action, adventure, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 20th, 2014 Movie – Blood Monkeyaz

blood monkey

Everything has a beginning and for the Maneater Series of movies, this was it. Now I remember seeing this movie on Syfy years ago and honestly, not being too impressed with it. The only reason I got it on DVD is because it was part of a 3 disk set of movies from the Maneater series back when I first started collecting the movies in the series. Now lets see if time will make me think better of the first movie in the series, Blood Monkey.

The plot: Deep in the jungles of Thailand, a group of men manage to capture a new species of primate. As the leader tries contacting Professor Conrad Hamilton, the leader of the expedition, the primate escapes from the cage and proceeds to kill the men, leaving Hamilton and his assistant/bodyguard Chenne to head out to see what happened but all they find is the broken cage and bodies of the team. Meanwhile, a group of anthropology students (Seth, Amy, Greg, Josh, Sydney, and Dani) arrive in Thailand for their own research expedition into the jungle, with Dani documenting everything on her video camera. After being flown to the outskirts, a guide shows up to take them deeper into the jungle but when they reach a certain point, the guide stops the truck, telling them that he will go no further as bad things are in there. When the students ask him what they are supposed to do, he tells them to follow the trail, then quickly turns around and drives away. Seth leads the others down the trail, with all of them feeling a little nervous about the situation they are in. When they reach the end of the trail, Seth says they should just wait for whoever is supposed to meet them and as it gets dark, Josh tries making a fire. When a strange creature is seen in the brush, the kids get scared but Chenne suddenly appears and frightens the creature away with a flare, then leads the students to the base camp. The next day, Hamilton introduces himself to the students and tells them that they will be doing something different than what they signed up for. As they prepare to leave, they Sydney and some of the others notice that their cell phones are missing and realize Chenne must have taken them when she tries to take Dani’s camera. Hamilton explains that she had done it on his orders, saying that he doesn’t want anything they discover leaking out, but promises to explain his reasons why. After giving them all ID bracelets that he says contains all their necessary information for being out there, such as blood type, Hamilton leads them out into the jungle and they soon reach a cliff overlooking a hidden valley, which Hamilton says is completely uncharted and theirs to explore for the first time. When Chenne appears with rappelling gear for them to descend into the valley, Sydney and some of the other students don’t wish to continue but Hamilton motivates them to head down, choosing to go first so Dani can document it. The others head down but when Josh and Chenne make their descent, Josh panics and freezes up on the rope, prompting Chenne to kick him to try and get him to keep moving before continuing down herself in disgust. Josh eventually makes it down, falling the last couple of feet, and Hamilton tells them to pick him up and keep moving, much to Seth and the other’s shock. They soon arrive at a camp site and Seth and the others question what is going on, as Hamilton had said that they were the first people down there. Hamilton tries to pass it off the claim that he and Chenne had gone down previously to make the base camp but refuses to explain the additional backpacks. That night, Hamilton pulls out a large skull and asks if any of them can identify it. Sydney studies it and says it is not quite a primate skull but also not quite human. As the students pass around the skull, they are shocked when the badly wounded leader of the first expedition appears in camp. Hamilton and Chenne rush over to him and lead him to the main tent, telling the students to stay by the fire and not leave. Later that night, Seth and Amy see Hamilton and Chenne digging a grave for the now dead man, and they discuss how Sydney and Josh both want to head back and they discuss their options on staying or going. As they head back to their tents, they don’t hear Hamilton telling Chenne that the primates let the man go on purpose to serve as a warning. Later that night, Sydney goes to use the restroom when she hears someone moving around the latrine tent and as she finishes, something grabs her from under the tent and drags her away. The next morning, Amy tells Seth that Sydney is missing and he goes to talk to Hamilton about it, only for Hamilton to tell him that he had Chenne take her back to the plateau. As Hamilton tells them to get ready to leave, Amy asks Seth what they should do and he tells her he will think of something but for now they should just keep following Hamilton. Meanwhile, Chenne is shown to be dragging Sydney through the jungle before kicking her into the river, throwing her pack after her. As Chenne heads back to rejoin the others, Sydney manages to make it to the other side, where she ends up being killed by something in the remains of the broken cage. Elsewhere, Hamilton leads the others further into the valley but Seth is using scraps of a shirt to tie around trees, intending to use them as markers to find their way back if needed. When Chenne returns, Seth and the others question how she was able to get back so quick but Hamilton dismisses their concerns and wants them to keep moving. Hamilton and Chenne then check a tracking device they have and seeing a signal moving, they tell the students to start moving. When they finally stop, Josh goes to sit next to a tree where they see a chunk of meat and ribs stuck onto the tree and when Hamilton knocks it down and Chenne removes it, a necklace falls from the carcass. Seth and Amy help Josh move and Seth tells them it is a warning meant for them but doesn’t say anything about the necklace, which he had picked up. Seth then confronts Hamilton about why they are there and Hamilton reveals that there is a creature in the valley that is the bridge between the two species and it is still alive in the valley. He tells them that he wanted to get indisputable proof that the creatures not only had lived, but were still living and thriving in the valley but couldn’t risk having any academic help him as they would want to share the glory, which is why he chose to have students help him. Huddling together, Seth and the others discuss what to do and Seth says that he is going to try and grab Chenne’s gun that night when she goes to sleep, then they can get out of there without Hamilton stopping them. Greg wants to help him but Seth tells him to let him go alone, as he won’t be able to carry Josh by himself if something goes wrong. That night, Amy asks Seth if she can stay in his tent for the night while Josh, Greg, and Dani stay together in another tent. During the night, everyone is startled by the sound of water hitting the tents and they think it is a sudden freak rain storm but when the smell hits them, Greg says it is urine, telling Dani that some animals urinate on their prey. Suddenly, Josh, who had stuck his injured foot out of the tent, is grabbed by one of the primates and dragged up into the trees. As Greg goes chasing after him, Dani goes to tell Seth and Amy while Hamilton and Chenne head out to try and capture on of the apes. As Hamilton and Chenne separate, Chenne hears something moving in the brush and fires at it, inadvertently hitting Greg, who had seen Josh getting killed and was searching for the others. Chenne then ties the wounded Greg up and uses him as bait to try and kill one of the primates. Seth, Amy, and Dani see what is happening and Seth tells them to hide while he goes to help Greg but Hamilton stops him, refusing to let him interfere. As she waits for a primate to show up in her trap, Chenne ends up getting killed instead, followed by Greg. Hearing Chenne cry out, Hamilton goes to look for her and finds her body lying on the ground. Seth confronts Hamilton about his using them as bait and his obsession with proving his discovery and Hamilton knocks him down into a cave, then heads out after the girls. Hamilton locates them and after forcing Dani to film him explaining the attack and deaths that occurred, he leads them away. Hamilton tells them that they are trying to locate Sydney and AMy realizes the bracelets were tracking chips so he could use them as bait. They soon find Sydney’s arm dangling forma  vine and as Hamilton goes to pull it down, he is impaled by a trap that the primates set, telling Dani to film his final words. Seth joins them and they head off back to the camp site only to find it has disappeared. When they discover that Seth’s markers have also been removed, they try making their way in the direction they think they came from but Dani is suddenly grabbed as they make their way through the jungle. Noticing that she is missing, Seth and AMy go back to look for her and find her camera on the ground, and when blood drips down onto the camera, they see Dani’s body up in a tree. They start running through the jungle, with Seth lighting some flares and throwing them behind them to keep the primates at bay. They eventually discover a cave and find all of Seth’s cloth markers adorning the stalactites at the entrance. Heading inside, they see Josh’s light further inside and go looking for him, with Amy using the night vision mode on the camera to help see. As they reach an open chamber, AMy notices something moving along the walls and tells Seth, who takes the camera from her to get a look for himself. Seth tells Amy there is nothing there but he is suddenly attacked from behind and killed, dropping the camera in the process, and the primate then approached Amy and kills her.

