are getting shot to death, well it’s a lot for such an old time film. It’s nothing too crazy of course but just enough where you may do a double take for a second there.

The writing is on point as the dialogue between all of the characters is pretty solid. It holds up quite well which is definitely not surprising. The pacing is pretty good and the movie is always moving at a pretty quick pace. I was also glad that Jeff was able to win in the fight against the jealous townsperson as losing that fight would have been iffy. We even get a quick town hall type meeting which was cool.

It’s following a rather classic creature feature format but one that works really well as long as it’s executed the right away. This one did properly follow the steps as the monster is slowly bumping various people off while the heroes get closer and closer to cracking the case. Once they make it, you can’t help but feel a sense of triumph even if that doesn’t mean the film is quite over. Walgate is just annoying enough where you were looking forward to seeing the heroes mess up his plans. His fake politeness fits in with the dialogue but you could tell the characters weren’t buying what he was selling.

Overall, The movie is just short enough where it isn’t able to deal with the alien invasion as thoroughly as you might hope, but it still manages to make for an interesting experience. It’s even part mystery you could say as Jeff tries to figure out why they are here and how the creatures were created. This doesn’t exactly seem like something that happened naturally after all. If you like creature feature films then this is a good one to check out. By the end you will see just how dangerous the brain can be.

Overall 6/10

King Kong Escapes Review


King Kong is back for another adventure. This time we get to see a bit of a different take with him as he fights a mecha opponent without having any guest stars here to help him. It’s a fun title and I would even say that it is the best of the solo King Kong films. There’s good action to be found here and a solid amount of humor which makes for a good combo.

The movie starts with Commander Carl and his team heading to King Kong’s island after the weather and their poor ship force their hand. Kong rules Mondo Island and takes down powerful fighters like Gorosaurus and an aquatic Kaiju. He wants Susan to stay with him but she decides to head back with the rest of the gang. This allows Hu and Piranha to show up and kidnap King Kong.

This is certainly an issue though since they can now access a mysterious element that will allow them to take over the world. Carl and crew are tasked with stopping their ambitions. The easiest way would be to free Kong from their control but can they really stop the villains or will they just end up getting captured as well? After all, if the villains can even capture a Kaiju, what hope do a pair of humans really have?

Now this film does raise some questions about when this takes place. The heroes have a hovercraft at the ready and Hu was able to build a Mecha Kong of his own. So when you think about it, this has to take place in the far future right? The rest of the movie doesn’t support that but I do think it makes the most sense.

King Kong Escapes is a very light hearted film which works pretty well here. There’s a lot of fun dialogue between the characters. The film even seems to poke fun at how the main guy would usually fall for the villainess as here he couldn’t care less. Carl doesn’t even come close to falling for her trap which is pretty fun. While this is a King Kong film, it’s fair to say that the humans have the biggest focus.

The most ambitious character here would be Piranha. She is a villain who works for a government that is never named. Her people look Japanese but are stated to be from somewhere else. There is a lot of mystery around her but the issue is that nothing ever comes of it. I’m fairly confident that she is part of an alien species but at least if you only go from the film then it’s really hard to say one way or the other if that is actually accurate.

Piranha talks a very good game throughout the film but slowly as the adventure goes on she starts to lose her hype. Hu starts to call her bluff until she basically quits so she can have some tea and things really turn out poorly for her after that. Her character was odd but fun. Meanwhile Hu is a little hard to take seriously as the main villain. He wasn’t nearly as interesting and since his mecha version of Kong was getting wrecked by the elements in the opening scenes it is hard to take that thing seriously.

It’s probably good that they didn’t call this a vs film because the two fighters are just not equal. King Kong is shown to be far more powerful than this robot and isn’t afraid to show it. If not for the humans constantly mind controlling him and messing with the poor guy, it would have been a very short film. Of course, fans of king Kong should appreciate how good he looks here. The guy is definitely not taking any prisoners.

Aside from Carl and Susan, the other main character here is Jiro. He’s the first so suspect that Piranha’s group is probably not legitimate. That said, the heroes basically had to go along with the trap to try and get some info while foiling Hu’s plans but it’s good he noticed what was going on. He and Susan did well in withstanding the freeze room as well while Carl was enjoying a nice warm drink.

The writing is solid as expected and the pacing is good as the film really flows by. The action scenes are solid like with Gorosaurus giving King Kong the combos for a while. It has the feeling of an old Godzilla film but with an American touch. That certainly seems like a fitting combo for a King Kong film and it’s just too bad that they couldn’t have made more installments in the series. That may have been their chance to explain what Piranha’s group was really after and if they are aliens or not.

