Galaxy of the Dinosaur (1992)
Producer: JR Bookwalter
Director: JR Bookwalter (as Lance Randas)
Screenwriter: Jon Killough (story: Thomas Brown)
A space crew lands on a planet to find food only to find it populated with dinosaurs.
This film started by getting the rights to the animated dinosaur footage from Planet of Dinosaurs (1977). Then a screenplay was made to integrate that footage into. The result is a silly, but shockingly compelling, little film. The cuts from the filmed animations to the low-quality video are jarring, but it’s part of the appeal of this film. And it has a great parody ending; it will make you see that this is how the original should have ended. Shot and edited for $2,500.
The film is copyrighted but it is available all over. I recommend getting Bad Movie Police: Crimewave! It includes 5 of the films that JR Bookwalter made for Cinema Home Video. They also include video skits about the Bad Movie Police arresting directors like Bookwalter. All the films have commentary tracks with Bookwalter and others involved. You can get the film straight on Blu-ray with even more.
Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Producer: Roger Corman
Director: Bruce D Clark
Screenwriters: Marc Siegler & Bruce D Clark
Alternate titles: Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror, Planet of Horrors
A spaceship is sent to check on a previous mission that disappeared. Once they find it, things go wrong with various creatures killing the crew.
This is an exceptional rip-off of Alien. In some ways, it’s better. It features an excellent cast with some really good practical effects.
Starring Edward Albert (Butterflies Are Free), Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses). Erin Moran (Happy Days) has a small role.
20 April 2021
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Producers: Mark Johnson and Charles Newirth
Director: Dean Parisot
Screenwriters: David Howard and Robert Gordon (story: David Howard)
Space aliens mistake an old Star Trek-like television show for reality and get the actors to help them deal with a galactic bully. At first, they are hopeless, but just like in an episode of their show, they learn to work together and prevail.
This is probably the best thing that ever came from the Star Trek universe, and it has nothing specifically to do with it. It contains loads of meta-humor and is ultimately a loving parody of the show. Star Trek fans will like it most of all.
Game of Death (2017)
Producers: Philip Kalin-Hajdu and Mathias Bernard & Pierre-Alexandre Bouchard
Directors: Sebastien Landry & Laurence Morais-Lagace
Screenwriters: Sebastien Landry & Laurence Baz Morais & Edouard Bond
A small group of college students are vacationing at a house when they find and play the electronic Game of Death. Once it starts, they learn that their heads will explode if they don’t kill other people.
Once I heard that this film featured exploding heads, I had to see it. It’s well made. Just the same, it’s pointless without really being fun. And it features a Wim Wenders-style talky ending and a totally unnecessary coda. I guess it works as a Jumanji parody.
Starring Sam Earle, Victoria Diamond, Emelia Hellman, Catherine Saindon, Erniel Baez, Nick Serino, and Thomas Vallieres. Jane Hackett as the forest ranger is particularly good.
Game of Death is under copyright. It is available to rent and buy on Amazon Prime.
18 March 2021
Gamera, the Giant Monster (1965)
Producer: Hidemasa Nagata
Director: Noriaki Yuasa
Screenwriter: Fumi Takahashi (idea: Yonejiro Saito)
Godzilla — but with a turtle — that flies like a saucer. Gamera is a raging monster. But not when it comes to kids. And even the adults in the film can’t bring themselves to kill it. I mean, who doesn’t like turtles?
Gamera, the Giant Monster seems to be in the public domain. A decent print is available on Archive.org. It is available on DVD with a great commentary by August Ragone. It is also available on Blu-ray along with the three subsequent films.
‘Gator Bait (1974)
Producers/Directors: Ferd & Beverly Sebastion
Screenwriter: Beverly Sebastion
Desiree is a badass poacher who takes care of her younger siblings deep in the swamplands. A local deputy and his friend want to rape her but end up setting a posse against her — eventually killing her younger sister. So Desiree takes revenge.
This is a weird but effective revenge film. It has some problems with clunky editing. And it makes out just about everyone in Louisiana to be awful. But it works — and has a great ending, “My pa is dead.”
The film is copyrighted. It is available on DVD with basically no extras.
George of the Jungle 2 (2003)
Producers: Jordan Kerner & Gregg Hoffman
Director: David Grossman
Screenwriter: Jordan Moffet (series: Jay Ward & Bill Scott)
It’s five years since George and Ursula have gotten together and now they have a son. But Ursula’s mother and ex-boyfriend are determined to steal her away from George. Ursula is hypnotized so she doesn’t remember George, George goes to rescue her, and Mean Lion tries to take over the jungle.
