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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Santa Clause Conquers The Martians: 1964

   Why did I have to pick this one for my first science fiction review?  Well, I'll tell you why.  It's because I'm too curious to see how bad this film was going to turn out.  And you know what?  I'm going to embrace the possibility that this might be the worst film I've ever seen.  With that said, let’s get started!  "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians" was directed by Nicholas Webster and stars John Call as Santa Clause.  It is also in fact listed annually on the bottom 100 list on Internet Movie Database.  The link will be posted at the bottom of this review.

   We start our film off with a song that, I'm sure if you showed your kids (if you have any) they would make it an additional Christmas carol…but hopefully not.  And it's strange because this is supposed to be a science fiction film, right?  Then why are they incorporating whimsical music and Santa Clause?!  Well I'll tell you..... It's because it’s a trap, that's why!  But I guess if you weren't confused beyond repair, you might find the song catchy.  After the opening credits role, we get a shot of a TV, that's being watched by...... kids in Halloween costumes?  I'm confused.  

   So, these kids who think its Halloween, instead of Christmas, watch a reporter taking a look inside of Santa's Workshop.  Wait a second!!  Is Santa allowing this? Doesn't he need to hide his gift making secrets or magic or something like that?  I didn't know Santa went public in 64'.  Wow, somebody's been keeping something from me.  

   So anyway, they do make a clever transition into how Mars doesn't have Santa to bring presents to all the Martian children.  So, I guess everything is tied up in neat bow.  We take a look at life on mars, and get a quick back story on how Martians live their lifestyle.  I never thought I would be writing a review that had that sentence in it.  We also have a number of characters with uncreative names and everything!  We have Kimar, the king Martian, Momar, the mom Martian, Bomar, the boy Martian, and Girmar, the girl Martian.  I'm beginning to see a pattern.  

To understand this confused nature of this movie, allow me to quote Kimar, "It's no wonder.  They sit in front of their video set all day watching those ridiculous earth programs.  It confuses them!"  Well you know what Kimar, I'm confused too, and I don't blame your kids who think it's Halloween!  Nothing is making sense!  And another thing, they must have an incredible antenna.  I didn't even know that television signals could reach that far.  You know a film is messing with you when you question your grasp on reality.  
   We find out that all the children on mars are having trouble sleeping, but Kimar can’t figure out what the reason behind it is.  So they call a meeting somewhere where Kimar talks with some people.... scratch that, Martians about how to fix the dilemma.  For 1964 the color isn't half bad.  They seek the help of Chochem, the wise and ask for advice.  He explains that, somehow, because it is Christmas on earth, all the children on mars are eager with anticipation for Santa Clause to come and give gifts.  He also says that since new technology has come out that teaches everything to children until they are adults.... everything except how to have fun.  
   After all this nonsense, I believe that the only way to view this is to give into the madness and embrace the nonsensical nature of this film.  So, long story short, the Martians need a Santa Clause on mars, so they leave that very night to capture Santa Clause and bring him to mars.  There is one character, Voldar, who disagrees with Santa being at mars.  Disagreeing with something regarding Santa Clause?!  He must be the villain!  So, the Martians go down to earth and come across two children, Billy and Betty Foster.  You have to love the creativity with these names.  So, the Martians kidnap Billy General and Betty Generic, and take them to the North Pole, because you need to have a couple of kidnappings in a kids movie.

  I wonder what the demographic was for people that said, "You know what I'd like to see?  A science fiction film about Santa.  That sure would make me happy!"  I don't know what they were thinking, but I hope Nicholas Webster didn't intend this to be taken seriously, as far as science fiction films go.  However, they are incorporating thinks like The Soviet Union, and the Air Force.  So, one of the Martians takes the kids to the ship and shows them around. The kids hide in a box while the rest of the Martians come aboard to say that they’re going to capture Santa.  So, this was, you guessed it, completely pointless.  

