Monday, October 28, 2013

Lady Frankenstein (La Figlia Di Frankenstein)

Score: 7 Out Of 10

          I am a huge fan of "Frankenstein (1931)," and because I love that movie so much I have found myself, over the years, drawn to movies with "Frankenstein" in the title. These movies are pretty much hit or miss. "Frankenstein Vs. The Space Monster (1965)" was a miss. Fortunately, "Lady Frankenstein (1971)" is much more of a hit. The film was directed by Mel Welles and Aureliano Luppi and it stars Joseph Cotten, Rosalba Neri and Paul Muller. The film tells the story of Doctor Frankenstein building and then being murdered by the creature. His daughter then decides to continue on with his work but her motives are much more dark (and sexy in a weird kind of way) than her father's were. The immediate turn off here for most viewers I think will be the over all quality of the film. Even when converted to high definition the picture is still pretty grainy and has plenty of imperfections (although there are quite a few people who dig that kind of look in a film) and even for it's time the film had a pretty low budget. The budgetary constraints show mostly in the special effects the department (the creature looks a little too much like the Toxic Avenger).

       What this film does have going for it, however, is the acting and writing. Granted it is not academy award winning and there are a couple of scenes that are almost laughable, but for the most part you get solid dialogue and some pretty good performances. Another thing I would like to touch on is that this film has been used as an example of pro-feminism with in the horror and science fiction genres quite a bit over the years. The film features a very strong and very intelligent (she is a surgeon after all) female main character who manipulates the male characters in the film to achieve her goals. This actually makes for a pretty interesting take on the Frankenstein mythology. Most of the other women in these films are hysterical and just down right dumb. If nothing else, this film will serve as a breathe of fresh air for Frankenstein fans.

   The B-Movie Guy.
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Night Of The Living Dead (45 Years Later...)

Score: 8 Out Of 10

           There is not a lot to be said about this film that has not already been said. I could ramble on all day about shoestring budgets, social commentary, nudity showing up in a film from the 60's and all the other talking points behind this movie. But in the forty five years since it's release, we have talked all those points to death (pun). Instead I am going to do what so many books, magazines, podcasts, blogs and documentaries fail to do when discussing this film; I am going to write an honest review. "Night Of The Living Dead (1968)" was directed by George A. Romero and it stars Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. The plot revolves around a group of people who board themselves up in an old farm house in attempt to escape the living dead, but turmoil with in the group soon threatens their survival. I will begin by saying that this is a very good film. It is dark, it is atmospheric and at times it is very psychological. The cast and crew make very good use of the limited special effects and director, George A. Romero, really made good use of people from around the town he was filming in to play zombies rather than employing additional actors.

         Most people while watching a horror film at one point or another imagine themselves in the same position as the protagonists. While watching this  film, it is almost impossible to not think about what you would do if you were trapped in that farmhouse. That is the strong point of this film. All of the characters act just as you would expect people to act in real life. One character is strong and resourceful, one character is completely traumatized and another is too headstrong for his own good. The actors and actresses in this film do an incredible job of making the characters seem real. The film does have it's faults, though. The pacing could be better. There are a couple of moments where everything just seems to drag and there are a couple of scenes that really left me rolling my eyes when I first saw this movie. Despite the negative points, this seminal zombie flick really does deliver and I must admit, every time it is on, I have to stop and watch it (I also have three different DVD copies in my collection).

   The B-Movie Guy
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Amazons And Gladiators (100% Crap-Fest)

Score: 2 Out Of 10.
          Let me begin by stating that I am very impressed that the ancient Romans were able to invent (and apparently perfect) breast augmentation surgery. That the statement should let you know just how historically accurate this movie was (in case you're still wondering, it wasn't). "Amazons and Gladiators (2001)" was directed by Zachary Weintraub (the genius who also brought us "Diva Detectives (2003)") and stars Patrick Bergin, Jennifer Rubin and Richard Norton. The plot follows the plight of a dancing slave girls who, with a little help, escapes her captors, becomes an amazon and returns to fight her former captors in arena style combat. The arena style combat, by the way, takes place in the Roman Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium)... about fifty years or so before it was actually constructed. It also manages to depict the death of Crassius, who in reality was named Crassus and was actually killed by the Parthians, not amazons. But historical inaccuracies should not stand in the way of a good movie, right? Well that would be the case if this was a good movie.
       Unfortunately this movie fails on almost every single level. The acting is just straight up terrible and the fight seems only make the poor acting even more noticeable. The dialogue is just atrocious. People just do not talk like that, not in ancient Rome and certainly not now. It is almost enough to make me believe that the writer of this film (who was also the director) has never actually interacted with another human being and therefore has no idea how people talk to each other. Another complaint I have is the wardrobes. I feel like I could have come up with the same costumes just by spending about a hundred dollars at the nearest costume store. I have given decent scores to other films that had just as many problems because the people who mad those films appeared to really be trying to make a good movie and that is what bothers me most about this movies. It really seems as if the people involved in making it were not even trying and that is really what hurts the most.
   The B-Movie Guy.
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