This is a lot better than it ought to be — largely because it fully embraces the absurdity of its existence with an almost completely different cast. It’s kind of hard not to like it. I prefer the first one but kids may well prefer this one.
Starring Christopher Showerman (Encounter), Julie Benz (Dexter), Thomas Haden Church (Cardboard Boxer), Christina Pickles (St Elsewhere), and Angus T Jones (Two and a Half Men). John Cleese (Clockwise) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Daredevil) play animals.
15 August 2021
Get Out (2017)
Producers: Sean McKittrick & Jason Blum & Edward H Hamm Jr & Jordan Peele
Director/Screenwriter: Jordan Peele
A young Black man goes with his White girlfriend to meet her parents. They seem very progressive but things aren’t quite right. They only get worse during a party and soon he determines that they mean him ill.
This is more or less a race-based The Stepford Wives. But it works a lot better and it’s scarier. Even still, it manages at times to be very funny.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Allison Williams (Girls), Bradley Whitford (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), and Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich). Stephen Root (NewsRadio) is great here.
17 September 2021
The Ghost Adventurers (2019)
Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Jon Miller
Four young people run a ghost-chasing YouTube channel. They are asked to get rid of a ghost that may be haunting a couple. There doesn’t seem to be a ghost but they power through the night.
A super low-budget quasi-found-footage film with a funny script and very good acting. It’s short enough that you never get bored.
The Ghost Adventurers is under copyright. It is available on Amazon Prime.
1 January 2021
The Ghost and Mr Chicken (1966)
Producer: Edward J Montagne Jr
Director: Alan Rafkin
Screenwriters: Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum
Luther is a printer for the local paper who desperately wants to be a reporter. Reluctantly, he accepts an assignment to spend the night in an old mansion where a murder-suicide took place 20 years earlier. He sees many ghostly things but then the mansion’s owner takes him to court for libel.
This is a shockingly good film. Parts of it are actually kind of scary. And it’s funny and sweet. This is definitely one to get kids started with horror!
22 June 2020
The Ghost Galleon (1974)
Producer: JL Bermudez de Castro
Director/Screenwriter: Amando de Ossorio
Alternate titles: El Buque Maldito, The Ghost Ship of the Swimming Corpses, The Blind Dead 3, Horror of the Zombies, Ship of Zombies
Two models are sent out onto the ocean in a boat for a publicity stunt. But instead of being rescued with lots of attention, they get lost in fog and come upon an abandoned galleon. On it are zombie knights who kill them. The funder of the stunt and others go looking for them.
This is a minority opinion, but I think this is the best of the Blind Zombie films. It recaptures the creepiness of the original but adds a more interesting story and an absolutely wonderful ending. It’s the only one of the series that doesn’t start with the Knights Templar in the 15th century. Also: I love the professor character!
26 August 2021
Ghost Image (2007)
Producer: Srikant Chellappa
Director: Jack Snyder
Screenwriter: James Dean Schulte & Jack Snyder & Srikant Chellappa
After her boyfriend dies, a woman with a history of mental illness communicates with him through her video editing system. The police find that he has been murdered and she is being stalked by someone apparently because of some footage they shot.
This is a solid medium-budget thriller with some effective horror and a typically layered Snyder plot. It also moves along better than usual for him, maybe thanks to the input of journeyman Jonathon Braun.
Starring Elisabeth Röhm (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous), Waylon Payne (Walk the Line), Matthew Del Negro (Hot Pursuit), Roma Maffia (Nick of Time), Stacey Dash (Phantom Punch). Snyder pays the building super.
Ghost Image is under copyright. It is available on DVD and on various streaming services.
14 February 2022
Ghost of Camp Blood (2018)
Producer: David S Sterling
Director: Mark Polonia
Screenwriter: Alan Wyoming
The clown killer of Camp Blood is dead but he is not gone. He appears and kills people. Sometimes, he possesses people. Four people working on a documentary series about him become targets of his violence.
This film has some notable moments. And Polonia gets more into gore than usual, although you can see that it isn’t really his thing. I’ll admit it: I don’t really grok this film. The villain is able to show up anywhere and do anything. It’s mostly notable for a very strong lead performance.
Ghost of Camp Blood is under copyright. It is available on Amazon Prime.
21 July 2020
Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959)
Producer/Screenwriter: Lou Rusoff
Director: William Hole
A hot rod club loses its lease so they move into a haunted house. In between, there are lots of musical numbers and a slumber party.
