Dracula’s Daughter Review

Now it’s time for the sequel to Dracula. I’ve never been much of a vampire fan to be honest, but you probably know that by now. Vampires just don’t make for good antagonists and the whole blood sucking thing doesn’t even work well conceptually. Luckily, this film mostly doesn’t bother with that. I mean, people do get drained, but basically off screen as this is more about will power and such. It’s not a bad sequel, but one that could and should have gone a different route.

Van Helsing successfully destroyed Dracula, but before he could escape the scene of the crime he was apprehended by a pair of cops. They arrested him and now Van Helsing is probably going to be found guilty with a punishment of murder unless he can prove that vampires exist. He’s not faring too well on this. Meanwhile, Marya has been cursed by Dracula and must continue to destroy people. She seeks the help of Doctor Jeffrey to help her, but he doesn’t believe in Vampires and is too busy with just about everything else to pay her any heed. Well, Marya doesn’t accept answers like that and quickly gets to work by kidnapping Jeffrey’s friend. Jeffrey better be quick on his feet or it’ll be game over.

The alternate route that I mentioned involves the beginning. We see Helsing dig his own grave deeper and deeper as the court date gets closer and I would have liked a nice little court scene. The trial of Helsing could have even been made the main plot if the writers handled it well. It was still amazing just how annoying and oblivious Helsing was. I probably would have been rooting against him in the court case because of how he was antagonizing everyone. It felt like he was just doing it on purpose after a while and I had to question his intelligence. Maybe Helsing finally just got too old and simply couldn’t take the pressure anymore. If so, it was rather tragic, but luckily the other characters ended up saving him in the end.

One unfortunate part of the film is that the moral at the end is rather negative. Marya does her best to fight her vampire genes as well as Dracula’s telepathy, but in the end she loses. Seriously…she just can’t overcome it despite Jeffrey’s half hearted advice. I was hoping she would be able to just use will power and overcome the curse. I didn’t actually think it would happen since this is a Dracula film though, but it was a little sad that all of her efforts were ultimately futile. I can’t say that Marya is a likable character anyway though. She should have fired her servant a long time ago since he kept egging her on and trying to keep her evil. She should have suspected something long before the end of the film and really sowed the seeds of her own demise.

Jeffrey is the main character and he’s certainly not that good. He’s always running all over the place so he has no time to properly talk with anyone. Not to mention that he is certainly an “Eye for an eye” kind of character who will accept your resignation but then force you back into the job if he needs you. His advice didn’t work anyway and there’s just not much to this guy. He doesn’t even know how to put on a tie despite having to use them for parties and other events for years. He has never really progressed, which is alarming. At least his secretary Janet is fun enough. She trolls Jeffrey by calling him and pretending to be from the Zoo and just generally lies to everyone. Why tell the truth can you can mess with someone? That seems to be her motto and it works pretty well until she runs into the vampires. At that point, she was probably doomed regardless of what tactic she used.

It would have been fun for this film to have added in Dracula in some capacity. I mean, that could have backfired just as easily, but it may have helped the plot a little. After all, most of the film didn’t really have a plot as Marva fought a futile battle against herself and defeated all of the Jims (Red Shirts) in the mean time. The characters who died off weren’t very smart either as one followed a sketchy fellow over to his mansion in the middle of the night. If someone asks you to come home with them for a “modeling job” I’d hope that you would say no. It doesn’t get more suspect and suspicious than that if you ask me. It’s not as if the film is boring for the most part, but I wanted more activity. The main plot with Jeffrey was actually more interesting than the Vampire one because at least the constant trolling back and forth was entertaining. The film should have stuck with that plot or Helsing’s instead of Marva’s.

Overall, Dracula’s Daughter is a decent film. It can move a little slowly at times and the characters aren’t particularly interesting as it is. The film can move a little slowly though and it’s not exactly a thrill a minute. While there is no animal violence to bring it down like The Invisible Man sequel, it is not quite as good as the former. Invisible Man is a lot more fun and the plot is more fast paced. So, if you like a slow burning horror film without too many scary moments then this is a good film for you. It’s more about being atmospheric and slightly unnerving which may or may not work. If you want a film that gets to the point a little quicker, then check out I Frankenstein. It gets right to the point with no delay.

Overall 5/10

The Invisible Man Returns Review

It’s time to look at another classic film from the old days. The Invisible Man was a decently fun film the first time around, but could it strike once more? An unfortunate hamster scene holds this one back along with the unlikable main character. It’s not a bad film and the writing is pretty solid as expected, but it just can’t live up to the legacy that the first film left. It was a sequel that was simply doomed from the start.

Radcliffe is being sentenced to death for the alleged murder of his brother. He claims not to have done it and Doctor Frank believes him. Frank decides to use the Invisible Man serum to save Radcliffe, but it has some serious side effects. It causes a person to become crazy so Frank won’t really be able to count on Radcliffe after this. Is Radcliffe truly innocent or has Frank just created a super villain?

