Sunday, May 29, 2016
May Monster Madness 2016: In B-Movies, Women Rule-Part 1
Welcome all for this year's May Monster Madness celebrations! For 2016, I shall be looking at various examples of z-grade cinema showcasing women, and we'll see how that turns out. What spectacles might we see on this epic and grand odyssey? How will the battle of the sexes go in prehistoric times, or in the spacefaring future?
In B-Movies, women rule!...
Mesa of Lost Women
In the secluded Zarpa Mesa, the evil Dr. Aranya is conducting sinister experiments to create a new breed of spider people, obedient to his will. Meanwhile, in another movie altogether, a plane commandeered by a lunatic is forced to crash land on the mesa, where the passengers are slowly picked off one by one. But what does the madman Masterson have to do with Dr. Aranya?...
Yes, we start off the bat with a film involving a mad scientist! Though how much of a scientist he really is is suspect, considering he's under the impression that spiders are insects, telepathic, indestructible, and capable of growing back or repairing damaged limbs, and live for centuries.
Mesa of Lost Women is an ok B-Movie, but plagued by a number of problems, one being this wasn't even originally one movie! It was some sort of thriller, I think, until the production ran out of money, and was bought by a different company, who added in the mad scientist storyline. Thankfully this must've happened pretty early on into production, as while they are technically two different movies (with all the same actors though, of course), they seem to fit together better than, say, an IFD production. For the first third, it almost seems like the two sections will come together well, but after that, we just get scene upon scene of characters stuck on a mesa while a mostly offscreen spider person menace picks them off one by one.
There are a few moments where it's clear you're watching two different movies, like when the nurse is talking about Masterson's history ("Nobody knows why he kills. He just wants to and he does."), or just Masterson's behaviour in general, which feels totally at odds with his prior character of the regular upstanding Doctor who went to visit Aranya, even taking his present insanity into account. Overall, the whole 'stuck on the mesa' section of the film is pretty interminable. It's not horribly boring, but the Dr. Aranya scenes are a lot better.
I genuinely do wonder what the movie was originally meant to be, and how much had already been filmed before the script switched gears. Like, who was the creepy brunette or the shifty Woo? And how would the plot have turned out? What was the reason behind Masterson's familiarity with the then-not spider people?
I don't really like the framing device, as it's not only unnecessary (and gives the film 'flashback-within-flashback' status), but also tries to push the idea that there are still spider women out there in the desert that need to be stopped at all costs before they scatter!...Even though they were all killed in the climax. Oh well, at least since any survivors would no longer be under Uncle Fester's control, maybe they'll become spider themed superheroes. Hey, it could happen...
There's your typical romance shoved into the movie, and it doesn't feel all that necessary. Funnily enough, the two leads start becoming romantic with each-other, while she's still engaged, with the implication that she'll leave her husband-to-be simply because she doesn't love him, but of course, not content with that, the film also has to have the fiancee be a major dick in the last act, meaning the woman ditches him. I suppose the censors would've considered it too 'sinful' had she simply decided to amicably leave the guy because she didn't love him. *sigh*
The direction here is pretty lacklustre, and the extremely choppy editing certainly leaves something to be desired.
There's very little scoring, with the movie just repeating the same track over and over again, sometimes with slight variation. At one point, the movie actually bothers playing another tune, but that's just as poor, strumming the same note or two again and again ad nauseum.
The acting is ok overall. Jackie Coogan is decent, but doesn't get enough screentime or character to really sink his teeth into the role. Harmon Stevens is ok with both versions of his character, though his crazy grins are a little silly. Onto the female lead. I remember the first time I saw the movie (yes, I've seen it more than once), I was under the impression that she was Dolores Fuller, but no, it's Mary Hill. Fuller plays a random spider-woman for five seconds at the end. The rest of the acting ranges from okay, to pretty good. And finally, props to the movie for actually bothering to find an Asian actor.
There's one little touch to the movie that I like, and it's how the psychiatric hospital employee after Masterson is a nurse, despite being a guy. Of course there would have been male nurses back in the 50's, but you can be damn sure no-one wanted to admit it. People would be acting like misogynistic pricks, assuming that nursing is 'a woman's job', and if a man is a medical professional, then *clearly* they 'must be a Doctor'. Ugggghhh... So yeah, it's nice that he just says nurse, and doesn't even try and soothe his fragile man-ego by saying he's a male nurse.
