Friday, May 30, 2014

May Monster Madness: A Lot of M's


Well, here I am for yet another year of May Monster Madness! It's taken some time to put this together, what with my efforts to get to my 200th review before this date (explained here), but my large post of 'M' movies is finally up!

It was originally going to be thirteen mini-reviews (13 because oooOOOooOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!), buuut I discovered webcomic Dumbing of Age, and I couldn't stop reading. Seriously, go read Dumbing of Age! Right now! But be warned, you'll want a few days free in your schedule when you do, because if you're anything like me, you'll binge read it!

...Aren't I meant to be talking about horror movies?...


The Manster


Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) is a foreign correspondent working in Japan. He goes to the secluded house of mad scientist Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) for a story, and, unbeknownst to him, is injected by Suzuki with a mysterious mad science drug that starts warping Larry's mind, and soon his body...

The Manster is ok. The plot's watchable, but not particularly good. I was staring at my watch the entire time, and I didn't particularly care about any of the characters.

There's blood splatter at the start, and implied nudity. I'm surprised the Hays Code didn't come down upon the film like a sack of bricks! Sure, those are only two tiny moments, but this is the same kind of system that thought murdering the woman with the control link lifeline to MechaGodzilla was more moral than her bravely sacrificing herself.

It's hilarious how many B-movies ended with a moral monologue tacked on at the end, when the Hays Code was so psychotic (for example, no crime in a film could ever go unpunished when the Hays Code was around. The perpetrator HAD to die. No room for a sequel, no room for sympathy or redemption-They're fucking dead!).


The effects are ok. Some are laughable, and some are actually pretty neat, like the eye in the shoulder bit.

The monster's destruction at the early part of the climax is pretty amusing, in that all he's doing is knocking over small lamps, balustrades and angrily pushing doors open. And there's a punch that doesn't connect at all!

The acting's ok, despite the Yellowface with the main Japanese character. Tetsu Nakamura is decent as the main villain, but after the first fifteen-or-so minutes, he pretty much vanishes from the movie, save for a scene here and there.

This is a pretty meh monster movie. Don't bother, and instead opt for something with a little more fun to it.

Oh, and no, the word Manster is never mentioned in the film. I assume it's just the work of some jackass who though Man and Monster were words that could be combined to great effect. They are in fact not.

Monstroid


'Based on a true story' (something the opening credits feel the need to tell us twice), Monstroid is about a small Hispanic town where a big American company has set up shop. Having been accused of pollution by a kinda-racist eco-terrorist, a representative is sent over to survey the supposed damage, and do what he can to fix the problem...

Oh, and apparently a monster is in it. Who'd'a fudgin' figured! I thought I was watching Monstroid: It Came from the Deep, not Vindictive Reporter acts like a Bitch to a Mitchum while Townspeople hate on an Apparent Wiccan!

As you can tell from my rant, Monstroid follows the Rule of Jaws, and it fails! That's not to say this is like Razorback, where most of the film isn't even about the monster, but a lot of this movie is comprised of soapie character interactions.

As for horror tropes, there's one character who almost dies, but it's a fake-out, but then a few minutes later, she gets killed anyway after a scene with her ex, which makes that storyline that dominates a lot of the film's first twenty minutes completely pointless.

Oh, and on the subject of her demise...Horror Movie Rule No. 666: RUN, BITCH, RUN!

Monstroid also gives into the won't kill a dog cliche, but really, when is that a bad thing?

There's also a clumsily done Gilligan Cut. For those who don't know, that's when, for example, a character's saying about how they absolutely won't do this certain thing!...And then the movie/TV show jump-cuts to them doing it.

The acting ranges from decent to meh. RoChriJames? Mitchum is pretty ok, as is John Carradine in a semi-minor role (an actual role though nonetheless, not a Trojan Carradine), and the actress who plays the reporter is annoying at first as the vindictive reporter bitch, but she becomes tolerable as her character becomes more likeable...Well, less dislikeable.. Everyone of note here is pretty wasted.


The plot point of the townspeople thinking an innocent woman is a witch is completely wasted, and the resolution is insanely confusing! All I know with certainty is that it didn't end up being quite as depressing as Don't Torture A Duckling.

The tease at the end annoyed me, as I felt it made the entire movie, especially the climax, pointless.

One stupid moment is when a caucasian local is talking to the reporter about superstition and the supposed witch-"It's ridiculous. But you know how backward these people are"-She says this right in front of a massive crowd of these 'backward people'! Way to go, dumbass!

