Thursday, 22 February 2018

Universal 1955

Hey, the Creature is back! This is Revenge of the Creature.

We accomplish in ten minutes what the entire previous movie couldn't do, namely capture the creature. The creature is brought back and, like all strange beasts, put on display for profit. The scientist (male) and the scientist (female) join forces to study the creature, and the creature starts having eyes for the woman. The creature eventually breaks free, kidnaps the woman, and they chase after them, until they finally put it out of their misery.

One quick question: are we supposed to feel that the creature is the bad guy? 'Cos I'm on the side of the creature here. They kidnap him and take him to some weird place where he is put on display and prodded with electricity. Who can blame him when he finally snaps and breaks free (and when pushing the car out of the way it hits the camera)?

And then he's dead at the end, so that's the end of him... ?

(And, hey, a surprise early appearance by one Clint Eastwood!)

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Universal 1954B

Oooh, glorious colour! And impressive enough to be the MST3K movie. This is This Island Earth.

Cal Meacham is a hell of a guy and a hell of a scientist. He is saved from crash landing, and is given the instruction manual to his very own interociter. This leads to him being coopted into a group of scientists that are working on atomic power. Then while trying to escape, everything suddenly blows up and Cal and Ruth Adams are taken on board a space ship on the way to Metaluna. After arriving to Metaluna they visit the central station only to immediately turn around and leave, eventually making it back to earth.

Again... I'm not entirely clear on what the moral of this movie is. It isn't atomic power is bad because it's used to help ward off attacks. Nor is it atomic power is good, because Metaluna is all used up. There is mention of god, but this isn't an example of god being greater than science either. So... given they get to the planet only to turn and run, perhaps it's just a big "beware the aliens" even if they have more power than you.

It's definitely a pretty movie as they make a lot of the fact they have colour, but the plot doesn't bear a lot of scrutiny.

[END]

Read more!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Universal 1954A

Back to a monster movie, but a new one. This is Creature from the Black Lagoon.

A random dig in Brazil uncovers a preserved claw hand and the leader takes off to get white guys to come and examine everything, while the Brazilians who are left behind are killed by a creature. The white guys do turn up and decide to head into the Black Lagoon. There they swim around for a bit before getting randomly attacked by the creature more than once and finally manage to run away.

Okay, props to Ricou Browning. He was the Gill Man, and basically told "hold your breath, get in the water, and swim around." The swimming scenes are largely well done, and he is stuck in a suit with no air tank and has to swim around behind a mask he can barely see through.

Richard Carlson is the lead white guy, and the leading lady is Julie Adams, who is forever associated with this movie. There are others, but they are either other pasty white guys, or non-white guys that are killed off.

Let's see if they can get any mileage out of this creature.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Universal 1953

We jump from the horrors of man to the horrors from outer space. This time It Came from Outer Space.

An amateur astronomer (and his fiancee) sees a meteor crash, and when he investigates it he finds a spaceship that immediately gets buried so no-one believes him. After a while, he finds a supposed copy of another man he knows, but again there is no evidence. Then finally he meets up with more duplicates and then finds that the aliens are just trying to do their own thing and the whole 'land on earth' thing was a mistake. But there is a posse a-comin', so he has to stop them to give the aliens time to get away.

This is the same year as War of the Worlds, and I have no idea which came first, but we are getting the slew of space movies now. However in this case, this movie is an allegory for... I have no idea. The aliens don't really represent anything and don't really do anything and just want to leave. I guess it's an metaphor for 'stranger comes into town and then leaves', but that isn't really saying much about the human condition.

The focus of the movie is on John Putman, the astronomer, but he isn't really that interesting enough to keep the movie going. As such, this isn't one of the better space movies.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 5 February 2018

Universal 1951

Okay, let's throw back to the 17th Century, and this Robert Louis Stevenson. And this is The Strange Door.

A rogue is drawn to a strange castle and goes through a door. What makes the door strange? It has no handle on the inside. Ooohhh! Although plenty of people are able to come and go, and there are plenty of passages all over the place, so the strange door isn't that impressive. Anyway, the uncle wanted the rogue to marry his niece and make her a miserable life. Unfortunately, the rogue isn't quite as rogueish as hoped, and they are doing the 'I hate you, but now I love you' relationship, and there's a servant who is on their side, so... it culminates with the pair of them and the woman's (pretending to be crazy) father in a room that is being crushed. Will the servant make it in time? Will he? WILL HE?

This actually gets rather gripping. There are moments when we repeatedly go through the same sets as attemping-to-escape scenes repeat, but it maintains momentum, and the actors... I'm not sure if I've seen them in other things, but Charles Laughton, William Cottrell, Michael Pate and of course Boris Karloff are great performers so more than keep interest.

It took me a while to get around to watching this, but it was worth the wait.

[END]

Read more!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

ALL HAIL

Last year I got into Nightvale. It's a podcast series about a radio station set in Nightvale. It's a comedy horror series, and I binge listened the lot of it.

So when I found out they were doing a live show in Wellington... well, I flipped and flopped and eventually decided... yep, I'll go!

This was "All Hail to the Glow Cloud". The Glow Cloud being a large cloud that hovers in Nightvale, drops dead animals, and is the president of the school committee. This is presented as a radio show in which various guests come in, and the whole thing is hosted by Cecil Baldwin.

And it's really funny and great, and you should get into it. Go binge listen, and you can buy copies of the live shows to listen to them yourself. Not quite the same as seeing the show and the various gestures and such, and get to see the weather live (you'll understand that when you listen to the show).

If it comes back, I'll say it's worth it to go. And definitely easy enough to listen to the free shows.

[END]

Read more!