adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

May 1st, 2018 Movie – War-Gods Of The Deep

war-gods of the deep

I wonder if Edgar Allan Poe had any idea just how influential his writings would become to future generations. I mean, how many movies have been released that are based or inspired by one of his poems or short stories. However many there are, today’s movie can be added to that list. Now I will admit that I never heard of the poem that this movie is loosely based on but that isn’t too surprising as he has a fair amount of work that I have never heard of. So let’s see just what kind of a movie we have as I watch War-Gods Of The Deep.

The plot: When the body of a lawyer washes up on the shore of Cornwall, England, Ben Harris, an American mining engineer, decides to head to the nearby hotel to speak with Jill Tregellis, whom the lawyer was working for. When he reaches the hotel, he finds the hotel suffering from a black out and the doorman escorts him to the library where Jill is. As he opens the door, Ben catches a rooster that flies up towards him and Jill explains the rooster is Herbert, then introduces Ben to an eccentric artist named Harold Tufnell-Jones, who is on top of a bookcase. After Ben helps Harold down, he asks Jill about her lawyer and she says he is in the study across the hall. When they head there, they hear a commotion from inside the room and Ben tells Jill to go back to the library while he heads inside. Ben finds the room ransacked and as he looks around, he is attacked by a gillman, who throws some items at him before disappearing through a secret passage in the wall. Jill and Harold enter the room just as the lights come on and when Jill asks where her lawyer is, Ben tells her he found his body on the beach. After questioning Jill about who would want to hurt the lawyer, Ben decides to stay the night and sleep on the couch in the study in case whatever was there decides to come back. Later that night, Jill enters the room to check on Ben when she is grabbed by the gillman and taken through the secret passage. Roused by the commotion, Ben looks around before he hears someone approaching and accidentally attacks Harold when he enters the room. Finding some seaweed near the fireplace, Ben explains what happened and tries locating the secret door when Herbert manages to push the button to open it. Ben, Harold, and Herbert head down the secret passage and come to a swirling pool of water, which Harold accidentally knocks them into. After being sucked down into the water, they find themselves in an underwater city and start exploring. The see a group of men chain another man to a pillar, then leave as the room starts to fill with water. Ben goes to try and free the man but the man tells them to leave before they drown with him. Continuing into the city, Ben and Harold are confronted by a man and Ben grabs him and asks where Jill is before knocking the man out. As a sudden tremor rocks the city, Ben and Harold are confronted by The Captain, who leads them to a window to show them the city in the sea. He points out the nearby volcano, and says that the tremors have been getting stronger and could be signaling the end of the city but doesn’t know when it will occur; a year, a month, perhaps even a week. Harold starts babbling and says that Ben could help stop the volcano and the Captain has them taken to the library so they can figure out a plan. Once they are alone, Ben asks Harold what he was thinking and Harold explains that he was trying to stall for time, as the Captain doesn’t know that Ben can’t help him. One of the Captain’s crew, Dan, enters the room and tells them that he can help them escape from there and says he wants them to convince the authorities to grant him a full pardon for his smuggling crimes. Suddenly, the Captain enters the room with some more of his men and they take Dan prisoner. The Captain explains that the gas that they breathe that allows them to survive down there for so long has altered there bodies, which would cause them to age quickly and die if they were exposed to sunlight, then orders Dan to be executed by taking him to the surface to see for himself. The Captain then has Dan and Harold blindfolded and leads them to the room where Jill is being kept so they can see she is still alive. After speaking with her, they are joined by another man, Reverend Jonathan Ives, who says he has been down there for several decades. The Captain then takes Ben and Harold from the room but Harold was able to count the steps they took and the two find their way back to Jill. Once they reach her, they try to get Jonathan to tell them of a way out of there but before they can leave, they are captured by The Captain and his men. The Captain says that he will let the gillman decide their fate and explains that the gillmen want to sacrifice them to the volcano, thinking it might appease it and stop the tremors. Ben and Harold are taken from the room and told that guards will be posted outside to keep them from escaping. As Ben and Harold try to figure out their next move, Jill and Jonathan enter the room, having knocked out the guard. Jonathan explains that they have to whisper, as there are listening tubes in the walls that allow the Captain and his men to hear them, and tells them that he knows the way out but the land passage is currently underwater so the only way they can make it out in time is to use the breathing helmets and walk across the ocean floor to the tunnel. Jonathan heads to the Captain’s room and sounds the bells, signalling Ben and the others to head out but as they enter the room, Jill notices a picture on the wall of the Captain’s dead wife and realizes she looks just like her, explaining the Captain’s obsession with Jill. As Ben, Jill, and Harold don the suits and head out onto the ocean floor, the Captain and his men follow after them, signalling the gillmen to help stop them. After struggling with the gillmen and avoiding the crossbows from the Captain’s men, they reach the tunnel and Ben goes looking for the passage to the surface, while Harold and Jill chase after Herbert, who had escaped from Harold’s suit. When a sudden tremor rocks the cavern, Jill and Harold find themselves trapped, just as the Captain and his surviving men arrive and attempt to kill Ben. Ben is able to knock out the men while a tremor cause part of the statues to fall onto the Captain, trapping them. Ben manages to free Jill and HArold but the tremors have blocked the passageway to the surface so they quickly don the suits and make their way to the surface along the sea bed. The gillmen attack Ben and the others but they manage to kill them with the underwater crossbows and make it to the surface. Meanwhile, as the tremors increase and lava begins to enter the chamber, some falling debris breaks the statue enough for the Captain to escape. e finds the passage to the surface cleared and he makes his way up towards the surface only to have the sunlight quickly age him and he collapses and dies at the chamber’s entrance. Ben, Jill, and Harold watch from the surface as the volcano erupts, destroying the underwater city for good.

