Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

X: The Man with the X Ray Eyes Review


Wait a minute, this film has almost a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes? Mind blown! Anyway, this is a Roger Corman film, so you can probably guess that it is basically rubbish. It’s the kind of film that forces you to take a step back and think about how this guy has somehow had a steady film career. Surely there are better writers somewhere…right? Ah well, at least the concept here is fairly interesting, even if it cannot ultimately save the film.

We have a guy named Xavier. He wants to use eye drops to improve sight and ultimately make the world a better place. Unfortunately, he decides to test it out on animals and they don’t last very long as a result. Not realizing just how deplorable this is, Xavier decides to do it to himself next. The problem is that the drops work too well and have many side effects. They make him more violent and unreasonable and have an addicting effect as well. Throw in the fact that he can see through people and is likely blasting them with radiation and you have a very confused main character. His only hope now is to become a mystical doctor, but can he really pull this off or is he toast?

Whenever a character is roasted and toasted, you know that it’s going to be a long day. Unfortunately, I can’t even give the film that much credit because there is no witty dialogue to be found here. The film opens up with a very long scene of an eyeball in a jar of blood. It’s a very gross and disturbing way to start the film, but it helped set the stage for the rest of the film. While it may be old, The Man with the X Ray Eyes still tries to be violent for extra edge. The other big moment that is guilty of this is the very ending. I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, but skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the ending. Well, it turns out that Xavier gets so desperate that he rips his eyes out. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it had any real effect and things will just get even worse for him. He began to see cosmic energy and the beginning of time so maybe he was just too far gone by that point.

It was definitely intriguing to have Xavier run into a church for that moment though. To his credit, the Pastor took it all in stride, but he seemed rather unhinged. He had already been yelling quite passionately and told Xavier that what he was seeing was the Devil. It’s a fairly bold claim since this pastor had absolutely no way to know anything that was going on, but he was on a role I suppose and Xavier took the words to heart. “If Thine Eye offends thee, Pluck it out!” While that quote can certainly be used literally, it’s definitely more of a figurative thing. Whatever is causing you to sin is something that you have to remove from your life. Whether it be a hobby, action, or an influence. I suppose that getting rid of a part of your body is a rather extreme way to solve that problem, but given that your body is special a created just for you, I would highly advise against taking Xavier’s route. At least it worked for the shock value I guess….

Either way, Xavier wasn’t likable from the start. He went crazy rather quickly and very quickly began to abuse his powers once he found that he could see through people. Xavier even murdered his partner because the he had a mild disagreement with the guy. The situation just kept getting more and more unsympathetic for the main lead. I suppose the gig that he got for being a mystic was a constructive way to use his powers, but it definitely seems rather limited. Sure, he can see what is wrong with a patient, but that can only help so much. I liked his business partner though as the guy figured Xavier’s past out and was very quick to bring out the blackmail card. I wasn’t expecting anything less from such a shady fellow. It does make the cops look rather bad though since they had no idea where to even begin looking for Xavier.

It’s a short film so there is not a whole lot of other content to discuss here. The film doesn’t really have a soundtrack and I can’t say much for the visuals. I suppose that they were almost okay for its time, but as it is, Corman is not exactly known for his high budget in these films. There were a few supporting characters like the business partner, the original partner, and the main heroine. Their roles are very small though with the heroine’s biggest moment being when she found the main character. Beyond that, they were all just bystanders who couldn’t do much to stop or help Xavier. The guy was on his own.

Overall, You should watch this film as a cautionary tale on why you shouldn’t overdose. The problems here would not have happened if Xavier hadn’t put a whole bottle into his eyes instead of the prescribed 2-4 drops. He just got super greedy and it led to his downfall. That being said, don’t think for a second that I actually recommend this film. You should stay far away from this title and I could recommend a few dozen other films that are much better than this one. The whole film is just rather depressing and dull. Nothing really happens and nothing good happens either. You’re essentially watching a film that lacks purpose and motivation. The characters are certainly not likable and the sketchy beginning and ending don’t help matters either. This film beats the Bucket of Blood, but loses to the Pet Shop of Horrors. Well, at least this film didn’t obtain the really elusive 0.

Overall 1/10

Advertisements
Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Night Monster Review


It’s time for another retro film with monster in the title, but no actual creature to be found. That’s never a good sign and this is another film that’s not all that great. It tries its best to be spooky and intense, but annoying characters and sad moments end up making this another film with a lot that is left to be desired. Ah well, at least you can take solace in the fact that this proves an old guy really just needs some magic in order to get back into the world. Don’t look at that line too closely for spoiler purposes though.

The premise starts with three doctors visiting an old guy (Curt) that they were unable to help a while back. He is now crippled and may blame the doctors for his current condition. Nevertheless, he has invited them to his mansion in the middle of nowhere for some reason. These three men suspect nothing, but maybe they should. A psychiatrist by the name of Lynn also shows up as she was called by Margaret, Curt’s sister to prove that Margaret isn’t actually crazy. The girl knows more than she lets on, but the house maid tries to prevent Lynn from finding anything out.

