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Another Son of Sam (1977)  -  2/10 or 9/10

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Incredibly bad near-masterpiece of incompetence shot in and around Charlotte and Belmont, North Carolina. A lunatic escapes from an asylum and goes on a murder spree. He eventually ends up in a girls' dormitory on a college campus where he holds a couple of girls hostage. It's up to police Lieutenant Setzer (Russ Dubuc) to save the day. Featuring Robert McCourt, Cynthia Stewart, John Harper, Bill Brown, Bonnie Schrier, Kim Saunders, Pam Mullins, and Larry Sprinkle. Amateurish at every level, with bad dialogue, hypnotically bad editing, shoddy cinematography, abysmal acting, and nonsensical direction. The movie's repeated use of freeze-frame for no explainable reason is a sight to behold. Moronic plot developments abound, as do disorienting scene transitions. This was the most fun that I've had with a bad movie in some time. A phenomenal experience. 

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The copy shown on TCM Underground was presented by AGFA, the American Genre Film Archive, which is an offshoot of the old Something Weird company. They have been putting some of the worst films ever inflicted on society out in deluxe Blu-ray and DVD editions. Another Son of Sam is available as a bonus feature on their Blu-ray release of The Zodiac Killer (1971). Get yours today before it's too late!

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I saw a bit of that one yesterday. The sound was so terrible. The police commissioner speaks over the radio and it sounds like it was recorded through a can. I prefer the Zodiac Killer for the nonsensical, outrageous performance of the lead (hopping up and down on the top of one of his victim's cars :lol: ).

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Nightmare Honeymoon (1974)  -  3/10

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Godawful "thriller" featuring Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith as newlyweds who get attacked by killers John Beck and Roy Jenson. Beck is a real psychopath, so after sexually assaulting Smith, he leaves them both alive. When they receive no help from the corrupt local sheriff, Rambo and Smith decide to seek revenge themselves, to mixed results. Also featuring Pat Hingle, Jay Robinson, Dennis Patrick, David Huddleston, Dennis Burkley, Jeannette Nolan, Walter Koenig, and Bob Steele in his final role.

While this film features many notable, professional actors, and competent, seasoned filmmakers behind the camera, it's infinitely less entertaining than Another Son of Sam. That film had many excuses for being inept, while this one has none, and yet achieves that status anyway. The story, based on a book by Lawrence Block, features dumb characters repeatedly making stupid decisions. There's also a lot of sadistic behavior, particularly John Beck's very lengthy victimization of Smith. I watch a lot of dark, violent flicks, and yet this grew tiresome even for me, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. The only high point was watching Dack slap Jay Robinson around. By the way, despite the timeslot this was shown in, it did not have the TCM Underground intro, but rather the usual late-night one.

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The Monsters Demolisher (1962)  -  4/10

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Producer K. Gordon Murray bought up the rights to a lot of Mexican horror flicks from the 1950's, had them re-edited and badly dubbed, and then dumped them on an unsuspecting public in the early 1960's both in theaters and on television. One particular product he bought was a serial that he then re-edited into 4 features: The Curse of NostradamusThe Genie of Darkness, The Blood of Nostradamus, and this one. I have not seen any of the other films or the complete serial, so jumping into this one was a bit of a struggle. German Robles stars as Nostradamus, the last vampire, who battles against various forces that want him destroyed. The cast also includes Julio Aleman, Domingo Soler, and Jack Taylor. This is both dull and incomprehensible, although there are nice sets (and some really bad ones), and the costumes are good.

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Annihilator (1986)  -  4/10

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Have you ever watched an episode of The Fugitive and said to yourself, "This needs more Terminators"? Well if so, this failed TV pilot is for you. Newspaperman Richard Armour (Mark Lindsay Chapman) battles against evil robots called "Dynamitards" (REALLY!!!) who take the place of regular folk in an effort to... Also featuring Susan Blakely, Catherine Mary Stewart, Lisa Blount, Geoffrey Lewis, Earl Boen (who was actually in The Terminator), Nicole Eggert, Paul Brinegar, and Brion James (who was in Blade Runner, another killer robot movie).