I guess this is a parody. The story doesn’t make much sense, but it is funny. And it’s kind of forward-thinking with strong female characters and a couple of nerdy hot rodders. It was a sequel to Hot Rod Gang (1958).
Ghost Writer (1989)
Producers: David DeCoteau & John Schouweiler
Director/Screenwriter: Kenneth J Hall
A tabloid writer goes to her aunt’s beach house to do a rewrite. The house is said to be haunted by a movie star who killed herself. And it is! The star seeks help in finding out how she died.
This is an incredibly charming and funny film. Age has only made it more so. It has lots of social commentary as well, but you don’t need to know late-80s America to enjoy this film.
Starring Audrey Landers, Judy Landers (Hellhole), Jeff Conaway (Taxi), Joey Travolta (The Last Game), and Anthony Franciosa (Across 110th Street). It features a number of notable actors in small roles like Dick Miller (That Guy Dick Miller).
Ghost Writer is under copyright. It doesn’t seem to have been released on disc but you can watch it on Amazon Prime.
30 December 2020
The Ghost Writer (2010)
Producers: Roman Polanski & Robert Benmussa & Alain Sarde
Director: Roman Polanski
Screenwriters: Robert Harris and Roman Polanski (novel: Robert Harris)
A man gets a job ghost writing a former British Prime Minister’s memoirs after the previous ghost writer died. Soon he learns that the other writer was likely killed and the government is trying to hide secrets about the Prime Minister.
This is great and in the tradition of the paranoid films of the 1970s. But it is a lot darker and you walk away with more questions than ever even though much is explained.
Starring Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting), Olivia Williams (Maps to the Stars), Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye), and Kim Cattrall (Porky’s). Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) has a nice scene here.
25 February 2021
Director: Umberto Lenzi (as Humphrey Humbert)
Screenwriter: Cinthia McGavin (story: Umberto Lenzi (as Humphrey Humbert))
Alternate titles: La Casa 3
A little girl and her clown doll kill her father and mother. Twenty years later, two groups of young people hang out at the house and the same little girl shows up and kills them.
This film is notable for having some important transition scenes missing. But it’s so much fun with wonderful kills — especially when a young woman is cut in half. Brilliant stuff!
3 June 2021
Producer: Ruth Baumgarten
Director: Lesley Manning
Screenwriter: Stephen Volk
A live TV news broadcast investigates a supposedly haunted house. It’s all lots of fun until things start to happen. At first, it looks like a hoax but then things get totally out of hand.
This was an actual BBC broadcast and it ended up terrifying the nation. Even knowing that it’s just a film, it works really well. You do, however, have to put up with about 40 minutes of typical TV nonsense before it takes a turn. But this is what horror fans live for.
Starring Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Gillian Bevan, and Brid Brennan.
14 October 2021
Ghoul School (1990)
Producer/Director/Producer: Timothy O’Rawe
There’s something in the water or the basement at the high school that is turning people into ghouls. The students and faculty must fight to stay alive, led by two nerds.
This production apparently had a lot of problems but the film still works. The script is pretty funky and the direction is uninspired at times. But it looks good, the acting is fine, and the bargain-basement gore is fantastic.
Starring William Friedman and Scott Gordon. With Carl Burrows and Ivan Sergei. Special appearances by Joe Franklin and Jackie Martling for no real reason.
The Ghouls (2003)
Producers: Chad Ferrin, Nicholas Loizides, and John Santos
Director/Screenwriter: Chad Ferrin
Alternate titles: Cannibal Dead: The Ghouls
The sleaziest paparazzi ever tries to film what he thinks to be a gang rape but turns out to be three ghouls eating a woman alive. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a tape in his camera so he goes looking for the ghouls (to film and make a buck), ultimately having to confront his vile nature and career.
This is a low-budget gem with an amazing lead performance. It draws you in slowly over the first 15 minutes or so and then never really lets go. Despite the fact that he plays an awful person, Timothy Muskatell’s (Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!) performance is so deep that you feel sorry for him. See this film!
The Ghouls is copyrighted. It is available on DVD.
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
Producer: Ken Curtis
Director: Ray Kellogg
Screenwriter: Jay Simms (story: Ray Kellogg)
This is a charming teen monster movie with hot rods and pop songs. Kellogg does his usual good job on low budgets. And Don Sullivan sings his own songs. Truthfully, the film doesn’t even need the monster. But with it, it is filled with 1950s fun.
Don Sullivan never had much of a career in music or film but 1959 was a big year when he also starred in The Rebel Set and Teenage Zombies. It seems strange because he’s pretty good. Also in the film were comedic singer Shug Fisher and stuntman Fred Graham.
