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The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965)

Directed by Jon Hall


Yes, the same Jon Hall (plus 50 or so pounds) who starred in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The only thievery going on here is charging suckers to see this bilge.


The film opens with a bunch of teeny-boppers dancing on the beach. One of them is murdered by the silliest looking monster in creation. Try to imagine a conehead covered with kelp, and you’ll get the idea. The local police (both of them) spring into action, and take a plaster cast of some footprints in the sand. Dr. Otto Lindsay (Hall, pulling double duty) plays some kind of mutant fish expert and lends his expertise to the case. His son, Richard, played by some dude, is more interested in chicks than fish, which bugs Hall no end. Richard’s pal Mark is sculpting a bust of Hall’s wife Vicky, played by the very sexy Sue Casey. Every time Casey is on screen, we hear saxophones, a piano, muted trumpets, etc. Mark walks with a limp, the result of a car accident caused by Richard. The upside is that Mark could audition to be Marshal Dillon’s sidekick. Mark has the hots for Vicky. Vicky plays him like a cheap fiddle. This has nothing to do with the plot. In fact, nothing has anything to do with the plot.


A few more teens get bumped off by the monster. We also have to suffer through some pretty bad songs, like “There’s a Monster in the Surf,” performed by a girl and a lion puppet. Frank Sinatra Jr. is credited with writing “original music” for this fishfest. I’m sure Ol’ Blue Eyes was proud.


By the time the monster’s “identity” is revealed, most of the viewing audience has already headed to Long John Silver’s. It’s never clear why the teenagers are getting killed, but it’s very clear this dud deserved a quick death.


Hall, who pulled triple duty as Director of Photography, would have been better served just keeping the camera on Sue Casey for 66 minutes.




Jon Hall shows off his bionic arm.





I think somebody made a last minute change to this sign.





“Look Jon, maybe this macho crap worked with Maria Montez, but it won’t with me!”






A short-lived 1960s fad – 33DD glasses.





“He’s dead. He must have heard Obama singing that Al Green song.”






Okay guys, how many of you actually noticed the Robert Osborne bobblehead?




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From Hell It Came (1957)

Directed by Dan Milner

One of the scariest movies ever made – scary, because somebody thought that a walking tree was something the public was dying to see.

As the film opens (and it should have closed immediately), we are transported to some tropical setting, where Gregg Palmer, as Kimo, is stretched out between several stakes and a few stray chickens. He stands accused (or lays accused) of killing his father, the Chief of whatever tribe this is. He claims it wasn’t him, but the medicine man, Tano, who poisoned the old guy, so that Maranka could be the new Chief. Kimo’s wife, played by Suzanne Ridgeway, offers no help. Ridgeway appeared in several Three Stooges shorts. Here, we discover she is trying to get into Maranka’s shorts. Kimo swears he will get revenge on everyone, right before they drive a knife through his heart.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, scientists Tod Andrews and John McNamara are working on a remedy for the plague that has hit the natives. In stumbles Linda Watkins, as the twice-widowed Mrs. Kilgore. After listening to this dame for about ten seconds, you will realize her husbands undoubtedly killed themselves. Watkins explains that she saw the whole stake-through-the-heart ceremony. Arriving shortly thereafter by helicopter is another scientist, played by Tina Carver. I guess her function is to help with the plague, and excite the 6-year-olds in the audience who think this bilge is entertaining. Apparently she and Andrews had a little something going somewhere sometime somehow.

One of the natives comes by and tells everyone that he fears Kimo will rise as a Tabanga (or Tabonga, depending upon whom you listen to). Tabanga is a native word meaning “crappy special effect.” Sure enough, something starts growing where Kimo is buried, so the scientists go off to investigate. They find a stump with a frown on its face, and a knife stuck in the body. Carver takes its pulse and declares that it has a human heart beat. Switch to another primary care physician. Not satisfied, these morons wait until the thing is almost fully grown, and then dig it up and bring it to their laboratory. There, Carver injects it with formula 447 and some Miracle-Gro© in an attempt to save it. “I want to try some on our wooden friend here,” she says. The results are predictable. Pretty soon, the tree sets off and stalks its victims. Of course, they are all too slow to outrun a tree. Ridgeway is tossed into quicksand and Tano ends up with a knife in his back – apparently trees carry switchblades. Chief Maranka stands only three feet away from Tabanga, yet manages to miss it entirely with his spear. Tabanga then twigs him to death. The tree snatches Carver, and the others rush to her aid. Unfortunately, they all survive – well, all but the tree.