This ridiculous time capsule is so 1980's that it hurts. It's also such a blatant take-off on The Terminator, even down to specific camera set-ups and musical cues, that I'm surprised James Cameron didn't sue. This was also heavily influenced by the style of MTV and Miami Vice. At one point the action stops to show a montage of things that have already happened, along with random shots of other unrelated things (including the Pazuzu statue from The Exorcist!), all set to David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes". The...ENTIRE...song. It's like a really bad music video dropped right into the middle of the story! I gave this a poor rating, and it is bad, but it's worth checking out if you like 80's kitsch or terrible killer robot movies.

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Have you ever watched an episode of The Fugitive and said to yourself, "This needs more Termintors"? Well if so, this failed TV pilot is for you.

:lol:

The truly horrible aspect of that movie is 80's fashion/hair-that photo is SCARY!

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Yeah, I found that photo hilarious too.

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The Restless Years (1958)  -  6/10

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Teen-appeal soap opera featuring Sandra Dee, in her first starring role, as the sheltered daughter of Teresa Wright. It seems Sandra was born illegitimately, and the neurotic Wright has tried to shield her from the associated stigma, resulting in Sandra being a social outcast anyway. Things start to change when a concerned teacher (Virginia Grey) tries to get Sandra into the school play, and sensitive new boy in town John Saxon asks her out on a date. Also featuring James Whitmore, Margaret Lindsay, Luana Patten, Jody McCrea, Alan Baxter, and Hayden Rorke. This was obviously made to try and replicate the success of the previous year's Peyton Place. The cast is decent, although Whitmore, as Saxon's desperate-to-succeed salesman father, overdoes it a bit. 

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House of the Damned (1963)  5/10

This is probably interesting if you are a locksmith with all of the talk of missing keys, key duplicates, and jiggling of locks, but it is probably going to be a bit of a bore for anybody else.

An architect and his wife are staying at a big rambling castle of a house built by the Rochester family. He is hired to do an architectural survey of the house so that the owners can determine if they should remodel, sell, or just demolish it. But then keys start disappearing and reappearing. And when they reappear some keys are missing. And some of the doors to which those keys match are locked from the inside. There are strange figures in the shadows, noises, and things that simply cannot be - like a live severed head - that appear and then disappear.

Then the architect's boss and wife show up, and things start to get soap opera like with the boss and his wife not having the best of marriages. Did I mention that the previous tenant just disappeared? AFTER paying up his rent and leaving everything in the house in good order?

I will give it points for having great creepy atmosphere. The Rochester castle is everything you would ever want in a haunted house. Best scene? A nurse in an insane asylum receives a telephone call to check on a resident and make sure that a certain person has not escaped. The bored nurse goes to the room, is attacked by this person who seems to be completely out of her mind, they wrestle in hand to hand combat with the insane person trying to strangle the nurse, and then the next scene is the nurse looking completely unfazed and telling the caller "Yeah, she's in her bed in her room". Just another day for this nurse with nerves of steel????

Source:  FX Retro Channel

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In Name Only (1939) 7/10

A very entertaining soap opera about a rich man (Cary Grant) stuck in a loveless marriage who falls in love with a widowed artist (Carole Lombard). If you just heard the names of the stars you probably would be expecting a screwball comedy, there are some funny moments but it mostly sticks to the melodrama. One of the best things about this one is Kay Francis playing Grant's cold and scheming wife. I have never seen any of her other films but I know she was a very big star at one time. Peggy Ann Garner (later had her biggest success with "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn") has some cute lines as Lombard's little daughter. 

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28 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

In Name Only (1939) 7/10

A very entertaining soap opera about a rich man (Cary Grant) stuck in a loveless marriage who falls in love with a widowed artist (Carole Lombard). If you just heard the names of the stars you probably would be expecting a screwball comedy, there are some funny moments but it mostly sticks to the melodrama. One of the best things about this one is Kay Francis playing Grant's cold and scheming wife. I have never seen any of her other films but I know she was a very big star at one time. Peggy Ann Garner (later had her biggest success with "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn") has some cute lines as Lombard's little daughter. 

actually, FRANCIS'S star was slipping at the time, she was a Warners Contract player who had the audacity to ask for more money and they spent the late thirties treating her like dirt.

she's a marvelous actress and her films of the early thirties are interesting, TROUBLE IN PARADISE is a perfect film and one I recommend highly.

apparently GRANT AND LOMBARD felt bad about how FRANCIS was treated at her studio and asked for her to be loaned to RKO for the picture and they also asked she be treated as a co-lead on set.

she rewarded them with a performance that is, to be frank, in a neck-and-neck race with MARGARET HAMILTON for the title of "wickedest woman of 1939 in film."