You know, a lot of adventure/fantasy style movies came out in the late 50’s/early 60’s and no matter the plot, they all had the same basic feel to them. Today’s movie is no different, a decent movie but honestly lacked that true original feel to it that would make it stand out from the others. The acting was ok, with Vincent Price playing his usual stoic persona, while David Tomlinson was really funny in his bizarre antics as Harold. Unfortunately, I thought Tab Hunter (Ben) and Susan Hart (Jill) both seemed too bland to really garner any sympathies from the audience. The story was pretty interesting but there were elements that seemed to play out in a lot of other movies, such as the volcano playing a integral role in the movie’s climax like in Atragon or Journey To The Center Of The Earth. The special effects were ok while the costume designs for the gillmen, as well as the diving helmets, were actually pretty good. A good movie but nothing especially noteworthy about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review

February 24th, 2018 Movie – The Tingler

the tingler

Now there is an rather funny story involving today’s movie and how it came to be in my collection. It starts with the YouTube video I had seen featuring clips of various B-monster movies, which I had been using as a shopping list for movies to purchase. Speaking of which, there are still some movies on there that I need to buy. Anyways, one of the clips shown featured Vincent Price but I didn’t recognize the movie so I went looking through the comments to see if someone listed it on there. After learning the name, I marked it on my list of movies to buy but couldn’t buy it right then as I was going to be heading to DragonCon later that week. At DragonCon, there are two rooms set up in one of the hotels, one which shows Anime 24/7 throughout the duration of the convention, and one that shows movies. I happened to be walking by the movie room and, lo and behold, today’s movie happened to be playing in it later in the day. I made a point to go back when it was showing and thought the movie was great so, as soon as I could, I went ahead and bought today’s movie, The Tingler.

