August 07, 2004

What else did you expect?

I didn't have much energy left at the end of the day last week, so I usually just tossed in a movie and found something mostly non-lethal to gnaw on for dinner. And do you know what that means? Yep, I'm gonna tell you all about the latest B movies and obscure classic wannabes I watched. Yay!

We'll kick this off with a truly odd little flick called What's The Matter With Helen?. (does that period go there?). (or there?). (crap, this could go on forever...)

In the movie WtMwH (how doodz is that?), Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters play two moms who have almost nothing in common. Nothing, that is, except that their sons partnered up to commit a horrible murder and mutilation. Needing to get away, they move to Hollywood and open a dance studio for children. Debbie Reynolds character is your basic money-grubbing floozy, while Shelley Winters plays a semi-psychotic religious fanatic. That's a horrible over-simplification, because their characters actually do have depth and you're able to empathize with them both. Look for Agnes Moorehead in a cameo role.

And in case you're unclear on the subject, I give this one a hearty recommendation. Great fun.

Which brings me to something I was pondering a while back. Some reviewers give the traditional 'stars' or 'reels' or whatever-out-of-five or ten somethings. Others give the now-ubiquitous 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down'. Online, I've even seen the awarding of 'severed thumbs', as in "three severed thumbs out of four". I like that. I was wondering if I should do something similar, like awarding Krafts (four Krafts, three and a half Krafts, etc), because Kraft claims to be the cheesiest, and that's what these reviews are all about. In the end, I decided against it, and will just describe and recommend for or against like I've been doing. Who listens to reviewers anyways?

Moving right along, I also watched Idle Hands. I thought I might've mentioned this before, but a search of the site doesn't turn anything up. Folks, this comedy/horror flick scores a 10 out of 10, all thumbs up (severed and otherwise), plus maximum cheesiness. In other words, rent this movie and you won't be sorry. Think Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets The Exorcist. Funny funny stuff, and eminently quotable. Big thanks to my beloved for thinking of me and buying this DVD. As an added bonus, Jessica Alba (Dark Angel) plays the lead character's girlfriend.

How's about a pair from Roger Corman? I watched not one, but two creature features. First up was Creature from the Haunted Sea. Bad, bad, bad. Fun, fun, fun. Every character is a stereotype, from the Bogie-impersonating bad guy to the inept secret agent (now I know where Chevy Chase got his schtick from). The storyline is nonsensical, the monster laughable, and if I ever meet that character who communicates via animal noises and birdcalls I will strangle him on sight.

Second of the Corman flicks was Beast from Haunted Cave. Something that became obvious was Corman's reliance on quirky mannerisms to define a character. The previous movie had animal-noise boy, and this movie has the gangster who never stops eating. In every scene that he's in, he's stuffing his face, even in the middle of a robbery. The plot here is better, as is the acting, and all in all I liked this one a lot more. Not that it's a great movie or anything, but you get to see Frank Sinatra's cousin in one of his major movie roles. Oh yeah, the monster is some kinda giant spider thingie. Sorta.

Lets finish up with one of those forgotten classics, eh? Revolt of the Zombies, made in 1936, was one of the very first zombie movies ever. It seems that during WWI, some French Cambodian troops were used and proved very effective at the front. They happened to be zombies, and the Cambodian priest who controlled them was imprisoned after the war in the interests of humanity. A team of Allied scientists were sent to Angkor (Wat) to discover the secret of zombification, with the task of destroying it forever. There's lots of love interest and mystery and plenty of zombies, who just happen to be living people under someone else's control - no walking dead here. For you trivia buffs, the lead is played by the same actor who later played the General in White Christmas. Find this one and enjoy it, just don't forget that it's a 30's movie and you'll be fine.

So there ya go. Betcha didn't know zombies originated in Cambodia. You learn the darndest things when you least expect it.

Posted by Ted at August 7, 2004 05:29 PM | TrackBack

I'm watching the MST3K version of The Crawling Eye. Now that is cheese!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 7, 2004 10:49 PM

P.S. Yay! Ted's back!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 7, 2004 10:50 PM

P.P.S. Don't suppose Revolting Zombies was filmed on location at all? Angkor Wat would make a stunning setting, even in black & white.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 7, 2004 10:51 PM

Hope 'bout, "I give 3 Velveeta logs"!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 8, 2004 12:24 AM

From BBC News:
"Cambodian Troops Quarantine Quan'sul
There has been a small outbreak of “zombism” in a small town near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia."

So, see... Cambodia again! ;)

Posted by: Sir Knight at April 28, 2005 08:02 AM
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