Review Storm #1
What’s a “Review Storm”? It’s like piloting your pop culture spaceship through an asteroid storm…a whole bunch of little things hitting you at once. 🙂
I consume a great deal of data, partially because I work better when something else is happening in the room. That may be something on TV, or music, or a conversation. I write faster and get more done that way. That’s a problem for me when I go into work (as opposed to doing work stuff on, say, the weekend). If I’m in a room with other people, I don’t want to put on headphones, but many of them like things quiet. I’m much less productive in that situation.
As an educator, I know that’s not true for everybody…my experience tells me that it’s about fifteen percent of people who actually get more done in a noisy environment…and a higher percentage of people think they do. 😉
So, here are some quick reviews. This first bunch mostly covers things I’ve seen on Pub-D-Hub on my Roku, but as public domain titles, you can find them other places, notably http://www.archive.org. I’ve also provided links to them, so you can watch them free online.
The Amazing Transparent Man
It’s a simple sci fi noir. about a safecracker broken out of the joint by an ex-military man who is forcing a scientist to develop a process to create an army of invisible soldiers. Not surprisingly, the major’s plans don’t quite work out.
Boris Karloff never phoned in a role in his life. This is one of those where you feel he is trapped by the material. He plays a sweet-hearted doctor trying to cure a plucky young woman’s polio. As is often the case in these movies, the materials for the cure can’t be gotten over the counter…that, and an escaped circus gorilla, complicate the non-clinical trial.
The Ape Man
Another Universal horror superstar, Bela Lugosi, needs another unorthodox cure. In this case, Lugosi follows the advice of “physician, heal thyself”…it’s a good thing, because there aren’t that many specialists out there in reversing your partial transformation into an ape. A gorilla features in this one, too…you could watch this one and the one above as a “mad scientist needs spinal fluid as a cure with a gorilla on the side” double feature.
Assignment: Outer Space
A reporter assigned to a space flight is seen as a “parasite” by the crew…no, no, not in an Alien way…they just don’t respect him. When a crisis arises, they have to work together.
The Astral Factor
This is a weird little movie from 1976. You get a couple of TV stars, Stefanie Powers and Robert Foxworth, and a killer who has studied in his cell to develop psychic abilities. The script seems to confuse astral projection with being invisible, and the killer goes on a rampage. Foxworth (The Questor Tapes, Falcon Crest) is the world weary cop trying to stop him. Powers (Hart to Hart, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) has fun as his flirty girlfriend. We also get some very brief nudity from both of them.
The Atomic Brain
This one deserves its place in the pantheon of bad and strange movies. “Bad” here would be a societal judgement…I like a movie with imagination…and no money to carry it out. This one has an older woman who wants to have her brain transplanted into a younger woman…not a willing one, of course. A selection of girls think they are working for her…and the experimentation includes using a cat’s brain. Some of you will be reminded of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.
If you’ve never seen a movie with the Japanese superhero Starman, you’ve been missing out. He’s sent from the Emerald Planet to prevent space criminals from causing an atomic war on Earth. The right word for Starman might be stalwart…he’s never particularly concerned. It doesn’t hurt that bullets bounce off him, but in a fight, he just sort of tosses people around and laughs. I’d seen it decades ago, and it was worth revisiting. For more Starman, see Attack from Space. With the origin story over in the first movie, we see a lot more action…and more shots of Starman posing in his tights and laughing during fights. He also gets kid sidekicks and the action moves off our planet.
It starts out as a fairly serious Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (the movie, not the series) type movie. There’s interpersonal drama, of the tough guys arguing variety. Then they encounter the solution to what’s been sinking ships…and figure out how to defeat it in one of those “why didn’t evolution solve this problem first?” moments that happens in movies.
Attack of the Crab Monsters
This is a really strange movie from Roger Corman and screenwriter Charles B. Griffith (Death Race 2000, Little Shop of Horrors). Russell Johnson, the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, has a key role. The title may make it sound simple, but was often the case with Corman, there is a key idea here that ricochets it off into something different.
his post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.