Mr. Sardonicus Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror film about torture and violence. If this doesn’t already sound like a one way ticket to Amityville then brace yourself because we’re in for a very slippery film that just keeps on falling down the tunnel. It’s often hard to say when a film like this one first ends up falling as it couldn’t even start on a high note. What I will say is that the film certainly is impressive in how poorly written it was for the 60s. That era usually had quite solid writing.

The film starts with Robert getting a mysterious letter from an old friend. He was close to Maude for a time but then she ended up marrying a rich baron so Robert traveled overseas to get rich by being a doctor. Well, she wants him to come to her manor to chat about old times and if he doesn’t come then she will surely die. Robert hurries over and is so excited to see her again that he ignores the torture and murder happening within the building. Still, there won’t be anyone left to save him if he dawdles too long. Sardonicus will release him and Maude if Robert cures his face. If he does not, then he shall die. Can Robert do this?

Robert isn’t a very heroic character. He is proud of his Knightly ways and cannot bring himself to harm even a villain. That’s why even though a lot of terrible things are happening in the castle he cannot make a move. To do so would be impolite and as a gentleman he must be courteous at all times. Even when he gives his word to protect one of the servants from any future violence he leaves her alone with the villains multiple times as he heads off to enjoy a meal. It’s hard to root for Robert at all since he isn’t even smart. After reading the letter and everything mentioned above, he is swayed by the sob story of Sardonicus. Maude even tells him upfront after this that her life is at stake and Robert jokes that as a wife of course she is worried for Sardonicus. You’d have to have gotten hit in the head really hard right before saying that to really believe such a thing. Robert is just as dense as a brick. Lets also not forget that he won’t even use any of the risky treatments on Sardonicus because he worries for the villain’s safety. Even though such a decision would result in Maude’s death. This is our main character?

Naturally Sardonicus isn’t a good villain either. His sob story amounts to him trying to rob a grave and getting his face defiled for his efforts. Karma occurred very quickly and now he will take it out on everyone else. I can’t say that I feel bad for him and it just reminds you even more that he is a rather petty villain. His excuse for all of the inhumane experiments is to find a cure, but half of them had no actual correlation to his affliction and he later admits that he just does it as punishment. The guy can’t even decide on why he does what he does.

Then we have Maude who definitely isn’t the smartest of characters. Lets just think about this again. Sardonicus is all alone in the castle except for his one attendant Krull. Krull is often sent on faraway missions like heading to the city to recruit Robert. At that point Maude could have easily escaped. Sardonicus is often locked away in his room as well. Now perhaps her father is still a hostage but then that character would have to be so inept that I can’t even comprehend it. Furthermore the film doesn’t even try to make sense with this. Before I get into it I should mention that the same thing applies to Krull. The film tells us a few times that he is a very strong man who obeys Sardonicus absolutely. But why though? He is strong enough to destroy his master and live a very comfortable life. Especially since nobody actually sees Sardonicus anyway so he could just keep on using his money. Instead he let Sardonicus punish him a few times without actually trying to fight back.

All right, time for the real plot hole here. So, Sardonicus is feared by everyone on the island. It’s to the point where the men of the island allow their daughters to be sacrificed to him every year. Why not move away? Why not storm the building? Again, this could make sense if Sardonicus had a lot of people under his influence like in most similar films of this genre. Here he is just a single man with a single attendant. It would be a simple matter for a mob to enter and liberate anyone still alive. At the very least they could easily destroy him. Instead for whatever reason the police refuse to do anything and people don’t even move away. At most this could make sense if Sardonicus had some kind of political clout, but the sob story showed that he was just an ordinary guy who happened to win the lottery and got rich. That doesn’t give him any kind of diplomatic immunity. The film just couldn’t even think its own plot all the way through.

Overall, This was a pretty terrible film. It’s just gritty to be gritty and none of the characters can think for themselves. They just go along with whatever Sardonicus has planned and never stop to question why they are doing this. The plot’s flimsy and the characters aren’t good. The film feels like it lasts for an eternity before it’s over and the whole time you will just be wondering how this got past pre production. The narrator who appears at the beginning and end of the film is also a chore to get through. His jokes don’t land at all and he takes forever to get to the point. I would highly recommend staying away from this film.