The plot: The film opens with director William Castle warning the audience that certain members of the audience might be more susceptible to elements of the film than others. These people might feel a tingling sensation getting stronger and stronger and they should not hesitate to scream if the feel the need, as the person next to them might not be able to. The screen then fades to black as several faces are shown to be screaming. The movie then opens at the local prison, where a prisoner, constantly screaming out in fear, is put to death in the electric chair. As he is taken to autopsy, the man’s brother-in-law, Oliver “Ollie” Higgins, enters the room and speaks with Dr. Warren Chapin, the pathologist performing the autopsy. Warren discovers that the dead man’s vertebrae are cracked, which could not have occurred during the electrocution, and he discusses his theory with Ollie about how extreme fear could have caused this, calling the phenomenon “The Tingler”. As he finishes writing his report, Warren gives Ollie a ride back to his home, above the movie theater that he runs with his wife Martha. Inviting Warren upstairs for coffee, Ollie introduces him to Martha when she comes upstairs to put the receipts in the safe and informs Warren that she is deaf and mute. When Warren accidentally cuts his hand, Martha stares in shock at the blood before fainting and Warren has Ollie get his medical bag so he can attend to her. As Warren revives her, he comments about how rigid she was when she fainted and that her lack of being able to scream might be a factor. After regaining consciousness, Martha quickly checks on the safe, then apologizes to Warren for fainting as she did. As Ollie and Martha go to open the box office, Warren leaves and returns home to find his sister-in-law Lucy waiting to go on a date with her boyfriend Dave, who happens to be Warren’s assistant. As she waits for Dave to finish his work, they discuss Warren’s wife Isabel, who is out all the time and tries to control Lucy’s life. When Dave arrives, he apologizes to Lucy for being late and tells Warren that he caught the cat he asked for, then hands him the experimental drug he was asked to pick up. Dave warns Warren about using that drug on his own and Warren starts telling Dave about Martha and the two start discussing using her for their experiments but Lucy finally is able to get them to stop talking about work so she can go to dinner with Dave. Some time after midnight, Warren is reading a book when he hears a car pull up and sees Isabel outside kissing the man who brought her home. When she comes inside, Warren confronts her about her actions and her refusing to let Lucy and Dave marry. As the two argue, he comments about how she came into her money and threatens to prove that she poisoned her father to get his money. Pulling out a gun, he then forces Isabel to head downstairs to his lab, frightening her further and further before he finally shoots her. Isabel collapses to the ground and Warren quickly places her on a table and takes some x-rays of her before reviving her, revealing the gun was loaded with blanks. Warren then thanks her for helping with his experiment and Isabel comments that she will get even with him before leaving the lab. The next day, Warren shows Dave the x-rays they took, which shows a strange creature along her spine, which seemed to have grown larger the more frightened she became. Later, as Warren and Dave are discussing this with Lucy, Warren says that he wants to try and experience the Tingler himself, and Dave grows concerned over what he might do. When Warren heads back to the lab, Dave and Lucy follow and watch as he prepares a syringe full of LSD and injects himself with it. Speaking into a tape recorder, Warren starts describing the effects he feels of the LSD. As Dave and Lucy grow more concerned, Lucy goes to find another key to the lab while Warren continues describing the effects and eventually screams out. When Lucy and Dave enter the room, they check on Warren, who describes what he felt but assures them that he is all right and decides to head out, but they are still worried about him. Warren heads to the theater and speaks with Ollie for a bit before heading upstairs to check on Martha. When he gets upstairs, Martha and Warren startle each other and Warren then asks her permission to do a check up. Martha agrees and after examining her, Warren says she just needs plenty of rest and gives her a sedative to help her sleep, telling her that he will give Ollie a prescription for some sleeping pills to take. After leaving their apartment, Warren heads back to the ticket booth to give Ollie the prescription and leaves while Ollie goes to get the medicine. Later, Martha awakens and sees the rocking chair moving on it’s own, while the door and window close themselves. Going to wake Ollie, Martha discovers a disfigured man with a knife in his bed and as he approaches her, she manages to get the door open and leave the room. As more strange things begin