Mesa of Lost Women is an ok little film. Is it perfect, no, but it's serviceable, and has an amusing Ed Wood touch to it. It's an ok pick if you want to kill an hour...
Island of Lost Women
After being caught in a typhoon on their way to Australia, a radio show host and his pilot buddy are forced to crash land on a mysterious island, where not only are there people living there, but the man in charge is far from happy to see them. The hostile Dr. Lujan, disgusted at the outside world, took his family to live on this isolated paradise, and the last thing he wants is visitors, just barely tolerating them as they take time to fix their plane. They soon aggravate him further, however, when they decide against his will to make an exposé story all about him when they return to the world. Lujan destroys their plane, and threatens their lives if they try and escape, or call for help, and whether or not the three daughters, Venus, Mercuria, and Urana, will help them or their father is up in the air...
From what I've read, the plot to Island of Lost Women is apparently similar to Forbidden Planet, but I wouldn't know, as I've never seen it...Yes, I know, I'm a terrible movie buff. I have read/seen/seen/seen The Tempest, however (where Forbidden Planet cribbed it's plot from), and the plot resembles that a bit. It's ok, but not without problems.
The movie is decently paced, and feels longer than it actually is (just barely over an hour long). The second half isn't as good as the first, though, due to the unlikable actions taken by the 'heroes'. In regards to their host's pleading insistence they not under any circumstances publish an exposé about him and his family, "It's obvious he won't listen to reason" they say, when they're the intrusive dicks trying to expose the poor guy's secret to the whole world just for a neat story! It turns out Dr. Lujan was absolutely right to be unwelcoming!
Lujan doesn't fare much better though, as he's the dumbass who was so disgusted by man's devastating use of atomic weaponry that he swore off civilization, abandoning it entirely...But still powers his island with atomic energy. Kinda a little hypocritical! I suppose it might not necessarily be, depending on his views of the positive ways nuclear power can be used, but it's still a bit iffy, especially given what happens at the end of the movie! These characters sure are lucky that all it takes to survive an atomic blast is to hide behind a rock ten feet away from ground zero, and there's apparently no such thing as radiation!
The romance in Island of Lost Women (they are hardly lost, by the way!) isn't very convincing. It all happens very suddenly, and there's not much chemistry with the actors. Also, something amusing is how the 'underage' Urana has the hots for Mark. I imagine he would be happy he's headed for Australia, where the age of consent is 16, not 18, so he won't get instantly booked and spend the next few decades behind bars! But I kid, he picks Venus instead.
The whole second half of the film is a bit forced, and the climax especially so. It's hard to watch Mark and Joe as protagonists and Lujan as the villain when the two heroes have no-one to blame but themselves for their predicament. And the whole nuclear finale just makes Dr. Lujan seem like a damn fool! Also, the beautiful island sanctuary's utter annihilation is totally Urana's fault...And by extension, Mark and Joe's fault. I hope you fuckers are are happy with your byline! Also, who knew that Australians all have British accents! The things B-Movies teach us...
The acting here is decent all-round. Nothing special, but no bad performances either. Once again, this movie is ok, but nothing to write home about. You could just watch Forbidden Planet, or Derek Jarman's The Tempest instead...
In prehistoric times, an all-female tribe who long ago swore off men are faced with a tough dilemma-They need cock. Lucky for them, they come across a male hunting party from another tribe, and kidnap them, with intent to have them be mates. One man, Engor, manages to escape though, and he returns to the female tribe to rescue his companions, fighting off a winged monster in the process, and taking control for the men. Soon, both sexes need to band together to fight off a hulking behemoth who wants them all dead...
As this movie opens, you'll notice the narrator blathering on incessantly, and telling an astonishingly lengthy and specific tale given its prehistoric pictograph source. I was thinking 'A cave painting told you all of this, huh?' by the end of the film. After waiting for the guy to shut up, so the movie can start, you'll learn pretty quickly that he never goes away! He's always a part of the film! It has no English dialogue! This isn't too big a deal, and the characters are mostly understandable despite grunting nonsense caveman speak, but the narrator constantly talks over the action, even explaining to us things that were obvious!
Overall, Prehistoric Woman tries your patience in the way that movies with no dialogue (spoken or written) can. It's not boring, but a little tough to get through.
