Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rare Flix: The Beasts Are On The Streets (1978)

Okay, who put PCP in the water this time?!?  Today's Film is The Beasts Are On The Streets, a 1978 TV Movie about Animals on the loose.  That must be a common problem with as many of these Films as there are!  On the plus side, they don't shoot a Jaguar in this one.  The Film tells the tale of an accident that frees the Animals at a nearby Park.  Note to everyone: don't build your Animal Park next to the L.A. Freeway!  It also must be a good idea to section off your Animals better.  This one is apparently quite hard to find- unless you know which corner of the Internet to look.  It is that same corner where you find stuff like Whatever Happened to Rosemary's Baby? or that awful Clerks TV Pilot.  Interesting Cast Notes include alumni from Blazing Saddles and a future 80s TV Star.  Can the Animals be brought back without harm?  Can the local populace survive?  Can the B-Plot of our lovelorn couple come to a happy ending?  To find out, read on...
The TV Station want you to know that no Animals were harmed, yo!  Of course, that's not *quite* what they say, is it?
In California, an outdoor Animal Park is letting people see Animals up close.  Their Tour Guide: The other guy from Miami Vice!
On the adjacent Highway (who allowed this?!?), some Hunters are being dicks.  Weren't you Slim Pickens' sidekick?
Their asshole actions (and the Driver's nearsightedness) leads to him crashing into the fence, thus freeing the Animals!
You gotta love the fact that the Llamas, Zebras and Camels were all in the same open area!
The people are now stuck in their Cars with all of the Animals wandering around  This guy decides to look around for help and this happens...
It is important to remember that thing at the beginning when Scenes like this happen...
As night falls, many Animals are still loose.  Asshole Hunter forces his oddly-old-looking Teenager to help him go hunt...and shoot him...after his friend died.
Since this is a TV Movie, everything ends well.  Nearly all of the Animals are returned safely and only a few people got mauled.

Oh and our forgettable Leads end up together.  Hurray!
Much less insane than its Italian 'counterpart.'  This Film is all about people and Animals.  In this case, it is all about how we are scared of them, but maybe...should.  I think the message was that we shouldn't be, but pretty much 90% of the Film disputes that.  The Characters even tell people to be scared of them...er, be careful around them.  They're right and all, but...you know,..consistency.  Later in the Film, we get the Subplot of the Lioness looking for her cub, which is actually quite nice.  Why the Lioness knocks over a bunch of bird cages in the process is anyone's guess.  So obviously the big difference between this and Wild Beasts is the body count.  That one was much more of a Horror/Slasher Film, whereas this one is more of a vague Thriller.  No Dancing Zombies though.  The whole thing is constantly stuttered by a Subplot involving the Park Ranger, a Doctor and her Daughter.  They mildly-fight all the time and he plans to leave for Africa at the end of the week.  She does too...but just didn't tell him, since he never bothered to ask.  Oh well- they end up together.  Ultimately, this is a pretty fun Film, but its Plot never quite reaches its potential.  It did feature people trying to paddle boat away from a Bear though, so 6 Stars!  It also features one of the few times you get to see the Animal Trainer on-screen in one of these things...
Next up, more random stuff to keep me busy.  It is either review Films or go people hunting again.  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Flix: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (2016)