To add to the hilarity of this film, the print I watched had French subtitles:

“Un monstre- arbre? Allons, je connais les fleurs carnivores, mais un monstre-arbre, c’est grotesque.”

Andrews and McNamara are okay in their roles. Carver gives more to her role than it deserves; she would have made a good tree surgeon. But her voice is a little nasal, and when she screams, it sounds like a cat whose tail has been stepped on. Ridgeway looks good in a sarong, but her acting is abysmal. I have no idea who Watkins is supposed to be, but she is so irritating that to hell she should go. And I pity the poor guy who had to wear the tree suit. His career never branched out.

These natives haven’t quite developed the knack for playing croquet.


Have you ever wondered where they get that cheap crap that’s sold on QVC?


MGM fired this tree from The Wizard Of Oz after this suggestive photo was discovered.


It’s pretty sad when the biggest breasts in the movie belong to this drummer.


A little-known clause in Obamacare grants every tree a free checkup on Arbor Day.


Translation: “B****, your a** is mine!”


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I hate to see this delightful thread vanish, so I'll add a modest contribution of my own.


*The Ape Man* (1943)


Directed by William Beaudine; written by Karl Brown and Barney A. Sarecky


This may not be the worst Lugosi film I've ever seen -- I've seen *The Gorilla* and *Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla* and *Mother Riley Meets the Vampire** -- but it may be the worst one that wasn't trying to be a comedy.


We begin with screaming newspaper headlines: SCIENTIST MISSING! Must have been a slow news day. Some reporters are waiting for the arrival of the missing man's sister from Europe by ship. (They ignore the fact that World War Two is going on, a fact which is confirmed later by the hero stating that the reason he isn't in the military is because he's 4-F.) A sort of goofy-looking guy is hanging around, edging the reporters on to talk to her. Keep your eye on this character, who keeps popping up for no reason, because he's the key to this movie's insane ending.


The sister (who is some sort of psychic or medium, a fact which has nothing at all to do with the story) meets the missing man's assistant, who soon gives us our absurd backstory. It seems the scientist gave himself injections of gorilla spinal fluid. (We are never told why.) As they arrive at the hiding place of the scientist (Lugosi), we see that he has been transformed into an APE MAN!


Well, he actually looks more like an Amish farmer with back pain. Lugosi's make-up consists of shaggy hair and beard. He conveys his simian nature by walking slightly bent over. We first see him locked up in the same cage as a gorilla (or a guy in a bad gorilla suit.) This is later explained when Lugosi says that sometimes he loses his human rationality and the animal side takes control. There is not the slightest evidence later in the film to confirm this. Lugosi continues to act like nothing more than the world's hairiest mad scientist.


It seems the cure for being an ape man is human spinal fluid. The only source, of course, is freshly killed humans, so Lugosi and the gorilla go on a killing spree. When he gets a shot of the spinal fluid, the only change is that he can walk upright. Don't expect any kind of transformation scene in this movie.


The heroes are a spunky reporter (the 4-F guy) and a photographer named Billie. Attempted comedy ensues when the reporter finds out that Billie is a woman. While all of this nonsense is going on, the goofy-looking guy is shown peeking into the window of Lugosi's hiding place. In the very last scene of the movie, the heroes confront the goofy-looking guy and find out that he is:




the author of the movie. He refers to the story as a "screwy idea" and the movie ends. This outrageous, post-modern ending comes totally out of left field and feels like a final insult to the viewer, as if the movie is making fun of you for watching it.


******END SPOILER******


This is one of Lugosi's most embarassing roles.





*It's been so long since I saw the British disaster *Mother Riley Meets the Vampire* -- known in the USA as *My Son, the Vampire*, with a title tune by Allan Sherman added for the Yanks -- that I can't do a full review of it. Suffice to say that Lugosi is a mad scientist (not a vampire) with a goofy-looking robot. The focus of the film is on Mother Riley, an old woman played by a man in drag.



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I haven't seen THE APE MAN in eons, but remember thinking it's Lugosi's worst Monogram. Since the budget on the set was probably a half dollar, we don't, as Silverwolf says, even have the "satisfaction" of seeing him change into a gorilla. Makes DEAD MEN WALK look lively. So skip it and enjoy Mirneva and Bela in THE CORPSE VANISHES instead. At least there you get the added bonus of the great Elizabeth Russell as his blood-starved wife who sleeps in a coffin.


Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Oct 5, 2012 7:57 PM

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Funny you should mention that . . .



*The Corpse Vanishes* (1942)


Directed by Wallace Fox; written by Harvey Gates, Sam Robins, and Gerald Schnitzer


*The Corpse Vanishes* doesn't waste any time getting down to business. Just about the first thing we see is a bride at her wedding dropping dead during the ceremony. The next thing we know, her body has been stolen away in the wrong hearse. (Important safety tip: When having cadavers taken away by hearses, ask to see the driver's identification.)


Amazingly, it turns out that this is only the latest in a series of such macabre incidents. I don't know about you, but if I were about to be married in a city where this was going on, I would probably delay my wedding (or at least hold it in another city.)


We soon learn that the dead brides are being used by Bela Lugosi as a source of something-or-other that he draws out of them with a nasty-looking syringe. This stuff then gets injected into his wife to restore her beauty; she's apparently suffering from some rapid aging disease or something.


A Spunky Girl Reporter (boy, they had a lot of them back then) finds out that all the dead brides had been given a rare orchid just before the ceremony. She then discovers that the local expert on this plant is (you guessed it) Lugosi. She winds up as an not-very-welcome guest of Bela and his wife. Their servants are an older woman and her two sons, one a dwarf and one a mute hunchback who likes to fondle the hair of the dead brides. (There's some speculation at one point that the brides are only in suspended animation, but this question is never resolved.)


*The Corpse Vanishes* is a wild bit of Grand Guignol, with all kinds of spooky stuff thrown in. We find out that Bela and his wife like to sleep in coffins. There is no explanation for this, except for the fact that they find them more comfortable. (This whole household makes the Addams Family look like the Brady Bunch.)


A couple of familiar faces other than Bela show up in this thing. The dwarf is played by Angelo Rossitto, who played various little people in everything from *Freaks* to *Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome*. Bela's wife is played by Elizabeth Russell. Fans of classic horror may best remember her as the woman who calls Simone Simon "Moia sestra" ("My sister") in *Cat People*. She's a striking and exotic woman, who manages the remarkable task of being more sinister than Bela.


*The Corpse Vanishes* is short on plot logic (surely there must be an easier way to obtain the bodies of young women than at their weddings) but it delivers more than enough in the way of creepy thrills.


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The Astounding She-Monster (1957)
Directed by Ronald V. Ashcroft


Astounding that anyone would fork over money to see this trash.

For the first several minutes of this thank-goodness-it’s-only-a-sixty-two-minute film, we are subjected to blathering narration about outer space. Once that ends, we get even more narration, describing the action as a bunch of crooks kidnap a blonde socialite, a geologist walks his dog, and a female creature lands on earth. The first lines of dialogue go to Robert Clarke (the geologist), who sees something crash near his cabin, talks to his dog, and says “hmm.”


The crooks consist of Keene Duncan, Ewing Brown, and Jeanne Tatum as Duncan’s drunken squeeze. Duncan alternately refers to Tatum as “crocked,” “fried,” and a “lush.” Brown is an idiot, and is reprimanded by Duncan: “The way you keep puttin’ your foot in your kisser it’s a wonder you don’t get athlete’s mouth.”

After they kidnap the socialite, played by Marilyn Harvey, their car runs off the road when driver Brown thinks he sees a glowing woman. They show up at Clarke’s cabin and try to steal his jeep, but the lights don’t work. Brown thinks he sees the shiny babe again, so he goes outside to investigate. He goes belly up when the alien touches her. Duncan goes to see what happened to Brown, spots the shimmering chick, and empties his pistol, to no avail. He manages to drag Brown’s body back to the cabin. In short order, the fluorescent female crashes through the cabin window and everyone runs out.

The remainder of the film consists of people running in and out of the cabin, I kid you not. No one has enough sense to just speed off in one direction and outrun the alien, who seems to back up constantly, or walk with one shoulder pointed ahead of the other. When she is not killing humans, she is destroying the animal kingdom. She offs a snake, a dog, and a black bear. Finally, genius Clarke has an idea and throws an acid concoction at her (it’s one-third nitric acid, two-thirds hydrochloric acid). She dissolves, along with the audience. Clarke finds a note in her pendant, which either says she is an emissary from another world, or “Inspected by No. 12.”