Overall, King Kong Escapes is a good film. I wouldn’t say there are any real issues here. I will admit that the human plots may be more interesting than the Kong stuff though even if the fights were fun. It was just nice to see the heroes talking it out with the villains and a little spying going on. The retro atmosphere of the film just makes it all flow together. It would have been nice to see more of the robot or King Kong resisting the villains more but at the end of the day I suppose mind control is just too powerful. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say it’s time to change that. It’ll be hard for any King Kong film to surpass this one.

Overall 7/10

The Crawling Eye Review


This movie’s definitely a little interesting with the promotion. See, the name of “The Trollenberg Terror” sounds a little more hype to be honest and also doesn’t spoil the final boss too quickly. Although if the poster is the same then it doesn’t matter either way I guess. I decided to do a quick check and the Eye doesn’t appear until the final 17 minutes. Of that time I’d guess its screen time is probably more like 12 minutes or less when you factor in all the planning and the ending after him. To think people said Godzilla didn’t appear much in his films…

The movie starts with showing us a mountain climbing “accident” where one of the climbers quite literally lost his head. A lot of people don’t want to come to Trollenberg anymore and why should they right? Climbers are vanishing left and right and there is rarely even a trace of them. Now, that part was interesting since they explicitly say that people always vanish entirely so I guess the alien monster got sloppy on that one?
We then get our main characters Anne, Sarah, and Alan. Alan is a UN worker who has dealt with the occult before and it didn’t exactly go very well for him the last time. It was a very similar circumstance with clouds showing up and then people going missing. He gradually lets us know more about the last incident but conveniently always waits until events happen. For example, last time he also witnessed zombie survivors who tried to murder everyone but doesn’t tell anyone here until someone is nearly murdered.

Still, while he knows that this is real, he is hesitant to actually make a move due to the fact that last time there was no evidence. Then you have Sarah and her telepathic sister Anne. Anne feels some kind of urge to want to stay in Trollenberg. Unfortunately, she is a telepath who is quite susceptible to the alien’s attacks so she keeps trying to climb the mountain where she will be murdered. Fortunately, each of her attempts are always foiled or things would have gotten pretty dicey for her. I’m glad she is trying hard but you wish she could do better. In general that’s the issue with telepaths at times.

Throughout the movie she keeps on saying things like “Watch out!” “Stop!” and things like that. The problem is that her warnings are never very specific and if you listened to them then the heroes would never make a move against the villains. Additionally, she is trying to fight the enemies on her own so of course when she tries to climb the mountain then it makes the others think it can’t be that dangerous right? Even by the end of the film she just gets choked by one of the villains so her powers never end up helping. Sarah does her best to help Anne but doesn’t end up doing much in the film.

From the main characters I would say Alan is the best one. Put it this way, he didn’t want to try and tell people or the government about what was going on but only because when he did the last time he got burned for it. So at least he tried once and in this film he punches out the villains several times so you have to give him some credit there. He is also the one who comes up with the fire bombs plan which ended up being incredibly effective as well so there’s that.

As for the eye monster…well it doesn’t look great. Like I said, he barely even gets to appear and is defeated almost instantly. I have no doubts that he is actually very tough of course but….you just can’t go down that easily. Aside from the people he took out off screen he basically beat like 2-3 people max. That’s not a very impressive number. The monster’s yell is pretty intense though, it really has quite the voice so you’ll hear it for miles.

Part of the plot here is that the monster can mind control people for a limited time after murdering them. Of course…this only works if it doesn’t rip their heads off like the first guy so again I have to admit that the first scene just seems like it’s just there for shock value. The bodies all vanishing makes a lot more sense for what the villain is going for here. The humans look terrible though as two of them lose to a dead guy with an axe. The first guy you could give the excuse of being caught off guard but the second guy? I don’t think so….

The writing is pretty solid as you would expect for a retro film like this. It builds up the suspense pretty well and this could even feel like a Twilight Zone episode. You see the fog coming over to the mountain although probably due to budget reasons don’t expect to get a clear view of it. You may be reminded of The Fog horror films but just remember that this one came first so it actually had the initial idea. That’s what I like to see, it’s most impressive.