Curt’s big revelation is that he has a mystic by the name of Agar who is able to summon bleeding skeletons back to life to do all sorts of things. They can create objects out of nothing, but these objects only last for a limited period of time. The plot thickens when one of the scientists die and then the body count starts to rise. Who is behind these deaths. Could it be one of the Doctors? Is it the mystery writer, Dick, or is it maybe the Butler? There is no shortage of suspects to be found here.

The whole thing could have been pretty interesting. The concept certainly isn’t bad and I do like a good murder mystery. This film just tried too hard to be edgy instead and digs its own grave. For starters, we have Lawrie. He’s your classic sexist character from the old days and he goes after a lady who doesn’t live past the first 20-30 minutes. She wants to get out of the house because it has gotten a little too dangerous, but she makes the mistake of heading back there after dark. The monster was ready by then along with the fact that her taxi driver was gullible and deserted her after he was told that she was going to spend the night. Did he really think that she would after she had gone to such lengths to escape?

Her dying isn’t really the terrible part. It was rather tragic, but it was handled all right. The main sad part is that initially Lawrie gave her a drive, but then quickly has his way with her before another guy happened to show up and get her out of the tough spot. Lawrie spends the rest of the film flirting with other characters and also attempts to get physical again when he is interrupted by Dick. Some of the characters know about his antics, but nobody speaks up about it. Lawrie eventually bites the dust, but his presence severely hurt the film.

Curt’s not a bad old man. He’s passive aggressive with the 3 scientists quite a lot and also tries to boss around his sister. I don’t think she should have gone for that since as siblings they should be roughly equal, but she is far too timid the whole time. She also knows a great deal about who the culprit is, but doesn’t help until it is far too late and at least 50% of the cast has already been bumped off. As you can tell, I didn’t care much for Margaret. Curt was fairly average. I didn’t really find him to be unreasonable. He can be a little generic, but that’s not too bad I suppose.

Rolf’s a fairly mean butler, but I’d expect nothing less. He should have certainly had Lawrie fired ages ago though so I doubt his credibility as a professional. He’s not really a bad character so you should definitely peg him as a suspect. There’s also Agar, the mystical fellow who can summon the skeletons. I found him to mostly just be annoying and he’s also someone that knows a lot about what is going on. He’s super suspicious and even if he is not guilty, you can really call him an accomplice.

Lynn was the “tough” female lead who talks back to Curt and tries not to get bossed around, but her attempts do not always work. Her romance with Dick is certainly pretty awful and considering that she seems to realize that everyone is trying to keep her away from Margaret, she should have made more of an effort to stay with her. By the time she acts, Margaret has already started to get a split personality and cracks in her memory. Lynn took way too long.

Dick’s the classic tough guy and you could call him the main character. His role isn’t as big as you would expect based on that title, but he’s completely full of confidence and that sets him apart from the rest. He’s your stereotypical lead in basically every way. He tries to be heroic and sees to it that justice is served. There’s not much to him, but that’s okay I suppose.

Finally, we actually do have a character that’s not just good, but great. This is Captain Beggs, the only character who talks tough to the whole cast. They passive aggressively try to get him to leave many times, but he just insults them and keeps on going. This guy isn’t having any of that and just about every one of his lines is hardcore. Even when he’s threatened with lines like “You and what army?” he always has a response ready. “Just me” Beggs doesn’t back down to anyone and while he may be a little slow to pick up on the clues sometimes, he’s always brave. He heads into shadowy closets without hesitation and since he is picking a fight with a rich guy who has influence, Beggs clearly doesn’t care about that either. He was a silver lining in a film that was rather dreadful otherwise.

At the very least, the film really tries its best to throw in a lot of red herrings so that the culprit isn’t too obvious. The ploys fail and you will probably guess who the main villain is within the first 10 minutes. The motive is simply too rich for the writers to pass up on even if the film does its best to try and make you doubt it. The film, while not overly long, also does a decent job of spreading time out between each murder so you can have the characters all show up again as you try to guess who is guilty. Tension is always crucial in these kinds of films so you want them to have time to run around and try to figure things out.

Overall, This film simply couldn’t stay classy. Lawrie single handily destroyed the film so blame him on its low score. If you can get past him then maybe you’ll enjoy this film, but I recommend checking out another classic murder mystery like And Then There Were None instead. Even if this film was all right, there are simply better options to choose from in the same genre so there is no point for you to be desperate enough to choose this one. The title is also just super misleading. I guess some films want to be “cool” by making the term monster rather figurative like in the new Cloverfield film, but it just doesn’t work for me. If you mention the word monster, then I’m going to be expecting something a little more epic. Also, the final scuffle should have not been so close, the heroes simply got sloppy. Finally, there was no real reason for the skeletons to bleed. That seemed to only be around so the characters could have clues to run with. There’s no logical reason for that to happen…it’s like the film just needed an excuse for it to occur so the film would have a gimmick. The problem is that the supernatural angle never transforms from a gimmick into something meaningful.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman Review


It’s time for a retro film that is actually quite well known. I’ve certainly heard of this one over the years as it has become quite the meme. It was certainly a novel idea at the time, but unfortunately, the execution simply isn’t on point. While it’s supposed to be a very fun popcorn film that you just enjoy and laugh with…it wasn’t that fun. Whenever I talk to someone about this film, I get the classic response that the film is a blast, but I just didn’t get that vibe. Maybe I need to get used to retro humor a little more.