I can’t even say the acting stinks, because it is non-existent – so how could it stink if it does not exist? The shrieking music score adds to the viewer’s discomfort. As the alien, the statuesque Shirley Kilpatrick looks pretty garish with horrifying bad makeup, wearing a skintight sparkling jumpsuit which the special effects guys make so blurred you will get a headache. Clarke says, “In order for her to give off alpha and gamma rays which are the basis for her radium poisoning, she’s got to have a considerable portion of radium in her physical construction.” Looks more like silicone to me.

I’m just curious as to why the rear-view mirror is sitting on the dashboard.


A rare still from the unreleased “Lassie’s career goes into the toilet.”





Jeanne Tatum demonstrates what it means for two lines to be skew.




Definitive proof that aliens also suffer from gallstones.


“Hey fellas, get a load of these !”


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Monster on the Campus (1958)

Directed by Jack Arnold


Arthur Franz plays a college professor at Dunsfield University, or U Duns, for short. Franz orders a coelacanth (pronounced “fish”) from Madagascar. Presumably he was too lazy to drive to Red Lobster©.  Troy Donahue, as one of Franz’ students, arrives with the frozen fish, but it starts to thaw out and drip bloody water. Donahue’s dog laps the junk up and suddenly turns wild.  Every member of the audience can see the dog has grown fangs, but this little detail seems to escape all the actors for some time. Meanwhile, Franz, who apparently never took a course in fish-handling, picks up the creature by the mouth and is promptly injured by its teeth.  Fortunately, a nurse (Helen Westcott) is on the scene, since she just tried to put the make on Franz, to no avail.  Franz starts feeling sick, so Westcott offers to drive him home. Big mistake.  Franz’ fiancée, played by Joanna Moore, arrives at Franz’ house, finds the place has been trashed, and finds Franz unconscious in the back yard. And Westcott is hanging from a tree. 


Detectives arrive and immediately suspect Franz, until they find some bizarre-looking handprints on the premises. Franz goes back to work, and finally notices the dog’s fangs. When he mentions this to his  colleagues, they check the dog and it’s normal. Franz then examines blood samples taken from the dog and finds some weird bacteria in them.  When he shows the samples to his colleagues, they also turn out normal (the samples, not the colleagues). Meanwhile, a dragonfly takes a bite out of the fish, then returns later having grown to about two feet long.  1) Franz decides to capture it, risking the lives of himself, Donahue, and Donahue’s girlfriend.  2) He lures the dragonfly to the fish, then he and Donahue throw a net over it. 3) When the dragonfly tries to break free, Franz plunges a knife into it.  These three steps are what we call the “scientific method.”  Now the paying public starts wondering how Franz will manage to infect himself again.  This time the fish drips blood into his pipe, and he smokes it (at this point, my girlfriend say “ewwwwwwwwwww, that’s disgusting”).  Next thing we know, a pithecanthropus erectus is running around the campus. A detective (Ross Elliot) is murdered, and Franz is found unconscious again.  Nobody sees a pattern here.


Franz eventually figures out how the dog and dragonfly got infected, but it takes him forever to realize what happened to him – until he smells his pipe and it reminds him of something. Yes, it smells like Luca Brasi.  So Franz decides to take a leave of absence and goes to a cabin to test his theory. He sets up a tape recorder and some cameras (yes, he wants a selfie), then injects himself with the fish stuff.  Meanwhile, Moore decides to drive out to the cabin. Good timing. There is the obligatory “monster carrying the girl” around aimlessly, and a really bad attempt by a park ranger to stop Franz.  The ranger is played by Dick Cutting (sorry censors, that’s really his name). I won’t give away the ending, but Dunsfield University announces that Franz classes have been cancelled … forever.


The movie isn’t as bad as it sounds, nor is it as good as it could have been. Franz does well; Moore is cute and looks like Joanne Woodward. Judson Pratt, as the police lieutenant, is irritating and incompetent, and seems to be mailing his part in. His Massachusetts accent doesn’t help. Whit Bissell plays a doctor, but for once, he’s not trying to transform a teenager into a monster. Ross Elliott finally gets to wear a realistic hairpiece.  Donahue is out-acted by his dog.




“Say, would you let Gabe Kaplan know his bust has arrived?”





This is why guys become college professors.





“Darn, I’m new at these same-sex marriages. Which finger does the ring go on?”





“Make a movie with Sandra Dee? Who the hell is that?”





Arthur Franz demonstrates the correct way to carve the Thanksgiving dragonfly.





“Nurse, would you mind giving me a hand with this? My ichthy is sore.”


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