One thing that you’ll likely find irksome is how everyone has an overreaction at seeing Radcliffe. I don’t think that seeing an invisible person should make you panic or faint. Especially if you know about it beforehand so it’s not as if this should come as a shock. Helen’s the main heroine here and she is easily the most guilty of this. She really gives Radcliffe a hard time with all of the extra drama. She was definitely not a likable character and helped spur on Radcliffe’s descent into madness.

Of course, we can only truly blame the madness on Radcliffe. He fell down the rabbit hole almost instantly as he spent 90% of his screen time laughing like a maniac. He definitely didn’t take to the serum very well, but luckily the craziness also made him very easy to deceive and subdue. Radcliffe actually gets a happy ending this time though so the invisible adventures were worth it. Honestly, I’d love the power of invisibility. I’d make a fortune in magic shows and could pull a lot of pranks on people.

Frank was the scientist, but he wasn’t very good. He decided to experiment on animals which is always a huge no no. Destroying a rat to save a person is not a good idea. Trading a life for a life is as corrupt as it gets and I just had to shake my head at that. I suppose he means well, but his character was dead to me. Detective Sampson tries his best to follow the law even if he is after the wrong man. It’s hard to blame him though since Radcliffe keeps disappearing and acting suspicious. At the very least, the cops should be glad to have a determined officer on the force.

One part of the film that was pretty fun was when the heroes decided to hide out in the middle of nowhere. This old man gave them shelter, but his dog knew what was up so one of the cops came along. What followed was a shouting match for whole minutes as both characters kept bumping into each other as the guy tried to stop the cop. The yells would always get progressively louder as they neared the top of the stairs. It was definitely fun even if it may not have been very plot important in the long run.

As expected, the writing is very on point which helps make the film flow. It never really drags on and the film isn’t all that long anyway. The effects for the Invisible Man are fun as he always has to shed at least 50 layers to escape. The costume certainly stands out and if I were him I’d probably just stay invisible for the long haul. It’d be a little tough in the Winter of course, but you could always hide in a house for naps and nobody would even notice. Being invisible is definitely a very dangerous power which the first film showed quite a bit. This one was more of a mystery/drama so there weren’t too many fights, but Radcliffe did make sure to get in on the action to find out the truth.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the film since the cast is rather limited and the plot is direct. You just see Radcliffe slowly descending into madness as the supporting characters wonder what they need to do. It would have been fun to have seen the mystery angle pushed to the forefront a little more instead of the constant laughing plot, but I suppose it got a good amount of screen time in the end. It just would have helped with the danger part of the film since most of it doesn’t feel like there’s any stakes.

Overall, The Invisible Man Returns is a peaceful film. It’s a nice little adventure with a good ending. A film like this would typically get a 6 or a 7, but we have to factor in the unfortunate Hamster scene. That moment was definitely sad and ensures that I can’t give the film a positive score. If you can get past that, then you should check the film out. If not, then I’d recommend just checking the first film out instead. Honestly, that may be your best move regardless right? The Invisible Man is definitely still a cooler part of Universal than Dracula, Werewolf, or the Mummy so I’m looking forward to the sequel. The Invisible Woman could be a nice film as well if they handle it right. Lets just stick away from the animal experiments.

Overall 5/10

Son of Frankenstein Review

After that last Frankenstein film it seemed that things were looking up for the series. Well, they head back down with this film although it is still significantly better than the first film. It’s problem is just that the plot ends up going nowhere and a large portion of the film is spent with boring dialogue and annoying main characters. The writing is good since this is an old film, but the lines just feel pointless at times with no actual plot progression to speak of.

It’s been a while since Frankenstein was taken down for good and now his son has returned to the land to claim his inheritance. I don’t think the timeline was very well thought out though since he meets up with a one armed police chief who was in the first film, but it’s apparently been at least 20-30 years so he shouldn’t be the same age. Also, he claims that his arm was ripped out as a child by the monster, but that can’t be true. So many questions and so few answers. Anyway, Baron wants to revive Frankenstein to prove that his father was correct in creating him, but is this smart?

First off, Baron is an extremely annoying character and having him as the lead can grow quite tiresome. I don’t see how he could possibly want to bring Frankenstein back or how he can really think it is a good idea. I think just about anyone can realize that this is not the smartest move you can make. Everyone in town already despises him and the guy does have a wife and a kid to look after. Putting them all in danger just for the sake of his reputation is quite bad. It also made for a very awkward carriage ride with his wife as he went on a long rant about how his father was right while she just looked confused and nervous. It’s probably a good time to start talking about how the house should be good rather than this. Baron just seems very on edge and shifty for the entire film and was definitely not likable in the slightest. I’d rather just have the normal Frankenstein back.

We’ve got Ygor as the main villain, but I don’t think I can take him seriously. He’s not exactly a character who screams “Main Villain” and he’s never been all that serious before so why start now? Furthermore, Baron should have taken him over to the cops right away after the guy tried to murder him. Not doing so was a rather large error in judgment and one that the Baron would continue to pay for over and over again. The Monster also returns for a rather large role of course, but he just seems like a shell of himself here. It definitely does feel like this film had a completely new staff since he seems to be based more on his legends than on the actual character from the previous two films. He’s back to being his usual unlikable self. While he does have some self control at times, it’s hardly enough to make him interesting in the slightest.