The Giant Gila Monster is apparently in the public domain with a good print on Archive.org. It is available on DVD along with another Kellogg classic The Killer Shrews.
The Giant Spider (2013)
Producers: Christopher R Mihm and Stephanie Mihm
Director/Screenwriter: Christopher R Mihm
Sometime after the events in Terror From Beneath the Earth, the nuclear waste in the cave results in an enormous tarantula marching around the countryside eating people. A small group of scientists, a plucky reporter, and his Polish girlfriend are humanity’s only hope!
One of Mihm’s sharper parodies with really excellent special effects. It’s all green-screen with a single puppet arm.
Starring Daniel Sjerven (Cave Women on Mars), Shannon McDonough (It Came from Another World!), Billie Jo Konze, Michael Cook (Terror from Beneath the Earth), James Norgard (House of Ghosts), and Mark Haider (The Late Night Double Feature).
26 August 2020
The Gig (1985)
Producer: Norman I Cohen
Director/Screenwriter: Frank D Gilroy
This is a sweet film about what happens when a group of amateurs who get together to play Dixieland jazz gets a professional gig. It suffers a bit for a myth I hate about great musicians being born. But the film isn’t really about music; it’s about dreams.
The film stars Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H) and Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles). It features: Joe Silver (Shivers), Jay Thomas (Mr Holland’s Opus), Andrew Duncan (Slap Shot), Daniel Nalbach, Stan Lachow with one amazing scene, actual coronet player Warren Vaché (who was also music director of the film), and theater actor Jerry Matz as the (literally) unbelievably bad clarinetist.
The Gig is one of those films that just doesn’t get any love. It was released on VHS long ago. It has never been released on disc so far as I know. You can probably find it online somewhere.
Producer: Virginia Van Upp
Director: Charles Vidor
Screenwriter: Marion Parsonnet (story: EA Ellington)
A small-time conman gets a job working for the owner of a gambling club. But conflict arises when the boss comes home with a new bride who the conman knows from the past, Gilda. He tries to keep Gilda in line but she is determined to make trouble.
Most of this film is quite good. But it gets pretty cloying by the end. You gotta admire that hair though!
2 July 2021
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Producers: Steve Hoban & Karen Lee Hall
Director: John Fawcett
Screenwriter: Karen Walton (story: Karen Walton & John Fawcett)
Trouble starts when the elder of two Goth sisters first gets her period and is attacked by a werewolf, becoming one herself. The younger sister looks for solutions but the older one embraces her new life.
I’m not a big fan of werewolf films but I liked this one. The two main characters are really interesting and there is lots of blood!
19 January 2021
The Girl in the Crawlspace (2018)
Producer: Henrique Couto
Director/Screenwriter: John Oak Dalton
After seven years in captivity, a young woman struggles with her new reality. A psychologist tries to help her. But little known to anyone, the real culprit is still on the lose.
Dalton has written screenplays for a lot of fun but forgettable micro-budget films. Directing here for the first time shows what he can do. This is a wonderful film that should especially appeal to psychotronic fans.
7 February 2021
Girl on the Third Floor (2019)
Producers: Greg Newman and Travis Stevens
Director: Travis Stevens
Screenwriter: Travis Stevens (story: Travis Stevens & Greg Newman & Trent Haaga; based on: Ben Parker & Paul Johnstone)
A man comes to clean and repair an old house where his wife and soon-to-be-born daughter will live. But it’s creepy with thick liquids oozing everywhere. And weird stuff happens. The house (or ghosts from its past) seems to be fighting against him.
This is an excellent film. I do wish they had left the ending less concrete. But despite the film focused on a very unlikeable character, I was riveted from start to finish. And it is filled with a lot of deliciously disgusting effects. But everything in this film works including a strong cast.
Starring wrestling legend CM Punk (as Phil Brooks, his real name), Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn (Vacation!), Travis Delgado, and Karen Woditsch.
18 January 2022
The Girl, the Body, and the Pill (1967)
Producer/Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Screenwriter: Allison Louise Downe
A film of earnest teenage sex and hypocritical adult sex. Allison Louise Downe’s script is much more complicated than a usual Herschell Gordon Lewis film. And it includes some genuinely impressive bits. And ultimately, it is pretty sweet — offering lots of good family values.