occurring, such as blood pouring from the faucets and her death certificate being filled out in front of her, Martha eventually collapses onto the bathroom floor. Warren returns home and noticing two glasses in the study, comments to Isabel about her having a lover over while he was out but she simply mocks him. Ollie shows up, telling Warren that Martha might be dead and he brought her here for Warren to examine. Warren has Ollie bring Martha into the lab and after examing her, says that she is dead and starts asking Ollie some questions so he can fill out the report. Suddenly, they see Martha’s body sit up on the table before lying back down and Warren decides to investigate and removes a fully formed Tingler from along her spine. Warren shows it to Ollie and ask him for a cage to place it in when the Tingler suddenly latches onto Warren’s arm. Warren tries to get it off and as it increases the pressure on him, he screams out in pain, which causes the Tingler to loosen it’s grip and fall onto the table. Isabel, who was listening at the door, heads into the lab and asks what is going on and Ollie tells her that the Tingler attacked Warren, with Warren commenting it could easily kill a man. As Warren continues to recover, Isabel slyly grabs some drugs from the sink and offers her condolences to Ollie before she heads to the study and begins fixing two glasses of scotch, placing the drug in one of them. Back in the lab, Warren suggests Ollie call the funeral parlor but Ollie wants to wait until morning, as it is late at night, and he wants to take the body home so Warren relents. Warren heads upstairs and Isabel offers him a drink and he chooses to take hers, not completely trusting her, but unknowingly takes the drink with the sedative. As they drink, Isabel asks him about the Tingler and if it is really that dangerous and he describes it as feeling like being in a hydraulic press. Ollie calls to tell Warren that everything is ok but Warren succumbs to the sedative and passes out on the couch. Isabel quickly puts the glasses away and then grabs the cage with the Tingler and brings it into the room before opening it and quickly leaving. The Tingler gets out of the cage and makes it’s way towards Warren, eventually crawling onto his chest and attacking his neck. Warren struggles to breath as the Tingler chokes him but Lucy, returning home from a night out with Dave, hears him choking and when she enters the room, sees the Tingler and starts screaming, causing it to loosen it’s grip and fall to the floor. The next morning, Warren and Dave run tests on the Tingler and discover that it is indestructible. Dave thinks the other doctors will be fascinated about this but Warren says he isn’t going to tell the other doctors or right about it. He feels that they defied the laws of nature by removing the Tingler and now he hopes they can destroy it by putting it back in Martha’s body, as she is no longer able to experience fear due to being dead. Warren has Dave call Ollie to find out what funeral home Martha’s body was taken too and as he dials, Lucy enters the lab and tells Warren that Isabel has packed up some things and left for good. When Ollie doesn’t answer, Warren has Dave contact the police but they have no record of her death being reported. Warren heads over to Ollie’s house to find Ollie has packed a suitcase and emptied the safe. He then discovers the costumes and props Ollie used to scare Martha to death and Ollie tries to explain himself but when Warren goes to get the Tingler to place it back in Martha, he discovers that it has broken free of the cage. Noticing a loose floorboard in the corner of the room, Warren realizes that the Tingler is in the theater and he and Ollie head down and start looking for it. Inside one of the theaters, the Tingler drops down and makes it’s way toward a young woman and latches onto her leg but lets go when she starts screaming. Warren shuts the lights off to the theater and tells everyone not to panic, as the woman is being tended too, then he and Ollie head inside to look for it. As they look, the Tingler makes his way into the projection booth, moving across the screen. Warren shuts the lights off again and tells the audience to start screaming for their lives and screams are heard among the blackened screen. When the lights come back on, the projectionist is being attacked by the Tingler but he screams and it falls to the floor, where Warren is able to grab it and place it in a film canister. They head back upstairs and Warren places the Tingler back in Martha’s body but Ollie refuses to go to the police with him, pointing a gun at Warren. Warren leaves the apartment and Ollie grabs the suitcase and plans to leave but the doors suddenly closes on him. The Tingler then causes Martha’s body to rise up and approach Ollie, who is too terrified to scream. As the screen goes dark, Warren speaks to the audience and says that if they don’t believe that they have a Tingler inside them, then the next time they are scared, don’t scream.

