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LawrenceA

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Posts posted by LawrenceA

  1. I-Vampiri-poster.jpg

    I Vampiri  (1957) Italy, Dir: Riccardo Freda - Hugely influential Gothic horror about a series of blood-draining murders that lead to an undead culprit. With Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo, and Paul Muller. This was the first Italian horror film of the sound era, and was a big hit, leading to a string of Italian Gothic horror films over the next decade. Mario Bava was the cinematographer, as well as writing and directing some scenes. Also released as Lust of the Vampire, and The Devil's Commandment.   (7/10)

     

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    Cave of the Living Dead (1964) West Germany, Dir: Akos Rathonyi - A government agent (Adrian Hoven) is sent to a remote village to investigate some murders. It's part of a vampiric plot by a mad scientist (Wolfgang Preiss). Also with Erika Remberg, John Kitzmiller, and Karin Field. There's a lot of awkward humor in this B&W pseudo-Gothic horror tale, as well as old-fashioned racist-stereotype "scared servant" character played by Kitzmiller (Dr. No). It's all pretty dopey. Also released as Night of the Vampires and The Curse of the Green Eyes.  (5/10)

     

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    The Blood Rose (1970) France, Dir: Claude Mulot - Another Eyes Without a Face rip-off, with Philippe Lamaire as an obsessed artist determined to heal his scarred wife. With Anny Duperey, Elizabeth Teissier, and Howard Vernon. There's not much to recommend here, although the pair of mute dwarf servants in the artist's mansion are unusual.  (5/10)

     

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    The Dead Are Alive  (1972) Italy, Dir: Armando Crispino - An American archaeologist (Alex Cord) unearths an ancient Etruscan tomb. Soon after, a series of brutal murders occurs. Is there a connection? Also with Samantha Eggar, John Marley, and Horst Frank. What promises to be a supernatural horror tale with historical flourishes instead becomes a turgid melodrama and subpar giallo.   (3/10)

     

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    Death Smiles on a Murderer  (1973) Italy, Dir: Joe D'Amato - Atmospheric Gothic horror with Ewa Aulin as a wealthy widow who may be harboring a sinister secret. With Klaus Kinski as a strange doctor, Luciano Rossi, and Angela Bo. Director D'Amato is usually reliably terrible, but this was a rather competent, if still lurid, effort.  (5/10)

     

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    The Devil's Wedding Night (1973) Italy, Dir: Joe D'Amato & Luigi Batzella - A 19th-century scholar (Mark Damon) travels to Castle Dracula to search for the mythical Ring of the Nibelungen (!!!). Once there, he falls under the spell of a mysterious Countess (Rosalba Neri). This confused mixed of Gothic horror and exploitation trash is marginally entertaining, though for the wrong reasons. The sight of a nude Rosalba Neri splattered in blood and posing provocatively is certainly memorable,  (5/10)

     

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    Crocodile (1979) Thailand/Hong Kong, Dir: Sompote Sands - A tsunami awakens a giant killer crocodile that wreaks havoc on the Thai countryside. This was made to be a croc-style Jaws rip-off, but was released in the US in 1981 after Alligator (1980) was a modest hit. It's dumb, cheap and laughable. The version I saw was dubbed in Italian! (3/10)

    • Like 2
  2. I've watched a few foreign-language films over the past few weeks.

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    Space Amoeba (1970) Japan, Dir: Ishiro Honda - A space probe returns to Earth after being invaded with alien particles that cause giant monsters to emerge on a remote island. A group scientists and reporters team up with the natives to try and stop the strange invaders. Featuring a giant octopus monster, a giant crab monster, and a giant turtle monster. Director Honda lends some his Godzilla expertise to this sub-par example of the kaiju genre, released in the US as Yog: Monster from Space.  (5/10)

     

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    The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) Italy, Dir: Sergio Marino - Giallo thriller with the lovely Edwige Fenech as a lonely wife of a wealthy businessman (Alberto de Mendoza) who finds herself the target of a mysterious killer targeting beautiful women. With George Hilton, Conchita Airoldi, Manuel Gil, and Ivan Rassimov. This movie is a bit more interested in nudity than horror, and the ending is a bit more prosaic than usual for this sort of thing. However, this movie has its fanbase, mainly due to the heavily edited English-dubbed version entitled Blade of the Ripper. This was a big success in Europe, and a follow-up with many of the same stars followed in 1972 - Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.  (6/10)

