Short Takes: Y

Yellowbeard (1983)

Producer: Carter De Haven
Director: Mel Damski
Screenwriters: Graham Chapman, Peter Cook & Bernard McKenna

The pirate Yellowbeard goes in search of his ill-gotten treasure with the British government on his tail. Much madcap action follows.

This is an odd film. I’m one of its few defenders. Much of the comedy is blunt — with “comic” sound effects that ruin much of the film. Yet there are enough great jokes to fill two movies. My favorite, “When I said [your father] was dead, I was only trying to cushion the blow.” You just need to take what you like.

The film has a ridiculous number of great actors — kind of a combination of Monty Python and Mel Brooks’ regulars. Graham Chapman (Life of Brian) stars. Also: Peter Boyle (Joe), John Cleese (Fierce Creatures), Marty Feldman (Young Frankenstein), Madeline Kahn (Paper Moon), and too many more to list.

Yellowbeard is copyrighted. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Yesterday Machine (1963)

Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Russ Marker

Two coeds break down on their way to the big game. Looking for help, they run into two soldiers from the Civil War. The boy is saved but the girl disappears. A reporter and the girl’s nightclub singer sister investigate and find a Nazi with a time machine determined to get a do-over on Word War II.

This is a seriously twisted film. And somehow, it stands out relative to similar films of the late 50s and early 60s. It has moments, like when the main characters go back in time, that are sublime. And the structure is idiosyncratic so it keeps you watching.

Starring James Britton and Ann Pellegrino. Notable performances by Tim Holt (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and Jack Herman (Beyond the Time Barrier) as Nazi scientist Ernest Von Hauser.

The Yesterday Machine is in the public domain. It’s available on Archive.org, but all the copies look like they are based on old video transfers. It is also available on DVD but I have no idea if the video quality is any better.

Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983)

Producer: Michele Marsala
Director: Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony M Dawson)
Screenwriters: Robert Bailey and Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony M Dawson) (Novel: Juan Zanotto and Eugenio Juan Zappietro (as Ray Collins))

In what appears to be the distant past where humans coexist with dinosaurs, Yor saves some people from being eaten. They go with him on an adventure to find his originals.

This seems like it is a sword & sandals film. But it is so much more. It has some very creative ideas and the tongues of the dinosaurs alone are enough to make it worth watching.

Starring Reb Brown (Robowar), Corinne Cléry (Story of O), Luciano Pigozzi (The Whip and the Body), Carole André (Colt 38 Special Squad), and John Steiner (Deported Women of the SS Special Section).

Yor, the Hunter from the Future is probably copyrighted but there is a terrible copy on Archive.org. It is available on an expensive DVD-R. Better to get the Blu-ray with a commentary track with Reb Brown.

24 July 2021

You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2012)

Producers: Monroe Mann & Ronnie Khalil
Directors: Monroe Mann & Ronnie Khalil & Jorge Valdés-Iga
Screenwriters: Monroe Mann & Ronnie Khalil & Bob Madia

A group of young people go to a lake in Maine where they hope to meet Stephen King. But then they all start dying in ways from his book. Is it the Stephen King nerd? Stephen King himself? Only time will tell!

The first part of this film is very funny. The rest of it is fairly effective with a so-so denouement. The acting is first-rate and the film looks good throughout. I was disappointed that the comedy mostly ended after the first 30 minutes, but it’s still worth watching.

Starring writer-directors Mann and Khalil along with Crystal Arnette (What We’ve Become), Kayle Blogna, Kate Costello, and Justin Brown.

You Can’t Kill Stephen King is copyrighted. It is available on DVD and Amazon Prime.

20 November 2020

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