Giving it some time and another viewing, this movie actually isn’t as bad as I first thought it was. The acting was ok, with F. Murray Abraham doing a great job as the almost Ahab like obsessed Hamilton while Matt Ryan (honestly didn’t realize this was my first time seeing him on screen) doing a good job as Seth. Unfortunately, the other actors and actresses honestly weren’t that good. The story was interesting but the whole idea of the evolved primates attacking the group like that honestly felt like it was ripped off from Congo. One thing that I did think was a good idea is that they didn’t really show what the primates looked like for almost the entire movie, which added a pretty good amount of suspense to the movie. However, they absolutly ruined one of the best things they had going for it at the very end of the movie, as right when Amy was about to be killed, they cut away to show the primate, which was honestly just a decent looking gorilla at best. The special effects were pretty decent and I liked the kind of tunnel-vision they used when they were looking through the primates eyes. So yes, a second viewing sometimes can change my opinion on a movie and while this still isn’t one of my favorite entries in the series, it is a pretty decent movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 19th, 2014 Movie – Blood Mania

blood mania

 

Another movie from the Drive-In Cult Classic box set makes for some interesting viewing tonight. Unlike yesterday’s movie, I don’t really recall much about this movie from the first time I saw it. I will say that the movie poster above certainly makes the movie seem interesting. I mean, you have a naked woman carrying a skeleton. That is definitely an eye catching piece of advertising there. Well, let’s just see what Blood Mania has to offer as far as entertainment.

The plot: Ridgeley Waterman, a wealthy but bed-ridden old man, signals for his daughter Victoria to bring him his breakfast but when she gets there, he constantly belittles her. Victoria tries to be nice to him but his insults continue, then he begins insulting his doctor, Dr. Craig Cooper, and comments about how the fact that Craig has yet to respond to any of Victoria’s attempts to seduce him is one of the few joys he has left. Meanwhile, Craig is lying in bed at his home before he is roused from his sleep by his girlfriend Cheryl, who invites him into the bath with her. As he is finishing, he answers a phone call and tells the person on the other end that they are not supposed to call him at home and says he doesn’t care if he needs the money, but then relents and says he will see what he can do. Back at the Waterman’s home, Victoria, who is a nymphomaniac, makes a pass at the pool boy but as he races off, Craig arrives and she quickly gets her clothes back on so she can greet him. When he enters, he asks why Nurse Turner isn’t there, then chastises her when she tells him she sent her home as she is there with her father. Craig begins his check up on Ridgeley, who is angry that he can’t get the results from his tests, but Craig finishes his exam and tells Ridgeley that he wants Nurse Turner to be there at all times. As Craig goes to leave, Victoria attempts to seduce him again but he turns her down again, as he has work to do. Returning home early, Craig and Cheryl start kissing and undressing when someone knocks on the door. After they get dressed, Craig opens the door and a man named Larry walks in. After introducing him to Cheryl, Craig asks her to go upstairs so he can talk to Larry in private. Larry tells Craig that he wants $50,000 in two weeks or else he will go talk to the district attorney about what he had done. Craig tells him that he doesn’t have that kind of money but Larry tells him that isn’t his concern and he should use his new connections to try and get it. Later, Cheryl talks to Craig about what Larry is blackmailing him over and Craig tells her that while he was in med school, he had performed some illegal abortions to some people that Larry had introduced him too and that is what he is being blackmailed over. The next day, Craig finishes his check up on Ridgeley and then gives Nurse Turner a prescription to pick up. As he goes to leave, Victoria asks to speak with him, showing him her latest painting. Victoria then asks if he is really having tax problems and offers to help him pay them off and Craig tries to refuse at first but when she begins kissing him, he gives in and they end up having sex. As they lay in bed afterwards, Craig tells her that he needs $50,000 and Victoria tells him that she doesn’t have that much money but knows how to get it, refusing to go into details about it. Meanwhile, Cheryl invites Larry over to try and convince him to leave Craig alone and he tells her he will if she sleeps with him but after raping her, he goes back on his word. That night, Victoria slips into her father’s room and uses some of her drugs to poison him, reveling in the fact that she will soon be rid of her father. Craig and Nurse Turner discuss Ridgeley’s death and when Craig goes to talk to her about it, he is shocked to learn that she killed her father for him. Craig goes to call the police but changes his mind and calls the coroner to list the cause of death as a stroke. Later, Victoria goes to meet with her father’s lawyer to discuss the funeral and reading of the will and the lawyer says everything has been arranged but the will can’t be read until two weeks, as her sister Gail must be present for the reading, much to Victoria’s displeasure. Some time later, Gail arrives at the house with Kate, an older woman that she is friends with, and Victoria introduces them to Craig and then goes to escort Craig out, inviting him to dinner and telling him not to make plans afterwards. Later that night, Craig and Victoria talk and she tells him when she would be able to get the money to him and Craig says he will pay her back but Victoria says she doesn’t want the money as she has him and the two embrace and kiss before having sex again. At the reading of the will, Ridgeley has left Nurse Turner some money, set up a trust for Craig to spend on medical research, but leaves the bulk of his estate to Gail, with a stipulation that Victoria has exclusive use of the house and money for it’s upkeep and a living allowance but can not sell the house in her lifetime. Hearing what the will states, Victoria cries out that it isn’t fair, as she was the one to care for their father while Gail left, and begins screaming out in rage and grief at the turn of events before Craig takes her to her room and lays her down in her bed to rest. After giving Nurse Turner some instructions for dealing with Victoria, Craig goes to leave but is stopped by Kate, who is concerned for Gail’s safety. Craig says that she has nothing to worry about but Kate, who has her own relationship with Gail, says that she knows Craig is involved with Victoria and warns him not to try and go after Gail now that she has the money instead of Victoria. The next day, Craig invites Gail to come with him on a few house calls and she accepts, much to Kate’s displeasure. After the house calls, Craig and Gail spend the afternoon at a medieval fair before walking along the beach, where they start kissing. When they return to the house, Victoria sees them fooling around by the pool before they head inside, where they continue kissing before they end up having sex. Later, Gail returns to her room to find Kate packing and when she asks why she is leaving, Kate tells her that a woman like her needs to be with people that are like her and she can’t see herself staying here anymore. After she leaves, Gail goes to see Victoria and talks to her about the will, offering to split the money with her. When Victoria refuses, she comments on how nobody seems to want the money, and Victoria correctly guesses that she had offered to help Craig with his money problems but he refused. Gail tells Victoria that she wants to take care of her and tells Nurse Turner she can leave but after Gail heads up to bed, Victoria kills her. Later, Victoria calls Craig and when he asks for Gail, she tells him that she went back to New York and when he asks what is going on over there, she hangs up on him. Craig rushes over to find Victoria painting and when he asks where Gail is, she tells him she is gone. He decides to check for himself and soon discovers Gail’s body, and realizes Victoria was using her blood to paint with. Deciding to cover up the murder, Craig carries Gail’s body out to his car, wrapping it up before placing it in the back. He then tells Victoria that not to answer the door or phone until he returns. Victoria kisses and hugs him but then suddenly starts screaming and as Craig looks where she is looking, he sees Gail’s body leaning against the wall. When the body falls to the ground, Victoria keeps screaming but Craig is shocked to see Larry enter the room, grinning wildly at Craig. Craig sadly looks over at Victoria’s painting, which shows him carrying a skeleton, and he realizes his life is now over.