Aside from having low screen time though, the creature should have been buffed a little more though. The main characters should not be able to push it back with a single axe. That just looks pretty bad for it and one stick with some fire at the end of it should not be enough to do much of anything. Nah..I can’t buy that. It’s a giant monster, it should be causing massive damage right? If you ask me that makes the most sense so we should have had it completely crushing the mountain and storming the base. Of course the humans would be a little doomed of course.

Overall, The Crawling Eye is a good creature feature movie. Lets face it though, the movie would be even better if the monster had gotten to appear more of course but as it stands, it still made for a pretty interesting villain. What the film should have done was just reduce the amount of time put into the intro. The dialogue is all pretty compelling but we’re here for the monster. Alternately, extend the run time of the film by around 20 minutes which should cover you pretty well on that avenue and then also get you more time for the hype action.

Overall 7/10

The Terror Beneath the Sea Review


When you think of creature features you’re probably thinking of something along the lines of The Creature from the Black Lagoon or something like that. Well, this one definitely holds its own with those and even beats a lot of the classics. The monsters are actually pretty impressive here and the main character can really fight well in hand to hand combat. Mix those things together and you’ve certainly got a winner on your hands.

The movie starts with the Navy demonstrating their new torpedo’s to a bunch of reporters and government workers. It’s a torpedo that hones in on a target and has amazing power. It’s 99% accurate which sounds pretty impressive. During the demonstration they see what looks to be like an alien life form. Of course the government doesn’t want to confirm this so reporters Ken and Jenny decide to check things out for themselves. Unfortunately they’ve stumbled upon something that may be bigger than they could have dreamed.

In a way the film is blending your usual creature feature type film with more of a martial arts adventure. To an extent this feels more like a classic Godzilla film than the creature that couldn’t die or any number of films like that. The writing is excellent here with a lot of solid lines and characters. You may not remember a lot of the specific character names (I had to look them up for the leads) but they are solid characters. Just seeing Ken go out and start fighting these creatures instead of just falling over was a nice improvement from the usual lead in these films.

Ken’s a very solid main character. As I mentioned, he isn’t afraid to go out and fight these guys head on. He’s brave throughout and was also quick to go to Jenny’s defense when the admiral was taking shots at her. He’s a standup guy and someone who isn’t afraid to risk his life for a good story.

Jenny is also pretty solid here. Dropping the camera was pretty unfortunate but she was always willing to go with Ken on the dangerous diving tasks to find the cave. Even when the admiral was basically insulting her to her face like asking if she had seen a psychiatrist or saying that she was hysterical. Jenny took this in stride and continues to back up that she had seen something down there. The government also basically knows that she is right but can’t admit it in case of bad PR. I’m not even sure what the government’s plan was long term since the truth was going to come out at some point anyway.

Now it’s a rather small thing but there’s a scene near the middle/end of the film that drags on a lot. It’s when the movie is showing us the process of creating these creatures. It’s a bit of a grotesque transformation as they turn from humans into these aquatic beings. It’s certainly a rather unfortunate fate for these poor guys. Sometimes earning powers feels like it’s worth it but not in this case especially since it’s not like you can change your appearance back to what it used to be.

The actual design for the creatures is great once you get past the transformation though. They look sort of like the Gill Man. They have a design that allows them to fight rather well and the film takes advantage of it with some real fight scenes. Both hand to hand action scenes as well as gun fights. It’s a solid mix so you’ll be engaged from start to finish. Even the final climax gets more intense than you’d expect with a last run for safety and a big battle against high odds.

There’s one plot in the film that feels rather pointless though to be honest. So after the subs locate the monsters from the opening scenes…they don’t do anything. The navy basically tells the captain that they are not allowed to make a move. So throughout the film the captain says he’s going to go down anyway and the guy reminds him that he is not allowed to make a move. This scene is effectively repeated 3-4 different times with variations of the same conversation. By the end the guy still hasn’t done anything so I just wonder what the point was. If it was meant to be a humor plot…I don’t think it really worked.

This movie’s just a little over an hour so it’s a very short one. It makes for an easy watch and that’s why it’s impressive that it stood out so much. I dare say that you will remember this film a whole lot more than your average creature feature. The main villain is also pretty memorable and leaves an impression. He’s one of those guys who always wears sunglasses, even when indoors and in a bright room. He does let his guard down rather easily at the end of the film which is pretty much fatal though. Just a few more minutes and he would have made it to the end.