It has been a rough year for Nancy. Her husband finally came back to her as he wanted to get rich quick, but he still openly cheats on her. Nancy doesn’t know what to do about this since she should clearly just make him leave again, but she can’t get past her emotions. In the meantime, Harry keeps insulting her butler and bribing the cops. Harry plans to get her back into an asylum, but he’s not sure how to quickly accomplish this. His worries come to an end when Nancy claims that she saw an alien ship. Harry makes sure to insult and belittle her as much as possible while also slightly encouraging her at times to turn her emotions to jelly before breaking her mind. Nancy is at her breaking point when the alien shows up again and defeats her. Harry runs away and tries to cover this all up, but Nancy turns up the next day. She is unconscious and doesn’t know what happened. Harry is the main suspect so he quickly tries to destroy her, but this plan doesn’t work either. His only chance is to leave town, but can he outrun a 50 foot giant?

I realize that I just said pretty much the whole plot, but it’s hard not too. The whole point of this film is that Nancy turns into a 50 foot giant, but this doesn’t happen until the very end of the film. It’s not a spoiler since it is in the title and promotion so my plot summary has to make it at least that far. There’s just not much more to guess by that point. You’ll probably know the rest of the ending.

All right, lets talk about why I did not like the movie. For starters…it is not fun. I have to address this right off the bat. Nancy is in a very sad predicament and the fact that she is being completely used the whole time and does nothing about it makes the whole film rather sad and underwhelming instead of fun and up beat. Nancy realizes that Harry just wants her money and is being a terrible guy the whole time. She mentions as much, but the problem is that she suffers from quite a few mood swings, which virtually make her forget about these incidents as soon as they happen. Harry tries to sabotage her at every turn and she is not able to do anything about it. If she was a better main lead, then the film could have been more fun. If she was trying to humiliate Harry and take him down for the count, it would have been a lot more even. I would have been able to get behind that. As it is, the whole thing is simply too one sided.

Nancy doesn’t even get to have her revenge since as soon as she turns giant, the power of electricity shows up. It’s just not really a fun resolution so I just don’t see where the fun factor comes in. I suppose that the film is certainly campy, but at the same time, the main plot is seriously sad. That sort of negates the whatever humor the film was going for. Harry’s just such a bad antagonist. Since Nancy won’t fight back, it is just annoying to see him show up.

The butler was a nice character, but it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to beat Harry. I’ll give him some props for actually trying and not just backing off as soon as he showed up. Calling the cops was the right move though so it was good to see the police respond in time. Charlie was a rather suspect deputy as he got bribed by Harry for a while, but at least he stood up to him when the going got tough. Harry’s not bad, but he certainly goofs off a little too much. If I was the sheriff, I’d be looking for a replacement as soon as possible. After all, the sheriff was at the top of his game right from the start. Nancy nearly ran him over, but the guy had good reaction times.

Honey was the other villain who helped advise Harry on how to put Nancy in a bad spot. She was always ready to go the extra mile as she recommended permanent solutions to their predicament. Of course, the joke is also on Harry as the film heavily implies that she doesn’t mind cheating on him either. She’s also just in it for the money so the cycle continues and continues. In the end, they will all likely get a bad ending as a result.

The main highlight of the film is probably the fact that aliens show up. The alien in question doesn’t have the greatest design and he’s just a super large guy, but I’ll take it. Adding aliens always makes for a whole new dynamic in the film. I would have liked to have seen him do more or show up at the end to gloat, but I suppose the mystery is part of his charm. Maybe he’d show up more if the film had gotten a proper sequel. I can’t say that the premise has much potential when it comes to a modern film remaking this, but it could be good if handled right. Lets face it, Nancy would be changed quite a lot for a modern film and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t see her being quite so indecisive in a remake and Harry probably wouldn’t get the first and last laughs. It’s debatable if he got the last laugh here, but he certainly got to have a lot more fun than Nancy so it wasn’t much of a win.

Overall, The film just wasn’t that fun. I suppose you are not supposed to take the main plot all that seriously, but I personally just found it tragic which hurt everything else as a result. Watching Harry just mooch off of Nancy’s riches the whole time was terrible and she never did a thing about it. It’s the kind of plot that you would only see in an older film and it’s one that I certainly don’t miss from the modern times. Nancy didn’t even get to turn giant for very long so you’ll be waiting a while for the actual title to come into play and then the payoff is very small. This film just didn’t work for me and I certainly don’t recommend it. I’m not saying that it’s terrible, or at least not as terrible as some of the other films that I’ve reviewed lately. I would say that it is a bad one though and I’d recommend checking out Godzilla instead.

Overall 2/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Carnival of Souls Review


It’s time to look at an old film that wasn’t very good. If you’re not surprised…then that’s fine. While the film tries to be incredibly deep with all of its odd visuals and strangeness lurking about, it ultimately loses its sense of direction. The ending is terrible and you are left wondering how you could have guessed the final twist within the first 10 minutes. Why….whyyyyyyyy!