The creature design is pretty crappy, and the film makes the mistake of showing the shoddy monster prop in broad daylight for the finale! I at least appreciate that though, as it's better than having the final fight in your low quality monster movie be completely shrouded in darkness. The finale is actually pretty damn impressive, minus the 'hiYAAAH!' motorboat matador, and the complete lack of problems Uh Mitchum goes through when swimming near the monster to retrieve a fallen detonator.

Some have the same complaints with Rana: Legend of Shadow Lake as they do with this, but I like that movie, and I can easily recommend it over this dull piece of meh any day of the week.

The Mighty Peking Man


Hunter Johnny is sent into the wilderness of the Himalayas to find the mysterious Peking Man-A cryptid. After multiple hardships, Johnny finally finds the giant ape, as well as a Tarzan woman named Samantha, who he falls in love with and vice versa. Johnny takes both her and the Peking Man to the city, where problems begin pretty quickly, and soon the massive behemoth is loose in China...

With plot points such as a giant gorilla, his fascination with a blonde caucasian woman, and him being taken to the city for business, where he ends up wreaking havoc, eventually climbing the tallest building in the city, The Mighty Peking Man obviously takes inspiration from Godzilla.

This film came highly recommended by fellow blogger Maynard Morrissey, who's a fan of it. As such, I was looking forward to it, but...


...Yeah, I didn't like it.
*ducks rotten fruit*
Ok, I really enjoyed the first half hour, which was a goofy jungle adventure, but the moment Samantha came into the movie, it just stopped to a dead halt, and never recovered in my eyes. And plus, the ending's a real downer!

The acting is hard to gauge, seeing as how this is (poorly) dubbed, but from what it looks, the original actors didn't fare much better.

The effects are ok. The giant ape is obviously a guy in a suit, but it's a pretty decent suit,...mostly. Its feet look like plushy slippers! Minus the obvious green screen shots here and there, the movie does a decent job of scale with its giant ape. The effects for the buildings he destroys, however, are terrible! Hilariously so!

This is a pretty boring movie, and I don't really recommend it, but who knows, maybe you'll like it.

The Mutilator


Young kid Ed is cleaning his father's guns as a birthday present, anc accidentally kills his mother, something that drives his father crazy. Years after, Ed and his high school friends are going to the family beach condo, because he has to do some chores for his dad. However it turns out that his supposedly absent father is hiding in the house, brandishing deadly weapons and harbouring murderous thoughts...

This is a horror movie (slasher to be specific), but there are some scenes where you'll wonder. The music, the dialogue, and the characters are big factors in this. Were it not for the opening prologue, you'd think this was just about a bunch of teen friends on Fall break, ready for some wacky hijinks.

By the way: Horror Movie Rule No. 789 to the power of binary 91: Don't ever, ever split up in a horror movie unless you're at peace with the fact that you're going to get a fishing gaffe stuck up your lady parts, doing what the laser in Goldfinger didn't.

The ending is pretty baffling. The killer literally gets sliced in half, yet he still gets up again, slices off a cop's leg, and laughs maniacally! Jeez, I guess I can cut the mains some slack for not making sure the slasher film killer is really dead, because he seemed pretty fucking out of it to me!


The acting is decent, and the characters likeable. Such is the trap of the slasher film-Either you care about the characters and are bummed out when they die, or you hate them and don't mind them dying horrible deaths, but you have to bear them for the whole movie.

The gore is pretty good, but there's not much of it. We get a hilarious decapitation, a chainsawing, and more...

The score is pretty good, and the main theme is fun, but it gets repetitive a few choruses in. Speaking of, the opening credits aren't until ten minutes into the movie! Jeez!

Overall, The Mutilator is a decent slasher film. Nothing special, but you could do far worse and far more cliched than this.

Manos "The Hands of Fate"


Mike and his family-wife Margaret and daughter Debbie-are driving through the El Paso countryside, looking for Valley Lodge. Unfortunately for them, they get lost, and soon find themselves in the terrifying clutches of The Master, and his bizarre manservant Torgo...

Yeah, I know it's a bit of a cliche to talk about 'worst film ever' Manos "The Hands of Fate", but not everyone has heard of it. Maybe someone will read my blog and find out for the very first time. So, what are my thoughts on this cult 'classic'? I don't think it's that bad...Yes, really.

I've seen some bad movies, believe you me, and Manos "The Hands of Fate" is so not the worst! Not by today's standards, and not by 1967's standards.