   After the Martians leave, the children come out.... and dismantle the ships power (or something like that) because they don't want the government after them?!  WWWHHHAAATTT!?  How does that work!?  None of that made any sense!  If they stay, the Martians will have a greater chance of getting caught and analyzed!  But if they leave, they might be spotted, but they'll be out of reach by the time they take off!  Billy, you misinformed idiot!  Why did you have to go and mess everything up?!  

  And he does it again, because they get trapped in a cave with a man in a polar bear suit..... I mean a polar bear corners them, away from the entrance.  I'm serious, the animatronics lion in the car from, "The Hangover” looked more realistic than this makeshift costume!  So, after Betty and Billy's trick or treater attack, they get attacked by another one!  This time a man in a robot costume...... I mean a robot shows up!  Oh no!  I hope they brought enough candy to satisfy his robotic needs.  But sadly this robot came to trick and not for treats, and captures the children while we find out that Voldar was behind it all.  

   However, Kimar shows up to explain that the robot will only obey his commands.  So I guess Kimar was just being a jerk, and sent the robot after the children to mess with them.  What's that movie?  You can’t explain what happened ether?  Okay I'll move on.  I've just made up the perfect analogy for this film.  Have you ever watched a really bad school play that one of your kids is in.  You didn't really want to go but you knew that you had to because your child was performing in it, and he or she was the lead something or other.  And so you go to this play and it's really bad.  But you clap because your kid is up there trying his/her best.  Imagine they made one that lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes, only your kid doesn't star in it, and it’s worse than any other play you've been to.  

   Okay, let’s see where we are now.... oh!  So their getting tor, the robot, to tear down the door of the workshop.  Apparently Santa's doors are hinge-less.  Many ridiculous things happen in the next few seconds, but in the end Santa is captured.  So, remember how I thought that the Martians would be long gone with Santa before the Soviet Union found out?  Well they did and now we get to watch a thrilling spaceship chase.  Oh boy, action?  But that doesn't stop Voldar from trying to murder our hero's in the air lock chamber, which they fall for quite comically. All this is going on while Voldar and Kimar are having a Star Trek influenced fight, only it's much more boring because I don't care about any of the characters!  

   They start laughing after they find out everything is okay.  Awwwww.... this film has such light hearted.........and confusing moments, such as the fact that y over 5 pi r squared determines the correct orbit from the planet Mars to Jupiter.  Because that makes sense, right?  Billy and Betty finally meet Bomar and Girmar.  And then Santa comes in and..... they all start laughing..........what the heck?  That's...just...creepy.  

   To continue on, Dropo, the comedic effect Martian, dresses up like Santa and goes down to the workshop to make more toys, but Voldar and his goons broke into the workshop before him, and seem to be the three stooges of this film, although they aren't as funny or likable or talented...the list goes on.  They capture, "Santa", and bring him to their hide out.  I'm not going to divulge the climax, so I guess I'll conclude this review.  

In Conclusion:  Oh man, do I have allot to say about this film.  Let me start this off by saying that this was incredibly boring....if you’re not 6 years old.  I mean this is for really young children.  The story is pretty primitive, the villain has no motives, the movie feels like a play, the names are uncreative, and it dragged on in a few places.  But, what was I expecting from a film titled, "Santa Clause Concurs the Martians"?  To be honest, I had no idea.  The one thing that was decent was the ending, because this is when you realize that you’re watching a harmless movie.  A movie that just wanted to have fun, to clumsily execute a child's laugh.  I'm actually kind of glad that this was made, because no studio today would ever dream of Okaying this to be made.  We will never see this side of film again, and that's pretty upsetting.  I actually liked John Call as Santa Clause. Was it the worst film I’ve seen.... it actually might have been, and I'm not going to rate this any higher after saying this, but I want you to see this film.  I want you to watch, "Santa Clause Concurs the Martians" because I want you to know what you missed out on in 64'.  I want you to watch this because there will never be a film as light hearted as aliens meet Santa Clause.  In fact, I challenge you, dear reader, to make this a practice.  Every Christmas, I want you to watch this movie to see the horrible and carefree world of film that is no more.  Thank you for reading, and please follow, +1, and comment.  Don't forget to watch this film after reading my review at the bottom of this review, because to believe a film can be this bad, you have to see it.