It was an ordinary day in town at first. Mary and her friends were driving along when they got challenged to a race. They accepted, but it turns out to be their final mistake as the group plunged into the ocean and everyone died. The police eventually got to the scene of the crime, but it was all lost to the waters. Everything was lost…except for Mary. She shows up out of nowhere, but doesn’t have much of a recollection on what has transpired. Thinking that she is in shock, everyone gives her some space. She moves away to a distant town to become the organ player for a Church. She openly admits to anyone who will listen that she doesn’t actually believe in God though. She rents a room at a quiet little motel. That’s when things start to get crazy.

Mary begins to see a strange man following her. Just like a ghost, he’ll vanish and reappear at will. Mary is also beginning to lose her connection with the real world as she’ll be stuck in a dead zone. When she is in the dead zone, nobody can hear or see her. She is able to move around regardless and when the time is up, she’ll have essentially teleported as far as the civilians are concerned. The problem is that the dead zones grow longer and longer. Eventually, she may not have a way back. Finally, the only other person at her motel seems to be a very shady individual and someone that she can’t trust. Will Mary be all right?

This film has a lot of problems. One of them is certainly the fact that the main character is not likable in the slightest. She has gone through a tough time so it makes sense that she is rather off, but I simply didn’t care for how she handled the situation at all. She was rather rude to everyone and would act tough only to break down time and time again. Mary could not make up her mind at all and had so many sudden panic attacks that they got old really fast. A better lead could have gone a long way.

Another thing that held it all back was the motel roommate. He had no purpose in the film other then to cause a lot of tension. He constantly tries to get in Mary’s room and flirts with her to no end until she finally relents. The film portrays him as a bad guy the whole time and while nothing really comes of it thanks to her supernatural panics, it’s just pretty wince worthy the whole time. Cutting him out of the film would have certainly been great since he did nothing but bog it all down.

The ending is also another sour spot. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. Have you left yet? All right, here we go! Mary was dead all along. Yeah, the film wasn’t very subtle about this so you could tell right from the get go. I was just hoping that the film wouldn’t go that route. It does me one better though as we find out that Mary simply needs to accept her death and lose the will to live. She tries to defy this fate by clinging to her life and disrupting the natural balance of things, but ultimately she is forced to choose death. She is attacked by a gang of ghosts and is completely defeated. It’s such a truly terrible ending that you’ll be left in mild shock. The whole journey was all for naught. Mary never had a chance and the moral of the story is actually that she needs to accept her death? That’s just horrible.

Ugh, what positives are there? Well, I liked the psychiatrist. He did a good job of helping Mary remember that this is all happening in her head. She has to defy the visions and stay strong. It’s easy to say, but hard to do and Mary never had the strongest resolve in the first place. When you also consider the fact that her life is in constant danger, the only possible conclusion is that she needs to watch her back. If she had one other person who could see these apparitions, that would have certainly helped. I liked the old lady who owned the motel as well. She was pretty reasonable and did her best to make the stay comfortable for Mary. My only gripe is that she had no idea that she rented the other room to a rather suspect fellow. Mary should have let her know from the start that this had happened. Man, that roommate really hurt the film. Every time I remember him, it just gets worse and worse.

The Church goers were all right. I think the Pastor overreacted by yelling at Mary so much for playing a tune when Church was over. Apparently it was sacrilege or something so he kicked her out. He tried to sound a little regretful afterwards, but it wasn’t very helpful by that point. Mary didn’t really do much to defend herself as she was a pretty bad character as well, but I do think that the pastor could have done a much better job on his own.

The film did do a decent job of getting the Twilight Zone vibe in though. With the zombies randomly showing up everywhere and the deserted fun house nearby, it was a perfect setup for these spooky situations. I think the film could have had a lot of potential had it just stuck to this and not wasted time in adding the motel roommate. I’m probably starting to repeat myself on that, but it’s just so crucial. This film probably still would not have been good anyway as I still think that the ending was terrible and Mary is unlikable, but it would have still helped quite a bit.

Overall, I definitely do not recommend the Carnival of Souls. While the eerie tone does work pretty well, the rest of the film simply isn’t able to stand up to it. Mary may have been disrupting reality itself, but she should have just taken that in stride and ignored the spirits running around. The dead should just worry about themselves. It would have been cool if Mary could fight and had tried to attack the wraiths. Ah well, that’s something that usually doesn’t happen in these kinds of films so I’d need to wait for a parody of sorts. If you want a spooky film that keeps it real, check out a classic Abbott and Costello film.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

She-Wolf of London Review


This She-Wolf film may not have a whole lot to do with the original, but that’s the fate of some unfortunate spinoffs. While this film may not be all that bad, it doesn’t do a lot of good things either. It moves by at a rather slow pace to try and build up suspense, but forgets to have an actual climax anyway. You will also have to suspend some disbelief by the end considering who the culprit here is. At the very least, this film shows that sometimes you shouldn’t overthink everything as if you were in a thriller film. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of you.

Phyllis is sort of the main character here. She is almost ready to be married to Barry, but something comes up. She believes that at night, she turns into a Werewolf and destroys people. She wakes up to find blood on her clothes, wolf hair, and stuff like that. Her aunt and her cousin try to help her get through this to an extent, but it’s not very effective. The aunt clearly doesn’t like Barry and tries to dismiss him every time while the cousin talks a little, but doesn’t do much during the film. If Barry wants some answers, then he’s going to have to break into the house and find them. The question is…can he fend off a werewolf?

