The Movies That Make Us

In under the wire! I’ve missed years’ worth of Roundtables, but the 20th anniversary? That one, I need to show up for. If you were kicking around Teleport City in 1998, you know that the foundation of the site was kung fu films. If there was a second foundational genre, it would have been zombies films. So, obviously…KUNG FU ZOMBIE.

I’m also making an effort to go back in time and fill in my many many missing Roundtables.

KUNG FU ZOMBIE

Kung Fu Zombie isn’t an expensive film, and it does its best to cover the lack of funds by not aiming too high with its special effects — some eerie colored lighting, a few gross corpses, and a fog machine are all it needs to successfully create an inexpensive otherworldly atmosphere. It’s crude and cheap, but it also has great energy behind it, not to mention some spectacular kung fu and a few creepy seconds scattered throughout the zaniness.



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    On the road to nowhere

    Dirt

    The offroad race documentary Dirt doesn’t dig deep enough into its subject matter to really stand out.

    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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      Science finishes second

       

      Ahem. This is not actually my official second Roundtable entry.

      Although in fact I did intend it to be my official second Roundtable entry. I’d had these films sitting around on the same spot for at least six months, while I didn’t get to them…but when I went looking for them, for this Roundtable, I couldn’t find them…at least not until I’d given up on them and started working on something else.

      Only by then it was obvious that the “something else” was getting out of control and couldn’t possibly be posted in time.

      I’m not giving up on that something else; on the contrary, I’m determined to get it done; I’m just not sure when.

      In the meantime—please enjoy these additions to Science In The Reel World, four films that have this in common: they all feature science and/or scientists running a distant second in the game of life…

       

       
       

      THE BIG SHAKEDOWN (1934)

      …in which science ends up in the service of gangsterism.

       

      KNUTE ROCKNE ALL AMERICAN (1940)

      …in which science loses out to (sigh) football.

       

      SEVEN DAYS TO NOON (1950)

      …in which science drives one man to insanity.

       

      THE MAN UPSTAIRS (1958)

      …in which a second man decides to join him.

       
       
       
       

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


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        Still Alive

        Sure, Teleport City has been moribund for years. And it’s replacement sites have not fared better. However, I’ve not been totally inactive during these long months. So here’s a bit of what’s going on:

        • Did I mention I wrote a book? And associated with that, there’s a new(ish) website that occasionally even gets new articles. Like this one, about a box set of obscure exotica music.
        • I’ve been writing regularly for Diabolique. Most recently, it’s been about Jean Harlow’s Red-Headed Woman and the goofball “old dark house” comedy The Crooked Circle. The bulk of my film writing these days will be there or is being held in reserve for a future book project. Or until such time as I get impatient and post it.
        • Teleport City is getting a refresh and reorg. Most content is currently offline for reformatting, but it will all be back as the summer progresses. Some content will disappear, but only because it has been improved, rewritten, and has a new home. But we’ll always point when pointin’ is needed.
        • And finally, as a personal quest this summer, I intend to go back and fill in the many…many…many Roundtables I’ve no-showed over the years. We’ll see how that goes.

        Anyway, irons in the fire and all that.



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          Not high spirited enough

          Charlie's Ghost

          I guess unlike the other B-Masters, I specialize in family films. Anyway… despite a few good things, Charlie’s Ghost: The Secret Of Coronado is too downbeat of a family movie for both adults and their children.

          Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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            From one extreme to the other…

             

            The year 1960 gave us a pair of disaster movies that could hardly be more different; yet each in its own way is ridiculously enjoyable:

             

             

             

            I have copied over The Last Voyage, a shipboard disaster movie with the highest disaster-to-running-time ratio I’ve yet encountered, plus the most realistic special effects, to boot…as they should be, inasmuch as a real ocean liner was destroyed for our edification.

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

            And I have reviewed The Crowded Sky, an airborne disaster movie which has one of the lowest disaster-to-running-time ratios I’ve yet encountered, plus some of the dodgiest model-work ever to emanate from a major studio.

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

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


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              It just doesn’t fly

              A Breed Apart

              While A Breed Apart tries to be an action movie with something important to say, it ultimately doesn’t succeed at either of those things.

              Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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                No, I’m not posting for the new roundtable yet…

                I do, however, have the other half of my entries for the previous one:

                Evil Dead II (1987), in which surviving the night in a demon-haunted cabin doesn’t actually improve one’s situation much…

                Goodbye, Emmanuelle (1977), in which our heroine starts to wonder whether this “free love” thing is all it’s cracked up to be…

                and…

                Martin (1977), in which George Romero gives us a much more satisfying answer to the riddle, “When is a vampire movie not a vampire movie?” than Val Lewton managed to.

                I also reviewed some stuff which I somewhat arbitrarily deemed not to make the cut for the roundtable:

                American Rickshaw (1989), in which Donald Pleasence predictably makes a quite serviceable sleazoid preacher, but Mitch Gaylord is somehow no Kurt Thomas…

                The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), in which experimental theater proves every bit as dangerous as any summer camp…

                Frightmare (1974), in which Jackie’s old mum gets into something even more troublesome than Fox News…

                Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), in which Moustapha Akkad can’t be faulted for not understanding what his audience wants…

                and…

                She (1983), in which it’s hard to tell what poor H. Rider Haggard is going to need more– a couple aspirin or a tumbler of Scotch.

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


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                  The china anniversary syndrome: Part 2

                  It’s that time again…

                  For the first part of our year-long celebration of our 20th anniversary, we tackled what we called our “core competencies”, that is, those topic areas we had in mind when founding our sites in the first place.

                  In this, not surprisingly, we dealt with material where there could well be overlap between our sites. For instance, El Santo reviewed From Hell It Came, a wacky walking-tree opus with plenty of mad science; so you would wouldn’t be surprised to find it over at AYCYAS! Likewise, Will tackled the first four parts of Shake Rattle and Roll, horror anthologies out of the Philippines, a country whose genre films Santo has examined on a fairly regular basis.

                  This time around, though, we’ll each be tackling what we’re calling our “special subjects”: those subgenres that each of us has pretty much entirely to themselves.

                  Please join us throughout May for Part 2 of our 20th anniversary celebration!


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


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                    Not the ordinary kind

                    Joe

                    The drama Joe remains a compelling exercise even more than 40 years later.

                    Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.


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