I give this film 2 rocket sleds out of 5

Thank you,
   Albert Dubin

        Next Review:  Phantom From Space 1953

Monday, July 25, 2011

Frankenstein: 1910

    Note:  I want to talk about something regarding a change in plans.  If you didn't already know, this is my tenth review and as such I want to alter the way I post my reviews.  My plans are to, after every ten reviews, to switch from reviewing horror movies, to reviewing science fiction films, and so on.  I'm going to experiment with this for awhile, and see how everything works out.  Thank you for your patients.

   It's my tenth review, and this time we're going all the way back to 1910!  Enter:  Frankenstein, the first of its kind, based right off of its predating novel by author Mary Shelly.  It was filmed in three days at Edison Studios, and written and directed by J. Searle Dawley.  You can actually find a 2010 public release of the film with remastered footage.  (It was once claimed to be a lost film.  And now, I present to you, my review of the original theatrical release of, "Frankenstein".

   "Frankenstein leaves for collage".  These are the first words you see.  Immediately I'm hysterical because usually I mistake the monsters name to be Frankenstein, and not the doctor who built him.  But obviously they are referring to the monsters maker, because he hasn't yet obtained his doctors degree.    In some cases I'm against this kind of thing, but the remastered music is very helpful with identifying the tone of the film.  

   We see that Frankenstein has written a letter from collage to his sweetheart.  Here is what the letter said, "Sweetheart, Tonight my ambition will be accomplished.  I have discovered the secret of life and death and in a few hours I shall create into life the most perfect human being that the world has ever known." (Boy, is he in for a surprise)  "When this marvelous work is accomplished, I shall then return to claim you for my bride.  Your devoted, Frankenstein."  

   The music seems surprisingly cheerful, but this is good because, when the suspenseful music comes around, it will seem more suspenseful by comparison.  So, we get our next title card (that's been remastered as well as the music) that reads, "Instead of a perfect human being, the evil in Frankenstein's mind creates a monster.  There is a surreal quality towards silent movies that I truly admire, and I look forward to reviewing films like this whenever I can.  Frankenstein, mixes allot of explosion-prone materials into a cauldron.  It's fascinating how you see the monster take form.  You really have to see it to understand how cool it is.  

   Our next title card says, "Frankenstein appalled at the sight of his evil creation". So, it turns out he didn't mean for his creation to be evil.  I wonder if this is teaching that playing god is risky business.  I’ve also noticed that you don't have any dialog cards, it just explains what’s happening every once in a while.  So, we get a glimpse at the monster, and to be honest, he looks different.  Granted he's the first design of the monster, but I wonder why they took every stock image from the universal version.  It must have been allot more popular than this one.  

   Anyway, after his encounter with the monster, Frankenstein returns home, and supposedly tells his family of what he saw.  And then, the monster shows up in his home!  I'm not going to say anything about that, it's too preposterous...... but not impossible.  It leaves just in time for someone else to show up (it's almost comedic, like the monster is trying to drive him insane).  But he sees his reflection and, you reason with him.  He sees how frightening he looks and in that sense, a small shaft of humanity shines through.  

   The next scene shows Frankenstein getting married.  The monster shows up and, after some confrontation, disappears because,"He was foiled by the power of love!”  There is a scene where Frankenstein walks in front of a mirror and sees that his refection replaced with the monster, and there is a definite meaning to that.  It's like his personality is the main ingredient to his monsters creation, and that even love can shine in the most hallowed of places.  Wow, this film is deep.  And it's also over at this point.           