With Pamela Rhae as the sexy sex-ed teacher who appears to be younger than most of her students. She spends half the film in short-shorts. Also starring Bill Rogers (A Taste of Blood) and Ray Sager (The Wizard of Gore). Watch out for cinematographer/cameraman Roy Collodi in the role of Pike and his final shots with an extreme widescreen lens that makes him look positively demented.
Glen or Glenda (1953)
Producer: George Weiss
Director/Screenwriter: Edward D Wood, Jr
Alternate titles: I Changed My Sex
This is Ed Wood’s masterpiece. But admittedly, it isn’t for everyone. It’s docutainment — not that much different than Orson Welles’ F for Fake. But it is also highly didactic — a Wood trademark. Regardless, it’s also wonderfully creative and surreal. When you consider how taboo transsexuality is today, the film is all the more impressive. Its anti-gay elements add to its poignancy by showing Wood’s own bigotry.
Most people have a problem with is its highly unusual structure. Glen or Glenda asks that you sit back and go with the film. If you do, you’ll be surprised just how engaging — even heartwarming — it is. It’s also notable for sexual rarities that Wood would explore in many of his later novels: fetish, bondage, and nonconsensual sex. It features standard Wood players Bela Lugosi, Lyle Talbot, and Timothy Farrell. The title role is played by Wood himself under the name Daniel Davis.
It is in the public domain.
God Forgives… I Don’t! (1967)
Producer: Enzo D’Ambrosio
Director/Screenwriter: Giuseppe Colizzi
Alternate titles: Dio Perdona… Io No!
A major gold heist has occurred that leaves everyone on a train dead. An insurance investigator becomes convinced it was done by a man thought dead. So he seeks out the man responsible for the supposed killing and the two work to solve the mystery and get the gold.
This is the first of the films featuring Pretty Face and Jackass (and many more featuring the actors). It’s a lot like For a Few Dollars More.
8 February 2021
God’s Gun (1976)
Producer: Menahem Golan
Director: Gianfranco Parolini (as Frank Kramer)
Screenwriter: Gianfranco Parolini (earlier screenplay: John Fonseca)
Alternate titles: Diamante Lobo
A gang of thugs comes to town and one of its members kills someone. When they leave, the sheriff doesn’t want to do anything so the local priest goes after them, capturing the shooter and bringing him back to town. The gang rescues him and kills the priest. That’s when the priest’s twin brother, the gunman, shows up.
This is a very creative movie. With a better script, it could have been great. Instead, it’s fun and funny. But not exactly the kind of film you’ll want to watch twice.
26 May 2020
Godmonster of Indian Flats (1974)
Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Fredric Hobbs
There is a standard story here. Christopher Brooks (Alabama’s Ghost) comes to a Nevada town to buy the mining rights, but the crazy patrician mayor (Stuart Lancaster) won’t sell because he wants to keep the town as it was — up to keeping the town prostitute in business because her grandmother was years before. This would be more than enough for an enjoyable film. But there is also a mutant sheep monster.
After Alabama’s Ghost this film leaves no doubt that there is no justice in Hollywood — otherwise, Brooks would be a star. And Hobbs would have made more films.
The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Jamie Uys
A Bushmen tribesman on a quest to destroy an evil object (a coke bottle) is forced to work with a South African scientist. When everyone at the local school (including the pretty teacher) is kidnapped by revolutionaries, the tribesman, scientist, and friend must work to save them.
The politics of this film haven’t gotten much worse over the years but only because they were cringe at the time. If you can get past that, this film features some of the best slapstick comedy since Mack Sennett. And it’s very sweet if highly ethnocentric.
The Gods Must Be Crazy should be under copyright but there is currently a version on Archive in DVD format. You can get the film on DVD. Or you can get it on a two-disc collection with The Gods Must Be Crazy II.
13 November 2020
Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971)
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Director: Yoshimitsu Banno
Screenwriter: Takeshi Kimura (as Kaoru Mabuchi)
Alternate titles: Gojira tai Hedora, Godzilla vs the Smog Monster
The sludge in the water is combining to create the monster Hedorah. At first, it stays in the ocean and destroys ships. But soon, it’s walking on land and killing hippies. The humans struggle with it so Godzilla comes to the rescue!
This is one of the most interesting Godzilla films and other than maybe the first, it’s the most satisfying. It looks great and has a bunch of surreal elements. It also begins with this James Bond musical credits number that’s wonderful. You need to see this film!
Godzilla vs Hedorah is copyrighted. But there are several prints on Archive: Japanese with English subtitles (excellent), English dub (fair), and a curious 70-minute fan edit to highlight the darker elements of the film (excellent). But this one is worth purchasing! It is available on DVD (also Cheezy Flicks DVD) and Blu-ray. Strangely, there are no real extras and these discs are really expensive.