This was a decent attempt at a thriller but pretty much fell flat on it’s face. The acting was ok at best, with Maria De Aragon (Victoria) putting in the best performance among everyone there. Peter Carpenter (Craig), Leslie Simms (Nurse Turner), and Eric Allison (Ridgeley) were also good but everyone else honestly felt a little stiff and robotic in some of their deliveries. The story was actually good, with a lot of scheming going on between several characters; Craig trying to pay off his blackmailer, Victoria trying to get Craig, Kate trying to get Gail, and Victoria trying to get her inheritance. The drama and tension were decent but they couldn’t really do much to save it from the acting. It’s a decent time suck movie or worth watching if you are curious but not necessarily worth hunting down to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 18th, 2014 Movie – Bloodlust!

bloodlust

Ahh, another movie from the Drive-In Cult Classics box set. Now, most of these movies tend to be on the verge of being soft-core porn but every now and then, you get a different type of movie that is actually pretty decent. I actually recall this movie from the first time I watched it and remember it being a pretty decent movie. Now let’s see if Bloodlust! is as good as I remember or if I was confused by it.

The plot: Two couples (Betty and Johnny and Jeanne and Pete) are taking a cruise on a ship but are concerned about the ship’s captain, Captain Tony, and his drinking. As Tony passes out drunk on the bridge, Pete spots an island nearby and thinks that they might find some buried pirate treasure on their and the others agree to the adventure. Unable to rouse Tony from his drunken slumber, they all decide to get in the boat’s dinghy and head to shore but as they cast off, Tony rouses from his stupor and yells out to them not to go there before passing out again. Johnny and the others reach shore and start exploring the island but as they leave the dinghy, a man that was watching from some nearby rocks quickly rushes out and steals it. Finding some debris and some clams on the beach, they head into the interior of the island to find something to cook the clams on when Johnny stumbles into a pit. Pete finds some vines to use to help get Johnny out and Betty goes down to help him but as Pete and Jeanne start pulling on the vines, they are startled to see some men on the other side of the pit, with the leader telling his men to help them. The man, Dr. Albert Balleau, invites them to his home and explains that after the war, he decided to settle on the island and indulge in his passion for hunting. As they are talking, they are interrupted by Balleau’s houseguest Dean Gerrard. After Balleau sends him on his way, Johnny says they should head back to their ship but Balleau says they can’t leave, as their are dangerous wild animals in the jungle at night. As Balleau leaves the room, Johnny and the others discuss the situation and worry about Tony leaving them but Pete says that he disabled the ship so that he won’t be able to leave. When the door opens, a woman steps in, followed by Balleau, who introduces them to his wife Sandra and asks her to show Betty and Jeanne to a room for the night. After they leave, his sevant Jondor enters, who happens to be the man that stole their dinghy, and has him show Pete and Johnny to their room. Later, it is revealed that Dean and Sandra are lovers and are making plans to escape Balleau and the island but Balleau enters and after talking to them for a bit, he asks Dean to escort to her room and warns that the 4 kids presence on the island changes nothing. Meanwhile, Johnny and Pete head to Betty and Jeanne’s room and as they discuss how uncomfortable Balleau makes them, they decide to explore the house and see what is going on. The couples split up but as Johnny and Betty walk down the hall, they are grabbed by Sandra and Dean, who tell them not to scream and say they need to speak with them in private. Meanwhile, Pete and Jeanne find a staircase to a lower portion of the house and as they investigate, they quickly hide when they see Jondor enter the room. Jondor places a skull he was carrying on a shelf then pulls up the drape on a display case and Pete and Jeanne fight off making a sound when they see it contains the body of a woman inside. Pulling the drapes back down, Jondor then goes to work on the skin from another victim before heading back upstairs and after he leaves, the two quickly make their way back upstairs. Dean and Sandra tell Johnny and Betty what is going on and how Balleau spends his time hunting humans when Pete and Jeanne return to the girls’ room, indicating the horror they saw without going into detail. Dean tells them that by now Balleau has taken their boat to the hidden cove on the other side of the island and that is their only chance of escape. Johnny suggests that they all leave now but Dean warns that Balleau and his men hunt at night and it would be too dangerous for them all to leave. He suggests that he and Sandra leave and get help from the mainland and the others reluctantly agree to the plan. Dean and Sandra manage to make it out of the house and once past the gate, they embrace and kiss before making their way into the jungle towards the cove, unaware that Balleau is following behind them with a spear. Two days later, Johnny and Betty are discussing the fact that they haven’t heard from Dean or Sandra and start to fear the worst. Hearing someone approaching the room, they quickly hide and watch as a servant enters the room and enters a secret passage on the wall. Getting curious, the two decide to explore  and find Balleau sitting in a large chamber. Greeting them, he proceeds to show them his trophy room, where they see various people that Balleau has hunted and killed on the island. He then explains how he came to begin hunting people and finishes by showing them the bodies of Dean and Sandra. Telling them that they can leave now, he shows them one last trophy case, which has room for 3 or 4 people, and says that they can guess what it is meant for. Returning up to the main house, Balleau explains what is going to happen to Johnny and Pete, as he plans on hunting them, and they are shocked to see Jondor bring Tony in the room. Balleau says that Tony will be joining Johnny and Pete, explaining that Balleau paid Tony to only bring people to his island to hunt but Tony chose to take a side job of bring the kids out, costing them their lives. When Betty says she and Jeanne won’t stand for this, Balleau says that they will come to enjoy the island and since his wife is now dead, he plans to get to know them better. Johnny and Pete argue the unfairness of being sent out unarmed and Balleau tells them that it won’t be completely one sided. He tosses Tony a pistol and tells them that the ammo is in the Tree of Death, then sends them out, giving them a head start. In the tree, they find the ammo box and discover that it holds only one bullet. Johnny realizes that it makes since to Balleau, as he is only bringing three crossbow bolts, one for each of them, but he left them only one shot at them. Tony convinces Johnny to give him the bullet but once he does, Tony takes off on his own, leaving them to fend for themselves. After he leaves, Johnny tells Pete that they need to head back to the house to try and rescue the girls, as he doesn’t trust Balleau’s men with them. Back at the house, Betty and Jeanne are trying to figure out their own plan of escape and, using the sound of Jeanne breaking a vase to cover the sound of Betty breaking the window, they climb out and make their way along the ledge to another window. Back in the jungle, Tony is wandering through the jungle when he spots Balleau and Jondor hunting him. Seeing Jondor move off down the side where Tony had tossed his trail, Tony goes to shoot Balleau but the gun misfires. Balleau faces Tony and tells him that he had removed the firing pin from the gun and Tony begins begging for his life. Balleau says that he will reconsider and tells Tony to head back to the house but as Tony starts to walk away, Balleau says that he has reconsidered and shoots Tony in the gut, killing him. Elsewhere in the jungle, Johnny and Pete heard Tony’s screams and Johnny says that they have to go back for the girls before they can escape. At the house, Betty and Jeanne make their way down to the trophy preparation room, where Betty hopes to use the knives in the rooms as weapons. Suddenly, the guard enters the room and attempts to grab and kiss Betty but, using the judo skills her father taught her, manages to flip him in the vat of acid, where he dies screaming in agony. Back in the jungle, Johnny and Pete continue making their way back to the house when they see a crazed man wandering the jungle, screaming out at random. As they hide from him, Pete finds himself sinking into a leech-filled pit of quicksand and Johnny rescues him, then helps him remove the leeches, then they continue on their way, knowing Balleau is close behind them. Balleau and Jondor continue tracking them, with Balleau cursing Jondor for losing the trail, and when Jondor ends up sinking in the quicksand, Balleau taunts him for his stupidity. Meanwhile, Betty and Jeanne go into the jungle looking for Johnny and Pete when they encounter the crazed man. Johnny and Pete hear the screams and rescue them, then make their way back to the house to try and get some weapons to defend themselves with. When Balleau shows up, he is surprised to see the crazed man and decides to kill him for ruining his sport. The two couples quickly reach the house and begin looking for weapons but though they find Balleau’s rifles, they can’t find the ammo. Balleau returns to the house, finding one of his guard’s neck broken outside the gate, and as he makes his way to his trophy room, he comments that nobody has ever been there a second time, alive. Telling them that the chamber has a peculiar effect of his being able to hear every sound that is made in the room, he quickly finds them when Pete accidentally coughs. Turning on the light for the display room they are hiding in, Balleau tells them that he knows their rifles are not loaded and taunts them by having them pose for how he will arrange them as trophies. When Johnny says he promised the girls would live, Balleau says he did originally but since the girls obviously helped them kill the guard outside, they must pay the price. Betty and Jeanne swear they didn’t kill any guard and Balleau has Pete turn on the light for the final chamber, revealing Jondor still alive and covered in leeches. Jondor approaches Balleau, who shoots him but Jondor is able to grab Balleau and impale him on a display rack, killing him before he dies from his own wounds. Johnny, Betty, Pete, and Jeanne turn away from the sight, remarking on how Balleau probably never expected to be displayed in his own trophy room, then head off to find a ship so they can leave.