In Conclusion:  I never thought that such spectacularity, and yes that is a my dictionary, could be packed into just 12 minutes and 42 seconds!  So, for a film and a review, it was pretty short, and I apologies for that, but that's how long most films were in 1910.  Now I can believe it was made in three days.  But I enjoyed this very much, and with all silent films they never cease to amaze me.  I believe that silent films are an acquired taste, and to those who enjoy that taste, I respect you.  If you haven't tried a silent film yet, let this film be your first (or if not this one, then, "Nosferatu", because that one is classic).  Follow this blog to get in on more silent goodness and more!  Also if you would like to watch, "Frankenstein": 1910 go to the bottom of this review.  Don't forget to let me know of your reactions of this review.           

I give this film 4 PhD's out of 5

Thank you,

   Albert Dubin


        Next Review:  Santa Clause Conquers The Martians 1964 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Brain That Wouldn't Die: 1962

   Alright, here we have, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die"..... I mean, "The Head That Wouldn't Die"...... I mean, "The Black Door".  Okay, what's this films real name?!  Okay, I'll explain.  The original name for this film was, "The Black Door", and was completed in 1959.  However, it was released in 1962 when they decided to rename it, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die.   The film was directed by Joseph Green and written by Green and Rex Carlton.  

   So we start our film off in a hospital, where we see four doctors operating on a body.  After the patient’s death, one of the surgeons, Bill Cortner, asks if he could try to revive him and, he succeeds.  Now, how many times have you seen that?  A father and son operating on a body.......they must be close. 

   The next day the surgeon and his wife, Jan Compton, drive to the country house because a man named Kurt called and told them to head over because of an emergency.  While driving on the road they crash and Jan's head is decapitated.  Now I'm debating whether this was done properly.  We barely know his wife or hardly anything about her that would make us care that she dies.  Also, you'd have to be pretty desperate to carry your wife's severed head(if that is what their implying) out of a burning car.

   Granted, his motives for doing this are quite clear, and I feel really bad for anyone who doesn't understand beyond this point.    And another thing, how does her head become severed in the first place?  Are we meant to believe that a simple car-crashes-into-railing incident would decapitate a human head?!  Please movie........BE MORE CREATIVE!  Anyway, after this traumatic (and rather improbable) experience, Bill takes what’s left of his wife and heads for the hills.......while run/limping away.  

   Upon arriving, he hooks the head up to an (insert sciency, tecnobable here).  Now, there is no doubt that what Green comes up with saves allot of money, but this is something you would find in a neighborhood haunted house.  But, I shouldn't really complain, because it doesn't take that much credibility away and you didn't really need to do anything extra to make it work.  Now, if I was a supporting surgeon to a crazed madman trying to keep a decapitated head alive, I would have some things to think through.  So, we find that Jan can live at least forty hours on life support before dying.  We also find out that the scientist is keeping a creature in his closet.  Sure, why not.  I’ve seen a head on life support, and this point I'll believe anything.  

   I'm not blaming this guy for becoming insane, I'm blaming this movie!  But seriously, this thing freaked me out, and I only heard it, you don't actually see the monster.....yet.  So, after promising his wife a new body, Bill goes to a night club.  Say, there are allot of mixed messages within that scene.  A man will go through the trouble of reviving his wife (keeping in mind that he has at most two days and two hours to get her a new body) and he goes to a night club, as if he has time on his hands.  I don't know what to think.  So, back at the laboratory, Jan tries communicating with the monster in the closet. That sounds a whole lot more mediocre than if you were to watch it happen.  His wife reasons with the monster and they both create an alliance, which is a change of pace.  It's also a twist that shows itself much earlier than in other movies. 

   You wouldn't think that being kept alive would be so bad, but  before you put yourself in a situation like that, you have to ask yourself:  at what cost?  So, we find out that the monster in the closet was lifeless before it was given a serum to bring it back to life.  These scientists sure are obsessed with resurrection, though they don't seem insane.  I forgot to mention awhile back that Kurt had a warped hand caused by all the grafting and tests on it from Bill.  In a way he shares their pain.  