     

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    Night of the Devils (1972) Italy, Dir: Giorgio Ferroni - Gothic horror with Gianni Garko as a traveler in rural Russia who encounters a family beset by a curse that renders their patriarch into a bloodthirsty monster. Based loosely on Tolstoy's "The Wurdulak", which was more effectively adapted as in 1963's Black Sabbath.  (6/10)

     

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    The Black Cat (1981) Italy, Dir: Lucio Fulci - Bearing little resemblance to anything Poe wrote, this strange but slow thriller follows a psychic professor (Patrick Magee) as he seeks revenge on those who've wronged him, often utilizing his pet cat. With Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver, and Dagmar Lassander. This is set in England and features English-speaking stars, yet the version I saw was in Italian. This is very tame compared to much of Fulci's work of the era, such as ZombieNew York Ripper, and The Beyond, but fans of Euro-sleaze weirdness may find something to enjoy. (4/10)

     

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    Angst (1983) Austria, Dir: Gerald Kargl - A paroled would-be killer (Erwin Leder) goes on a violent spree. The very simple plot doesn't offer much narrative or character depth, but the cinematography is impressive. The wild-eyed lunatic is more inept than menacing, adding much black humor, although I'm not sure how much was intended. European directors such as Gaspar Noe and Lars Van Trier have cited this movie as an influence. (6/10)

     

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    Amsterdamned (1988) Netherlands, Dir: Dick Maas - A mysterious killer wearing scuba gear stalks his prey from the canals of Amsterdam. A veteran cop (Huub Stapel) is on the case. With Monique van de Ven. This plays like a Dutch version of an Italian giallo thriller. There's some awkward humor and character drama, but the action scenes are very well done, including an impressive boat chase.  (6/10)

     

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    Terrified (2017) Argentina, Dir: Demian Rugna - A neighborhood is subjected to tragedy and horror when ghostly menaces begin attacking adjacent homes. The police team up with some paranormal investigators to try and get to the bottom of things. Some very effective moments are a bit undercut somewhat by a fractured, non-linear narrative. However, there's enough good stuff here to recommend to fans of the genre. (6/10)

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  3. Since I'm the only one (I think) to mention Nicolas Cage in a negative light on here recently, I feel I need to elaborate on the reason for my inclusion of him in my list of "bad" actors. One reason that Cage gets dragged as much as he does is precisely because he was once thought of as a good actor, an exciting performer, and known for unconventional choices. The movies listed above (Valley GirlRed Rock WestLeaving Las Vegas, etc.) are all good (although I wasn't thrilled by National Treasure), and I even consider Raising Arizona among my top two or three favorite comedies ever made. 

    However, the newest film in the above lists is from 2004, and in the 16 years since, Cage has appeared in 47 movies. Of those, maybe 4 were good, while the great majority of the rest are abysmal, some as bad as the worst stuff featuring Steven Seagal or Dolph Lundren. 

    I've seen 79 movies featuring Nicolas Cage, and I plan on seeing the handful of others that I've missed thus far, but he went off the rails a long time ago. Even if he manages to still make stuff I love like Mandy (which most if not all of the TCM crowd would despise).

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  4. 41 minutes ago, Sukhov said:

    Years ago, my mom described a "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" episode she had seen but I could find nothing like what she described. It was definitely from a 1960s US B&W horror anthology show though. She said that in the episode, sounds were coming from a family's basement and the mom and son went to check it out but disappeared. The father then goes downstairs and comes back up with a horrified expression on his face. She said it never showed what became of the son and wife or what the sound was which is what interests me. She also insisted it was Twilight Zone or Outer Limits so it must have been in black and white. Any help with identification is appreciated.