28 July 2021
Goin’ South (1978)
Producers: Harry Gittes & Harold Schneider
Director: Jack Nicholson
Screenwriters: John Herman Shaner & Al Ramrus and Charles Shyer & Alan Mandel (John Herman Shaner & Al Ramrus)
An outlaw is to be hanged, but because the town is so low on men, any woman who wants may save his life by marrying him. One does so that she may use him to help her with her secret gold mine. They argue constantly but eventually grow close as the railroad threatens to take their land.
This film is a lot of fun with a sweet nature despite an implied rape. It’s got a great western look and the casting is good.
Starring Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Mary Steenburgen (Time After Time), Christopher Lloyd (I Am Not a Serial Killer), John Belushi (Continental Divide), and Richard Bradford (Man in a Suitcase). Danny DeVito (Twins) and Ed Begley Jr (Amazon Women on the Moon) have small roles.
Goin’ South is under copyright. It is available on DVD.
2 May 2021
Going Hog Wild (1988)
Producers/Directors: Connie Figgins and Ginny Clark
Our review: Going Hog Wild
Women perform stripteases and wrestle in chocolate, oil, and mud.
This is a fetish film. It is done with good cheer and has interesting moments, but is mostly for those who want to watch women wrestle.
Starring Layla LaShell, Audry W, Tammy White, and Nikki King.
Going Hog Wild is copyrighted. It is available on DVD from Phantom Pain Films.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Producer: Alberto Grimaldi
Director: Sergio Leone
Screenwriters: Age & Scarpelli and Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Leone
Two con artists search for some hidden gold during the Civil War. But a brutal Union sergeant finds out about it and joins the hunt.
This is an outstanding film. It manages to be epic while telling a little story about two men with a complicated relationship. Wallach is amazing. It would still be a great film without him but he adds more than any other single element. The score by Ennio Morricone is one of his best.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is under copyright but there is an outstanding print over on Archive. It’s been released on disc too often to list here. There is an excellent two-disc DVD for little money. There is also an excellent Blu-ray.
29 August 2022
The Goonies (1985)
Producers: Richard Donner and Harvey Bernhard
Director: Richard Donner
Screenwriter: Chris Columbus (story: Steven Spielberg)
Kids find a treasure map and follow it. They end up saving the family home and capturing dangerous criminals.
This is a widely loved film that I assume is aimed at tweens. For me, it was two hours of kids screaming. And there’s nothing much to grab onto. The villains are straight out of a 1970s live-action Disney feature. It’s everything I hate about Spielberg. But if I were 12, who knows?
8 October 2021
Producer: Wilfred Eades
Director: Eugène Lourié
Screenwriters: Robert L Richards (as John Loring) & Daniel James (as Daniel Hyatt) (story: Eugène Lourié & Daniel James (as Daniel Hyatt))
A salvage ship finds a 60-foot dinosaur-like monster, which they transport to London to exhibit. Little do they know that it is a baby and that its mother is coming and she is pissed!
This is basically King Kong but assuming that it had a much bigger mother. This is a very good production with mostly good effects and an excellent cast.
Starring William Sylvester (Devil Doll), Bill Travers (Ring of Bright Water), and Vincent Winter (The Little Kidnappers). John Wood (The Purple Rose of Cairo) has a tiny role as the sandwich board guy.
3 February 2021
The Gorgon (1964)
Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys
Director: Terence Fisher
Screenwriter: John Gilling (story: J Llewellyn Divine)
The goddess Megaera, sister of Medusa, has taken over someone in a small town and is turning people to stone. The locals try to hide this fact but a couple of outsiders are determined to uncover the truth.
This is a solid Hammer production. The plot jumps around a bit but the cast makes it all work.
11 June 2021
Grave of the Vampire (1974)
Producer: Daniel Cady
Director: John Hayes
Screenwriters: David Chase (screenplay) and John Hayes (treatment)
This is a curious vampire film. It is mainly about what happens when a vampire rapes a woman. Answer: she gives birth to an undead halfbreed boy that she has to feed with her own blood. I have no idea what happens after weening because the film jumps ahead two decades when the son, James Eastman, is an adult with a mission: to find and kill dad, thus avenging his recently dead mother. But it is more than a little weird.
There is some voice-over about how it was hard to find his father, but he has at last found him teaching night courses at college. Does he just kill his father? No! He waits around for his father to force him to fight. (It’s a bit like Hamlet.) Still, lots of interesting things happen.