Okay guys, it’s spoiler time. If you don’t want the twist to be ruined, then simply skip this paragraph. Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you really ready? Here we go…there is no Wolf in the film. The fact of the matter is, Aunt Martha is the culprit here. “Why did you say that name!!! XD” I know that this may come as a shock to you, but it is true. Martha is actually the villain here. See, she doesn’t like Barry to she decides to trick Phyllis into going insane and thinking that she is a murderer by murdering a bunch of people and setting it up so that Phyllis would look guilty. The logistics of this are a little dicey though. For starters, Phyllis must be an incredibly deep sleeper to not notice the Aunt doing all of this to her room every night. Beyond that, how does everyone get murdered by her so easily? True, she has a butter knife, but she is very old and a detective should still be able to react fast enough to stop her. At least, I’d hope that he could. She also just makes for a very boring villain. I suspect that you are watching a creature feature film to check out the monster right? The more twists we get with a fake monster in the climax, the more that the creature feature genre dies a little inside.

None of the characters are particularly likable either. Phyllis is rather weak willed and falls for every trap a little too easily. She should have probably explained the situation to Barry if she really trusted him. Together, the two of them could have done a decent job at solving this case. Instead, she tries to push him away and sulks by herself. It makes the situation a lot more complicated. Barry? He basically has no character and just shows up to let Phyllis tell him to go away. He usually listens and runs out of there only to return later and try again. The supporting characters really weren’t a whole lot of help here, but then again….who thought that they would be?

The film isn’t particularly violent or anything, but just to try and add a certain level of darkness to the background, it turns out that a kid was murdered by the old lady. Was this necessary? No. Did it help the plot? No. Did it help remind me that this is more of a B film at heart? Yes. The She-Wolf of London will just keep on reminding you that it could have been a whole lot better. I can’t picture it ever being terrific of course, but it could have been more exciting, starting with actually having a monster.

I did like the Guard Dogs though. They barked a good game and kept everyone on their toes. The other dogs around the neighborhood were also fun. I can’t remember if any died or not so I will assume that they all lived. If one did die, feel free to remove another star from this review. One of the main problems with the film is simply that the plot never really goes there. In the end, it simply isn’t very interesting and that’s a problem. The film may not be all that long, but none of the characters are sympathetic and if we’re being honest here…nothing really happens.

Overall, The She-Wolf of London is a bit of a non film. By that, I mean that most of the film takes place as Phyllis’ house and most of the drama is all in her head. It plays out a little like a slice of life film and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but then it should play it straight or add some good characters. Otherwise, the film just gets a little muddled and the actual action/horror elements to the plot didn’t really do anything for me. I’d recommend taking a pass on this film. It certainly sat on the review back burner for a while and that’s partially because it just isn’t very interesting. Whether you are watching or reviewing it, there is simply not much to say. It’s just not a winner.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Mystery of the Wax Museum Review

mystery-of-the-wax-museum-movie-poster-1933-1020252814
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

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Manchurian Candidate Review

manchurian-can1
Considering a certain event in the new Captain America series and the general plot of the Civil War film, it’s a good time to look at this film. Unfortunately, it was quite terrible so don’t go in expecting me to tell you how great it all was. It’s a very sad film where the characters continue to make mistake after mistake. The brainwashing is advanced enough that it completely clobbers a whole group of people and America doesn’t realize how many undercover fighters are around. Can the country stop these guys before it is too late…or is it already too late!?

Marco was with a platoon behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, his group was captured and brainwashed by the Soviets and forced to murder each other. One member of their group was turned into a sleeper agent (Raymond) while the others were allowed to return to the country. Why weren’t they all turned into sleeper agents? Who knows! Anyway, Marco starts having odd dreams and realizes that something is not right. He starts to uncover the truth behind Raymond, but what can he do about it. Few believe him and even fewer have enough power to do anything about this. Marco’s going to have to go with his gut instincts here, but it may not be enough.

Typically, you’d think that the film would try to make Raymond likable so we’d actually be sympathetic to his plight right? Well, this film decides to take the opposite approach and makes him a guy who is not likable in the slightest. This is why Marco suspects that something is up since the brainwashing forces every member of his platoon to like the guy. Even once Marco finds out that playing cards are the key to stopping Raymond, he decides to leave the agent alone for one more night with his fiance. Big mistake.

As a result of Marco’s blunder, Raymond destroys her along with her father and claims many more innocent victims along the way. He even gets one last murder as the film ends because nobody was fast enough to stop him. One subplot that is also grating from the start is that he and his mother don’t get along at all. This leads to a series of insults and sob stories as we find out that she is the one controlling him. Raymond can only watch as she takes out the playing cards and brainwashes him once again. No worries, he is partially cured by the end so he remembers enough to take her down, but naturally he doesn’t take any prisoners.