There's more iffiness with the narration on display here. First, there's when he says "It seems that women were women in those days too. A handsome male captive makes his appearance, and suddenly there's trouble.". Then things become unintentionally hilarious when he's trying to narrate a catfight! And then there's when he gets weird and calls wanting to be clean-shaven a fetish of one caveman. Finally, he keeps making 'first time' declarations. For example, when Engor inadvertently makes fire, the narrator espouses how this was the first time man discovered fire. How convenient that so many of man's firsts just so happened to originate with this tribe in the span of a week!
Onto the other characters. They don't have a whole lot to them besides "Huhhh!" and "Guuuhhhh!". The cavewomen send some serious mixed signals at first, like when Tigri lies down seductively by Engor, with a look of "Come on and stick that cock in me now, stud!", and typical oblivious male Engor is too preoccupied scarfing down food to notice, until she ups her ante, and gets his attention. Then he goes to embrace her...and she wards him off with a club! Listen, Tigri, do you want to bang him or not?!
The movie seems feminist up until near the end, when after fighting off the dragon, Engor rounds up and captures all of the women, and frees the men, who then lord over control over the women, belittling them, and treating them like slaves. To be fair, that's exactly what the cavewomen did with them, but one can't help but see the messed-up implications of the film. The women have no say or agency in the decisions made or actions taken once the men take over. In that respect, I'm not sure if the film is sexist, or accurately portraying the history of gender inequality from the birth of civilization. How depressing!
This isn't exactly the most scientifically accurate film, but it's a B-Movie, so I'll let that slide. Though not the fact that these cavepeople seem to have ready access to hair and make-up products. And then the film TOTALLY throws realism out the window when a dragon shows up When all the summaries mentioned a dragon, I assumed they were apocryphal, or exaggerating the appearance of a Komodo dragon, because the film presents itself as set in the real world, up until the hour mark, when a dragon shows up!
The climax is ok, but the ending isn't all that great. The women are at least not slaves anymore, but one can assume from the times that the audience was to infer the women stayed subservient to their men for the rest of their lives. Grrrr!!!!
The film quality is very low, which makes it hard to tell who's who and what's going on. Part of this is of course because of the low quality of a 50 year old print, but I think it's partially the movie's fault too, thanks to its insistence on either shooting at night, and/or using copious amounts of day-for-night, making it impossible to see anything except for the fact that it's clearly not night! day passing at the dead of night
The effects are ok, but the fight scene between man and panther looks like its filmed with a literal housecat as a stand-in, and the dragon is laughably fake. The acting is hard to gauge, given the way the movie's presented. Visually they don't look anything like cavemen. But also visually, Laurette Luez is pretty awesome, so...
Prehistoric Women is ok, but not really worth your time...
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
In the future, man is traversing the stars, making an expedition to Venus. The two astronauts mess up though, and three more have to go and rescue them. When they all get together, they explore the planet, encountering various prehistoric monsters, and discovering clues as to an ancient civilization on the planet, all the while, one of the crew is entranced by the siren-like wailing he can hear, convinced of the existence of an alien woman trying to communicate with him. Meanwhile, a group of Venusian women are aware of this intrusion on their planet, and demand their gods deal with it to the full extent of their wrathful power...
The science of this movie is of course extremely accurate. In the year 1998, the Soviet Union was still around, but an ally, we had huge space stations that helped us go to Venus, in shuttles big enough to bring our robot helpers, and space cars! And in 1998?! They were dead on about rockets looking exactly the same though. Oh, and Venus was a mostly habitable to humans planet filled with dinosaurs, giant man-eating flowers, mini-Godzillas, and a race of telepathic women.
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women is actually two (technically three) movies cobbled together. First, there's the Russian flick Planeta Blur, which makes up the majority of footage (redubbed to Americanize everything, of course). This goes a ways to explaining why the opening rockets look too fake to be stock footage, yet have Soviet symbols on them despite the dub insisting they came from the U.S.A. The story was also apparently adapted from Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, another movie that cribbed most of its footage from Planeta Blur and filmed a few minutes of new stuff (some of which featuring Basil Rathbone), directed by Curtis Harrington, while the new stuff in the one I'm looking at now is directed by Peter Bogdanovich (credited as 'Derek Thomas').