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Nightmare Honeymoon (1974)  -  3/10

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Godawful "thriller" featuring Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith as newlyweds who get attacked by killers John Beck and Roy Jenson.

While this film features many notable, professional actors, and competent, seasoned filmmakers behind the camera, it's infinitely less entertaining than Another Son of Sam. That film had many excuses for being inept, while this one has none, and yet achieves that status anyway. The story, based on a book by Lawrence Block, features dumb characters repeatedly making stupid decisions. There's also a lot of sadistic behavior, particularly John Beck's very lengthy victimization of Smith. I watch a lot of dark, violent flicks, and yet this grew tiresome even for me, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. The only high point was watching Dack slap Jay Robinson around. By the way, despite the timeslot this was shown in, it did not have the TCM Underground intro, but rather the usual late-night one.

i felt like CLORIS LEACHMAN in that scene in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN where she screams "YES!" while running the bow over the violin dramatically reading your review.

i saw a pretty fair amount of ANOTHER SON OF SAM and about as much of NIGHTMARE HONEYMOON as I could take (up to the scene where DACK decides to take his gut-bucket TENNESSEE WILLIAMS play refugee wife along with when he almost instantly beats up and overpowers a NEW ORLEANS crime boss (!?!?!) )

I don't know if they plan things out when it comes to UNDERGROUND DOUBLE FEATURES, but this one was actually illuminating.

NIGHTMARE HONEYMOON, which was an MGM film (?!?!?!) with a score by ELMER "MAKE IT OUT TO 'CASH'" BERNSTEIN (?!?!)and a relatively competent crew of camera and lighting people AND ACTUAL RESOURCES BACKING IT was made without an ounce of inspiration or ambition or passion...it was, at best, a contractual obligation being fulfilled by near everyone involved.

ANOTHER SON OF SAM was a film which I made it with only twenty minutes left before I turned it off, was for dire lack of resources and budget and talent and anyone involved in its making who knew anything about anything AT ALL, a film that i could not hate, bless its heart, because it was, in the proud tradition of ED WOOD, at least STRIVING to be something, MAKING AN ATTEMPT to be something, hamstrung by the resources as it was, it tried in its own little, PROFOUNDLY limited, way and I was mostly bemused by the effort. I also kind of liked the way it looked like someone had spilled a Grape Faygo on the print.

 

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also also the interminable pre credit sequence in ANOTHER SON OF SAM where they list various serial killers and their records up to the time kind of tickled me...and I was also ashamed of how I recognized numerous factual errors (JACK THE RIPPER did not kill 14 people!) and anachronisms "SEATTLE TED: STILL AT LARGE" (obvs. BUNDY)

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Ride a Crooked Trail (1958)  -  6/10

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Mediocre western starring Audie Murphy as an outlaw who is mistaken for a lawman in the next town he enters. The trigger-happy town judge (Walter Matthau) quickly drafts Murphy into becoming the new town marshal, and when Murphy's old gal pal Gia Scala arrives in town, he has to pretend to be married to her in order for her to continue the ruse. The later leads to more trouble when bad guy Henry Silva shows up in town looking for Scala. Also featuring Joanna Moore, Eddie Little, Mary Field, Leo Gordon, Bob Steele, and Morgan Woodward. There's nothing too awful about this, but nothing outstanding or noteworthy, either. Whether or not you're a fan of Matthau will determine whether you think he's amusingly eccentric or annoyingly hammy. 

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Rock You Sinners (1958)  -  5/10

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Reportedly the first British rock and roll movie, this features Philip Gilbert as a radio and TV presenter who wants to start a rock and roll television show. To convince the head office, he organizes a concert of the leading rock acts of the day. Also featuring Adrienne Scott, Colin Croft, and Jackie Collins. The only reason to watch this (besides gawking at the youthful Collins) are the musical performances from such "household names" as Art Baxter & His Rockin' Sinners, Tony Crombie & His Rockers, Rory Blackwell & the Blackjacks, Dickie Bennett, Joan Small, Curly Pat Barry, Don Sollash & His Rockin' Horses, and George "Calypso" Browne.