While the execution *ahem* leaves something to be desired, the plot to Manos is actually pretty interesting. And visually, for a no-budget first attempt from a non-filmmaker with zero experience and a terrible camera, it's actually pretty good. The voice acting is *pretty* decent for the most part, although the visual acting is bad for a few of the actors. The editing is of course what's really crummy. Understandable, given this was shot with a camera that could only shoot fifteen seconds at a time (and had no sound) though. The only reason I'm not assuming Hal P. Warren got a 60 year old camera to shoot Manos with is because of the recent resurfaced HD print. So I guess it just must have been that bad of a camera.


Onto the more famed aspects of the movie-Torgo!With his giant knees, stuttering repetitive dialogue, and crazy acting by John Reynolds, why wouldn't you feel for poor old Torgo!

Tom Neyman makes for a pretty decent villain as The Master, visually, and actingwise. He was also a pretty decent set decorator.

One moment I actually find to be potentially creepy (that is to say, if this was a better movie) is when Torgo is talking about how The Master is 'Not with us anymore', then goes along to reassure Margaret that she shouldn't be afraid, because 'The Master likes you', and how he's 'Dead, but not in the way you know it. He is with us always...'.

Aside from the completely superfluous couple making out in random shots here and there, the biggest problem with Hands "The Hands of Fate" is the extremely repetitive dialogue, which can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly, because it's extremely repetitive. But this adds tenfold to what makes the movie memorable, rather than crippling it. Hell, if it wasn't for the repetition, how much of a cult presence would this movie even have?!

The score is ok-Akin to 70's porn music. It's pretty repetitive, but not annoyingly so. And I'm not the only one who quite likes the song that plays over the ending credits-Forgetting You. And of course, who could forget the haunting Torgo theme!

In closing, go watch Manos! It's one of the all-time cult movie 'greats'!

Wrap-up

Well, that's another year of May Monster Madness out of me. No, I didn't originally get to review thirteen movies, because of the above reason, and reviewing fatigue (don't worry, only the very slightly temporary kind), but I've still got a sizeable post up, so hey, I'm fine. Hopefully every other participant has cool posts to read, which I shall do right away!...Once the time zones catch up...It has in fact been the 30th of May here for the past 18+ hours... See you all next year!...






18 comments:

  1. Are any of these easy to find to watch? Monsteroid and Manos sound like they could worth an evening with a few beers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh absolutely. They're all in the public domain, so they're all on Youtube.

      And yeah, that'd make for a fun movie night!

      Delete
  2. Oh damn, I really thought you may like the Peking monster. Well, I'm an old monster buff and I love all things Kaiju/Kong etc. so... yeah, sue me :D

    Agree with you on Monstroid and Manster, both pretty lame, and yeah, Manos is bad, but not that bad, but still pretty bad. I've seen worse :)

    Haven't seen Mutilator in quite some time. Dumb but somewhat amusing. The 'vagina grinder' was hilariously gruesome :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well at least the opening gave me a couple of ideas for a comic series I've just started working on, so I'm still very glad I saw the film.

      Delete
  3. Fun post!!! I've seen The Manster a couple years back when they showed it on Elvira's late night program. I'll definitely add The Mutilator to my list. Being of teen age through a large part of the 80's I'm surprised I never saw this.

    But the best here is certainly Manos. Being a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan I have most certainly seen this more than a few times. Brilliantly done by the MSK3K crew and yes, Torgo is unlike anything else in movie history! Love it!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manos was one of the first MST3K episodes I ever saw, and it sure got me hooked!

      Thanks!

      Delete
  4. Manos.................oh yeah...............fabulous post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, you must have been digging deep to come up with such a spectacular line up of schlock films that make "B" movies look like winners. Thanks for all the pics and the reviews! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh it wasn't much work. Public Domain movies tend to be the easiest to track down, after the advent of the internet

      Not a problem. Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Well, this is a veritable May Monster Madness Marathon! Great job getting through so many M horrors! You'll be needing a good, looooooong rest now! Haha.

    I'm intrigued about this comic series you're working on. I hope you'll share some of it, down the track! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, Emma!

    Well it's nothing professional-Just me in my house with a few dozen sheets of paper and a 'How to Draw' book loaned out from the local library. Hopefully it should be done within a few months.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh. See? Love this... and I love bad horror flicks, so I have a few to add to the list. =D

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm with Annie - loved this post, and love that you've now given me a few to add to my bad-horror-must-see list! Thanks for all the entertaining and honest reviews Chris - time for some well-earned bevies now hey? :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. Outstanding post Chris! You brought back some memories with The Manster. Been donkey's years since I saw that. I love a good B-grade horror.

    Ali

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks muchly for the compliment!

    Good to know!

    ReplyDelete