As for Krogh, he was solid. At least he actually gave Baron a chance unlike all of the others who wrote him off just because he was related to Frankenstein. It was certainly not the warmest welcome that the town gave the guy. At first, Krogh appeared to be antagonistic as he kept beating around the bush and talking about his past, but I suppose that was all misdirect or the writers weren’t sure what was happening at the time. It was definitely a tough ordeal for Krogh, but he stayed strong and was nice to have around. The townspeople were interesting as well as they seemed a little more petty than usual. They threw fruits at the main characters and just tried to act as mean as possible the whole time. I don’t think Baron cared as much as he implied though since he was too busy trying to become a mad scientist.

The film’s biggest mistake is certainly the fact that it’s very boring. Now, it’s interesting because you’d think that a horror film that’s mostly slice of life shouldn’t be all that boring right? After all, Nisekoi is a series about a guy trying to remember his days as a kid so he can remember a promise and involves a lot of happy days at school and it is never boring. By all accounts, Frankenstein stories should be more interesting right? I’d say that the issue is you expect Frankenstein to be a little more about horror and less about characters just talking around. If anything, getting rid of the Frankenstein angle could elevate the rest of the film since you’d be going into it with a Andy Griffith kind of expectation. By trying to attempt both genres, Son of Frankenstein ended up succeeding in neither of them.

What’s a real shame here is that the film’s setting had promise. The inside of the mansion that Baron inherited had a pretty interesting architecture and I wouldn’t have minded exploring it a little. The kid wasn’t overly annoying, but luckily he didn’t appear much so that was a good thing. Baron would have been a more compelling character if he either hadn’t believed in the monster or wanted nothing to do with it anyway. Then we could have had Frankenstein appear to avenge himself and they would have had some fights and mind games. It all wasn’t to be though and the film somehow manages to lose all of this potential to the winds. What could have helped was also a plot that made more sense because as I mentioned earlier, it just feels like plot holes are everywhere.

Overall, Son of Frankenstein is a pretty weak third film. It’s not nearly as bad as the first film so that’s a start at least. How I see it, the first film was just bad and super violent. The second film was interesting and had a decent mix of comedy and horror. The third film didn’t have much of a focus and became boring as a result. They all failed and succeeded in different ways so at least you can’t say that the series doesn’t try to experiment a little. If you’re a big fan of Frankenstein then you should probably check this film out just to add it to your collection. Otherwise, I’d advise you to just check out the Bride of Frankenstein instead and to leave this one to the history books. After all, it’s not as if you’ll miss much right?

Overall 3/10

Bride of Frankenstein Review

Looks like it’s time to take a look at the original sequel to Frankenstein. I did not like the first film and I’m not a Frankenstein fan in general. I didn’t walk into this film with high expectations and I was not disappointed. That being said, it is a considerable improvement over the first film. It’s not nearly as violent or grotesque and handles itself rather maturely this time around. It can still be a bit of a tragic film at times even when it tries to be funny so it can be hard to tell when you’re supposed to be laughing or feeling sorry for the characters. I usually voted for the former.

The film starts off in the “real” world as Mary lets everyone know that the story isn’t over yet. We have some really over the top actors who yell about this and everyone gets excited so she tells them what happened. It turns out that Frankenstein’s monster didn’t die because he fell into the river and Frankenstein didn’t die because his body is very durable. This prompts Doctor Pretorius to arrive and tell Frankenstein that he wants to make a female version of the monster. Frankenstein halfheartedly refuses so Pretorius kidnaps his wife. Frankenstein now has to work against time in order to save her, but can he really duplicate the experiment?

The main improvements from the first film all stem from the reduced violence. The first film had a little kid drowned and we saw way too much brains and body parts for my liking. It was pretty distasteful and this one steers clear of all that. Even when they’re creating the bride, it’s never graphic. The film just isn’t violent in general and the victims are far fewer in number. We do have a few people die of course, but they’re casually thrown aside for the most part so it isn’t all that bad.

Frankenstein has changed a lot since the first film. He’s now incredibly timid and fears everyone. He’s always getting picked on and forced into doing things that he doesn’t want to do. However, he reverts back to his mad scientist phase whenever there is work to be done and it’s like he never changed at all. It would have been nice to have seen him have a little more will power. Naturally, he did have to go ahead with the project to save his wife, but he could have done it in a sane way instead of losing his mind once he was back in the lab.

Pretorius takes over Frankenstein’s role from the first film and I do certainly have to admit that he is smart. The first thing he does is to get the monster on his side and that was crucial since his plan would not have worked otherwise. His use of “Miller Time” and Cigars was a very potent combo. He always has the upper hand on the monster as he even drugs the poor guy later on. Pretorius fears nothing and is just very confident from start to finish. He was a pretty good villain and while it never felt as if he had much of a reason to do what he was doing…do mad scientists ever need a reason to do something? They just do whatever they want for kicks.