   While driving down the road, Bill is haunted by the temptations of other women, once again.  A few women that Bill knows stop him and tell him about a beauty contest that he should go to and they do precisely that.  Now, why would women want to go to a beauty contest?  I'm not sure if that's normal, but if it's one thing, it's ironic!  There is an incredible build up until the monster is revealed, and even the monster pounding on the door is frightening.  

   After the beauty contest, one of the women that acquainted Bill tells him about the most beautiful woman, and he sets out to find her, his intentions being to murder her, and use her body to connect itself onto Jan.  How does he start off by finding this person?  He doesn't, he drives in one direction and then he's suddenly there.  Bill's lucky.  But certainly getting into a celebrity's studio filled with camera men will be a challenge, right? Wrong, he has full access to the entire room that their shooting in.  VERY LUCKY.  

   And here's another thing.  Bill is the only one there that's not a model and not a camera man.  Who the heck is this guy?!  If he has access to things like this in the first place, don't you thing it would have been easier for him to get a model to kill?  Because of this ONE flaw, any reasonable person could have cut out at least a half an hour of these shenanigans!  I curse you movie! I curse you!!!  

   We cut to back at the lab........after about a minute of blackness!  I don't know what it is, maybe an in-theater interaction with the movie (note, "The Tingler" and "House on Haunted Hill") If you know the answer, tell me in the comments section.  Leading up to the models surgery, they give so many clues to what his real intentions are, and she doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong in the least!  After drugging her he goes forth with the operation.  All I can say after this point is that the climax is terrific.               

In Conclusion:  This was classic.  It may amount to some boredom, but in the end it all levels out.  You could argue that that the film could use some character development, but it didn't need any.  It went back to the basics, and I respect that.  However the ending could have used some polishing, and it may have been rushed, but it said what was needed to be said.  I enjoyed this film very much and I think that you will too.  Read, watch, comment, and +1!

I give this film 4 scalpels out of 5.

Thank you,


           Next Review:  Frankenstein 1910 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Carnival of Souls: 1962

    We are moving on into our first semi-psychological horror film-,"Carnival of Souls".  It happens to be a low budget film made in 1962 directed by Herk Harvey.  In fact, Herk Harvey also produced it too.  It was released for the purpose of being a B-movie and because of this it wasn't widely known.  But as time went on, it was found and is to this day a cult classic.  

   Now, before I begin, I want to say that I will be going into further detail about the plot and also incorporate my opinion within this review.  With that out of the way, lets begin.  The first scene opens with two cars having a street race.  One car made up of women, the other made up of men.  They both speed past a sign reading:  ROAD UNDER CONST.  TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK.  When they reach a bridge, the cars are side by side until the white car made up of women tumbles over the side.  

   You could argue that this is symbolic, but I'm not willing to go that far.  The title shows as the car sinks below the murky depths of the lake, and the effect making the title appear really shows that this film sets itself up for being a B-movie.  Many people came by the bridge to investigate the tragedy, as well as a few policemen.  One of the civilians say that, since they've been waiting for three hours, and because of that they should call off the search(or waiting, because the majority weren't doing anything to help).  And then, Mary Henry, one of the women from the car walks up from the water and onto the shore...  Now, let me remind you that she, and everyone else in that car fell off the bridge three hours ago!  Are they saying that this women was just sitting in the front seat....under water, mind you.....for three hours?!  Well, maybe Herk Harvey set this up as a mystery.  

   So when the women gets out of the water she's taken to her car where she drives to an unknown building.  Here many people are doing all kinds of different jobs.  We see that she is playing an organ, and it is in fact the same organ music that is played in the movie,  both of which were composed by Gene Moore.  We find that Mary is practicing for a job at a church.  One of the men, supposedly working at the building suspects that there may be something wrong with Mary, and we find out too, that she has lost her soul.  