This is a pretty ridiculous, but highly entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good, with Vincent Price doing his normal fantastic job playing Warren. I also liked Patricia Cutts (Isabel), Judith Evelyn (Martha), and Philip Coolidge (Ollie) but thought Darryl Hickman (Dave) and Pamela Lincoln (Lucy) were kind of boring. The story was interesting, showing the typical scientist obsessed with his work and a wife scheming to get rid of him. I also liked the story around Ollie and his wife somewhat mirroring Warrens own relationship with Isabel, as the wife was the one who had the money and controlled the purse strings, so to speak. The funny thing about the movie was the times when the screen went black and Warren was speaking to the audience, both the ones watching the silent movie and the audience at home watching The Tingler, as 4th wall breaks make for some humor. The special effects concerning the Tingler where pretty laughable but I did like the visual effects about the movie; particularly how the movie is black and white except for the blood when Warren cut himself and the blood that poured out of the faucets. A silly bit of fun that is good for some laughs and some cheap thrills.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

movie, movie review, thriller

August 28th, 2017 Movie – Shock (1946)

shock 1946

Wow. I think this will probably be the earliest Vincent Price movie that I can recall seeing. So this movie is in the Legends of Horror box set and, with Vincent Price starring in it, I figure it is probably well deserved to be in there. However, I already owned this movie, as it is also in the Chilling Classics box set, which has me a little worried because the movies in that set are not always fun to watch. So let’s see if this movie is enjoyable, or a headache, as I watch today’s movie, Shock (1946).

