I just watched Bride of the Gorilla (1951) and Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) back to back, those two very minor efforts of jungle horror by Curt Siodmak as writer/director. Some spoilery thoughts follow.

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The Exterminator (1980)

Posted: December 19, 2022 in Uncategorized

I took a detour through the grime to finally get James Glickenhaus’ The Exterminator under my belt. This Death Wish offspring wastes no time getting to its reason for being: its opening shot if of a massive explosion.

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“Delightful” was not the word I expected to come to mind when finally watching Shriek of the Mutilated (1974), but here we are. Apart from having one of the Greatest Titles Ever, this offering from the notorious exploitation team of Michael and Roberta Findlay is about as perfect a bundle of drive-in/grindhouse schlock as one could wish for.

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The Golem (1967)

Posted: November 27, 2022 in Uncategorized

I first ran across mention of The Golem from 1967 back in 1980. It has an entry in Jean-Pierre Andrevon and Alain Schlockoff’s Cent monstres du cinéma fantastique (“100 Monsters of Fantastic Cinema”). The entry says litle about the story of this French made-for-TV film, but praises its expressionist beauty, and says that it is faithful to the source novel: a 1915 work by Gustav Meyrink (the book was apparently a favourite of Lovecraft’s).

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Renato Polselli Cuts to the Chase

Posted: November 23, 2022 in Uncategorized

As subtext is to Garth Marenghi, so are plot and characterization to Renato Polselli. I’m not sure if this is entirely a bad thing. I can’t say that it’s a good thing. But it’s definitely a thing.

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Four Sided Triangle (1953)

Posted: November 21, 2022 in Uncategorized

It’s been on my shelf for years and years, but I finally got around to watching the hyphen-free Four Sided Triangle, Hammer’s first full-on plunge into SF (not their first horror film — that was 1935’s Mystery of the Mary Celeste). It’s an interesting film, with many embryonic elements that would achieve their full flowering in later films. It’s also much less lurid than the poster would suggest.

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Il Demonio (1963)

Posted: November 20, 2022 in Uncategorized

Il Demonio (“The Demon”) exists at the (for me, anyway) completely unexpected intersection between Italian neorealism and Italian Gothic. It has the loose narrative structure, pointed social interest and grittily real community grounding of the former, and the intense pictorial beauty, tortured psychology, ominous score and (possibly) supernatural elements of the latter.

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This is a movie that makes me smile even before the title screen. Just seeing the PRC logo is a joy. As a child, I used to daydream about resurrecting the studio. I admit, as daydreams go, it’s pretty niche.

Back in the pre-VCR days, PBS used to air Matinee at the Bijou, and I would tune in every week, hoping that this time the B-movie feature would be a horror film. Just once, I was lucky, and the film in question was The Monster Maker, which then became one of the few films mentioned in Denis Gifford’s life-defining A Pictorial History of Horror Movies that I was able to see in the dark ages before home video. The film has had a special place in my heart ever since, and I have even taught it once.

(Spoilers follow.)

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Been meaning to get this brief musing down for a while. Some time ago, around the time I had a rewatch of Hammer’s The Abominable Snowman, Steve Sullivan and I were chatting about the fact that in this, and just about any other Yeti/Sasquatch/Bigfoot (YSB) film, the monster is barely seen. This is true even of the over-the-top gorefest of Night of the Demon. The exceptions I can think of are invariable lighter fare — Harry and the Hendersons, Bigfoot in The Six Million Dollar Man (where he turns out to be an alien cyborg, because why not), and Wookies (of course they’re Sasquatches — Star Wars, a textbook example of postmodern bricolage, is so utterly chockablock with bits and pieces of pop culture that it would actually have been surprising if, coming out in the 70s, that high-point of cryptid mania, it didn’t have a Sasquatch in it).

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Three Rewatches

Posted: June 7, 2022 in Uncategorized

I revisited three films recently. Two improved in my estimation. One went down.

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