This film isn't boring, but too uneventful. So little happens in this movie, even with added footage, that it's hard to justify its mere existence! Another problem with the film is that takes over half-an-hour before any of the Venusian babes show up. When they do, they're ok, and their scenes don't feel too out-of-place, even if they don't directly interact with anyone else.
The characters in this movie are garbage! They're a bunch of immature pricks, and spend the whole second act oblivious that people are actively trying to kill them. They're all pretty insufferable, and it's incredibly annoying that they kill the helpful robot John to save their own asses. Poor John! I don't want to see his life sacrificed to save the lives of these vapid dopes, especially when they murder their faithful robot buddies! They get even more irritating in the last 20 minutes, where they cruelly prank each-other, and start a roundtable discussion on the intelligent life on Venus, where they manage to sound horribly callous, laughing as they suggest maybe the hostile mini-Godzillas were intelligent life, perhaps simply dressed in lizard costumes to frighten away the 'invaders'....the mini-Godzillas that they shot to death en-masse! Come to think of it, that could be a = allegory of colonialism, particularly with the 'interlopers' accidentally killing the native populace's god. But of course, the movie's not that smart, partially because the astronauts are in a different movie to the women, and because said women end up rejecting their god and worshipping the humans, so any messages one could get from this film would hardly be anti-colonial. As it stands, I'll just assume what it probably is-A crappy movie that's making me think way too hard about it.
The lead (the narrator) is flighty and useless, never actually doing anything but drone on about his 'mystery woman'. But of course, he and his dream woman never actually meet, seeing as how they're in two completely different movies. And there's the fact that all the women are trying to kill the astronauts in all but the last five minutes, so this woman can't possibly exist. So hey, whaddya know, the dude turned out to be crazy after all!
Funnily enough, the gods the Venusian women worship actually seem to be real! And some gods they are. They can't even kill five/three unaware astronauts despite repeated attempts! It's no wonder the movie ends how it does for the women.
The effects in this movie are really bad. From underwater walks that are obviously filmed by standing the actors behind a fish tank, to the hilarious rubber pterodactyl, which is so obviously fake when it's hit by water, or carried by the women. The locale all looks pretty neat, and the robot is ok, but that's about all I'll give the movie.
The dub acting is adequate at best, and sometimes pretty poor, thanks to the voice actors slowing down on occasion, stretching out the space between each word for all they're worth, to try and keep in sync with the Russian actors on-screen. And then there's when characters are 'talking' offscreen frequently, to get around that sync issue.
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women is a pretty bad movie, and I don't recommend it. It's got some laugh value to it, and Mamie Van Doren, but that's about it.
One last thing to note is: Why do some Americans pronounce 'solar' like they're pirates? So-larrr! *sighs*, and I thought 'emoo' was bad...
Women of the Prehistoric Planet
...Yes, this is a different movie from Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, I swear! Also, yes, as you can notice from the screenshots, I did watch the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version. It was the only one I could find on short notice.
In the future, man is making many journeys across the stars, but not without difficulties, thanks to the alien Centaurians, some of whom wish to fight humanity, feeling that they are treating them as slaves, despite others who are perfectly happy with humans. Events come to a head, causing a ship to crash on a hostile alien world. Going against orders, the admiral of this fleet decides to set his ship down to mount a rescue attempt, to locate any survivors. A Centaurian crew member named Linda also ducks off the ship, and meets up with a caveman named Tang, who, due to time dilation, is the offspring of the crashed ship's survivors. The two soon develop feelings for each-other, but can their newfound love survive what is to come?...
Women of the Prehistoric Planet is truly in a far-flung future where anything is possible! Interstellar travel at light speed! Making contact with aliens that conveniently look exactly like us! And women know their plac-wait, what?! Yep, apparently in the far-flung future, women still can't score higher than secretarial work.
This movie has the same problem that Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women had-It's not boring, but not much happens during the film, making it a pointless watch. It's not terrible, but it's not good either, and it gets progressively worse in the final third, for reasons I'll get into below. There is one particular issue at hand here-The lying title! There's no women, prehistoric or otherwise on this planet, besides the three or four of them who're part of the space crew, and the movie doesn't bother focusing on any of them, bar one. The planet's not prehistoric either! There are no dinosaurs, or anything like that to make true the title....Until the end, and the crappy twist therein.