    It could also have been an episode of Thriller (1960-1962). I've seen every Twilight Zone and Outer Limits multiple times, and your description doesn't ring any bells. There are a few other shows it might be (One Step BeyondThe Veil) but I couldn't say for certain.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_(American_TV_series)#Episodes

  5. 2 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

    Speaking of which, if there aren't many actors I flat out dislike, there are some I have mixed feelings about. And this will be probably controversial, but I'm mixed over Robert De Niro. I thought he was exceptional in Taxi Driver and he really is underrated and effective in his nice guy roles (bang the Drum Slowly, The Last Tycoon, Falling in Love, Stanley and Iris, Mad Dog and Glory, A Bronx Tale, The Intern). But his performances in New York New York and Cape Fear threw the whole films off-balance, he was overshadowed by his co-stars in True Confessions, The Mission, The Untouchables, Awakenings, GoodFellas, Marvin's Room, Jackie Brown,  Wag the Dog, The Score, and The Irishman, and too many of the films he has been in in the last 20 years are bizarre choices.

    Most of the movies that you mention where he's "overshadowed" were films where his character was meant to be less showy. That was exactly the point with True Confessions (where he and Robert Duvall swapped the roles that people would have expected them to play), and Jackie Brown (where he was perfect as the dopey goon). In Wag the Dog he was meant to counterbalance the outrageous other cast, especially Hoffman-as-Robert Evans, and Goodfellas where Ray Liotta was the main character and Joe Pesci gets the showy role. 

    I expected De Niro to show up in this thread eventually, both because he's often listed among the "best" (whatever that meaningless term is in this case), and that often provokes strong reactions from people, and he's also now one of those politically-charged people where those with a certain bent will hate him regardless, much like Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins on the left, or Woods, Voight, etc., on the right.

    • Like 1
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  6. 12 minutes ago, cinecrazydc said:

    I never considered Voight and Woods "jerky" off camera - unless it's just their politics you don't like -

    You must not have kept up with Woods' public comments over the past 10 years or so. He's gone beyond just being political; he seems genuinely psychotic at times. And that's besides all of the "prowling for teen girls" stories that flooded in a while back. His lack of work in the past several years has less to do with his politics and more to do with his temperament (plenty of other self-identified conservatives, including Voight, continue to work in Hollywood).

  7. 35 minutes ago, jinsinna13 said:

    The action-flick lunkheads you mentioned are from the old school. (Excuse my urban lingo.) Do you feel the same way about the current action-flick lunkheads (Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, etc)?

    I think I've seen all of Statham's movies, and most of Johnson and Diesel's. Statham has been in some good ones, and Johnson fits in the roles he chooses. I've liked a couple of Diesel's films (Pitch Black especially), but he's very cheeseball and his growling tough guy shtick gets ridiculous. 

    I also watch Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, and Wesley Snipes trash flicks, and 70's heroes like Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly. 

    • Like 1
  8. June Allyson and Robert Taylor, as I've mentioned many times before when this topic is brought up.

    John Travolta, although I think he's appeared in some good movies, as have most if not all of these performers I don't generally care for.

    Keanu Reeves. He was appropriate in his "Bill & Ted" mode, but whenever he's supposed to be serious, it's usually laughable. He was astoundingly awful in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and he gave one of the worst performances that I've ever seen by a professional in Knock Knock (2015). I find it hilarious that he's now often called a "national treasure" and is more highly thought of than ever.

    Some actors I know are terrible but that's precisely why I like them: Nicolas Cage, William Shatner, the action-flick lunkheads (Stallone, Seagal, Van Damme, Lundgren, etc.). Their general terribleness is the main appeal of their "movies".

    Some actors that I have liked in the past I've found I've cooled on these days, like Bruce Willis, or Jack Lemmon. Willis barely phones it in, and Lemmon too often comes across as trying too hard, for me, anyway. John Cusack is another who I don't really like any more.

    Some actors I've grown to dislike a bit thanks to their off-camera antics, such as Mel Gibson, Jon Voight, and James Woods.

    I don't care much for Jerry Lewis, or the Three Stooges. 

    And Ryan O'Neal. Ugh.

     

    • Like 6
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  9. 4 minutes ago, DickLindsay said:

    thanks Lawrence.  I almost guessed with was Margaret Lindsay....  I wonder if there was a working title with the initials "EA"?!  thanks for your help!

    The British title was Enemy Agent.

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