Overall, The Terror Beneath the Sea is a film that certainly surpasses expectations. I’d say you can look forward to a very fun experience here when you check out the film. It’s got a good story, a solid cast, and great writing. Throw in the good battle scenes and this movie has everything you can possibly want. The line delivery is always on point and it’s a film with high replay value thanks to the length and battles. This is the kind of film I’d like to see more of nowadays. The title is also a keeper because it’s just so direct so right away you get the right idea about what is going to happen here. If we could have actually had some progression on the whole captain plot in the sub that would have been ideal though. I still find it hard to believe that the plot didn’t go anywhere and wonder if there were some extra scenes that didn’t make the final cut.

Overall 7/10

The Thing That Couldn’t Die Review


When you have a title like this you know that you’re about to be in for a true creature feature title. It’s definitely a very classic film that isn’t trying to do anything new or different. The heroes fight among themselves a whole lot here which just makes things even easier for the villain. It’s a solid film that flies by very quickly.

The movie starts with Jessica helping some people find treasure using her dowsing abilities. She has psychic abilities that let her know things in general and she specializes in locating objects. That being said, people are skeptical of her abilities and probably a little jealous as well. She doesn’t let it get to her too much though. Unfortunately when they find a haunted treasure chest that Jessica forbids them from opening, nobody listens. A troublemaker tricks someone into opening the chest where they find a the head of Gideon. Gideon quickly enslaves the poor guy with his hypnotic abilities. Now he is trying to locate the rest of his body.

Gideon is one of those guys who is fairly overpowered in this world. All he needs is a quick glance and he can mind control anyone. Fortunately it does seem like he can only control one person at a time though so he has to relinquish his hold over the other person. To defeat him you have to just take him down quickly without making contact or by holding a cross. Gideon gets wrecked twice when people grab their local crosses. He’s not a very intimidating villain though since for most of the film he’s just a head that people are holding up. He really has to bank on the fact that nobody is able to see him.

I thought perhaps the film was going to go for the angle that he brings out the worst in people as well which would explain why everyone was acting so shady. That said, it just turned out that none of the town’s folk liked each other very much. It’s not a particularly strong cast. Take Jessica, her powers are pretty handy but she panics a lot and never elaborates. When they dig up the chest she is quick to say that they better not open it and that she’ll leave but she can’t elaborate more except to say that it feels evil. Of course people aren’t going to take her seriously.

She didn’t do a good job of explaining herself which is normal for psychic users. They always just talk really vaguely and hope people will take them seriously. Then you have the main guy Gordon. His role isn’t all that big though. He is on Jessica’s side the whole time at least like when telling the town to back off when they kept asking her to use her talents. That said, it was a lot of money they were all going to make. Ultimately Jessica got mind controlled so she ended up helping out anyway though.

The characters just didn’t do themselves any favors. The aunt was nice enough at least. She didn’t seem to understand what was happening but did try to chip in. We even get the cops involved at one point which was pretty intense as they showed up to take names and solve this case. Gideon made it awfully easy on them by sending in his first victim. It does seem like he is able to at least give a final order when transferring his hostage possession over to someone else.

There’s also a rather pointless subplot with a painter who is dumped by one of the girls after she is mind controlled. The guy takes it really hard and then decides to go after Jessica as a rebound. Again, this makes more sense if Gideon is basically corrupting the town, but the evil atmosphere Jessica would sense seemed to only apply to Gieon’s mind control itself. Also, she didn’t notice when her best friend was mind controlled so ultimately the psychic abilities didn’t help when they mattered most.

The best part of the film would have to be the climax where they finally get to go up against Gideon. Naturally as you can imagine there was a lot of panicking here but at least we got to finally see the villain in his whole state trying to stir up some action. Now that’s what you want to see here to make things a little more interesting. I’d have been up for more of that action but the general plot of someone basically messing with the town by switching hosts over and over again isn’t bad either.

The movie is just very by the books and what keeps it from being as interesting as other films in the genre is that the character roster is fairly weak. Usually you have really strong writing to keep this at a high level but this film’s writing is more standard. It’s good but it doesn’t jump out at you or anything like that. There’s also a brief flashback for Gideon but it doesn’t really do much for him as a character since you already knew roughly what happened to him in the past.

Overall, The Thing That Couldn’t Die is a forgettable film. It’s a good title but there are just better versions of this kind of story out there as it is so I don’t think this one will stand out for you very much. If you want to see a film with some suspense and thriller elements then I’d recommend checking it out though. At the very least you can see how a small town community could try to handle this development although they aren’t quite aware of the threat for most of the movie. Jessica knows something is happening but everyone else just seriously doubts anything is amiss. I suppose there isn’t much reason to believe a head is going around controlling people though since it all seems like normal crimes going around. The shady townsperson who got bumped off early on was pretty close to becoming a big villain himself.