Not that this film needed any more subplots to destroy the momentum, but after a “Miller Time” moment (Downing a lot of beers) Raymond remembers an event from the past. He met a girl and instantly they fell in love, but his mother warned him to get away from her and he made sure to listen. The flashback felt like it just kept on going for ages and ages. It barely even mattered in the end and just added two more individuals for Raymond to murder in the end. Civil War definitely handled the concept better, but I suppose that this goes without saying. Even the fight scene between Marco and the guy who worked for Raymond wasn’t any fun, but I suppose that I should be grateful to have a fight scene at all.

The bottom line is that this film just wasn’t any fun in the end. My films need to at least have some entertaining aspect to them, but there was none of that to be found here. I felt bad for everyone that Raymond destroyed, but not quite as much for him. The police should have had the election guarded a lot better, especially considering that Marco knew that Raymond might try something. Letting him go on his own was definitely not their best strategy. Of course, they did foil the Soviet plan, but apparently there are many more of them hiding in the country already. The film doesn’t end with a whole lot of hope for the Americans, but at least we know that they won in the end. I tried to think of a silver lining here, but I really can’t. This is the kind of film that will have you staring at the clock on the wall for its entire duration. There are no positives or saving graces here. I suppose you could at least make the argument that it could have been worse though.

Overall, The Manchurian Candidate is another critically acclaimed film that ends up falling completely flat. None of the characters are likable and most of them are only introduced so they can be destroyed later on. The brainwashing was way too complete and unbreakable. Especially since it has already been years that have passed, I find it hard to believe that it would be so effective. Just looking at a deck of cards is basically enough to stop Raymond. The whole thing was just too easy for the Soviets from start to finish. I don’t really blame the government for not believing Marco since this is all a rather unbelievable story, but it didn’t make his job any easier. I definitely do not recommend this film so watch it at your own peril.

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

It Came From Outer Space Review

12810
It’s time for a really old sci-fi film. This one came out even before the original Godzilla film! It’s an intriguing alien story that holds up pretty well although I admit that some things could have been handled better. A fight between the humans and aliens definitely would have been a blast, but maybe once we finally make a big budget sequel someday that’ll happen. This is still a fairly entertaining film that holds up well.

Putnam has never been the most reputable man around, but he had a good career and made some friends in the astrology biz. That being said, these “friends” quickly leave him after he claims that a UFO landed and buried itself in a canyon. Putnam’s not going to stand for this…so he slowly drives away. When he gets home, he realizes that it’s not over as two men who by all accounts should be dead have reappeared. The aliens have done something to the real McCoys and slowly start to take down other humans in the area. What can Putnam do to prevent this alien invasion…and does he even want to aid the humans?

So, it’s a classic invasion film at its core. Slowly, but surely the aliens start to kidnap various humans and nobody knows where they could be. The aliens claim that they’re in good hands, but can we really believe that? Putnam certainly does and it’s part of why he’s such a terrible character. They even kidnap his friend Ellen, but Putnam continues to listen to their demands. The cops won’t have any of this though and Sheriff Matt decides to make the tough calls as he storms their base.

All right, let’s get into why Putnam is such a bad character. He basically lets the aliens walk all over him and then stomp him further into the ground. The aliens fired the first shot and Putnam suspects that they murdered one or two of the humans at the very beginning of the film. He suspects this and yet…he’s hardly alarmed. They later tell him that everyone’s okay, but why is he so happy to help them? If you listen to the first threats, then bigger ones will surely surface and it’s a vicious cycle. Putnam needs to try and stop these guys, but the only thing he does is throw a punch at the Sheriff and try to slow down the police. Even when the aliens start trying to destroy him, Putnam doesn’t really recognize them as a threat the way that he should. I definitely did not like this guy at all.

The aliens were also rather odd. They were portrayed as being a little misunderstood and they were relatively peaceful. Really? That’s not the way that I saw it as they were quick to attack the humans and fired at the main character. They also decided to blow up the Earth when things were not going their way. They had real forms so it’s not as if they needed to attack the humans. They decided on their own that the humans would be hostile and fired the first shot, but that’s ultimately just their justification and not a very good one either.

The humans were pretty embarrassing with how they handled seeing the aliens true form though. The thing may look a little grotesque, but certainly not enough to make a person yell or faint. Nobody took it in stride and you would think that someone would be a little brave. Ah well, at least Putnam was able to dodge a ray blast and take out one of the aliens so the humans didn’t look completely powerless here.

I’m also going to give Sheriff Matt some props here. I thought that he was easily the best human here and at least he tried to do something about the aliens. He went along with the demands for a little while thanks to Putnam, but he eventually realized that something had to be done. He would have made for a much better main character than Putnam, but sometimes it’s good to have the best character be the rival.

You will have to stretch your disbelief quite a bit here as characters are taken down by the super slow alien monsters who have no business taking down any adults on their own. Not without a good blaster anyway and I’m not sure if they have it set to stun here. Putnam spends a lot of time driving around and picking up clues. If only he knew that he was basically just being played here.

