Singing cowboys vs SCIENCE!! (Part 1)

Ya snooze, ya lose.

For ages I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a look at some of the serials of the 30s and 40s…and while toying was was still as far as I’d gotten, Ken nicked in with his hilarious take on The Green Archer for our Edgar Wallace Roundtable.

Ah, well…

Plenty of early serials called themselves “science fiction”, but a closer look reveals that they were rather action-adventure stories built around the struggle for possession of a “scientific” doo-hickey like a death-ray or a new poison gas, or the repeated kidnapping and rescue of a scientist with a “formula” (who usually spent all his onscreen time protesting that he only intended his death-ray / poison gas to be used for peaceful purposes).

However, they got there eventually…even if the definition of “science” remained just a trifle flexible…

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TPE35-gene3b.

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THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (1935)

…in which a lost civilisation located many thousands of feet below the surface of the earth finds its secrets under threat from a trio of unscrupulous scientists seeking to make their fortunes by locating the rich radium deposits which fuel the civilisation’s many marvellous scientific advances.

None of which is nearly so important as that fact that if a singing cowboy doesn’t perform at exactly two o’clock each day, he will break his radio contract, and he and his partner will lose their ranch…

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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    A Descent into Madness

    coverAs has become par for the course, I am running behind on the John Carradine roundtable. For that matter, I’ve written very few film reviews at all lately. In a rare turn of events, it’s not just because I am being lazy. I am, surprise, writing a book. Titled AT THE MATINEE OF MADNESS and originally meant to be a compilation of popular Teleport City articles, it has since become substantially more, containing maybe 60% new material, 40% revised and reorganized Teleport City material.

    I am hoping the damn thing will be done by the first week of July (I also hoped it would be done by the end of February, so…). As a thanks to those who follow the exploits of TC through the B-Masters Cabal, and for my fellow B-Masters themselves, I do have a little gift to tide folks over until the finished beast rolls off the presses (or gets uploaded in ebook form). The links below are for an ebook preview of the first chapter (which is about Louis Feuillade, Fantomas, and Les Vampires) in epub and mobi format. This is an unproofed next-to-final draft, so you might run across some mistakes and formatting foibles. The finished product might not be exactly the same. But it gets us in the ballpark.

    Thanks to everyone. TC would not have stumbled to this point if it wasn’t for the support of folks willing to indulge my meandering reflections.

    NOTE: You may get a prompt to join dropbox if you don’t already have an account. You can just click off of that alert and download the file without an account.

    Keith Allison is the ruthless overlord of Teleport City.


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      Not strong enough

      Black SamsonDespite a few bright spots, Black Samson ends up being a lesser entry in the blaxploitation genre.

      Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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        Right on target

        The Professional: Golgo 13The assassin in the anime feature film The Professional: Golgo 13 hits you with his best shot.

        Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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          Special Double-Update Post!

          Thanks to some bewildering log-in trouble, I wasn’t able to announce my previous update on the blog.  Here’s everything I posted on my site while I was incommunicado.

           

          First, the 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Ultimate Hobo-Hunting Championship:

          Deadly Prey (1987), which does the “Hounds of Zaroff” thing by way of Rambo…

          Hard Target (1993), which is John Woo’s take on the subject…

          and…

          The Perverse Countess (1973), which is the first of Jesus Franco’s.

           

          Then for the Carradine roundtable:

          The House of Seven Corpses (1973), in which Carradine hams it up as a glorified red herring while a B-movie crew raise the dead…

          and…

          Voodoo Man (1944), in which he plays third or possibly even fourth fiddle to Bela Lugosi, who’s using black magic to repair his incapacitated wife this time around.

           

          And finally, a bunch of stuff I just felt like watching:

          Deadly Sanctuary (1968), in which Jesus Franco first tries his hand at the Marquis de Sade…

          A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), in which a depressed Iranian city is stalked by a depressed Iranian vampire…

          Hitch-Hike (1977), in which an ill-advised vacation is made even worse by the garden variety David Hess psycho…

          It Follows (2014), in which premarital sex is even more dangerous than you already realized…

          Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), in which two unfinished scripts enter, and one Frankensteinian abomination leaves…

          Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), in which some schmuck who you’ll never convince me is Max Rockatansky does sod-all, while an overachieving Enzo G. Castellari movie smashes a terrific feminist action flick to bloody bits…

          Showgirls (1995), which remains the worst movie I’ve ever paid full price to see in first run, even after 20 years…

          Sunset Boulevard (1950), in which W. Lee Wilder’s smarter brother beats Robert Aldrich to the punch by twelve years…

          Toxic Zombies (1980), in which the War on Drugs inadvertently becomes a war on the undead…

          and…

          Traffic in Souls (1913), which set the pattern for the first 40 years’ worth of American sexploitation movies.

           
           
           

          El Santo rules the wasteland-- and also 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting.


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            Roger Moore – naked!

            The Naked FaceRoger Moore had the right idea to try and convince audiences to see him beyond James Bond, but made the wrong decision to sign on to The Naked Face, an unusually dull movie from Golan and Globus.

            Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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              Not what I had in mind…

              John Carradine in 'Las Vanmpiras'
              … but I think those are words John Carradine must have muttered to himself on a regular basis. And this movie, Las Vampiras (“The Vampire Women”, 1965), probably had him saying it to himself even more than usual.

              I’d planned on doing an Al Adamson movie for this Roundtable, but instead I ended up with something much worse. Las Vampiras is one of five — count ’em, five! — movies that Carradine made in Mexico in the late 1960’s. Excluding Carradine’s performance, it’s terrible. Factor in Carradine, and suddenly it becomes terrible in a whole new wonderful way. It wasn’t supposed to be a comedy, but John had other ideas…

              Will Laughlin is the Braineater.


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                Uh…something about John Carradine sucking. Sorry, it’s been a long day.

                John Carradine had a long career, and appeared in many great movies. He seldom starred in them, however. Twenty years after a few memorable turns as Count Dracula, he reprised the role. Even better, he was the film’s star. Sadly, though, it’s not a great movie. There are no winners after the title match of Billy the Kid vs Dracula.

                 

                Ken Begg is the proprietor of Jabootu: The Bad Movie Dimension.


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                  How Moreau can you go?

                  carradine_banner1

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                  And yes, this should have been my first Roundtable entry, but technology intervened…

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                  CWW43-group1b

                   

                   

                  CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943)

                  …in which a mad scientist transforms a female gorilla into an attractive young woman, as the first step in his quest to create a race of supermen.

                  Though overall this exercise in extremely mad science is spoilt by too much stock footage of circus animals being “trained”, John Carradine is a delight in his first ever genre film—which, as in his second genre film, finds his schemes being thwarted chiefly because he underestimates the female sex.

                  Hmm…

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                  Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!


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                    A smart comedy

                    I.Q.Albert Einstein as Cupid? That’s the premise for the romantic comedy I.Q., a thoroughly charming movie.

                    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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