There are various problems with the plot, including the idiocy behind mounting a rescue mission for a crashed ship when not only might everyone be dead, but by the time you arrive, 18 years have passed! That time gap also screws over the plot and character that we were getting with the surviving crew members from said crashed spaceship. Also, considering that the government explicitly forbade the main characters from doing a rescue mission, they must be pissed, especially considering the waste of resources, the death of at least one crew member, and the ever-so-slight fact that no-one was rescued! Hell, NEGATIVE-1 people, as Linda stays behind with her newfound caveman 'love'!
Planet of the Prehistoric Women attempts handling themes of racism, which doesn't go swimmingly. The humans are of course Caucasian stand-ins, while the Centaurians are all Asian. They're a largely distrusted and loathed ethnic group, by the all-white overlords, and seen as suspicious hotheads. Some found the movie to be unintentionally offensive, but I didn't find it to be that bad. Rather, I just find the subject to be sorely unexplored, and almost an afterthought.
Moving on from race, let's go onto sexism! The romance between Linda and Tang is a pretty messed-up toxic relationship! Scenes where he acts like an abusive and/or petty tantrum- throwing dick have zero consequences, and they immediately segue into happy romance scenes. And that's not even getting into the potential incest! I think I misread the admiral as saying the Centaurian woman on the crashed ship was his daughter (hence why he mounted the mission against orders to just leave), just as I think I misheard Linda being said woman's sister. This would mean the relationship with Linda and Tang is between an aunt and nephew! Ew ew ew ew! I'm just gonna give the film the benefit of the doubt and assume I misheard the dialogue. It's a better alternative than having to rewatch the movie to make sure!
There is one pretty amusing scene in this film, where a female crewmember plays some swanky 60's tunes and sways to the rhythm...But then the scene is ruined by 60's romance, by which I mean present day sexual harassment.
The characters are all cardboard. The only distinctive one is the annoying guy who thinks he's a friggin' stand-up comedian!
The effects in this film are bad! The sets are pretty detailed, but still obviously sets. There's one scene where we see people frozen in ice, but the actors are clearly just standing behind some plastic. We can see them moving! Finally, there's what I'm pretty sure the movie wants us to believe is a dinosaur, but is actually a regular iguana on a green screen in front of the actors. It's embarrassing how little effort was put into this!
The acting is mostly tolerable. Irene Tsu is the defacto lead, and she does an ok job, but the direction and writing don't give her much to work with. As per usual, Wendell Corey delivers his lines like he's drunk off his ass after downing a few shots of tequila...And that's because he probably was. Also, Stuart Margolin of Rockford Files fame is in this somewhere, but sans the distinctive look from that show, plus a fair few years earlier (and many years since I've seen The Rockford Files) so I didn't recognize him.
By the way, the poster to this movie is pretty hilarious, not only because of the 'See' proclamations that plenty of B-Movie posters had, but how misleading the last one is! "SEE, prehistoric women bathe in the pools of paradise!". What prehistoric women?...
This movie is pretty rubbish, and I don't recommend it, but the MST3K version is fun, though it's Season 1. Not bad by any means, but not quite as great as it'd become...
Invasion of the Bee Girls
Ugh, don't you mean Bee Women, movie? Typical politically incorrect classification of mutant hellbeasts. Tk, tsk, tsk...
In the town of Peckham, many people are showing up dead of mysterious causes. Aside from all being men, there are no similarities, in age, weight, race, or anything. Also determined is that they all died in the act of having sex. State Security agent Neil Agar is sent to uncover the cause of these strange deaths, and with the help of Julie Zorn, a worker in the town's scientific research facility, he discovers a new race of deadly bee women, of sinister origins, who have been killing men through sex...Stop. Why the concern. I see no problem here! If a guy's got to go, it might as well be like this!
Invasion of the Bee Girls is a fun, sleazy flick, and probably the best movie I'm reviewing in this bunch! It's by no means perfect, and it's pretty stupid in places, but it's neither boring, or misogynistic, so that's a plus.
The plot moves along ok, but I wish the heroes would figure out what was going on sooner.