Overall 6/10

Earth vs. The Spider Review


When you think about giant spiders odds are that Kumonga will be one of the first guys you think about. That makes sense because he is a pretty fierce beast. Still, this spider also ends up looking pretty good and it’s a movie that has aged rather well. It’s a simple film that has a plot that you can fully understand within a minute but it makes for a good watch nonetheless. The pacing is good and the cast of characters is likable so that’s already two green flags for the film.

The movie starts off with Carol’s dad on the freeway where he is unfortunately murdered by a giant spider. Carol and Mike head over to a haunted cave to search for him and just barely manage to escape the Giant Spider. They call in the science teacher Kingman as well as the Sheriff. The trouble is that aside from Kingman nobody believes them. Is there any way to convince the town of the giant spider’s existence or are they all doomed to be crushed beneath the power of this monster before they have a chance to properly counter attack? Only time will tell.

Earth vs. The Spider feels like a very short film. I want to say that it’s barely over an hour so things move really quickly. I’ll give the heroes props for venturing through the cave and for escaping with their lives since that seems difficult at times. The film has a good sense of danger with the Spider as it walks around smashing buildings and such. It’s certainly big enough to be a true threat after all so it’s not like it’ll be easy to block it away.

That said, the Spider seems kind of weak despite this. The heroes are able to push it away with electricity, fire, and knockout gas. When you put all of that together they should be able to win this pretty quick. I was actually a little puzzled when the cops basically said to ditch the knockout gas since it didn’t prove to be fatal. The original intent was to destroy the spider but surely using a substance that knocked it out for hours would still be handy here right? At the very least I think they should have kept it as an option. We do get some nice chase scenes with the Spider though so it shows that even as a giant monster it still had a good amount of agility.

As for the human characters, Kingman is the obvious MVP. For starters he believes the kids right away and also had fun making very serious suggestions about handling the spider even when nobody else believed him. He was someone you could count on the whole time. He was quick on his feet and if a plan didn’t work then he would quickly transition to a new one. Kingman was just a pro and he had a lot of snappy dialogue. Another strength for the film is that the writing is solid which is to be expected for a retro film like this. They always seem to have stellar dialogue.

Mike and Carol may not be able to steal the show the way Kingman does but they are good characters as well. Mike is considerate and always steps in to help Carol when she wants him to do something. At one point he was ready to finally watch a movie only for her to have him go back in the haunted cave again so he gets props for that. Meanwhile Carol is good as well. While I don’t agree with her decision to go back into the cave and risk certain destruction for a necklace/ring, I suppose she did well in going through most of the cave. It’s just a little mixup of priorities in this instance.

The Sherriff was definitely a fun character to help keep the leads in check. Naturally he doesn’t buy into this giant spider business one bit and why should he? Giant spiders are the stuff of legends after all. In general the town is pretty nonchalant about having a giant spider once it’s found out though so I guess the town is made of sterner stuff. The Sherriff may be skeptical the whole time but to be fair he did step in when needed.

While the film may not strike fear into your heart the way the movie was probably hoping it would, the core story is still good. It’s the kind of movie that’s easy to watch. The core fundamentals you want from any film is a cast of good characters and solid writing. This movie has both of those elements so it’s not really surprising that it ended up being a solid watch. If anything it ends so fast that you really wouldn’t mind if it lasted a bit longer. Even if just to see more of the town’s reactions as some people fled while others took charge.

Overall, I would recommend checking this film out. The title may have a lot of hyperbole as there isn’t really any big battle involving the whole planet but if you think of the town as it’s own little world then I guess that’s the best we can come up with here. The Spider itself is solid. The design may just be that of a normal giant spider but at least the roar is unique even if it doesn’t seem very fitting for the monster. If you like a good ole fashioned creature feature then this is definitely one you will want to check out.

Overall 7/10

Attack of the Crab Monsters Review


Whenever you see a title like this you know you’re going to be in for a good time. They just don’t make creature features like this one anymore. At the same time Roger Corman usually only delivers pretty bad film experiences at least from the titles that I’ve seen so this was really a close one. Would it be amazing, terrible, or somewhere in the middle? I wasn’t sure if I was ready to find out but then it was time to dive in and it actually worked out quite well. This is definitely his definitive title at the moment.