Yep, this is still a surprisingly decent movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Wilton Graff doing an excellent job as Balleau, though I will admit that at times his voice and inflection reminded me a lot of Vincent Price. Robert Reed (Johnny) and June Kenney (Betty) were good in their roles but I honestly felt like Eugene Presson (Pete) and Joan Lora (Jeanne) honestly didn’t seem to add much except to make Johnny and Betty appear as stronger characters to be honest. The story was pretty good, with Balleau basically secluding himself so that he can kill people as he desires. Part of me seems to feel like this is familiar somehow and I know the concept has been used since this movie came out, which might be why it seems familiar. The special effects were ok for the time but there was one part that I did have some fault with. When Betty did the judo throw on the guard into the acid, a fair amount of acid splashed up onto her arm, and possibly other parts of her body, but while she did react to the splash, there were no effects shown on her body and she was perfectly fine when she approached Jeanne shortly after. I’m sorry bit this was just really sloppy work in editing there. Still, this is a good movie and something that is worth giving a shot if you want to try an older movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 17th, 2014 Movie – Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

blood the last vampire

Ahh, it has been a while since I have watched an anime movie so I am kind of glad to be rewatching one today. Now when it comes to this movie, I honestly don’t remember exactly why I got it. My best guess is that I was in a mood after getting Vampire Hunter D on DVD and decided that why stop at one vampire anime when I can have two. Now it was released by Manga Entertainment and I had enjoyed several of their other releases so I figured that Blood: The Last Vampire would be just as enjoyable. Now let’s see if it still is.

The plot: In 1966, a young girl named Saya is carrying a large cylindrical case on a subway train, with the only other passenger being a man in a suit. As the train moves through a tunnel and the lights start going out, Says rushes towards the man, pulling out a katana from the case, and killing the man as he tries to escape into another car. When the train stops at the next station, two men, David and Louis, meet with Saya and ask her where the chiropteran is, which the man she killed is supposed to be. David begins briefing Saya on her next mission, while Louis checks on the body but he rushes out to say that it looks like she killed a regular human. David ignores Louis and continues briefing Saya, who is shocked to learn that her assignment is on an American Air Force base. When Louis keeps going on about Saya’s possibly killing a normal person, muttering “Jesus” when they keep ignoring him, Saya gets enraged and grabs him by the mouth, lifting him up into the air but David convinces her to let him go. As she leaves, David decks Louis and tells him not to piss her off, as she is the last of the original ones. Meanwhile, outside Yokota Air Force Base, a young woman is found dead from apparent suicide and the townsfolk believe she was dating one of the soldiers. The next day, Saya is walking by an antique shop and notices a pair of katanas inside that are marked not for sale but she continues on her way towards the high school on the base grounds. At the same time, Nurse Makiho Amano arrives at the school and as she heads to her office, she notices Saya and questions her before taking her to the principal’s office at Saya’s request. Inside, they find David waiting for her with the principal and the principal dismisses her to her class but warns that not a lot of work will be done as they are preparing for the Halloween party. After Saya and David leave, Makiho starts to question the principal about the Saya, as well as the party, but the principal says he is tired of hearing her arguments and to get back to work. Meanwhile, David is talking with Saya and tells her that another body was discovered and they need to find the chiropteran before it goes into hibernation, where it won’t be able to be traced. In class, Sharon, the girl next to Saya, tries talking to her but when Saya tells her to leave her alone, she leaves with her friend Linda. As the school day ends, Saya is looking around the school when she senses something and heads to the nurse’s office, where she finds evidence that the chiropterans are feeding there. When Makiho walks in, she is startled by Saya’s being there and drops the papers she was carrying but Saya leaves before she can say anything. The next day, the students are getting ready for the party but Sharon tells their teacher that Linda isn’t feeling well and asks to help take her to the nurse’s office, unaware that Saya is listening to them outside the door. Makiho goes to get Linda some medicine for anemia but when she turns around, she finds Linda sitting up in bed and both her and Sharon’s mouths are moving but no sound is being made. Suddenly, Saya bursts into the room and kills Linda with her sword but when she goes to kill Sharon, Sharon manages to deflect the blade with a cabinet, snapping the blade’s tip off but injuring herself in the process. As she escapes, Saya turns to Makiho, who is screaming in shock, and slaps her in order to calm her down, then warns her to forget what she saw there. The wounded Saya grabs a banner to wrap around her wounded arm and screams out into the night and elsewhere in the city, a bartender hears her and leaves the bar and heads into an alley, where she starts a fire before transforming into a chiropteran and heading off into the night. Driving around in their car, David is shocked to learn that there are three chiropteran in the area and tells Louis that they have to step on it and make sure they don’t lose any of them. Back at the school, Makiho follows the blood trail from Sharon’s arm to where the dance is being held and discovers the changed Sharon pretending to be in costume. Saya suddenly appears, having broken into the store to grab one of the swords, but when she attacks Sharon, she discovers the sword is a fake. Sharon knocks Saya away and grabs Makiho before exiting the party but Saya attacks her again and causes her to release Makiho, whom Saya yells at to run. As David and Louis track the other one heading towards the base, Makiho runs from the school and ends up encountering a guard and trying to explain what is happening. The guard doesn’t believe her, as it is Halloween, but as he follows Makiho back towards the school, he is attacked and killed by the other chiropteran. Saya manages to wound it by throwing the remains of her sword into it’s eye and then grabs the guards gun before leaving with Makiho. Heading towards the base, another guard tries to stop them but Saya knocks him out and then drags Makiho into the motorpool to hide. Saya heands Makiho the gun, then tries to explain their situation while searching for a weapon. When Makiho tries giving her the gun back, Saya tells her that it won’t kill a chiropteran but she might need it to kill herself. Suddenly, the chiropteran break into the building and move to attack them. Makiho, reaching the breaking point with what’s happening, begins firing randomly at Sharon, hitting some gas cans and causing an explosion that knocks Sharon unconscious and sets the building on fire. As the other chiropteran heads to the roof of the building, David shows up and tries to get inside only to find that the chiropteran have used the guard’s body to lock the door. A recovered Sharon attacks Saya and Makiho goes to shoot herself but Saya yells at her to get in the jeep and drive through the doors. Makiho does so, knocking herself unconscious in the process, and David manages to make it inside and throw Saya a new sword, which she uses to finally kill Sharon. The other chiropteran cries out and begins changing again, growing wings, then flies off towards a cargo plane that is about to take off. Saya and David chase after it in the jeep, radioing Louis and telling him to grab Makiho before the authorities do, and Saya manages to wound it before it can grab onto the plane and escape. When David stops the car, Saya heads back to the dying chiropteran and after staring at it for a while, she allows some of her blood to drip into it’s mouth, which finally kills it, then leaves with David as more guards arrive. The next day, Makiho is being questioned about what happened but as all of the bodies have vanished, along with Saya and David, she has no proof to back up her story. As she is dismissed, she is showed a picture and asked if the girl in the picture looked like Saya and Makiho is shocked to notice that the picture is from 1892, and the word Vampire is written on it. As Makiho watches the motor pool being demolished, she thinks to herself that she did learn the truth about Saya and the chiropterans and wonders if she is still fighting them. As she drives away, she listens to the radio, where the news caster is reading the cover story that David and Louis’ team created to explain what happened, with the Viet Cong being blamed for the destruction, resulting in more American forces being sent to Vietnam in retaliation.