Overall 0/10

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Mystery of the Wax Museum Review

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It’s time for a really old film. This one came out over 20 years before the original Godzilla title so you can tell that this one has been around for quite a while. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t help disprove the myth that old films are boring. The pacing is quite bad and the film spends far too much time on scenes that simply don’t matter. It’s a shame since this film tried to be a mystery thriller, but forgot to include the actual thrills. The Mystery of the Wax Museum is unraveled within the first 20 minutes (Or seconds if you looked at the poster) so that doesn’t leave the film with a lot of material.

We have a reporter named Florence who typically doesn’t do too well in the biz. That being said, she’s never afraid to go after the long shots and this is the case when she finds out about a possible wax scandal. It involves stolen alcohol and dead bodies so her editor, Jim, doesn’t believe her. He spends most of the film insulting and belittling her, but deep down he’s a nice guy….or so the film wants you to think. Florence eventually realizes the truth, that the new Wax Museum’s statues are all actual people who have been murdered. Unfortunately, she is quickly overpowered by a very strong old cripple. Can the cops save her in time?

The film actually starts out in the distant past and shows us how Igor turned from a normal businessman into a psychotic murderer. See, all it took was a quick fire that burned down his entire life’s work. He murders a guy in the fist fight though…I think. Maybe the guy escaped, but it doesn’t matter. Igor decided that nobody can craft as well as he can so he’ll have to use actual bodies to make sure that they are accurate. That starts his long road into villainy. We’ve also got a subplot where Florence’s friend, Charlotte and her fiancee Ralph are thrown into the mix since Ralph works there.

Ralph doesn’t suspect anything though. He’s working along side a pair of crooks and both are pretty suspect, but Ralph fears nothing. Right up until the very end Ralph is completely useless. You’d think that he would perform well since his fiancee is in danger right? Not a chance, Ralph goes down faster than a sack of potatoes. A single punch is all Igor needs to take him down. After that, he gets up again only to be defeated once more. I found myself face palming and chuckling at the same time. I don’t think this should be possible and maybe my imagination just proved to be a stronger reality than this film.

Charlotte’s not an interesting character either and is just here to be here. Florence shouldn’t be that bad since she is made to be the tough Lois Lane character of the film. That being said, it’s hard to take seriously. She talks a good game, but the ending destroys her. She decides to randomly marry her boss despite the two of them arguing at every turn. He seemed to have no real respect for her whatsoever and just popped the question for the lolz. Maybe he didn’t think she would accept. Also, she could have been rich otherwise. The ending makes absolutely no sense whatsoever….so it was pretty appropriate.

As for Igor, he’s a pretty lousy villain. There’s nothing interesting about him at all. His final battle is humorous, but for all the wrong reasons. He was horribly disfigured by the fire and crippled to an extent. He hasn’t walked all that much in years aside from when he goes to kidnap people. Yet, he has the skills to defeat about a half dozen police officers and random civilians back to back to back. He only loses in the end to sheer numbers and firepower as he takes an unfortunate dip. I can’t help, but think that the film was just trying to extend its run time at that point.

The worst thing about the film is the fact that it is very boring. The film refuses to move at anything past a snail’s pace. The Cops don’t believe the reporter and they really shouldn’t, but I wish they would try to look around and find evidence or something. Instead, they just go back to the party and read dirty magazines all day. Is this really how the police should be portrayed? I mean seriously…this was just embarrassing for them.

The fight scenes were also pretty low end to downright bad as well. The first one with Igor and his partner was just flat out terrible. It got surprisingly intense considering this was back in the day with underhanded tactics being prevalent all around. Beyond that, the film does really show its age. Everything feels really old. The camera work suffers the most from this, but the backdrops aren’t all that bad. They hold up decently well as a city always looks good, whether it’s the 60’s or more modern.

There’s not really a soundtrack as you probably expected from such an old film. What could have saved this film? It’s hard to say since the film never seemed like it even had much potential to start off with. I suppose having a better cast would have helped a lot and taking out the random marriage proposal at the end as well. Ralph should have put up a better fight to help his fiancee and the cops shouldn’t have struggled so much against a very weakened old guy. At least say that he use some kind of super human serum on himself. Instead, he has the strength of a monster for no real reason. I also find it hard to believe that breaking into a hospital and stealing bodies is so easy, even back then. Surely they have heard of security patrols right? Also, since it made the news, you’d think that someone besides the lead reporter would notice that the victims matched the new displays perfectly.

Overall, Mystery of the Wax Museum is a mystery film that I’d recommend skipping out on. If anything, just watch one of the newer versions, but I definitely can’t vouch for those either. For all I know, those are worse. I wouldn’t call this a horrible film as it manages to keep its class for the most part, but it’s just a bore which really defeats the entire purpose of watching the film. If it’s not going to be any fun, you may as well go back to sleep and take a little nap. That way you’ll be ready to watch a different film.

