Archive for May, 2010

And so we save the worst for last…

This film features a monstrous thing that is resurrected from the past to bring terror to the modern day. I don’t mean the movie’s mummified ‘Bigfoot,’ I mean the movie itself, an obscure sixty minute teen monster flick from the ’50s that had a half hour of excruciating filler added to it in the late seventies, whereupon it became a late night TV staple. Beware, I tells you, lest you too provoke the Curse of Bigfoot.

A MIGHTY, TOWERING REVIEW!!…and its pathetic, embarrassing knock-off

It’s an AYCYAS! – Braineater joint!

For this Roundtable, I’ve had the pleasure and the honour of tag-teaming with Will Laughlin, as we tackle two versions of the same hominid film: Ishirō Honda’s long-MIA Jūjin Yuki Otoko (Beast-Human Snowman).

Three years after its Japanese release, the film appeared on American screens in the hardly recognisable form of Kenneth G. Crane’s Half Human; which, sadly, has been almost the only way to see this film at all over the past five decades.


Braineater reviews Jūjin Yuki Otoko (1955).

And You Call Yourself A Scientist! reviews Half Human (1958).



Two Hairballs for the Price of One


I’ve always felt that movies with certain titles have an obligation to live up to those titles. For instance, any movie with a title like The Werewolf and the Yeti needs to be a movie full of scenes where a werewolf fights a yeti. If the movie doesn’t live up to that title, then you’ve just ruined humanity’s chances of getting an awesome movie in which a werewolf fights a yeti. It’s just unfair to use up an awesome title/concept on a crappy movie. So when I first heard that a movie called The Werewolf and the Yeti existed, I was both excited and reticent. excited because — well, come on. Werewolf versus yeti. Reticent because I couldn’t help but think, “if this movie isn’t any good, then it ruins my chances of seeing the movie a title like The Werewolf and the Yeti deserves.” When, upon further investigation, I discovered that the movie was one of Spanish actor Jacinto Molina’s — aka Paul Naschy — many werewolf movies, I didn’t know whether to let my hopes rise or plummet. Somehow, I ended up letting them do both, and somehow, the movie fulfilled both those suspicions.

"Avast!" "Belay!" And something about a poop deck.

Four years after Disney’s version of Treasure Island, a canny production company rehired director Byron Haskin and star Robert “Long John” Newton for a sequel, Long John Silver (1954).  The movie’s not great, but you have to admire the chutzpah.

P.S. The long-awaited sixth issue of Arkham Tales is available!  Go here to check it out.

Something is definitely missing

Of all the movies made that deal with man-apes, Missing Link is unusual in a couple of ways. It’s one of the rare ones that was made by a major Hollywood studio. Also, it makes great strides to be sober and serious in tone. But it does share one thing with most other man-ape movies in that it’s overall not very good. Even good production values can’t save a man-ape movie alone.

Peter Cushing vs. the Yeti


One of the oft cited complaints about this film is that The Abominable Snowman doesn’t get much of a look in during the film, and that is very true. Director, Val Guest has said that makeup and costumes at that time were not really up to the task of creating an effective and frightening looking monster. He therefore believed that ‘what was not seen’ was actually going to be more frightening than anything the special effects, wardrobe and makeup departments could create. Subsequently he chose to only show the snowman in small glimpses, allowing the monster to live in the ‘theatre of your mind’, rather than being unconvincingly paraded in front of your face.

It's hairy and it breeds with anything, but it's not Ron Jeremy

BIGFOOT (1970)

The poster promises an unstoppable motorcycle-hurling monster, cops clutching their useless submachine guns, and buxom beauties screaming in terror at a hairy beast that “breeds with anything.” As great as all that sounds, it’s not the movie that I watched. Not even close.

Lesson learned:
Sometimes the best part of a movie is the poster.


Yeah, so that was a whole lot of Saw…

Sometimes you just really want to be done with something, though, you know?  And although I’m still not quite there yet, this does at least get me to the bottom of my drummer’s box set:

Georges Melies Trick Films, 1897,  in which the celebrated cinematic pioneer discovers the value of ripping off one’s own earlier successes and the drawing power of a shapely behind…

Saw III (2006),  In which you can practically hear the Jigsaw Killer’s electronically distorted voice asking the filmmakers how much narrative integrity they’re willing to sacrifice to have a twist ending…

Saw IV (2007), In which the Saw series intrepidly Evel Knievels its way over a veritable squadron of sharks…

Saw V (2008), in which it redeems itself just the slightest bit after it’s already much too late…

Scream of Fear (1961), in which Hammer tries its hand at psycho-horror for the first time…


Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century (1977), in which the Abominable Snowman impersonates King Kong.

The snow rabbit of Wisconsin.

Even if Bill Rebane’s The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) were stellar in all other respects — top-notch cast, sparkling cinematography, a superlative script — I would still hold against him the fact that he made Bigfoot’s pelt white.  That’s all hypothetical, though.

(P.S. The Golden Age of Crap is now available for Kindle!)

Gives Me Chills, Pt. III.

This cover may not be as bad as the first two installments in this occasional series… but on the other hand, it might.

No description at Amazon, but do you really need one?