Minnie is the main comic relief character of the film and she does a good job in the role. She always talks a good game and is one of the only characters to insult Pretorius to his face. She is smart enough to actually run away from the monster and tries to warn the heroes even if they refused to listen to her. She certainly did a fine job if you ask me. As for the Bride, I guess she was fairly reasonable. Her reaction wasn’t all that bad when you consider that the heroes didn’t give her a chance to relax. Plus, who wants to be thrown into an arranged marriage the instant you are born into existence? Nah, the first thing you’d want to do is get out of there!

The Monster is all right I suppose, but he’s still not very smart and the monster noises can be annoying. I was glad that he finally learned how to talk a bit as the film went on. I figure that will make him a much better character in the sequels although it seems like I wasn’t on the same page as the writers. At least the monster tried to live a calm life at one point and was doing just fine with the blind guy in the hut. It’s a shame that the hunters had to wander in at that point and wrecked his one chance at a happy ending. He didn’t get burned this time and while he was captured at one point, he was able to break free pretty quickly. He certainly had a much more enjoyable adventure this time around.

Be warned that the title of this film is pure click bait. The Bride doesn’t appear until the final 5-10 minutes which is pretty disgraceful. She only gets roughly one line before the film has to end so if you were watching the movie to see her in action, prepare to be disappointed. It’s really just Frankenstein V2 as the film takes a lot of similar twists and turns. It seemed like it was meant to be a homage to the original in a lot of ways even though it had just come out. It was just handled far better than the first film and as a result, the film wasn’t half bad. I can’t say that it’s the kind of film that I’d want to watch again, but it wasn’t a chore to watch the way that I would have expected it to be.

Overall, If you’re looking for a horror comedy film, then this could be the right film for you. At the very least, it’s one of the best Frankenstein films that you can hope to see. That being said, it’s still not all that great and it’s short length ensures that the film has to run through the plot. The ending is pretty satisfying though and that’s always a good thing for these kind of films. Scooby Doo may still be your best bet when it comes to horror comedies, but this one gives it its best. Can the third film manage to defeat this one? I somehow doubt it, but we are getting closer to the Werewolf and that could certainly end up being another story.

Overall 5/10

The Monolith Monsters Review

It’s time for a really old monster film, but a fairly unique one. What if you could make a Monster film without a monster? In a sense, the film uses the term monster not as its literal definition of a monster, but as something large and scary. While I can understand how not having an actual monster can be a deterrent, I actually found the film to be pretty fun. For the most part, it handled everything well and didn’t make any typical movie mistakes. It’s a solid film that has withstood the test of time.

Dave is shocked to find out that one of his pals has been turned to stone. The only suspect is a rock that the guy has been researching. Arthur, an expert on all things, believes that the rock is actually part of a meteor. The heroes find out that these rocks grow with water and continue to get larger and larger. Since soil has water in it and the area keeps getting hit by large thunderstorms, the crystals are growing very quickly. They will cover the whole country if something isn’t done. Still…what can the humans do?

Dave’s a pretty decent main character for the most part. He’s very no nonsense and is always trying to think up a plan. He was a little short with the weather guy, but he doesn’t panic too much at least. The film depicts him as the average joe and is pretty successful at it. Dave is pretty generic and you could interchange him with any other lead and you wouldn’t know the difference. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though as he is basically just the classic 1950’s lead that usually turns out to be a solid character. Arthur is probably the best character in the film as he always knows what is going on and gives a lot of good advice. Dave would have been stumped without him. Martin was a decent newspaper man. He spend a little more time whining than doing anything else, but when it was crunch time he came through. I don’t see how he could get bored writing a newspaper though. There’s always something to write about even if nothing is happening. Cathy is the main heroine of this tale and she’s all right. Cathy doesn’t get much of a role beyond worrying about the kid who was infected by the crystals, but that also means that she didn’t really make any mistakes either.

There are some logical questions with the film’s plot though. For starters, how exactly are the people turned to stone? They mention that the rocks drain a certain material out of people, which is what causes this, but that still leaves some questions. As we saw from an old lady, her arm was turned to stone from contact with the rock. The little girl’s contact led her to be almost completely petrified and the guy from the start was totally affected. Are we meant to believe that he was completely touched by the rocks? Because when we saw the guy, he was totally by himself and in a position that wouldn’t be natural to have stopped in unless it happened instantly like a flash freeze. I don’t think the film knew what was going on with this part.

The film does use a lot of stock footage for the Monoliths falling over so prepare yourself for that. They just keep on falling and falling with nobody to stop them. It’s hard to take it seriously as a threat and the final solution of dumping a lot of salt and water on them seems sketchy at best, but when dealing with such a random threat, you have to think outside the box. It is lucky that their governor was so reasonable though since Dave took matters into his own hand. Things could have certainly gotten very ugly for his future prospects.

This isn’t really a mistake by the film so much as a scene that was very interpretable. When the girl was first attacked by the Monoliths, I thought that they were going to mind control her so they could make some demands. The film opted to go a different way and so the Monoliths never got sentient, but the way the girl was glaring at everyone seemed to be like the film may have thought about going another way at first. I suppose it may have been my imagination though.

