Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960)

I’m rather fond of the peplum genre but it has to be said that on the whole these are movies that you don’t want to try to take too seriously. Mostly they’re enjoyable as silly fun. Colossus and the Amazon Queen (the original title is La regina delle Amazzoni) dates from 1960 and is slightly unusual in that it was intended from the word go as a comedic take on the genre.The dubbed version which hit the U.S. in 1964 pushes the comic elements even … [Read more...]

The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

The Monster That Challenged the World, produced by Gramercy Pictures and released through United Artists, is essentially a stock-standard 1950s American monster movie, its main distinguishing feature being that it’s fairly competently executed.The U.S. Navy has a research establishment on the Salton Sea. They do all sorts of things there, including the testing of parachutes. Navy personnel make parachute jumps into the Salton Sea and … [Read more...]

Drácula (1931, the Spanish version)

In 1931 if you wanted to reach non-English speaking markets dubbing and subtitling were not options. You had to shoot a second version of the film. In 1931 Universal decided to shoot a Spanish language version of Dracula as well as the Tod Browning-directed English-language version, and to do the two films simultaneously, using the same sets. Browning shot his version during the day. At night George Melford and his crew shot the Spanish … [Read more...]

Dracula (1931)

I’ve seen Universal’s 1931 Dracula quite a few times and it’s never impressed me but since I now own it on Blu-Ray I thought I’d give it another try.Of course the biggest single problem with this movie is that it was so influential and has been imitated, quoted, homaged and parodied so many times. Everything about the movie became a horror movie cliché. What you have to keep always in mind is that in 1931 these were not clichés. At the time of … [Read more...]

Yambaó – Cry of the Bewitched (1957)

Yambaó (also known as Cry of the Bewitched) is a 1957 Cuban/Mexican voodoo horror musical, which has to be one of the rarest of all cult movie sub-genres!Jorge (Ramón Gay) and his wife Béatriz (Rosa Elena Durgel) live on a sugar plantation in Cuba. They’re slave owners but Jorge is an enlightened master and life is generally peaceful. Or at least it was peaceful, until Yambaó came back. Yambaó (Ninón Sevilla) is the grand-daughter of the witch … [Read more...]

Drum (1976)

Drum was a kind of sequel to Mandingo, which in 1975 had (for a short time) put the slavesploitation genre on the map. Mandingo actually took itself more seriously than you might expect, trying to be more than just trash. It was trash, but trash with some pretensions. Drum appeared in the following year and it is pure trash. Pure trash, but deliriously entertaining trash.Drum is the name of a slave. We start with a brief prologue about his birth … [Read more...]

Psycho II (1983)

Psycho II is, quite obviously, a sequel to Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. Now personally I think that making a sequel to a Hitchcock movie is a seriously bad idea (just as remaking a Hitchcock movie is a seriously bad idea). The chances of falling flat on your face are just so overwhelmingly high. Nonetheless someone at Universal decided that a Psycho sequel would be a fine idea and Australian director Richard Franklin was given the assignment of … [Read more...]

The Alley Tramp (1968)

The Alley Tramp is a good girl gone bad 1968 sexploitation flick directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. The credits list Armand Parys as the director (and give every member of the cast and crew a phony French name) in a desperate attempt to give the impression that this is a classy French production. But it’s neither classy nor French and H.G. Lewis was indeed the director.Lewis was an important figure in exploitation cinema in the 60s but somehow … [Read more...]

The Frozen Dead (1966)

The Frozen Dead might be a schlocky sci-fi/horror B-movie with a close kinship to cheap and lurid 1950s mad scientist movies (and to both zombie and Nazisploitation movies) but it has enough odd interesting qualities to make it worth seeing. Although the majority of these kinds of movies tend to be American or European this is actually a 1966 British production.Dr Norberg (Dana Andrews) appears to be a dedicated and kindly medical researcher … [Read more...]

Platinum Pussycat (1968)

Platinum Pussycat (also released as The Losers) is a 1968 sexploitation movie that creates its own little sub-genre. We could call it sexploitation noir, or maybe noirsploitation. It’s a strange little movie but it’s fascinating and it’s entertaining.Some guy called Hollister gets stabbed to death. His girl Dena (Sandy Roberts) didn’t do it but she is the prime suspect, mainly because she didn’t play things too smart after the murder. She picked … [Read more...]

The Atomic Brain (1963)

The Atomic Brain (the original theatrical release title was Monstrosity) is classic Z-grade sci-fi horror schlock.This is a mad scientist movie and it has all the right ingredients. Of course having the right ingredients doesn’t guarantee a good movie.The mad scientist in question is Dr Otto Frank (Frank Gerstle) and he is on the verge of perfecting the technique of brain transplantation. He’s transplanted animal brains into humans and now he’s … [Read more...]

Blacksnake (1973)

Blacksnake is the one Russ Meyer film that nobody seems to like, not even hardcore Meyer fans. It’s nowhere near as bad as it’s usually made out to be but it’s easy enough to see why so many people disliked it.After his brief and less than happy experience trying to make big-budget Hollywood movies Meyer wisely decided to return to independent productions. He also decided to try a dramatic change of genres. This was understandable enough. Once … [Read more...]

Love Is a Four-Letter Word (1966)

Love Is a Four-Letter Word (AKA The Love Girls) is a 1966 sexploitation movie believed to have been a lost film until the discovery of a print a few years back. It was written and produced by Bob Cresse and directed by Lee Frost, both key figures in the west coast sexploitation business.Jerry is a pleasant if rather quiet young man. Life should be pretty good for him. He’s attending university. He has a beautiful girlfriend named Sheila. … [Read more...]