By the power of YouTube!  With so much focus on the Internet, why not relaunch a 1970s TV Show that way?
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl are Superheroes!  The only problem...
There are no Villains.  As such, they are basically just Mascots and Celebrities.
After a crime stopping goes viral, our Heroes get new Management.  You can trust this guy, right?
With no tech and new style, can the heroic duo become relevant again?
...or will they just turn into Kardashians (the worst kind of fate)?
When a Villain appears to start the 3rd Act, they just may have their chance to be Heroes.  To find out, watch the Film/Show.
Silly and fun stuff.  This update of the cult TV Show doesn't try to be a big, serious Film/Show.  It is just the adventures of 2 ladies that want to do good, become famous and don't quite handle it too well.  The whole thing is chock full of jokes, sight gags and deadpan humor.  The basic Story is played straight, but is filled to the brim with silly moments.  Superheroes as tabloid material.  Superheroes handling fame.  Superheroes dealing with wacky gadgets.  Towards the end, it even gets pretty Meta.  The big thing is the relationship between the 2 Heroes, which has a nice, natural feel.  The pair feel like they really have been doing this together for a long time.  This is important for later as the Plot develops and the stakes get raised.  If you don't buy into them as a duo, the whole thing falls a little flat.  The Plot doesn't have a whole lot going on if you really get down to it.  Bear in mind that this was made as an 8-Episode Show for YouTube and then compiled together as Feature Length though.  It is still quite fun and manages to update things in a pretty natural way.  With all the focus on internet hatred for the new Ghostbusters (before 99.8% have seen it), let's all just watch stuff like this and chill out...
Fun stuff that doesn't try to be The Avengers or Batman v Superman.  If you can enjoy the silliness, it can be quite fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Almost Heroes: Dillon and Billy (Predator)

The Silver Medal of Films.

In this Segment, we look at people who were *nearly* the Stars/Protagonists of their Films.  Somewhere between Leads and Poor Bastards of Cinema lie these people.

They aren't losers- they just didn't quite get it done.

In the inaugural Edition, let's look at Predator.  Everyone remembers Dutch (and some guy who didn't have time to bleed), but what about Dillon and Billy?

Dillon is Dutch's buddy/black friend.
Billy is the big, scary Indian of the group.
Both of them have bad-ass moments, killing some Soldiers and facing the mysterious, alien threat.
 *****

Ultimately, they both die when they try to stop the creature, while Dutch gets the glory (short-term).
 ******
To put some salt in the wound, Billy even dies off-camera!
Are they really Heroes?  Of course!

Are they Heroes of Predator though?  Sadly, no.  Arnold doesn't share the glory...unless it is with Hispanic Ladies.

Got any suggestions for Almost Heroes?  Shoot me a line!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rare Flix: Egyptian Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (aka Ismael Yassin Meets Frankenstein)

Holy Remake, Batman!  Today's Film is Ismael Yassin Meets Frankenstein aka Mercy, Please, a 1954 Film from Egypt.  It is my first Egyptian Film!  Yes, I've done Films Shot in and/or set in Egypt, but not one from there.  So yeah, the Film is known by many names.  I used the unofficial Title to make me more likely to get hits.  The official Title is Mercy, Please, but...where's the fun in that?  It is a Remake of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, a much more famous 1948 Film.  So what is the Plot?  It is the same Plot as Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.  If you don't know the famous Universal Film, it is the swan song of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man.  Plus, it features Vincent Price('s voice) at the end.  This one features all of those Monsters...since it is the same Film (just about).  It Stars Abdel Fatah Al Kasri, the man behind...some Movies that I've never seen.  It is the first Egyptian Film here, so what do you expect?  To find out how this one actually is, read on...
Egyptian Abbott & Costello are bigger, louder and bigger-faced than ever.  Plus, they got the 'fat guy-skinny guy' dynamic wrong!
So the Plot is pretty much the same.  Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula get shipped in.  Comedy ensues.
Egyptian Bela Lugosi is alright, but he's no Spanish-Language Bela Lugosi.
In this one, they want to switch the brain in the Monster in order to find out the secrets of how it works, so...they can get rich.  Frankenstein is now Bakhtour too.

Eh, it is still better than Van Helsing (and the Cartoon Prequel).
Their Wolfman has a very cheap effect.  No dissolve effect- he just either has no fur or is totally covered in fur.
I could highlight how they do the famous bit of Costello sitting in the Monster's lap, but I'd rather highlight how silly the mask looks.  It is just one piece!
Since this Film is Egyptian (theoretically), they had to work a Mummy in...by just misnaming the Monster.