It stars Kitty Vallacher as the most devoted mother ever. It also stars William Smith as the son and Michael Pataki as the father. Fun fact: the actor who plays the son was five years older than the actor who played the father.
Graveyard Alive (2003)
Producers: Patricia Gomez & Elza Kephart & Andrea Stark
Director: Elza Kephart
Screenwriter: Elza Kephart (story: Patricia Gomez & Elza Kephart)
Alternate titles: Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love
A nurse pines for the cute doctor at her hospital but he only has eyes for the leader of the Mean Nurses. But after she turns zombie due to an unfortunate woodsman patient, she has new tools to find happiness.
This is a fun zombie romp. Much of the humor is very dry. It is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) black and white with dubbed sound. More recently, Kephart has made the excellent Slaxx.
Starring Anne Day-Jones (Roxanne Marin does the voice), Karl Gerhardt, and Samantha Slan.
Graveyard Alive is under copyright. You can get it on a low-priced DVD with producers’ commentary and cast interviews. But the print is low-resolution. You may be better off with the recent Blu-ray, but like the DVD, it only includes the 1.78:1 aspect ratio print.
8 July 2023
The Green Berets (1968)
Producer: Michael Wayne
Directors: John Wayne and Ray Kellogg
Screenwriter: James Lee Barrett
Colonel Kirby is sent to Vietnam to help the South Vietnamese fight against the literally undifferentiated Viet Cong. Ultimately, he helps with a plot to kidnap a North Vietnamese general. The film ends on a hopeful note that this will somehow bring a quick end to the war.
Most people hate this film for its politics. And it is certainly repellant in most ways. But it is also supremely boring. The film is primarily dialog scenes — staged in a banal way that will be familiar to Ray Kellogg’s other work. There is, however, a nighttime battle sequence in the middle of the film that is shockingly well done. Of course, like the rest of the film, it is just something from countless World War II films set in Vietnam.
The Green Berets is under copyright. You can find the film lots of places on disc (although not really streaming). There is a good Warner Home Video DVD. There is a similarly good Blu-ray. But don’t expect much in terms of extras. There is basically nothing. It’s odd because there are a number of academics who you would think have a lot to say about Wayne and this film.
2 December 2023
Producer: Michael Finnell
Director: Joe Dante
Screenwriter: Chris Columbus
Dad finds a cool pet in Chinatown, which he buys for his son. But they don’t follow the rules and soon the whole town is overrun with gremlins who take pleasure in causing pain and watching Disney animated features.
As usual, Dante has a fine touch making a film that could get tedious always interesting. The puppets are great and there is a lot of fun gore.
Starring Zach Galligan (Waxwork), Phoebe Cates (Private School), Hoyt Axton (Liar’s Moon), and Frances Lee McCain (Real Life). Dick Miller (Rock All Night) and Keye Luke (King Fu) have supporting roles.
Gremlins is under copyright. It is available in many forms. The Special Edition DVD has two commentaries and other stuff. There is also a 30th anniversary Blu-ray. You can also get it with the sequel.
16 August 2021
Gretel & Hansel (2020)
Producers: Brian Kavanaugh-Jones & Fred Berger
Director: Osgood Perkins
Screenwriter: Rob Hayes
A brother and sister and forced from their home. After traveling some time, they are tired and hungry. They happen upon a house with plenty of food. It is owned by a mysterious but apparently reasonably friendly older woman. She is a witch who takes Gretel under her wing and teaches her black magic. But this does not bode well for her younger brother.
This is a very engaging take on the fairy tale. It has a Nordic Horror feel to it but with a far more interesting plot. And the acting all around is really good.
Starring Sophia Lillis, Sam Leakey, and Alice Krige (Silent Hill).
9 April 2023
Producers: David Sheldon and Harvey Flaxman
Director: William Girdler
Screenwriters: Harvey Flaxman & David Sheldon
An enormous grizzly bear has come to a camping area and is killing and eating humans. The forest ranger is trying to kill it but the park manager gets in his way.
This is Jaws in the forest, or as it is often referred to, “Jaws with claws.” It’s not terribly scary and the kills that only involve a claw look almost silly to a modern audience. But it still has its fair share of jumps. And it’s overall an enjoyable viewing experience with excellent acting.
Starring Christopher George (City of the Living Dead), Andrew Prine (Witchouse II: Blood Coven), Richard Jaeckel (Mako: The Jaws of Death), and Joe Dorsey (The Philadelphia Experiment). The film also features Joan McCall who would go on to write Grizzly II: Revenge.