   She does a decent job at showing no emotion, at least until the mystery man shows up when the minister and her drive to an abandoned carnival.  Ill have to admit that an abandoned carnival is pretty scary, besides the fact that I'm afraid of clowns.  Very afraid.  They try to conceal the fact that the actress playing Mary cant play the organ.... they don't do a good job of it.  Its as if they just told her to pound the keys for a certain amount of time.  It also seems like she hasn't heard the music that she's supposed to act like she's playing.  

   After a look at the abandoned carnival, Mary Henry checks into her hotel.  She later meets a man named John Linden, who we later find out is a peeping tom, which is great and all but...what about the mystery stalker?  Well, he shows up after Mr. Linden leaves when Mary turns him down after asking her out on a date.  You know... I'm beginning to question this guy.  What are his motives?  Is he real?  Sometimes it seems that he is and other times he's floating with only his head showing, but that's only to spook people while their in their cars.  I guess it wouldn't be fair for him to run along-side the car, so I guess if you could, floating would be the best option.  

   Okay, if you look at the scene when Mr. Linden comes back to meet marry the next morning, you'll find that something very strange is happening.  While their talking Mary seems to become more interested in Mr. Linden more and more....but he's giving off all the wrong signals!  Mary's character sets herself up to be a intelligent, normal, human being.... that's being chased by a ghost but that's besides the point.  However you don't need to tell me that I'm jumping to conclusions, I am completely aware of what I write....most of the time.  After Mr. Linden's visit, Mary goes shopping.  Now, when my dad and I went shopping sometimes, we would go past the dressing rooms, and we would hear this beeping noise. This was incredibly annoying and it isn't any different for this film.  Nothing is taken away from the film, and it's a personal pet peeve of mine, but I cant be the only one that has this problem.  Anyway, back to the film.  

   Finally after at least ten minuets of anything but horror, Mary finds that nobody notices her and she cant hear them.  I'm so glad to see something surreal that I don't care if a hundred things are done wrong in this shot, and thankfully, that's not the case. I like how you can only hear the things that Mary is doing and that everything else is muted.  Well, that is until she touches a tree, then she can hear fine and everything goes back to normal.  So I guess this is as if she's moving back and forth from existence.  Wow, that sounds a whole lot better!  Okay, I forgive the randomness of that scene. 

   So after her shock she meets a doctor and she tells him about her predicament.  The doctor concludes that she had been imagining the whole thing.  What?!  It doesn't take a doctor to figure out something like that!  Anybody could have come to that conclusion!   But then I guess nobody really knows for sure until they've seen the rest of this.  So Mary decides that she is going to get rid of her imagination once and for all.  She does this by driving to the abandoned circus.  I'm not sure I understand her logic behind this.  

   She wanders about the circus (and the music could have been a little bit creepier but it was still pretty eerie) until she comes across a lake, where she also finds, you guessed it, the mystery man!  We see that he's sleeping under water..... and then Mary leaves.  Well that was a let down!  they could of had him do something to scare us, like rise slowly from the water, then Mary would see him, he would open his eyes, zoom in shot on the eyes, she screams and runs away, end scene!  It could have picked up directly where it left off and nothing would change the next scene, its perfect.  

  The mystery man poses no real threat to her as it is, you might as well have him try to freak her out!  So, after, we cut to her talking with Mr. Linden back at the hotel.  He asks her out again and she finally accepts.  We cut to Mary back at the church, and I swear that I did not see this before hand when I described what I wanted to happen in the abandoned circus.  I get my wish, to some extent.  You'll have to see for yourself.  It totally puts a new twist on things and is very satisfying!  My rating for this film just went up 25%!  It becomes so much more like a psychological horror that this measly three minuets and forty seconds makes up for everything bad in this movie! (Most of it)  

   So because of Mary Henry's "drug trip", the minister finds her and fires her for playing sacrilegious clown music (just go with it).  The next scene, we find Mr. Linden and Mary at a club, which happens to be the quietest club in the world.  We also see that Mr. Linden drinks allot.  However I do understand what their  trying to get at in this scene.  Mary doesn't want to be alone.  The only person that's around her is Mr. Linden, who happens to be a bit of a jerk.  Mary is forced to be in contact with people she doesn't like, because when she's alone, she goes insane.  She is forced to taste the cruel side of her life that is reality, and to walk away from reality leads to insanity.  It stresses the horror of being trapped within your own subconscious.  