The film does make one mistake and that’s the fact that a dog dies due to the crystals spreading. The film didn’t have enough of a budget to make the dog look realistic which sounds good to me, but it’s still a moment of pointless animal violence. The film didn’t need that and it was a rather low blow. It’s like every film wants to force a scene like that inside of it and there’s no reason to. The shock value isn’t worth it!

Overall, The Monolith Monsters was a fun enough film. The classic 50’s writing ensured that all of the characters were pretty intense and that the dialogue was engaging from start to finish. The pacing was pretty good and the film should be able to grab your attention. Maybe not as a monster film, but just as a well written movie. Some of the townsfolk could be a little unreasonable and one guy being frantic to run off as soon as possible when his wife was still waiting to be un-petrified came across as a little unsympathetic. With all of these characters panicking left and right, it’s good that we had the police chief. He kept on trying to get in Dave’s way until he eventually just lost out. I appreciated the effort though. If you’re looking for a different kind of monster film, then check this out out. Even if you just want a fun slice of life film with a little tension, this could be the right film for you.

Overall 7/10

Frankenstein Review

It’s time for an even older film. Frankenstein is a monster who grew very popular and actually has a lot of fans. Just look at how many films this guy has. It’s quite unbelievable since I’m not a fan of the series by any stretch of the imagination and it’s hard to see how any movie of it could ever be good. I dunno, it just doesn’t have much potential. This one isn’t that bad for most of the film, but it is very boring. There is also one scene which destroys the film and it couldn’t recover from that.

By now, you know the story. Doctor Frankenstein decides to build a monster. Elizabeth, Victor, and a nice old Professor decide to visit Frankenstein to tell him to stop this foolishness. Surprise surprise, he decides to go ahead with the experiment anyway. Frankenstein’s monster is born and now he wants to destroy everyone all around the world. Welllllll, that may not be his total goal, but effectively it is what he is doing. Can the villagers tale this guy down before he harms anyone else?

The monster is supposed to be a sympathetic character typically because everyone treats him really badly and he can do nothing right. The problem here is that this is impossible to do. He murders a little girl and well….you can’t come back from that. The film couldn’t come back from it either. It was a really dark scene that had no place in the film. If she had swam out after he left or been rescued, then it would be fine. Drowning just like that? Nah, that scene was terrible.

Even beyond that, the monster’s just never been an interesting character. He basically invented the strong, but not very smart trope. Not that the other characters were much better. Frankenstein’s the one who caused this whole mishap in the first place. He shouldn’t have tried to build Frankenstein and create life. It was never going to work. The other Doctor doesn’t do much of anything and ends up being more of an observer than anything else. Victor talks tough and tries to stand on even ground with Frankenstein, but when he is told to sit down…he obeys. Elizabeth tries to reason with Frankenstein the whole time, but it is ultimately futile. She never really had an effect on him so there bond wasn’t really all that strong. He would have left them out in the rain if they hadn’t forced the issue by knocking over and over again.

One other issue with the film is that it’s just very boring. The scenes drag on and on and on despite the film being fairly short. By the second half, you’ll start to wonder just what happened. The first half isn’t all that bad. The characters go to the creepy tower. There are some debates. Frankenstein is revived. After that? The film just loses all direction as the monster goes around getting burned by old, blind people and attacks others for no real reason. It’s supposed to be humorous to see Frankenstein get burned and I suppose it was handled better than some of the other plots, but it still wasn’t all that good.

There’s not much more to say about this film because it is the same old Frankenstein story that you have seen a million times. It is the original though so I suppose it isn’t totally fair to call it old. One thing that could have helped the film a little bit would have been to have the monster talk. If he could actually exchange dialogue with the others, then it would at least make the film more interesting. After all, the writing during this time was solid enough where even Frankenstein would have sounded distinguished. It may have been a little tough to swallow, but it beats the alternative. It does make you wonder what would have happened if the proper brain had been given to the monster. I suppose the film would have been more of a slice of life at that point though so it may be moot.

If I have to name one positive thing about the film, it’s that it ages well. At least as far as the effects and cinematography go. It came out before the Wax Museum and yet it definitely looks newer and more polished. That may be more of a shot against the Wax Museum though. Hmmm…even my complements for Frankenstein turn into negatives. What can I say, the concept of Frankenstein is just terrible in my opinion and I don’t see how anyone could turn it into an engaging film without completely rewriting the plot. It just cannot be done I’m afraid. Even Dracula is more engaging as a film and as a character. Just conceptually, I’d rank the popular monsters from best to worst as: Dracula>>Mummy>>Werewolf>>Frankenstein. The Werewolf is close though as that plot isn’t very interesting either. There just isn’t much to it. A guy turning into a monster that looks like a human? Seriously…

Overall, Frankenstein is a more tasteful film than the last Frankenstein adventure that I saw, but not by much. Seriously, the little girl scene leaves a bad taste in your mouth and easily takes off 2-3 stars by itself. I don’t see any reason why you should want to watch this film either as it will just bore you out of your mind. By the end you aren’t even sure who to root for. The angry villagers, the Monster, Frankenstein…or nobody. Regardless, you’ll endure the climax, but I’m sure that the TV will be shut off almost immediately afterwards. If you want to see a good Frankenstein film, then I recommend I Frankenstein. To this day, it’s the only good Frankenstein film. I don’t count films where he just happens to appear as a few more would join the list then. I Frankenstein is a very loose adaption of the mythos, but that’s part of why it is good. Trust me, you can’t go wrong there.