Overall 4/10

Only Angels Have Wings Review

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After that last review, I figured I should take a look at an old film that I actually enjoyed. This one’s not great by any means and had its share of flaws, but I would still call it a good film in the end. The airplane scenes were cool and it makes you remember how far we’ve come with the technology. A good plane nowadays is certainly a lot better than the ones they used to make back in the day.

The film starts off with a pilot dying due to his overconfidence as he wanted to treat a new tourist, Bonnie, to a dinner. The other characters have a party about this, which upsets the heroines. They explain that to cope with loss they treat it as a celebration instead of mourning. It’s a very..intriguing approach. One that is used quite a lot in real life, but not to that extent. It’s a little overdone if you ask me and it made the main romance here very hard to buy. After all, with the other guy out of the way, Geoff decides to make his move. Meanwhile, a new pilot has arrived to replace him. Bat has a bad reputation though as he bailed out on another pilot back in the day and that pilot was related to Kid, one of the pilots on the current team. As a result, everyone shuns him and he is left with all of the dangerous tasks. His wife, who is an old “friend” of Geoff is upset by this. Will this team ever come together?

Geoff’s not a bad lead, but his romance is a little tricky considering the circumstances. Plus, he has a policy of never asking anyone to do anything. This means that his pride won’t allow him to ask Bonnie to stay so she has to do that on her own. I’m glad that he doesn’t let go of it since pride is important in a character, but it’s also why he should have lost out and had a tragic ending here. He is a good pilot and opts to do the dangerous job himself at the end. He lives up to his words and while Geoff has his flaws, he ultimately works well as the lead.

Bat’s a likable guy and probably the best character in the film. He made a mistake a while back, but does everything that he can to fix things. When a tough situation arises once again, he makes sure to stay in the saddle and doesn’t abandon anyone this time. He also took on all of the extremely difficult jobs so he definitely deserved everyone’s respect by the end. Bat did well considering that nobody liked him and it was a very good ending for him. It would have been sad if he had just died heroically and then everyone appreciated him. That just wouldn’t have been the same. Of course, you can understand why Kid has a problem with him. It’s not hard to let a past mistake go especially if it’s fatal. He does overreact a little with the anger misdirection though. His problem is with Bat so he should really keep it between them unless he’s seriously provoked, but that never really happens.

Bonnie’s the main heroine and she’s not bad. Playing along with the two annoying flirts may have been a bit much and she took the death of a guy that she knew for about an hour a little too hard at first. She got over it though, but got way too interested in romance from the get go. She really lost sight of why she was here in the first place. Also, shooting someone to stop them was incredibly drastic and her plan would never have worked. Holding someone at gunpoint isn’t how you start a proper relationship. So, she was a little extreme for me and Bonnie wasn’t quite as likable as she could have been. She’s mostly reasonable, but the gunshot at the end was….pretty dicey.

The film doesn’t drag on either and goes by quickly. If there’s anything holding it back from a higher score, it’s probably that the film didn’t have enough plane scenes. The dialogue between characters is good, but at the same time we don’t have the witty banter needed to grant it an extra star. The opening scene with the pilot dying may have also been a little long as he keeps talking on the radio with a really dead voice. It was likely not intentional and just a sign of age, but his voice when talking through the speaker was rather odd. It’s like the speaker just added some kind of photoshop effect to it.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the cafe during the daytime though. The steak looked really good and seeing the gang enjoy some party games wouldn’t have been bad. Of course, the gang could get a little rowdy. Kid beating up two of the crew members and even breaking someone’s arm was definitely not good for the team’s morale. It did help set Bat up for his big moment though. The rest of the team will probably have to watch their back when around Kid, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the long run.

Overall, Only Angels Have Wings is a good film. It’s nice to see a retro film live up to its potential after so long. The cast is relatively small and we only have a few backgrounds so the film did a lot with what feels like a small budget. Films can always surpass the limitations of a budget so long as the writing is good and the characters are engaging. For the most part, that’s the case here and it’s enjoyable. Not a whole lot happens at times and the film can feel its age during other moments, but it’s a worthwhile movie that I recommend. If you want something a little more exciting, then watch Bleach Movie 4: Hell Verse. That one doesn’t have any planes though so it may not be worth it if that’s what you’re looking forward too.

Overall 6/10