Ok, the first time I watched this movie, I will admit that I was a little confused about the plot. Watching it again now, almost 20 years later, I actually understood it a lot better and enjoyed it even more, but it is still not close to one of my favorites. The voice acting was pretty good though the mixture between Japanese and English among some of the people was a little weird to get used to. The story was interesting, as they don’t quite come out and say that Saya is the last vampire, referring to her as the last original. They also don’t really explain how the chiropteran came to be or why Saya is the one to hunt them but by all appearances, they are simply an offshoot of vampires and Saya feels like it is her job to eliminate them. The other thing I thought was interesting, and I didn’t catch this when I first watched it, was the setting for the movie and how it tied into the Vietnam War, making you wonder if the people that David, Louis, and Saya work for intended to blame the Viet Cong for the attack in order to start the war. The animation was honestly a little duller than I expected, not dull in a lack of excitement to it but dull as far as the color scheme. This was actually a good thing as the muted color scheme helped make the movie a little more dramatic in it’s telling. It’s a good anime and worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 16th, 2014 Movie – Alligator II: The Mutation

alligator 2

So, you might be wondering why I had been reviewing movies that start with the letter B, then suddenly go to the letter A. Well, the original purpose for my watching all of my movies was a) to see how long it would take, and b) to check and see if any needed to be replaced. Well when I watched Alligator back at the beginning of my endeavor, my disk was scratched up and would skip throughout the movie. Now replacing this was going to be a bit of a problem because the DVD had become out of print and any copy I tried to find online was for way more than I was willing to pay. Then, I suddenly found a pot of gold in my search for a replacement. I located an all-region Blu-Ray disk that featured not just the movie I wanted, but the direct to video sequel that came out a decade later, and the best part was it was cheap. So I bought it and happily enjoyed twice as many killer alligator movies. That is how I came to own Alligator II: The Mutation.