 

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I was trying to figure out from the title whether the movie thought rock and roll was sinful, or whether it was a Christian converting people through rock and roll.

And as for British rock and roll, wait until you get to It's Trad, Dad.  Richard Lester directs with all the seriousness the subject deserves and the movie is so much fun because of that.

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8 minutes ago, Fedya said:

And as for British rock and roll, wait until you get to It's Trad, Dad.  Richard Lester directs with all the seriousness the subject deserves and the movie is so much fun because of that.

Not only have I seen, and enjoyed, It's a Trad, Dad aka Ring-a-Ding Rhythm, but it was the subject of my very first post on this website, as I had forgotten the title. And guess who answered my query:

http://forums.tcm.com/topic/50967-british-60s-rock-movie/?tab=comments#comment-1036420

 

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St. Louis Blues (1958)  -  7/10

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Fictionalized biopic of musician and songwriter W.C. Handy (Nat "King" Cole), who bridged the gospel, blues and jazz forms in the early decades of the 20th century. He struggles to reconcile his secular success with the faith of his disapproving father (Juano Hernandez). Handy also faces romantic conflict between good girl Ruby Dee and nightclub singer Eartha Kitt. Also featuring Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Mahalia Jackson, Teddy Buckner, Barney Bigard, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Preston. The music is fantastic, and the chance to see many musical giants in one film is incredible. If only the non-singing parts had been a little less pedestrian.

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On 3/16/2019 at 12:50 PM, TomJH said:

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't quite say that Flora Robson shows sex appeal in Saraband for Dead Lovers so much as she convincingly plays a woman of passion, which includes carnal needs. There was a hint of flirtation in her bed chamber scene as Queen Bess with Errol Flynn in The Sea Hawk. This is way beyond that.

It's very unusual to see this great British character actress in such a dastardly role, and she clearly leaves an impression. I'm glad you liked the film too, kingrat. It deserves to be better known. I don't believe that TCM has ever shown it.

Saraband for Dead Lovers was on TCM, Feb. 2013 ... Recorded it on DVD. Time to watch again, MUCH more closely! ... As time goes by, it's great to re-appreciate films I thought I knew ...

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Not only have I seen, and enjoyed, It's a Trad, Dad aka Ring-a-Ding Rhythm, but it was the subject of my very first post on this website, as I had forgotten the title.

I think my first post was a request for information about the RKO B movie Hideaway, but that was quite a few years before you showed up.

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9 minutes ago, Fedya said:

I think my first post was a request for information about the RKO B movie Hideaway, but that was quite a few years before you showed up.

You requested a Moroni Olsen. Whatever that is . . .

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Screaming Mimi (1958)  -  5/10

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Weak thriller featuring Philip Carey as a reporter who becomes interested in a series of knife attacks that are linked to mysterious dancer Anita Ekberg. Also featuring Gypsy Rose Lee, Harry Townes, Linda Cherney, Romney Brent, Alan Gifford, and Vaughn Taylor. This one's been discussed recently, so all I'll add is that 1) Ekberg is in top form, and 2) the rest of the movie is pretty weak.

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Character actor from the 30s and 40s.  Here he is with Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce:

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And here he is on the right in Notorious:

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The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958)  -  6/10

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British-American western comedy with Kenneth More as a proper English gentleman who finds himself selected to be the new sheriff of the dangerous American frontier town of Fractured Jaw. He unknowingly manages to convince everyone that he's a dangerous gunfighter, leading to the inevitable confrontations. Also starring Jayne Mansfield as a feisty local business owner. With Henry Hull, William Campbell, Bruce Cabot, Robert Morley, Sidney James, Ronald Squire, David Horne, and Steven Berkoff. This is a pretty mild comedy, more of a smiling film than a laughing one. Mansfield looks good but her accent is painful. This movie is noteworthy for being the first western shot in Spain, soon to be a frequent production locale during the spaghetti western boom of the 1960's.

 

 

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