Overall 1/10

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

Captive Wild Woman Review

It’s time for another retro review. I’m sure that the instant you saw this title you had a bad feeling about how this review was going to go down. Well, your instincts are right then. The Captive Wild Woman is a fairly terrible film that tries its best to keep on getting worse and worse as you watch it. It hits rock bottom and makes you wonder whether the film succeeded in capturing your attention as you disliked it or if it simply captured the time you spent watching it. One thing’s for sure, this will not go down as one of the ultimate monster films.

Fred is a circus guy who goes around kidnapping animals from their native habitats. Unfortunately, the wildlife preserves weren’t really ready at the time so nobody stops him from nabbing a lot of tigers, lions, and even a gorilla. His co-workers are impressed at his boldness. The only one who is too busy to bother about such things is his fiance, Beth. She lets Fred know that her sister is very sick with something that she’s always had and has never bothered her all that much, but now she wants to fix it. Fred’s understandably confused, but nods his approval. After Beth drops Dorothy off at this very suspect and shady building, she heads off. Fred’s new Gorilla ends up murdering someone who got too close to the cage and nearly finished someone else off as well. Dr. Walters uses this chance to kidnap the Gorilla and murders his assistant to give her brain to the creature. Using magic, Dr. Walters transforms the Gorilla into a lady named Paula and takes her to the circus to unravel his own plans….he succeeds!

So, what is the problem with this film? Let’s start out with the obvious case of animal violence. Once again, we see humans taking animals out of their natural habitats and forcing them to perform in cages for human amusement. That’s no better than slavery and especially when you consider that the animals aren’t being treated well at all. If they don’t do what the humans want, they get hit. It’s pretty terrible. These scenes go on for ages and ages as Fred keeps throwing the whip and never letting up. I was rooting for the animals to get him and at least they did get some of his predecessors, but Paula kept on saving him. Otherwise Fred would have been taken out of the picture very early on. Animal violence doomed this to a 0 right from the get go. It’s why I never like seeing circuses with animals in them and I’m skeptical on how they’re being handled. Luckily, you don’t really see circuses like this anymore so we’re doing something right.

Either way, there is no real way to like Fred in this adventure. For starters, he has no real problem with flirting with Paula right from the get go even though he’s already taken. Sure, the counter is probably that he didn’t really think of it as flirting and was just being nice…but I don’t buy it. He also completely ignores her the instant that his fiance comes to visit, which was also pretty over the top. When Beth finally confides in Fred and lets him know that Paula may be a villain, Fred just laughs it off instantly. He doesn’t believe her for a second and gets out of there ASAP.

Beth isn’t a great main heroine either and makes the kinds of decisions here that you would expect from the supporting characters in a Freddy Krueger film. She gets a call from her sister that something is not right and she fears for her life. The call is abruptly disconnected so Beth quickly calls the cops and gets to the bottom of this. Wait….she didn’t call the cops? Afraid not! Beth instead comes to the conclusion that there must have been something wrong with the phone line based on how calmly she walked over to the villain base without a care in the world. Naturally, Dr. Walters decides to destroy her as well, but there’s no rush. So, after letting Beth know that he’ll be destroying her in a moment, Dr. Walters lets Beth go over to the unlocked Gorilla cage which holds Paula…who has been wanting to murder Walters for a while now.
This doesn’t end well for Walters, but I suppose anyone who didn’t check their common sense out of the door would have realized that. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose whole plan revolved around an ex employee somehow breaking into a circus and transporting the Gorilla cage without getting slashed? (That scene made no real sense by the way…no wonder the film skipped it.)

Dorothy’s not much better than Beth. She doesn’t begin to suspect that something is up until she has a very long operation and then doesn’t get better for a few days. Seriously, she waited eons before actually making a call instead of just dashing out while Walters was busy. She had many opportunities to escape since Walters was always attending the circus and having fun messing with the main characters. No, she decided not to make a move until Walters made it back to the house and then she went down without putting any real resistance.

Dr. Walters is a pretty bad villain. He may have gotten the last word as the film ends with an epilogue about his life, but he’s a fairly terrible villain. There’s no real reason to sympathize or even understand his reasoning. His whole motivation for murdering everyone and making a human is just because he’s curious. None of it leads to anything and you have to wonder where he was going to go from here anyway. A Cat lady next? Sorry, that concept has already been taken and used by dozens of other films. Better luck next time…

Miss. Strand is another character who isn’t all that smart. She works for a mad scientist and knows that he is completely unstable. After seeing what he is about to do to the patient, she tells him up front that she will put an end to his evil plan. She’ll tell the cops and see that he goes to jail for life. Brilliant idea Miss. Strand…but why did you tell that to his face while you two are the only people in the building in the basement floor, while he is next to the door? Naturally, things don’t go well for her either.