The plot: In the outskirts of Reagan Park, business owner Vincent “Vinnie” Brown hires some men to take the toxic waste one of his companies, Future Chemical Companies, produces and dispose of it in the sewers. Meanwhile, two local men are fishing in the nearby lake when they are suddenly attacked and killed by an unseen animal. The next day, Detective David Hodges heads to the police station and learns about the men’s disappearance and starts looking into the matter, ignoring rookie officer Rich Harmon when he offers to help. Learning that a severed foot was found in the lake, he questions the medical examiner about what he knows. Learning that some biological samples were sent to his wife Christine, Hodges calls her to find out what she learned, and is reminded about their dinner plans for his birthday that night. After hanging up on her, the medical examiner tells him that some derelicts had gone missing in the last several days and suggests something might be travelling through the sewers between where the derelicts were killed and the lake where the recent attacks occurred. As Hodges looks around the lake area, he notices one of Vinnie’s salesmen attempting to convince some of the local to sell their homes, as Vinnie is trying to buy them out so he can develop high end apartments in their place. Hodges arrives home late, much to his wife’s displeasure, and as he attempts to make it up to her by eating his ruined meal, he shows her some pictures that the medical examiner had taken of the wounds and she says that they look like the result of an alligator or crocodile attack. Hodges calls Chief Clarence Speed, while asking Christine to see how big of an animal they are dealing with, and discusses his theory with him. Speed tells that there isn’t enough proof to support his theory or to shut down Vinnie’s proposed lake party the next day, so Hodges decides to go see Vinnie himself. Heading to the arena where Vinnie is watching a wrestling match with Mayor Anderson and motions for Anderson to step aside with him. Heading backstage, Hodges tells Anderson about the alligator and that they should cancel the lake party but Vinnie joins them and says that they will not be cancelling the party and convinces Anderson to get rid of Hodges. Anderson reluctantly tells Harmon, who is his police detail protection for the evening, to place Hodges under house arrest and as they leave, Anderson warns Vinnie that he won’t be able to push Hodges or Speed around but Vinnie tells him to use his position to influence Speed. Hodges manages to trick Harmon and ends up locking him to a toilet stall, allowing him to get away. AS he leaves the arena, the mayor’s daughter, Sheri Anderson, arrives to try and convince her father not to get involved with Vinnie but when he refuses, she decides to try and speak with Vinnie herself and ends up punching him. As she is leaving with the police VIP escort, they hear Harmon asking for help and as the officers tease Harmon, Sheri decides to help him only to be filmed by the press doing so. Meanwhile, the alligator attacks some more derelicts, killing one and injuring the other one. At the lake, Hodges is approched by Reuben and his gang and Rueben tells him about Vinnie forcing people out of their homes and rumors of killing people and Hodges tries to explain that it is an alligator but Reuben won’t believe him. At the station, Anderson has Internal Affairs suspend both Hodges and Harmon and Speed tries to talk him out of it. When Hodges calls Speed and tells him about the latest attack and asks for help, Speed volunteers Harmon to help him, though Harmon is not happy about the situation. When Harmon leaves the station, Sheri, who had gone to talk to Speed on Harmon’s behalf, catches up to him and as they talk, Harmon starts flirting with her and they end up going out for drinks. They return to Harmon’s apartment only to find Hodges waiting inside for Harmon and after confronting Harmon over his drinking, Hodges has him take a quick shower so they can head out and Sheri decides to go with them to help. The three meet up with Christine, who had been analyzing the saliva from the alligator attacks says she found growth hormones and adrenaline mixed in with it and says it probably came from Future Chemicals. Meanwhile, Vinnie has hired Hawk Hawkins and his group of alligator hunters to track down and kill the alligator discretely so that it won’t ruin his planned party. Hodges and Harmon head into the sewers and when they encounter the alligator, they realize how large it is and quickly run for it. Making their way into a side tunnel, they use some dynamite to try and kill it but it has no effect on the giant alligator. Hearing Christine and Sheri calling out to them, Hodges and Harmon quickly escape the sewers and when they find out about the hunters, they head over to try and warn them while Christine attempts to find some drugs that might kill the monster. In another part of the sewer, Hawk and his crew find the alligator’s nest, as well as barrels of waste from Future Chemicals. When Hodges radios down there to warn them, Hawk thinks he is nervous that he might upstage him and taunts Hodges but says they are coming up to talk about the waste they discovered. When they are attacked by the alligator. One of Hawk’s crew manages to escape and Hodges manages to rescue Hawk but the alligator kills the rest of Hawk’s crew, including his brother. Hawk apologizes to Hodges and convinces him to let him help kill the alligator and when Hodges accuses Vinnie of creating the monster with his polluting, Hawk says he can confirm that. Hodges talks with Speed about closing down the lake carnival and asks if he was able to get through to the National Guard but Speed tells him he wasn’t able to, then tells Hodges to make sure the alligator doesn’t get out of the sewers until he can clear the place. Speed takes off but Vinnie, with Mayor Anderson accompanying him, follows him and has his driver cause Speed to crash, much to the mayor’s horror. Meanwhile, Hawk tells Hodges that the alligator will be searching for a new lair since it’s home was invaded and Hodges says they need to find a way to kill it before it reaches the lake. They make another bomb and hang it in a tunnel that the alligator is most likely to go through to the lake but the alligator simply swallows the bomb. Christine and Sheri show up with a syringe gun filled with a poison that might kill the alligator but she says she doesn’t know if it will set off the bomb. Hodges tells her and Sheri to go clear out the lake if it hasn’t been cleared already while he, Harmon, and Hawk chase after the alligator. At the carnival, Vinnie is upset to see that the place is practically empty and that Reuben and his gang have kept people from selling their homes. Mayor Anderson speaks with Vinnie on the ferris wheel, saying he regrets their partnership and is going to end it but Vinnie kills him. When the alligator shows up and attacks the carnival, Vinnie grabs the signed contracts and goes to escape but is confronted by Reuben and his gang. When Hodges steps in to keep anymore bloodshed from happening, Vinnie goes to shoot Hodges but Hodges avoids the shot while Reuben and his gang shove Vinnie into the lake, where the alligator kills him. Hodges, Harmon, and Hawk head out in a boat after the alligator but as a helicopter arrives to help with the search, the alligator attacks their boat and knocks them into the water. Harmon is rescued by the helicopter while Hawk ends up getting killed. Hodges goes back to the boat to get the syringe gun and manages to stab it into the alligator when it swims over him but the alligator doesn’t die. Harmon has the helicopter head back to pick up Hodges before the alligator eats him and as it makes it’s way back into the sewers, Hodges and Harmon head back to finish it off, taking a bazooka that the helicopter had picked up from the armory with them. As they enter the sewers and head to it’s lair, they see the alligator heading towards them and Hodges manages to kill it with the bazooka. As Hodges and Harmon leave the sewers, they hear the crowd chanting Hodges nickname, “Solo Lobo”, as they embrace Christine and Sheri respectively. Harmon tells Hodges he will see him around and Hodges acknowledges Harmon as his new partner. As Hodges and Christine leave, Reuben yells out that Vinnie is dead and the crowd works to remove all of his banners from around the park.

When it comes to horror movies, I realize that sometimes, a sequel can seem pretty similar to the original but this was almost exactly like the original. Even with that going for it, this was still about as average of a movie as you could get. The acting was ok, with Joseph Bologna doing a pretty good job as Hodges. I also liked Ruchard Lynch (Hawk), Dee Wallace (Christine), and Brock Peters (Speed) but I thought that Steve Railsback’s portrayal of Vinnie was honestly too stereotypical in his actions to generate any real emotions towards him. The basic plot was almost exactly the same as the first movie: alligator ends up in the sewers, has a lifetime of chemical hormones dumped on it, causing it to grow to enormous sizes. A police detective is one of the first people to realize what’s going on and a hunter is brought in to kill the alligator but ends up being killed himself. Even the man that inadvertently created the alligator being killed by the alligator in a sort of karmic death was the same. The only real differences was the location to be honest, and the fact that the young police officer that partners with the older detective lives this time. The special effects were honestly not the greatest, as there were a lot of times that the alligator looked like a plastic model. An ok movie to watch but a real let down as a sequel.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review, western

Flashback Review: May 15th, 2014 Movie – Blazing Saddles

blazing saddles

Ahh, one of my favorite westerns of all time. I remember the first time I saw this movie years ago as a kid and I will admit that I did not get many of the jokes. However, the farting scene for some reason stuck in my head and made me laugh. Now I would have the chance to watch this many times since then and as I got older, I was able to understand more of the jokes which made this movie even funnier. Now I had this movie on DVD but it was one of the movies my ex-wife had bought so when she left and took her DVD’s with her, I made sure to pick up my own copy of Blazing Saddles as soon as I could.