9 January 2022
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Producers: Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth, and Roger Birnbaum
Director: George Armitage
Screenwriters: Tom Jankiewicz and DV DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack (story: Tom Jankiewicz)
A professional assassin is sent on a job to his hometown. At the same time, he attends his 10-year high school reunion and attempts to start a new life.
This is a fun movie with many moments of genius. And watched that way, it’s great. Don’t expect much of a coherent plot or a main character who is at all believable. He’s likable though!
Grosse Pointe Blank is under copyright. It is available on DVD and a cheaper Blu-ray — neither with any extras. It’s cheapest to buy it on two DVDs with its less successful but more cohesive sister film High Fidelity.
11 September 2020
The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)
Producer: Scott Kroopf
Director: Allan Moyle
Screenwriter: Grace Cary Bickley
Betty Lou is a shy librarian who everyone ignores — even when she finds a gun in the river. Fed-up with being dismissed, she claims to have committed a recent unsolved murder. In jail, she grows as a person with the help of a friendly prostitute and two other inmates. But then a crime boss comes after her.
Any film can’t be all bad when critics hate it as much as they do this film. It’s kind of surprising that so much venom would be produced over what is a sweet date film. Some of Moyle’s direction hasn’t aged well but it works okay and has some genuinely funny moments.
Guns Akimbo (2019)
Producers: Joe Neurauter, Felipe Marino, and Tom Hern
Director/Screenwriter: Jason Lei Howden
An online troll offends the leaders of Skizm, a group that stages real-life fights to the death and then streams them. So they attach guns to his hands and make him fight the most lethal of their fighters.
I hate this film. It’s a lot of fun if you enjoy watching people play first-person shooter games on Discord. And it’s well-made. But it is supposed to be some kind of social commentary about what it clearly is. And it explicitly attacks the viewer for reacting to the film the way it is designed to be reacted to. If you are going to make a movie like this, embrace it! Don’t pretend you are trying to make some kind of statement. You might love this film though.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Whatever the Fuck) gives an excellent performance. The film also features Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny), and Ned Dennehy (Dominion Creek).
18 November 2020
Guns of the Apocalypse (2018)
Producers: Christopher R Mihm and Stephanie Mihm
Director/Screenwriter: Christopher R Mihm
After returning from a decade-long space mission, a man comes back to Earth to find it destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. After a couple of years of getting by, he hooks up with a woman and a girl she protects who has psychic powers. But an evil cult is determined to kill her.
This is a unique fusing of 1950s science fiction and the spaghetti western. But it isn’t like we haven’t seen this kind of thing. The Valley of Gwangi is the fusing of the monster movie and the traditional American western. This film is really good — maybe my favorite of Mihm’s work.
1 September 2020
Producer/Director: Roger Corman
Screenwriters: Charles B Griffith & Mark Hanna
The town sheriff is gunned down so his widow takes over his job until a replacement can be found. In the meantime, she looks for the person who hired the killer.
The next time someone tells me that Roger Corman is a genius, I’m going to make them watch this film. It’s not terrible. But the main character bumbles her way through the whole film, which is thoroughly annoying despite having a good cast. And its treatment of the Confederacy as noble is particularly vile coming from an all-Yankee production.
Gunslinger is probably under copyright. I don’t know of it on disc in the US. It’s easy to find online, however.
30 October 2021
Guru, the Mad Monk (1970)
Producer: MA Isaacs
Director: Andy Milligan
Screenwriter: Andy Milligan (story idea by MA Izak Maipix Co)
Alternate titles: Garu, the Mad Monk
Guru seems to have two personalities: one good and the other evil. The evil one is in charge. There is a romantic subplot. But mostly, we just watch Guru torture and kill and wait for him to die.
This is a minor Andy Milligan outing. Milligan was the ultimate idiosyncratic filmmaker and a true auteur. Many people dismiss this film, but it’s really engaging. Sure, the effects are weak. But they still work on me.
Guru was played by Neil Flanagan who was a Milligan regular, starring in six of his films. Gerald Jacuzzo was in seven of Milligan films, even co-writing The Filthy Five. It also features Paul Lieber.
Guru, the Mad Monk is available on Archive.org in a pretty good print. It is available on streaming sites. However, all of these copies are cropped down to 1.33:1 (it was originally 1.85:1) with a 55 minute run time (compared to the original 62 minutes). The disc print seems to be the full 62 minutes, although it is still cropped. It is also available as The Andy Milligan Grindhouse Experience Triple Feature along with The Ghastly Ones and The Body Beneath.