The lack of much screentime from the nefarious Dr. Harris hurts the film a bit. We don't ever know her motivations, and her personality's pretty vague, too. We only find out a tiny tidbit in the last couple of minutes, ala the end of Psycho, with its psychiatrist (or Julie, in this case). Even then, that's barely anything, and only serves to explain why the Bee Women were still having sex, and that Dr. Harris was apparently a rock stupid doctor who didn't know that radiation causes sterility. Oops!
Then there's the INSANE conclusion! First of all, the leads don't catch on to what's going on until the last 10 minutes, but then, when Julie is kidnapped, stripped, and prepped to become a Bee Woman, all it takes to not only save her but kill ALL the villains is for Agar to shoot one panel, which causes the whole lab to turn into a sparks factory, and the dozen-or-so Bee Women all scream and be ineffectual as the lab starts sparking and eventually exploding, and all Agar does is just stroll over to Julie, pick her up, and walk out the door! It's really that simple! Also, when they're dying, the Bee Women are hugging each-other.Who are the real bee-monsters here, I ask you?!...
There are other amusingly dumb things about the movie, like how because the town of Peckham's residents are apparently nymphomaniacs, they're unwilling to the point of hostility to forego having sex for even a couple of days until the authorities can determine what's causing these freaky sex deaths!
The movie also needs to work on its romance. As it stands, it doesn't bother with any kind of chemistry or relationship-building at all, simply letting the porno music tell you all you need to know.
There's something else about Invasion of the Bee Girls that, I...um...
uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ummmmm, I...I know I should be saying something right now, but...I can't...think...words..........................
The effects here are ok, what little there are, but sadly we have to take the film's word for it that these are Bee Women, as aside from the foley guy playing buzzing noises, there's nothing. No women with yellow and black skin, with pincers and antenna. They do have black eyes, but they only seem to have those when the filmmakers could be bothered.
There's one part where we see the process of someone becoming a Bee Woman. One interesting thing to note about the scene is the obvious presence of a bathing cap, as I presume the actress didn't want the goop she's getting covered in getting in her hair. Then I thought, since it's so obvious, maybe the Bee Girls themselves actually put a bathing cap on the woman. Then I realized that if the goop is forming a cocoon, she'll probably step out with her hair looking all floofy and beautiful. It turned out though that the bathing cap is still there, and definitely a deliberate in-universe detail, not a goof.
The score, by Charles Bernstein (of A Nightmare on Elm Street fame) is pretty good, with the highlight being the main theme, which I mostly dug.
The acting is pretty decent all-round. Nothing special, but nothing that bad either. It's amusing though how all these middle-aged scientists in the movie have attractive young wives, for the camera's sake.
Invasion of the Bee Girls is an alright 70's horror flick, and worth a watch if you're interested. One last thing of note is that it apparently has/had a stage play semi-sequel, called Beyond the Invasion of the Bee Girls! Interesting!...
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent
It's been some time since the men of a Viking tribe all disappeared at sea, and the women cast a vote on who wants to go looking for them. The results are almost unanimous, and they all set out to find their guys. On the way, they come across a whirling vortex (tautology?), and a sea serpent, which destroys their ship, and leaves them stranded on a beach where they're instantly taken as slaves by the malevolent ruler of the region. Soon finding out this villain has their men too, the Viking women conspire to rescue them, all the while, the spurned priestess has her own plans...
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent is a typical Roger Corman affair. It's watchable, and that's pretty much it. The plot just sort-of ambles along until its over. There are some annoying issues though. There are some plot threads that are unceremoniously dropped, and there are two climaxes! There's the final battle, and the villain is defeated, at the mercy of the vikings. The head guy lets him live, though, and doesn't even imprison him! Naturally, as soon as the vikings leave to journey to the shore, the bad guys regroup, kill a few innocent women, and then give chase, causing the death of the priestess character (who I'm frankly surprised wasn't given her predictable 'redemptive sacrifice' in the first climax), and then the sea serpent kills them all. I know the film was only just over an hour long, but surely there were other ways of filling in the plot, rather than just adding on more stuff after the plot had been resolved. Knowing Corman, you'd think he would have filmed five extra minutes of actors walking around to act as the needed padding.
Also annoying about the final battle is how none of the women (besides the priestess's prayers that 'cause' the lightning strike) contribute! The film instead lets all the men do everything! Even the head viking guy kills the sea serpent! That makes the title just that much more superfluous!