Fun Fact: the actual Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was *supposed* to have The Mummy.  You have to wait until Monster Squad, Mummy!
Just like in the American Version, the evil Lady is thrown through a window.  This time, it is clearly paper mache and balsa wood.
Sadly, this one doesn't feature Vincent Price('s voice).  It does use the same joke...only he's a Genie or something.  It's not Racist- they rub a lamp first!  The End.
Basically the same Movie.  The replacements are louder- at least the Costello one is.  Honestly, Egyptian Abbott is pretty much the same.  He does have a Hitler mustache though- in 1954, no less!  On the plus side, he's a less annoying copycat than the guy from Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.  Speaking of Bela, his replacement is pretty good.  What I find odd is the way that they changed the Story.  Dracula's goal is somewhat the same, but I'm not sure why he needs to be rich.  I guess that Castle doesn't pay for itself- even if it is a Family Estate.  I'm also not sure why they refer to the Monster as a Mummy either.  Incidentally, they play the Wolfman stuff as him having 'Episodes' and reacting even when he hears a wolf's cry.  I don't know about you, but I hear a wolf crying out far less than once a month!  Egypt must be full of roaming Wolves.  Regardless, this is a pretty basic copy, but still a fun piece of Film History.  Bud & Lou were just too much for Egypt, I guess.  As for their silly Monster, well, he reminds me of a few creatures...
Next up, I dig into the collection of random-ass stuff I've been piling up.  Mystery is fun for you AND me.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rare Flix: Wolfguy- Enraged Lycanthrope

This Wolfman sure isn't as mopey as Lon Chaney Jr!  Today's Film is Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope, a 1975 Action-Horror Film with the man, the myth and the legend Sonny Chiba.  I was looking for a true Film featuring a Universal-style Wolfman, but this is close enough.  The Story isn't at all like the Universal Films in any way, shape or form.  Hell, Chiba never really grows fur.  Alas, no excuse for #FurryChiba.  If you want a more classic Japanese Werewolf, you'll have to watch the Kibakichi Films.  In this Film, Chiba is investigating a series of mysterious and strange deaths.  The solution is...not at all what you might expect.  This Story is a bizarre mish-mash of elements from Action to Rape-Revenge to Supernatural to Gory Horror.  This Film is nothing if it is not unpredictable!  While this is a disappointment as far as me wrapping up my Universal Japan set, it was still quite interesting.  To see how crazy this can be, read on..
In Tokyo, a man is running screaming through the Street.  In an Alley, he is suddenly all slashed up by an unseen figure!
 Our Hero- Chiba- learns that this is one of many recent deaths.  All of the victims- Mobsters.
He goes to work on the case, but his Boss tells him to be careful.  Thanks for shooting it like this...
So here's what happened....

This lady was dating a rich guy's son, but he didn't want her to.  As such, he hired some Mobsters to rape her and gave her Syphilis.  Joy.
Speaking of back stories, our Hero gets his- he's from a Tribe of Werewolves, but all were slaughtered.  Alright then.
Now the extra crazy part: the raped Lady can now summon a Tiger Spirit to kill you if she has rage in her heart against you.  Some evil Businessmen want to use her and our hero.
When he declines, they cut him open.  Don't worry- he can just will his guts back in and his wounds closed.  'Werewolf' Karate Fight!
He escapes back home and meets a woman from his past.  As 'luck' would have it, the bad guys arrive right after Chiba killed some Hunters and is with the woman.

Before our 'victim' can kill him, she's shot by the other woman...who is also shot.
Chiba kills the final bad guys like Toonces- complete with a car rolling down a hill- and throws his gun away.  Alright then.  The End.
Damn crazy.  Damn random.  Damn...fun.  The whole thing is just plain bonkers.  A Werewolf Reporter is investigating murders caused by the angry spirit of a rape victim channeling a tiger.  Words fail me, Gentlemen.  Sonny Chiba is here and he kicks ass.  This Movie has lots of blood.  A Tiger Spirit.  What else do I have to say?  It is available online if you know where to look, so start looking.  Don't make me sic Tony on you...
Next up, I swap Countries, but not the Universal theme.  In this case, we get a Remake from...the Middle East?  Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Dei: Invisible Dad