The plot: In the Old West of 1874, a group of workers are busy laying down a new rail line but the workers aren’t too fond of the overly racist crew giving them orders. When the foreman, Taggart, sends two black workers, Bart and Charlie, ahead as there were reports of quicksand in the area. Bart and Charlie drive a hand cart down the line and end up stuck in quicksand and when they call out for help, Taggart and his assistant use a rope to save the hand cart, leaving Bart and Charlie to fend for themselves. As they manage to crawl to safety, Taggart figures out where they will need to re-route the railroad line and orders his assistant to send a telegram with the information but Bart grabs a shovel and hits him in the head. At the office of Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, Taggart is telling him of the new route through the town of Rock Ridge and Hedley decides to take advantage of the situation to try and grab the land for himself so he will be rich. When he tries to figure out a way to get rid of the townsfolk, Taggart says he and his men can ride through town, beating and raping everyone in town, and Hedley agrees to let him do it. When he notices Taggart is injured, Taggart tells him about Bart and Hedley speaks to the executioner and squeezes Bart in to be hanged on Monday. Taggart and his men do just as they say and the townsfolk hold a meeting to figure out what they should do. Roused by the gibberish of Gabby Johnson, they decide to stay in town and wire the governor to send them a new sheriff. At the Governor’s office, Governor Lepetomane is going over the days business and when his assistant hands him a telegram from Round Rock asking for a sheriff, he assigns Hedley to send them a sheriff. Not wanting to hinder his plan by sending someone competent, Hedley notices Bart in line to be executed and comes up with an idea. Sparing Bart, Hedley takes him to see the governor, who is shocked at Hedley’s suggestion but Hedley says that by being the first man to hire a black sheriff, Lepetomane would become famous and could manage to swing a cabinet position. Geared up for his new job, Bart heads out to Rock Ridge and the townsfolk start to give him a warm welcome until they realize what color his skin is. When Bart starts to read the notice from Lepetomane about his appointment, the townsfolk all pull guns out and point them at him and he is forced to pull out his own gun and hold himself hostage in order to fool the people into letting him get into the sheriff’s office alive. As the day passes and Bart gets settled in, the drunk in one of the cells starts moving and Bart introduces himself. As he helps the drunk out, the man introduces himself as Jim a gunslinger once known as “the Waco Kid”, and the two share a brief history of each other. Meanwhile, Taggart and his men learn about the new sheriff, but not his identity, and decide to send Mongo, a large, dim-witted brute, to kill him. The next day, Bart heads out to make the rounds, trying to win the town over, but is disheartened by their constant insults. When Mongo rides into town and starts beating up the people in the saloon, Bart heads out there to deal with him, using a box of exploding candy to knock Mondo unconscious. Later, Taggart is with Hedley saying he doesn’t know how Mongo failed to kill the sheriff and Hedley decides to use a different tactic to beat Bart. Back in Rock Ridge, the townfolks start to warm up to Bart, though they try to keep it secret from everyone else, and Jim decides to take him to see Lily Von Shtupp perform. Unknown to him, Hedley has approached Lili, whom he has used before to seduce people, and has told her to seduce and leave Bart in order to reduce him to an emotional wreck. After her performance, Bart is given a note to see Lili back stage and he ends up staying the night with her but the next day, it is revealed that Lili is the one that has become enamored with him and tries to get him to stay with her. When Bart returns to the sheriff’s office, Jim tells him that a telegram came ordering Mongo to be released per Hedley’s orders. Bart wakes up Mongo, he easily breaks the chains holding him, and tells him he is free to go but Mongo doesn’t want to leave, as he likes Bart since he is the first person to beat him in a fair fight. Bart and Jim asks Mongo if he knows why Hedley is interested in Rock Ridge and Mongo says it has to do with the “choo-choo”. Bart and Jim head to where the railroad tracks are being laid out and Charlie and the others are happy to see Bart is still alive but are shocked when he tells them that he is the sheriff of Rock Ridge, as Charlie tells him that the railroad is going through the town. When Taggart and some of his men show up and try to kill Bart, Jim quickly shoots their guns out of their hands and they are forced to run away. Hedley and Taggart tie up Lili to question her about what went wrong and when she says that Hedley will need an army to beat Bart and Hedley decides to do just that. In Rock Ridge, the townsfolk learn about the army recruitment and want to leave town but Bart convinces them to give him 24 hours to find a way out of this. Sneaking in to where Hedley is interviewing people, Bart and Jim disguise themselves as a pair of KKK members but when Bart’s skin tone is revealed, they are forced to run. Sneaking into the railroad camp, Bart and Jim tell Charlie to get all of the workers and gather supplies, then meet him outside of town. At the meeting place, Bart explains to the townsfolk that they are going to build an exact replica of the town in order to fool Taggart and his army, with the railroad workers helping in exchange for some land to call their own. The townsfolk don’t want to at first but realizing they have no choice if they want to survive, they agree. In the morning, the decoy is finished but they realize that they forgot to include people so Bart, Jim, and Mongo go to stall Taggart’s army while they quickly build some people. With the decoys finished, everyone watches as Taggert’s men head into the fake town. Bart goes to blow up the town but the detonator fails so he has Jim shoot the dynamite to set them off. With Taggart’s men disoriented by the explosions, Bart leads the townsfolk to fight with the ruffians as the camera pans up to show them in a Hollywood sound stage. On another stage, a musical number is being filmed when the fight breaks through the wall of their set. As the director yells at the men, Taggart punches him and the men in the musical join in the fight. The fight spills into the studio cafeteria, where people start throwing pies at each other. Hedley happens to be at the cafeteria and when he sees what is going on, he quickly ducks out of the building, though not without getting hit by a pie himself. Hailing a cab, Hedley heads to a theater and goes to watch a movie, only to see Bart riding up to the theater on the screen. Hedley tries to leave but Bart confronts him and after Hedley tricks him into dropping his gun, Bart manages to avoid getting shot and kills Hedley. Jim comes up and congratulates Bart on killing Hedley, and the two decide to get tickets to see how the movie ends. In the movie, Bart is leaving the town, much to the townsfolk’s dismay as they have grown to love Bart, but Bart says that With Hedley dead, the town has become boring and doesn’t really need a sheriff anymore. As Bart leaves town, Jim decides to go with him and the two ride off for a ways until the meet up with a limousine and hop inside and are driven away into the sunset.

Blazing Saddles met with mixed reviews initially but has since come to receive high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks’ storied career.” CBS and Warner Brothers would produce a TV series titled Black Bart as a means to keep the broadcast rights for Blazing Saddles and any future sequels but the episodes were never aired (aside from the pilot that starred Louis Gossett Jr.) and when management changed within Warner Brothers, the plans for a sequel were dropped and the unaired show was canceled, though 4, 6-episode seasons had been filmed. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $119.6 million off of a $2.6 million budget and would receive three Academy Award nominations. Widely considered to be one of the greatest comedies of all time, the movie would end up selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2006.

Let’s not mince words here, there is some racist humor in this movie but it is still an incredibly funny movie to watch. The acting was great, with Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder doing great jobs as Sheriff Bart and Jim respectively. I also thought that Harvey Korman was fantastic as Hedley Lamarr while Slim Pickens was great as Taggart. The story had a deeper meaning beyond the comedy, using satire to highlight the issue of racism that existed in the past and how it was “overlooked” when Hollywood made movies about the Old West. Yes, Mel Brooks was pretty blunt with the racism but that was to prove his point and actually did help with some of the comedy. The comedy was Mel Brooks usual blend of quick wit, play on words, and slapstick that worked to almost pure perfection in this movie. It may seem dated and is definitely crude but this is still a great comedy and one worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 14th, 2014 – The Blancehville Monster (a.k.a. Horror)

the blancheville monster

Well, I find myself rewatching an Italian-Spanish horror film from the Chilling Classics box set. To be honest, I don’t recall much about this movie so it will almost be like I am watching it for the first time. Anyways, this movie is supposedly based off a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories so there is some hope that this won’t be a complete train wreck of a movie. Well, might as well see if I remember anything about The Blancheville Monster or if it should just be relegated to the scrap heap of bad idea movies.