Finally, we have Paula. By default, she is better than most of the other characters here. She is a contender for the best character in the film and I would consider that to be a great honor if her competition wasn’t so bad. She is going after a guy who is taken so that doesn’t bode over well. Plus, she’s a Gorilla so the whole relationship is warped from the start. Should have stuck to the friend zone. At least Paula was tough and could hold her own in a fight. It just wasn’t enough to help her survive a bullet in the back. (Well…with those sequels…..)

Overall, There’s nothing to really like about this film. It’s fairly short at least so that’s a slight consolation I suppose. The animal violence was just too much and you’ll be shaking your head as Dr. Walters bumps off the cast one by one. They all made the worst decisions possible. I also have to question how Paula in her gorilla form made it all the way to the circus from Dr. Walters house in time to save Fred. Based on the rest of the film, it wasn’t all that close to the circus and you’d think that one of the cops would have stopped her since they were all very trigger happy here. Perhaps the writers were going to fix this after lunch, but the film was already due by then so they never got a chance. Either way, this is a film that you should skip. Go take a nap instead.

Overall 0/10

The Wolf Man Review

It’s time for another super old horror film. Compared to the last films that I’ve reviewed, this one looks great, but as a film overall it is not that good. It’s a lot more fun and charismatic, but if you’re looking at this like a horror film, then it’s going to disappoint you quite a lot. There is nothing scary about this film at all and for the most part it plays out like a comedy. The main character really reminds me of Bill Murray though, to the point where the main character here looks almost identical to him. Hmmm…maybe I just haven’t seen enough Murray movies though.

Larry moves to a little village to meet up with his father after a relative’s untimely demise. They haven’t talked much before this so the situation is rather tricky for a little while, but they soon get along quite well. The main problem now is getting the other villagers to like him. Larry doesn’t worry about that for very long though as he looks through his window and happens to see a lady. He quickly believes this to be love at first sight and hounds her until she agrees to a meet up along with one of her friends to get their fortune told. One thing leads to another and Larry/Gwen decide to ditch the friend for a few minutes. Larry sees her get murdered by a Werewolf and destroys it, but now he is being framed for murder and turning into one himself. Will his will power hold out?

The whole romance plot here is quite bad though. First off, Larry is persistent to the point of being a nuisance the whole time and then we find out that Gwen already has a fiancee. (I think it was a fiancee, could have just been a normal boyfriend) Yet, she continues to hang out with him which is basically giving him hope even if he’s the one who is constantly following her. She’s sort of playing the field which is always sad to see. Larry’s a pretty bad character though so it’s hard to feel all that bad for him.

At least Larry can be amusing though. He gets a few good one liners in and his voice was made for comedy. That being said, his will power is incredibly weak and if he was going to run, he should have done it right away. He waited way too long for his plans and that’s why they didn’t end up working out very well. As a Werewolf, he wasn’t all that impressive either. He has slight super strength and a little extra speed, but apparently it is not enough to deal with a human who is holding a blunt object. Both Werewolves don’t look so good once the fight is on.

Larry’s Dad was probably the best character in the film. He kept on reminding everyone that there were no such things as Werewolves and even decided to tie up Larry so that he could watch this and be freed from his paranoia. His main mistake was deciding to leave Larry alone after that. The ending would typically be super tragic, but it’s not handled too heavily. It’s given appropriate emotional value, but it isn’t beaten to death like a modern film would probably do. Extended crying scenes and all of that, the Wolf Man skips all of that.

For once, there actually was a bit of a soundtrack here. Mainly because this film has a big contrast between happy and evil scenes. It’s something that newer films don’t really do, but the older ones were well known for this. For example, whenever the main heroine would appear, the music would quickly go up and the tone would be lighter. When the Werewolf appeared, the music would suddenly slow and get very tense. It’s a nice contrast and I’m also just happy to finally have a soundtrack to talk about as well. It feels like it has been quite a while.

While I am still an advocate for all movies being as long as possible, the short length works pretty well. After all, if a film’s writers don’t know how they could stretch a film out without watering it down, then it’s not worth it. For a film like Batman V Superman or Avengers, I could easily see it being 4 hours and not really being any worse. Those scenes would be useful character development, but what would the Wolf Man do with an extra hour? No, the short length is for the best and as it is, we get a nice array of different scenes. Seeing the doctors and cops subtly question Larry while also insinuating that he is the culprit was a well done scene. Again, I’ve got to give Larry’s Dad some props here for also talking a good game. He reminds Larry that nobody can remove him from the premises, not even the cops. Apparently the rich family name has even more clout than I could have dared imagine.

The weak romance is really what hurts this film. It makes Larry look unreasonable and turns him into an unlikable character while it also makes Gwen look bad for even going around with him in the first place. It didn’t really need to be in this film and if that time was used for more dialogue with Larry’s Dad or something like that instead, the film could have definitely sneaked in a 7. As it is, I think that aspect weakens the film enough to justify taking the star away. If the Werewolves didn’t have such weak will power, it could actually be useful to have the ability of transformation.

