Sadly, I didn’t get too awful much accomplished this week. I’m guessing that’s going to be the general way of things for the next month or so. Anyway, here we go.
Son of Dracula: Another kind of ho-hum entry in the Universal Dracula series. Pretty much the same as the previous film, but with a male vampire instead of a female. Meh.
House of Dracula: At least this time they went for something different. Sure, cramming all the monsters in for no particular reason (beyond being a gimmick) is awkward. But at least the story is better and different. A solid cast helps.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Final Justice: Oh, man. You know, when you mix the boys and Joe Don Baker, you’ve got comic gold. This episode is glorious, and really should be among the classics. I’m surprised it doesn’t get talked about more. Easily as much fun as the terrors of Mitchell, it’s a must see for fans. Such an awful movie, and such a great episode.
Frankenstein: An interesting adaptation of the classic of science fiction. There are some good performances and some excellent sets. But, as adaptations go, it skims over a LOT. Very little character development and an extremely linear plot get you from start to finish in almost no time at all. Iconic images aside, there’s not a lot of meat.
Forbidden World: OK, so it’s a Corman produced movie, so you shouldn’t be coming here for ‘good.’ But, entertaining? You know it. Really bad. Really, really bad. But kind of awesome. The editing is enough to give you seizures. So much gratuitous nudity. Lots of cheesy gore. And gobs of bad editing. Fox Harris turns in an absolutely fantastic performance as the resident crazy scientist, which is frankly, worth the price of admission.
|Seriously, this is totally important to the plot.|
Race with the Devil: A good cast and some pretty good production value help this low budget 70s Satan film rise a bit over the typical hum-drum of the sub-genre. Unfortunately, it’s still full of the typical elements you expect from this sort of thing, including massively, ridiculously omnipresent cultists. Worth a watch, but not amazing.
|Here's some buckshot for your face, Satan!|
Starcrash: Absolutely awful, this Star Wars knock-off is a total gas. Bad dubbing, unfortunate effects, and woefully wrong music choice. And it’s awesome. Do not watch this alone. This is a delight to be enjoyed with friends. I spent a lot of my time watching this movie laughing. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the effect the filmmakers were going for, but there it is.
|The Future looks pretty good to me.|
Departures: A quiet, funny, and touching drama out of Japan, this film is the story of a young man who has finally achieved his goal of playing cello in an orchestra, only to have the orchestra close and find himself searching for a job with no practical skills. Masahiro Motoki is a sympathetic lead, and Tsutomu Yamazaki is great as his Yoda-like new boss. The film is an interesting glimpse into an aspect of Japanese culture that it seems even the Japanese don’t like to think about. Well worth checking out.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Giant Gila Monster: Fairly standard, but quite funny, this isn’t a stand-out episode, but it’s a lot of fun. Plenty of good belly laughs.
Fringe: Season 2: Though there are a few ‘filler’ episodes, season 2 cranks up the mythology stories, primarily advancing the overall story with most episodes. Characters get taken through the wringer, learning about themselves and each other, and frequently not good things. I continue to like the show more and more as it goes on, and as the Pattern of the first season evolves into the revelation of the second universe, and all that that entails, it just gets better episode by episode. I’m very curious to see where the writers take things with the next season.
I did finish up Andre Norton’s The Galactic Derelict, which really cranked up the space opera for the series. After a brief foray into the past, our time agents get stuck on a ship heading out into deep space. I’m really digging the universe she created in these books. And I’m very curious to see where things go in the next two books. Not sure when I’m gonna start up book three.
And I finally acquired volume one of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which has recently been published again by IDW. So far, a lot of fun. It’s cool to read the writers talking about their experience as independent comic creators. Having gone through some of the same stuff while working on comics, myself.