  Okay I'm straying from the film, lets continue.  Drunken Mr. Linden and Mary go back to the apartment, where Mr. Linden starts to use Mary's loneliness to his advantage.  I don't understand why she doesn't just get somebody else to stay with her.  Instead she gets this guy!  Suddenly, Mary starts to get more hallucinations and spooks Mr. Linden out of her room.  I must admit that the part that follows is very scary.  

   We cut to after her mental breakdown, where we hear from the doctor that Mary is going to leave town as soon as possible. After leaving, Mary has trouble with her car and brings it into the mechanic.  She chooses to stay in the car and finds later that it was a good idea to do so because, look who decides to show up.  Do I even need to tell you who?  Oh, I do?  Jeez!  I though you guys would have caught on by now!  The mystery guy!  The encounter only lasts a few seconds, because, like sensible person, Mary leaves the car and runs into a bus station.  Mary finds once again that she doesn't exist, but tries anyway to talk to someone.  I'm beginning to see a pattern.  Its like Mary has has a case of S.N.E.D.  Spontaneous-non-existence-disorder.  Now I'm not going to tell you anything further than this.  You'll have to see for yourself.  

In Conclusion:  I am aware that this review did go a little longer than I wanted to.  Okay, so I wrote 1,243 more words than I did in my last review, but it was a review none the less.  I'll try to work on my summarizing.  Anyway, this was..... boring.  Granted, it did have a few frightening moments that made up for most of the wrong things that happened prior to it, but the climax isn't worth it.  I don't think that you should take everything too seriously while watching.  It did however have a lot of heavy psychological imagery that worked in its favor, but most times nothing was going on that we really cared about, and in this way we also didn't care about Mary.  The climax is a bit unsatisfying, and the actors were close to if not already sub-par.  I was also a little upset that they didn't really incorporate the abandoned carnival.  There was a lot of potential, and if there were more funds for Herk Harvey, I'll bet he could have tried a better approach. Sorry if this became boring to read, I'll go back to the basics next review.  If your curious to find out about the climax, watch the full movie of, "Carnival of Souls" at the bottom of this review.  Thank you.

3 and a half stars

Live the life surreal,

Next Review:  The Brain That wouldn't Die 1962 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: 1920

   The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German Expressionist film made in 1920.  It was directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.  I feel as though expressionistic films are very symbolic to how everything is portrayed.  Nothing looks how it would if it were really there, so it makes you feel as though your not their either, but that you can make what you want of it.  Everything is relatively different depending on the perspective of each person viewing it.  

   Compared to Nosferatu, there is some variety to the scores placed in the movie, but it also has some familiarity with each score based on each situation, which is how it should be.  However, let me be clear about this:  you must be in the right mood to watch this, and frankly at the moment, I am not.  But aside from that I can argue that this is strange as it is creative, as most expressionist films are.  I'm beginning to adore German Expressionist architecture.  Everything is really close together and tall, the windows and doors are anything but square, and its kind of like becoming entranced.  

   Its pure imagination at its finest.  The space seems a little restricted sometimes, as if the director had to fit everything in one shot on a stage.  There is also a repeated scenario with the somnambulist, Cesare, how a possessed man goes about murdering civilians util he meets a girl.  This hasn't  been the first time that a damsel has been chased by a beast.(Note:  The first Frankenstein film was made in 1910;  the scenario has been prone to repetition ever since)

   In Conclusion:  I only recommend this film to hard-core viewers. This was very strange, but enchanting at the same time.  The architecture is fun to look at and the atmosphere is frightening to some extent, but more strange than frightening.  However, I didn't enjoy this as much as, "Nosferatu" mostly because that film had a much more clearer story line, and it was easier to make out what was going on.  If you want to see this film then take a look at, "Nosferatu" first.  If you like, "Nosferatu", then you'll also enjoy, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".  I also heard that there was a 2005 remake of the film, but i don't know anything about that.  If you would like to learn more about the 2006 version of, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" click on this link: ima learn more about, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari": 2005!.  If you'd like to watch the original version just click this......Oh!  Wait a second!  I have the full movie right now!  Finally!  