The plot: Janet Stewart arrives at the Belmont Arm’s hotel in San Francisco and goes to check in, only to find that they never received the wire confirming her reservation. She starts to get upset, as she was supposed to be meeting her husband Lt. Paul, who was returning home after being a P.O.W. for 2 years, at the hotel and the manager lets her have the room of a guest who hasn’t checked in yet, saying she must leave by noon. After waking from a nightmare, Janet calls down to the front desk to see if her husband has arrived yet and after hearing that he hasn’t, she heads out onto the balcony. While she is out there, she hears arguing coming from the room next to her and sees a couple arguing and as things start to get heated, the man strikes the woman with a candlestick and kills her. As the man closes the curtains, Janet, overwhelmed by her own emotions and what she had witnessed, falls into a state of shock as she slowly backs into her room and sits on the couch. The next morning, Paul arrives at the hotel and heads up to the room to surprise Janet, only to see her still sitting frozen on the couch. After calling out to her and getting no response, Paul calls for a doctor, who tells him she is in shock but he can’t do much for her. The doctor tells him that there is a psychiatrist at the hotel, Dr. Cross, that is staying at the hotel who would be able to do a better job of helping her and he calls him to see if he can come over. When Dr. Cross arrives, he examines Janet then asks Paul where he found her and when he thinks she might have fallen into this state. ┬áHearing the time frame for when she possibly fell into shock, Cross realizes that Janet could have seen him kill his wife so he tells them that he will have her transferred to his facility outside of town and the hotel doctor tells Paul to trust Cross’ judgement on this. Cross arranges for his assistant/burse, Elaine Jordan to come pick up Janet and take her to his facility so she can have round the clock care. When they get there, Janet is placed in her room and when Cross gets a moment alone with her, he attempts to talk with her while she is in a trance like state and learns that she did see him murder his wife. When Elaine enters the room, it is revealed that they are lovers as he tells Elaine that she saw him kill his wife. Later that night, Elaine goes to see Cross and he is angry at himself for losing control and killing his wife and angrier still that he did not call the police and explain it was an accident instead of attempting to cover it up and hiding the body. Elaine tries to console him and says they should try to ensure that they should try and make it so Janet doesn’t recover. The next day, Paul comes to visit Janet and is upset that there appears to be no change in her demeanor. He suggest having a friend, Dr. Harvey, come in for a second opinion and Cross agrees to it. When she hears about it, Elaine is upset but Cross explains he couldn’t refuse as it would look suspicious. Cross then heads into Janet’s room and begins yelling at her, attempting to make it seem like she is crazy and suffering a breakdown if she ever comes out of shock. When Dr. Harvey arrives, he examines Janet and feels like there is more to her state of shock than just her emotions over Paul’s return, as Cross has first theorized, but he can’t say what could have been the cause. That night there is a massive thunder storm, which causes one of the patients, Mr. Edwards, to freak out and escape from his room. As he wanders the hallway, some nurse start walking towards him and he quickly ducks into Janet’s room. As the storm continues, he sees Janet and approaches her but Elaine enters the room and sees him. As Mr. Edwards struggles with Elaine, Janet wakes up and witnesses them just as Cross enters and helps calm Mr. Edwards down and take him back to his room. The next day, Cross is recording his notes when Paul enters and tells him he wants to transfer Janet to a hospital in San Francisco but Cross convinces him to let her stay there. As Paul leaves, one of the nurses brings Cross a newspaper, which reports that his wife was found dead from falling off a mountain. Later, Elaine tells Cross that Janet had woken up while she struggled with Mr. Edwards and Cross worries that it will undo the work he had done but Elaine says that instead it will only make her seem more insane. Meanwhile, Paul goes to Janet’s room to see her and she wakes up and recognizes him. When Cross and Elaine enter the room, Janet freaks out upon seeing Cross and while Elaine tries to comfort her, Cross has Paul leave the room with him and tries to explain that Janet appears to be suffering from some form of delusion. When Janet tries to leave her room and begs one of the doctors to call the police, nobody believes her and Elaine says that it is proof that their plan is working. Cross goes to see Janet and speaks with her, then shows her the newspaper article about his wife’s death, attempting to convince her that she has been a patient for weeks and is crazy. The next day, District Attorney O’Neil pays a visit to Cross and tells him they are re-examining his wife’s death and asks permission to exhume her body for a thorough autopsy. Cross reluctantly agrees to do it and later, he tells Elaine what is going on. Cross doesn’t know if he can keep covering up the murder and Elaine tries to comfort him and offers a suggesting of killing Janet in order to hide the truth. Later that night, O’Neil comes to Cross’ house and informs him that the autopsy concluded that his wife was murdered and the weapon was a candlestick. O’Neil asks for permission to search the house to see if the murder weapon is there, then asks when the last time he saw her alive was, as he is trying to determine a time of death. After he leaves, Cross considers everything that is happening and decides to go through with Elaine’s plan. He tells Paul that he is going to give Janet an injection of insulin to try and shock her system in an attempt to cure her delusions but in reality, he is hoping it will kill her. As the treatments continue, Paul goes to see Dr. Harvey and tells him that his wife continues to say that Cross killed his wife with a candlestick. After hearing Paul say that Cross was at the same hotel when Janet first went into shock, Dr. Harvey starts to realize she may have been telling the truth and contacts O’Neil, then heads to Cross’s office with Paul. At the facility, Elaine is administering the final dose of insulin in order to kill Janet but Cross has a change of heart and refuses to let her die, then strangles Elaine when she continues to try and kill Janet. Dr. Harvey and Paul arrive and Dr. Harvey gives Janet some adrenaline to save her life. As Paul goes to Janet’s side, Cross leaves the room and heads to his office, where O’Neil eventually shows up to arrest him for his wife and Elaine’s murder.

This wasn’t quite what I expected but it was a decent little thriller. The acting was good, with Vincent Price (Cross) being his usual stoic self while Lynn Bari (Elaine) and Anabel Shaw (Janet) both doing equally good in their roles. The story was pretty good and honestly felt a little Hitchcockian to me. The only problem I had with it is that the slow pacing of the movie made it feel a lot longer than it really was and just seemed to drag some scenes out for too long. There weren’t any special effects in the movie and the drama used to move the story along was good, but again it fell victim to the slow pacing in the movie. It might not be to everyone’s liking but it is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5