The plot: Emilie De Blancheville, accompanied by her friend Alice Taylor and her brother John Taylor, is returning to her family’s castle after being away for years in what she called “exile”. When they arrive, Emilie is shocked to find a new butler, Alistair, attending to them and asks what happened to Joseph but Alistair says he doesn’t know. As Emilie pauses in the foyer, not having been in the house since before her father died, her brother Roderic starts coming down the steps and pauses to watch her. When Emilie sees him, she rushes to greet him and introduces him to Alice and John, saying that she brought them to help her celebrate her birthday, which is in 5 days. As Alistair escorts Alice and Taylor to their rooms, Alistair and Emilie embrace as Alistair cries over her father’s death but is shocked when she sees Eleonore, the new housekeeper, standing behind him and Roderic asks Eleonore to escort Emilie to her room. As Emilie and her friends sit down to dinner with Roderic, they hear a strange scream over the sound of the storm outside but Roderic tries to pass it off as either the wind or one of the villager’s dogs. As they are finishing, Dr. LaRouche arrives at the castle and Roderic introduces him to Emilie and the others before leaving him to fend for himself for dinner while they head to another part of the castle. LaRouche asks Eleonore to stay with him and after the others leave, the two argue over a scheme they are planning, as LaRouche wants out but Eleonore forces him to stay on and asks for something from him. Later in the night, Alice is woken up by the sound of that strange scream again and decides to explore the castle searching for the source. Hearing it coming from one of the towers, she makes her way up there and finds Eleonore injecting a disfigured man with some drugs. Alice flees the tower before screaming and fainting, where she is caught by Roderic. When Alice wakes up again, her room is exactly as it was before she left, including a figurine that she broke being whole again. When she sees Roderic, she screams in fright at first and then tells him about the man in the tower. Roderic tells her there is nobody in the tower and goes up there with her to prove it and convinces her that it was all just her imagination or a dream that she had. The next day, Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche when Emilie and John decide to sneak off on their own, with John professing his love for Emilie and kissing her. Meanwhile Alice and LaRouche are talking and discuss Emilie’s father’s death then mentions that some people might have some old fashioned prejudices about Emilie being in love with John. When the group return to the castle, Roderic asks to speak with LaRouche alone, where he tells him that he wants to come clean with Emilie about the truth regarding their father. Roderic and LaRouche return to the others and Roderic tells Emilie about how her father survived but was disfigured by the fire. Roderic apologizes to Alice for deceiving her and she tells Emilie what happened last night and that Eleonore was there. Eleonore tells them that she was trying to give him a sedative to keep him restrained, as he was a danger to Emilie. Emilie doesn’t believe it but Roderic tells her that their father believes an ancient family prophesy that doom would befall the family if a female descendant reached the 21st birthday but swears that he will find their father, who escaped to tower, and keep her safe. That night, Emilie’s father, Count Blancheville, sneaks into the castle and speaks to Emilie in her sleep, telling her to follow him to her doom and an entranced Emilie begins walking out of the castle to the catacombs. Count Blancheville tries to get Emilie to enter a tomb but she ends up fainitng instead, just as LaRouche and another man enter the catacombs and quickly take her back to her room before anyone realizes she had left. The next morning, Alice goes to wake Emilie and finds her groggy and not sure of what happened to her the night before. When Alice notices the condition of her gown and slippers, she says Emilie must have gone outside during the night but Emilie says she doesn’t remember anything and asks Alice to leave her alone, then apologizes for her outburst. As Alice leaves she notices a book on hypnotism and brings it up to John, who grows more concerned with Emilie’s well being. As they prepare to go to bed, John and Alice find Emilie wandering the halls in a trance and when they try to stop her, she starts screaming, bringing LaRouche, Roderic, and Eleonore to them. When John lets Emilie go, she rushes back to her room and John explains what has happened. He accuses Emilie of being subjected to hypnotism and LaRouche being responsible for it. Roderic, John, and LaRouche head to another room, where LaRouche admits to studying hypnotism but swears he isn’t using it on Emilie. He says that she is suffering from a poisoning of the spirit over everything that has happened and suggests she spend as much time outdoors as possible and John agrees with his theory. When Emilie returns downstairs with Alice, LaRouche suggests going for a walk in the garden and Emilie agrees and quickly takes John’s hand. LaRouche escorts Alice, who is upset that Roderic is unable to join them. Before they get far, some masonwork falls from the top of the nearby tower and almost hits Emilie. When Roderic and Eleonore arrive, John tells them he saw someone at the top of the tower but when Roderic checks, he finds no sign of anyone there. As Emilie and John continue to walk, LaRouche tries talking with Alice to get her to change her opinion of her and reveals that Roderic, whom Alice fancies, is in love with another. When John carries Emilie to her room after she fainted, tensions start flaring up as it draws closer to her birthday. When Emilie has a dream about marrying John only to be dragged away from him, she wakes up screaming to find Eleonore standing over her with a glass of liquid, telling her to drink it. Alice rushes in to stop them, followed by John and LaRouche, and Eleonore refuses to answer about what the liquid is but drinks it herself, then tells them to give Emilie her medicine themselves if they don’t trust her. Later that night, Emilie again goes into a trance and heads to the catacombs but John follows her. When he tries to get her to come back with him, he is attacked by Count Blancheville and left unconscious while Emilie, who was roused by John being attacked, tries to run away only to get caught and strangled. The next morning, the Blancheville’s old cook is invited to make Emilie’s favorite cake for her birthday but when they head up to her room, they find her eyes wide open while she lays unmoving. As Alice and Roderic react in shock to her death, Eleonore is told about John being badly wounded and Alice goes to check on him. A funeral is held for Emilie and as Roderic gives the eulogy, Emilie is shown to be alive but in a coma-like state as her thoughts scream out to her brother that she is alive. With the funeral over, Emilie is placed in a tomb in the catacombs under the castle and sealed in, all the while screaming out in her mind that she is alive. As everyone leaves, Emilie suddenly starts moving around in her coffin before waking up and screaming at being trapped. Outside, LaRouche starts talking to Alice and telling her not to be mad at him as he wants revenge on Emilie’s killers as well. He explains how he was brought there to tend to the injured count after the original doctor died and he suggested a nurse, Eleonore, brought to help him. Alice is unsure as to what to make of what is happening when some rubble shifts in the burnt abby and they see a hand sticking out. LaRouche goes to check it and discovers Count Blancheville’s body buried there and he says he has been dead for 2 days, then tells Alice to stay there while he rushes to the castle. In the castle, Eleonore is standing over John’s body, preparing to kill him but she can’t bring herself to do it. The disfigured man enters and says that he has to die and then kills Eleonore when she refuses to stab him. Grabbing the knife, the man moves to kill John, who had awoken and struggles with the assailant. Ripping at the man’s face, he discovers it is a mask and the attacker is Roderic, who had hoped to pen the murders on his father. When LaRouche shows up and shoots at Roderic, he manages to get away but as he reaches the abby, he is suddenly confronted by a bloodied Emilie who says to come with her and he ends up falling to his death down a well trying to get away from her. Some time later, a carriage is leaving the castle, with Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche inside. LaRouche asks when Emilie and John plan on getting married and John says he will leave that to Emilie. When Emilie asks about Alice, she says she isn’t sure if the man she wants wants to get married as he hasn’t even asked her and LaRouche says if she means him, he will happily say yes, bringing a smile to Alice’s face.

Yeh, this is a pretty boring movie to be honest and was a little hard to stay awake for. The acting was ok I guess while the dubbing was fairly decent considering when this movie was made. The story was boring but I will say that while I did pick out the brief nod to The Cask of Amontillado, with Emilie’s being buried alive, I can’t say that I noticed any other nods to his works. To be honest, I have only read a couple of his works and feel like I should read some more of his stories as those that I did read were good. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects while the drama in the movie was actually pretty good, but the story itself was still boring. It’s a bit hit or miss on if this is a must watch movie but I will say that if you happen to see it, it is worth giving it a chance.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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