After a month of sitting on this one, it is good to exhale!  Today's Film is Invisible Dad, a 1998 Comedy that I...accidentally rented way too early.  I'd considered this before, but couldn't get it out of Very Long Wait (mostly because there is probably like 5 copies of this left) in time.  This time, I put in my Queue back in May and...got it right away. Dammit?  Rather than keep this in my House for that long (even though I've *owned* far worse Films for Years), I watched it right away and just saved the Pics.  Thankfully, my general disdain for the Film has held as well.  It isn't really, truly terrible, but it is the kind of stuff that was deemed 'safe' Family Entertainment when I was younger.  Like 2 Decades later, I still can't believe that we couldn't watch Spaceballs on a trip(since they said 'assholes'), but we could watch My Dog Skip (which was TWO Scenes of a Dog being attacked).  Logic!  We also watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which has the Leads kidnap 7 women and hold them against their will...but its alright since they fell in love with the men during that time.  Bill Cosby is more romantic than you guys!  Speaking of famous Dads, this Story involves a kid with a magical machine, corporate espionage (yea?) and rare Treasure Hunters.  It also has Ross Hagen.  It is also good to see a Kid's Film from the Director of Bikini Hoe-Down, Illicit Dreams 2 and Bikini Drive-In- all Films he Directed under pseudonyms right around the same time as this one.  To find out just how silly and bad this whole thing can be, read on...
This kid has the usual 90s Kid Movies Problems- No Mom, Dad moves around all the time and that Dad is always working.

You may laugh, but many of you had that haircut back then...
Their new House has some crazy Inventor's old stuff in it, which the Computer-loving son loves.
In the Garage, he finds a device that grants your wishes...if you say them into a wired headset.  Instead of wishing for Bluetooth about 5 years early, he wishes for stuff like Ice Cream and...an Actress from a Baywatch-like Show to be teleported into his Room (against her will).

Baywatch- nothing about this Film is dated!
The Dad gets on him about not doing housework and tells him to take apart the machine.  Before that happens, the kid wishes to 'not see him for awhile' leading to him turning invisible.

Yes, they took a MAGIC WISH MACHINE just to set up the Invisibility.  Was a Formula too cliche?
In Kid's Film Plot Thread #17, the single Dad is hooked up with the kid's Teacher.  She takes the news well.
 The crux of the Plot comes down to the Scientist's buddy coming to help fix the machine.  Hey, it is the Sheriff from Curse of the Puppet Master!
 Despite being only about 80 minutes, the Film feels like it goes on forever.  Let me rush to the end...

The Evil Contractor Sub-Plot ends when the Boss (Karen Black!) learns that his bricks are fake.
The Evil Guys Want to Steal the Machine Sub-Plot ends with...this.
The Dad is restored, him and the Teacher are a couple and the good Scientist...uses the Machine to kidnap the Actress from Not Baywatch again.  Hurray?  The End.
Contrived and routine stuff.  In a time when Pixar was making Films that were more than just Kids Films, leave it to Fred Olen Ray to return the status quo.  This is really obvious stuff.  The Invisible Dad parts are just the set-up for obvious gags like kicking a guy in the butt, knocking food into people's face and all of that kind of stuff.  Even in 1998, this was pretty dated stuff.  It would have almost been less dated if they had just stopped to do Who's On First? instead!  It is still hard to get past the idea that they introduce a WISH GRANTING MACHINE and do so little with it.  An Adolescent Boy can't do anything better than wishing for Ice Cream, to meet an Actress and to ask Sam Spade to help him write a Book Report?!?  There are good Movies- those that deep, serious and/or insightful.  There are 'Popcorn Movies'- those that are pure fluff, but fun nonetheless.  Somewhere below that is the kind of Film that doesn't try to be deep, serious or insightful & isn't that fun nonetheless either.  This is a Spam Film- it isn't tasty or interesting, but it is technically a Film.  It does give me an attempt to make this Meme happen though...
Damn silly and contrived stuff.  Kids of the 90s got some good stuff...but this isn't one of those Films.