The movie starts by introducing us to the main cast. They’re not exactly the most memorable characters but you’ll quickly get the dynamic. You’ve got the main heroine Martha who is an experienced biologist. She is going to an island along with fellow scientists Dale, Hank, and a few other people. This group is trying to do some research on the radiation that covered this island not too long ago. I feel like they should have protective suits but I suppose at this time it wasn’t really known quite how long radiation would tend to linger in the area. Well, everything appears normal at first until it turns out that the radiation has changed the Crabs in the area. Now there are huge Crabs roaming the area and murdering people left and right. The heroes want to get off the island but it isn’t really an option at the moment because of huge storms. When you try to escape your plane either blows up or you fall into the ocean and get obliterated. Making things worse is the fact that they can hear the voices of their dead friends.

One thing that really differentiated this from your classic monster film is the whole ghosts aspect. Now it seems like there are ghosts around but there’s actually a great deal of intelligence on the crabs part making it seem that way. Here’s where things get pretty interesting. The film has an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers element to it on top of the classic Godzilla action. There’s even a bit of a mental thriller aspect here. So the Crabs have the ability to mimic the people they murder as well as hold onto their memories. They turn these people into their arms of sorts and also get regeneration. It’s sort of like a hivemind of sorts. Once you are absorbed you can say goodbye to being a good guy. It made the enemies so much more interesting than they would usually be. I mean, a giant monster running around blowing people up works well too but I just liked this spin on things.

One of the best scenes in the film is when one character goes outside after hearing his friend call out to him. Now you do have to excuse the fact that this guy isn’t very smart at all since the “friend” is saying a lot of suspicious stuff like coming alone to the abandoned cave in the middle of the night and not to tell anyone. That should throw up a few red flags right? I mean…what friend would tell you that? Well, the guy goes anyway and does the whole “Where are you” yells while looking around. That’s when you hear the guy say “Right here man” in a very calm voice as a giant claw shows up and ends the guy. It’s a pretty intense scene partially because it’s so unexpected. I mean, you know foul play was involved from the start but I just wasn’t expecting these mastermind Crabs. It was really quite genius.

Now, that’s not to say that the movie is perfect of course. The writing is pretty solid but the characters are all very lacking in common sense. You wonder how they became such top notch scientists because they make a lot of mistakes here. Splitting up, entering abandoned caves, etc. Even by the end Hank gets way closer to the giant Crab than he needs to. You could have done the plan from a better distance. Then you’ve got Dale who is always trying to keep Martha out of the action but leaving her by herself isn’t really going to help her out much. I also question the scene with the Giant Crab in the closet and his reaction. He basically panicked and ran out but did the whole “Can’t tell you what’s going on” to Martha and split. You should probably mention the Giant Crab right away.

The movie has some pretty intense scenes like one guy’s head literally getting taken out but the film’s usually not very gruesome. It can be surprisingly intense for its age but it’s nothing too drastic so you should be okay. The Crabs just don’t take any prisoners and I could have told you that. I suppose the worst thing you can say about the film is that it’s fairly forgettable. The characters are all very traditional with personalities that just don’t stick. Martha’s a nice lady who knows a lot about science but does faint if things get too difficult. Dale is the everyday man of the group who does his best to cope with the situation but tends to snap a lot. Then you have Hank who can come up with ideas at times but isn’t even the smart one of the group because everyone here is relatively smart. Then there are two sailors who are around but you know that they’re doomed from the start.

The most annoying character is easily the oldest scientist. So he figures out that something is wrong almost immediately but refuses to say anything about it. He keeps telling the other characters that they’ll know eventually but that’s not very helpful in a life or death situation. He kind of goes out like a chump too. I dunno what the guys deal was. To me it felt like half the time he wanted the humans to lose to the Crabs but when he got bumped off he didn’t seem too keen on the idea anymore. Maybe the whole thing just played out better in his head? That’s the only explanation I can think of but it didn’t do him any wonders. Makes for some fun dynamics though.

Overall, Attack of the Crab Monsters is a pretty surreal film. It works really well though in large part due to how original it is. You just don’t see movies like this with the monsters actually having master plans and overwhelming the heroes like this. The main monster basically acted like a tactical genius and I suppose it makes sense with how many people he’s absorbed. The voices added to the effect and the movie just passes by real quickly. The characters aren’t very smart but I wouldn’t dock points for the film from that. The writing is still a lot of fun and this just feels like a very balanced movie. You really can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10