Overall, The Wolf Man is certainly one of the better classic movie monster films from Universal. It’s definitely aged a lot better than Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. This film has quite a few sequels and crossovers so who knows, I may end up being on the Wolf Man’s side for just about all of them. That being said, he is easily one of the weakest so I’m not sure if he’ll really have much of a future in those fights. He’ll definitely have to use a lot of tactical strategies. By the end of the film, you should hopefully know the Werewolf legend word for word since it is repeated over and over again by many different characters. If you want to get the most enjoyment from this film, go in expecting a comedy. Trust me, it’ll feel like one as you watch it.

Overall 6/10

Cult of The Cobra Review

Time to look at another retro film by Universal. This one definitely came out quite a while ago and I will admit that I have never heard of it before. The poster is certainly intriguing and I never get tired of seeing the scared looks on everyone’s face as they look at the main characters of the film. It was a staple of the old films after all and they do have a good reason to be very afraid. After all, their lives may be in grave danger!

A group of American soldiers were getting ready to go to New York, but they hadn’t found anything really cool to take pictures of. They became fascinated by a man who could play music to a snake and one American mentioned how their was a religious cult who believes that people could turn into snakes and vice versa. The old man told them that he could take them to a meeting so they could see for themselves…for 100 dollars plus 10 up front. The heroes went and saw an intriguing show with a whole lot of dancing. Unfortunately, one of the members was drunk out of his mind and decided to take a very bright and loud picture of the show. Naturally, this did not fly with the members there and they decided to attack.

The army members were able to escape thanks to their military training, but one of their members died to a Cobra bite and they were cursed so that the rest would die the same way. Was this real or was it fantasy? Most of the members disregarded this right away, but then a mysterious lady moved next door and all of the animals were afraid of her. Also, more of the army members started to die from mysterious accidents. It may take a rocket scientist to put the clues together before it is too late!

This is certainly a classic horror film at its core. The Cobra even gets her own theme music. Whenever she puts on her serious face, the music speeds up and you know that one of the army guys is going to die…or at least be threatened. She typically gets to play her theme music at least three times before any fatalities occur. You know that the characters will be toast, but you just don’t know when they will bite the big one. Even the wife of one of the main character is nearly taken down, but the handy dandy mailman arrives just in the nick of time. That’s why speedy mail delivery is always so important right? Naturally, I’d give the soundtrack here a thumbs up. It’s not quite Resurrection F or Bonds Beyond Time, but it’s rare for a 50’s film to have any notable themes at all, so this was quite an impressive feat.

The film’s only a little bit above an hour so it’s quite short. That being said, the end of the film starts to drag just a little as you’re waiting for the heroes to make a move or for the next victim to show up. The Cobra doesn’t even seem all that sure herself as she struggles to decide whether she should go through with the murders or not. She hints that she may not be able to stop herself, but it’s hard to tell whether she meant that physically or just about the honor of it all. Either way, if she really wanted to settle down, not murdering the main guy’s friends would have been a good way to start. As she was a half hearted villain, I can see why she never became as big as characters Dracula or the Werewolf.

I was glad that the cops were actually pretty reasonable here as the evidence was pretty clear cut so they should agree that the new girl was the likely suspect. It did make sense after all right? Paul was definitely the best character in the film as he always suspected that there was some truth to the curse as cults would need to have someone to back them up. The way that he and Lisa handled the whole wedding arrangement admittedly lacked any form of tact or honor and came across as a little rude, but they probably hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought so they were just trying to go through the motions of being Tom’s friend even though their romance was their top concern. You will feel bad for Tom for a second, except that he went for the rebound immediately which shows that he’s the kind of guy who can move on way too quickly.

I think this film could have used a little more action. Not a whole lot happens and that’s usually okay, but a good portion of the film is spent on giving the cobra some character development, which ultimately doesn’t go anywhere. That screen time could have been better used for some fights against the Cobra. Some of the characters struggle, like throwing vases and things of the sort, but how can you not be able to outrun a Cobra? At the very least, you can manage to land a hit right? Even if the bite happens first, you can squash it…of course, that would have hurt the film’s score so it’s a double edged sword.

It should be noted that the film takes the high road with the animal violence so I have to give it kudos for that. A dog, cat, and a horse appear and they are all spared. There was one scary scene where we think that the cobra will attack the dog, but this doesn’t happen. I think the dog should have been a little braver and could have approached the cobra, but since that could have been dicey, I’m fine with this. The shaking was a bit much though and you’ll feel bad for the little guy.

Overall, Cult of The Cobra was a good film. It was probably a little more dull than some of the other retro classics, but it was still an interesting film. My favorite part of it was probably the opening scenes as that could have been expanded into a film in its own right. I wouldn’t have minded if it was about them infiltrating the cult, but that’s another plot for another film I suppose. The characters were decently developed even though you knew that they would be toast by the end. Snakes aren’t too scary compared to other monsters so this definitely won’t scare you at this point, but that’s all right. The solid music theme for the cobra will be good enough for the horror/thriller aspect. If you like these retro thrillers, then I certainly recommend it. It may not be the most exciting tale out there, but it’s fairly short and the writing is solid.

Overall 6/10