Overall, It Came From Outer Space is a good movie. It has that retro feel that is always enjoyable and the writing is fairly good. Even though there are aliens and sci-fi elements, it’s fairly calm and you can almost call it a slice of life where aliens show up. I was glad that the aliens had a true form and that they could actually fight as seen in the end, but I didn’t care for them as characters. Maybe it was the fact that they were pretending to be good guys or the fact that the film never called them out on it. Putnam didn’t do the film any favors, but while he was an unlikable main character, he wasn’t super awful or anything like that to the point where he would bring the experience down. It was an entertaining alien flick and it felt pretty short so the adventure never ended up dragging on. I’d recommend checking it out and then you can see if you agree with Putnam’s view on this one or with Sheriff Matt.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Hold That Ghost Review

hold-that-ghost-movie-poster-1941-1020142745
It’s always good to see a comedy tackle the classic horror tropes since the characters can really go about destroying them in a systematic fashion. As this is the month of October, expect a lot of scary or “scary” films coming up. Hold That Ghost is a classic film that has certainly aged well even if it reuses some gags quite a few times to really get the message across. You would never guess that this came out all the way back in the 1940’s!

Chuck and Ferdie find out that they have inheireted a hotel/mansion from a gang member who they nearly followed to the grave. The criminal didn’t trust anyone so he gave them his inheiratence since they were nearby. That’s simply how his will worked. A shady character takes the heroes to the place, but then the car drives off, leaving the heroes stranded. For reasons unknown, the driver brought along a few suspicious characters including two ladies and a scientist. It turns out that the place may not be as normal as it may appear though. A mysterious ghost starts to go after Ferdie. Of course, as Ferdie is the comic relief character, nobody takes him seriously.

Now, in order for you to like this film, you’ll need to be fine with slapstick comedy as there is quite a lot of that going around here. This is a Costello film after all so it can be incredibly exaggerated at times with his actions and lack of intelligence. In a sense, you can say that the Costello films are sort of like the Adam Sandler films and how they could have been back in the 40’s since most of the terrible dialogue and writing from the modern era wouldn’t have arrived yet. I’m actually okay with this kind of comedy as I’ve actually grown used to it through Knuckles in Sonic Boom and have come to appreciate the subtle burns that these characters get. They may get pushed around a lot, but they fire back when necessary as well.

Ferdie tends to take every line directed at him literally, which means that any figure of speech results in an intriguing conversation. Ferdie just never learned most of the things which we would consider to be common sense so he pants like a dog instead when the ghost starts to scare him. It’s not entirely his fault as the main heroine doesn’t see the ghost even though objects are moving right in front of her. You start to feel a little bad for Ferdie since nothing ends up working out well for him. He loses some of your sympathy when he tries to steal the money at the end of the film though. He also lets his “friend” bully him around the place which is certainly not a great move.

As for his friend Chuck, the guy’s not quite as charasmatic although he’s a decently good character. He can go a little far with how he treats Ferdie, but the two seem to still be friends somehow. Chuck does try to help Ferdie find a new room after he is haunted several times, but he just doesn’t believe Ferdie most of the time. The evidence of any haunting is typically gone by the time Chuck arrives. Chuck is the reasonable character after all so he doesn’t believe in ghosts and is always kept out of the loop.

Most of the film is really just about these shenanigans as the ghost messes with everyone and Ferdie is the only one who seems to know about it. Finally, we get a big fight scene at the end as the true identity of the ghost shows up along with some gang members. The Ghost’s reveal was actually a little iffy and I’m still not entirely sure who exactly was the ghost. Whichever member it was certainly wasn’t that brave as Ferdie and the gang were enough to scare him. Still, the battle royale between the heroes and the gang was certainly a whole lot of fun. Each side had to brace themselves and jump into the action! Ferdie got a lot of good hits as you would expect, but the other members didn’t do so bad either.

I hadn’t been expecting the fight so that was a nice touch. The ending was also nice as the main two characters finally got to own their own tavern. The journey was tough, but arriving at the destination was likely very satisfying for the heroes. It was a peaceful ending and I wouldn’t have minded a bit of a twist, but it fit the tone of the movie. The film never dragged and it was an enjoyable title. Nothing out of the ordinary happened and essentially played without any surprises, but this is the kind of film that you can watch and leave feeling chipper.

This is a great example of a film that likely wouldn’t be as good if it was made in the modern days. For one thing, this is a comedy where the dialogue stays classy. A modern version would likely add a lot of swear words and suggestive lines. Some aspects of the film also just age better here like the shoot and run gangsters from the beginning. It’s just retro to see them here whereas in a modern film, it’s a little hard to picture it working smoothly. The camp factor is also just hard to picture in a really modern film although it’s certainly possible.

Hold That Ghost is really like a live action Scooby Doo film. It’s simple and to the point as the heroes try to retake their tavern and maybe earn some money along the way. It the film had kept running for too long, like an extra 30-40 minutes or so, then it likely would have dragged. As it stands, this was my first Abbott and Costello film in quite a while so I’m not tired of their routine yet. I actually hadn’t expected this film to really be a true comedy so it was a pleasant surprise. That’s the loophole for horror movies, just add a comedy angle to the mix and it should help the score dramatically!