3 and a half stars

Live the life surreal,


      Next Review:  Carnival of Souls 1962 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Halloween: 1978

   I figured to save this one until Halloween but it was requested, so lets start with some background.  Halloween was directed and written by John Carpenter and produced by Debra Hill.  Now, this film was independent and had little time to shoot, but after the release date it became a huge box office success...... but I guess Ill be the judge of that.  The opening was very impressive being that there wasn't any cuts throughout an entire scene, which is something pretty difficult to pull off.  The music placement within the film is questionable because of the lack of anything scary going on in the shot, but that's the beauty of music within a film. 

   You could be watching somebody getting into their car and driving to the store and once you here the music it sets the tone for the whole scene.  A film can be perceptive towards all emotions until the score appears and tells you what to think.  I think that the constriction with shooting each scene works in John Carpenters favor because it adds an artistic sense to the film, one of which iv'e never came across before.  It allows for multiple perspectives.  Its similar to, "Bound for Glory"  with its non-cutting shots but there were limitations in, "Halloween", that were not present in said film.  

   We aren't told that much of Micheal Mires's past or how he became evil, according to the film it just.... happened, which is a little weak so credibility is lost,  but at least there is motivation incorporated, otherwise credibility would have been lost entirely.  The build-up is slow but steady, so despite the limited budget the director managed to keep a steady pace(most of the time).  

In Conclusion:  I liked this movie.  It was simple,  it stayed to the book and in the end accomplished its task.  "Halloween" didn't have anything extra, but the important thing was that what the film did incorporate, it achieved with it.  It managed to have a few scary moments.  Not upchuck-torture scary, but creeper-that-will-always-be-watching-you scary.  And to tell you the truth, that good enough for me.  If you haven't already, check it out or watch it right now by clicking on this link:    Ima watch HALLOWEEN now! 

4 and a half stars

Live the life surreal,

   Next Review:  Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920

Saturday, July 2, 2011

PSYCHO: 1960

   Alright, here it is.  One of Alfred Hitchcock's finest works, Psycho.  It takes place in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, December eleventh.  The music is a masterpiece, and like other horror movies, or any movie, it sets the tone for the story and makes you feel a certain way about how the movie plays out.  Now, the music is key in this film, especially the beginning when you are clueless to whats going on (how she gets the money, from where, where she's driving to, why, and why is she acting so suspicious), but its the music that gives us a greater hint to whats going on. 

   It seems as though your to feel sorry for Norman Bates when he's with his mother, but you have to wonder how that woman has so much power over him.  The delivery of Norman bates's performance is outstanding.  I don't know if I can write anything else because its so hard to turn away from watching this and write something.  His performance has hooked me.  There may not be much action within this film, but its the suspense and direction everything is going in that makes up for it.

In conclusion:  Although I didn't write that much, I want you to understand that it was very hard to write what I thought without giving away anything.  I try to do this for all my reviews.  But if there was a a movie that ever had a twist ending, this was the film that inspired everyone else to do it.  The pay-off is perfectly pulled off.  Its very well performed especially from Norman Bates and keeps you guessing about everything and once everything comes full circle, you start to appreciate Alfred Hitchcock as a film maker.  If you haven't seen, "Psycho" yet, then your in for a treat.  

5 stars

Live the life surreal,     


There is no YouTube video for the full viewing of Psycho.  Watch full movie here:  
Next Review:  Halloween 1978