Overall, Hold That Ghost was a fun film. Admittedly, the supporting characters could have been better. The radio actress’ scream when not in danger and lack of one during the real spooks was a decent gimmick I suppose. Her rivalry with Ferdie at times was intense I suppose as they fought in a classic splashing contest..unless I’m thinking of the Waitress. They were pretty similar in apearance although different in personality. The Doctor also wasn’t that good. I didn’t mind him at the beginning as he started to brag and did look like Clark Kent, but then his romance plot started and that was game over for him. He lost his charm and his ruthless wit. If you like comedies with a lot of slapstick and quick banter, then this is the film to check out. The Ghost can’t be taken seriously, but he’s not supposed to be. You can sit back and enjoy the show!

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

The Man with the Golden Arm Review

Poster - Man With the Golden Arm, The_04
It’s time to look at another old film, but this one won’t fare any better than Harper. In fact, I’d say that Harper actually ends up having the edge here as this film’s main character may be worse than Harper He definitely doesn’t make a whole lot of correct choices and the subplot involving his wife can certainly tire you out very quickly. Granted, the film does sound better than the film, where the ending seems like it would be a little more dicey.

Frankie has just gotten out or rehab and he’s looking to get a new start on his life. He is getting our of the dealing game and he doesn’t intend to do drugs anymore. That being said, it’s tricky to keep to this goal as his wife is constantly trying to shoot his hopes down and she does not want him to succeed. She pretends to be incapable of walking to keep Frankie together with her. The guilt tripping tactics prove to be quite effective. Can Frankie end this cycle?

Well, this film definitely wasn’t for me. I’m all for a slice of life film, but this one wasn’t very interesting. Moreover, I never like watching the guilt tactics work on the heroes so easily. It’s similar to “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” except it’s not quite that bad. At least Frankie can still leave, he just doesn’t really think about this option enough. His mistake if you ask me. The whole film his wife is pestering him and it gets really old fast. Not to mention that Frankie should have known that she could walk the instant that he found his drumsticks on top of the high drawer. That’s a little suspicious and the fact that she tries to sabotage his career the whole time is also a little iffy.

This film mainly deals with the problems of drugs and how addicting they can be. Any vice is extremely hard to break away from as any long time smoker can tell you. So, Frankie’s battle against it is fairly realistic even if it does take up way too much screen time in this film. The problem is that he keeps making all of the wrong choices over and over again even though he knows that it will cost him his job. It’s definitely a pretty serious addiction that he has going for him and if not for his wife, he probably would have beaten it right away. The stress just got to him though and then he kept on relapsing over and over again. It certainly doesn’t make for an enjoyable watch. So, while this is a topic that isn’t tackled all that much, it’s probably best to leave it for the documentaries or it’ll be a bit of a downer.

I would have been content if more of the film had been about the dealings as Frankie was a part of an underground card playing association. The games were definitely high stakes and I love watching card games. That certainly would have kept my interest as those scenes were the best part of the movie. Once again, Frankie made the wrong call and it came back to bite him. That’s really the story of his life and I definitely did not like him.

The villains are naturally unlikable although, the underling of the drug dealer was always fun to watch as he panicked during the card games. Molly was a good supporting character and she was really the reason why Frankie managed to come out of this film in one piece. She was certainly a very helpful character and one you could root for. The plot with the drunk person was a little iffy and maybe Molly should try not to go overboard with the whole being nice thing, but she tries. Frankie also had another friend who helped groom dogs. That guy would support him, but also got Frankie into trouble by bringing him stolen shirts. It was another unfortunate moment for the lead although he should not have accepted since he knew that they were stolen.

The soundtrack was definitely intense and whenever Frankie would go to get a shot, a really quick/ominous theme would play. It was actually quite memorable and that’s more than I can say for most movies so I’ll give the film a lot of props there. It’s not every day that you see such a stellar soundtrack. It’s a shame that the rest of the movie couldn’t have been that good. I was also glad that a dog got to appear for a while and nothing happened to him. Not including animal violence in your film is the first step to success. While this film couldn’t rise above that, it was still nice to see.

There is also some action in the film. Not a whole lot of course, but one guy is slammed to the ground and another one is pushed off of a tall staircase. It was an impressive show of strength for one character although it made the other person look a little iffy. Why would you threaten to shake someone’s life to their core when you’re going to turn your back to that individual while laughing? The villain clearly did not think his plan through at all and certainly regretted that course of action. Then, we have the quick chase scene at the end. You can almost feel the tension in the air as the main characters make the tough calls…almost. It gets quite fatal for at least one individual.

Overall, The Man With The Golden Arm wasn’t a very good film, it was actually a very bad one. Part of the problem is that it just didn’t live up to its name. His Golden Arm allowed Frankie to be great at card games and music, but both of those areas were not explored as well as they should have been. Honestly, the title is a little misleading and I suppose that you could dig up some other meanings behind that like how he always got the drugs in that arm, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that you may have expected a different movie. I certainly didn’t expect such a large portion of the film to be about his drug problem. It’s good to raise awareness on such things and hopefully get people not to take drugs, but it comes at the expense of how much you can enjoy the film. I just didn’t enjoy this one and the run time felt like forever while watching it. Just think of the movie as being like a bad hotel experience. You arrive with great hopes, only to find that it’s an empty room with nothing to help you pass the time. That’s the essence of the film in a nutshell. If you want a good retro film, then your best bet is to watch the original Astro Boy TV show.

Overall 2/10