Now we come to the worst part of the movie. You may have noticed I barely mentioned the sea serpent above. That's because it's barely in the film! It shows up to shipwreck the viking women about 10 minutes in, then we never see it again until the end of the movie, where it's unceremoniously killed.
The acting here ranges from tolerable, to hilariously poor. "I'm a prince!" indeed, movie! Also, none of the viking men have any facial hair, long hair, or on their chest, either! The women probably have more between their legs than these so-called viking men have on their entire bodies. As for the effects, they're not all that convincing, but mostly ok for a low-budget movie. The sets and props look cheap, the location is pretty unconvincing (though I could be making a false assumption there), and the green screen when the sea monster is present is outright bad. As for the monster itself, we see so little of it, it's hard to judge the effects.
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent is an entirely unremarkable movie, that you'll probably definitely see in the future if you're an MST3K fan!...
Note: Due to BS geographical restrictions that I'm not able to get around yet, I wasn't able to watch Untamed Women yet, but I still want it to have a slot here, as the title fits in so well with everything else here, I'd hate to hurt the flow by being forced to remove it. I hope to see it soon, then I'll fill this space in.
Also known as Bowanga Bowanga, Wild Women (the more fitting title for this mega-post) is...really something!...
Ever since seeing the mysterious White Sirens of Africa as a young boy, Trent has been fascinated by them, and now an adult, he has returned to the continent in order to find them again, with the help of two newfound friends. When they find the tribe though, they're thrown into a marriage-or-death scenario...
This film is racist as fuck! Sure, it may not come right out and say anything offensive, but it's enough that it's about a tribe of all-white women in Africa. There's no reason for it, and barely an explanation, and it was probably just done because the filmmakers didn't want any black women in front of the camera.
Speaking of women, this movie is pretty sexist. With dialogue like "Captured by a bunch of women! But brother, what women!", and other such lines, it's not all that kind to those of the female persuasion, especially with how these tribeswomen are written-Primitive and jealous, among other things.
The plot here is stupid and pointless. This guy yearns to find this tribe of women for decades, and searches high and low...But why?! They're incredibly hostile, and the decades have not blunted their murderous rage! The hell of it is, the moment he gets there, he just wants to leave, so I have no idea what it even is he wanted in the first place! The three male protagonists are a pretty sorry bunch, and I found myself rather looking forward to their ignominious deaths. It was amusing though seeing the native guides nodding their heads side to side, as if to say "You stupid fucking white men".
Pretty sizable portions of the movie are made up of extended dance sequences, and catfights, as the makers of this movie apparently subscribed to the BS sexist belief that all women hate each-other and are always fighting.
As for the running time, this is an hour-long movie that actually feels like it's only an hour! I guess that's a good thing? Overall, this was supposedly made in 1951, but looks more like 1941!
With its hilariously improbable and borderline racist premise, Wild Women is an amusingly bad watch., and I suppose I recommend it if you're morbidly curious, and want a good laugh. So, to finish: All you guys out there, if you ever find yourself filled with the burning, insatiable desire to search the wilderness far and wide over the decades to find mysterious beautiful tribal woman, just make life a lot easier for yourself an hire a prostitute for the night, 'kay?...
Wild Women of Wongo
Sinister ape-men have been attacking villages, and the prince of one tribe is sent to warn the people of Wongo, and broach a team-up to fight the menace, but the arrogant men of Wongo refuse to believe this news, and assume it's just a trap, so they attempt to have the man killed, but the tribe's women have taken a fancy to the handsome young man, and save his life, allowing him to escape. The tribesmen don't take this 'insult to their god' lightly, and banish the women to be sacrificed. Now outcasts, the woman roam around before coming back home, and realizing that the men of their tribe are all missing...
Ugh, this film sure is groan worthy. There are times when it seems like the movie is simply an unpleasant story focused on sexist characters treating their female tribal members poorly, and the women are the true protagonists. They are, but that doesn't mean the movie isn't also sexist itself.
Then there's the movie's attitudes towards beauty. The beautiful women have no desires to marry their 'ugly' men, and instead all get together with the hunky guys from the other tribe, while all the 'ugly' women of said tribe, who's prospective husbands were also pretty disgusted with the idea of marriage to them, all shack up with the men of Wongo. As for the women, some of them aren't even unattractive! This movie seems to equate simply being really tall as 'ugly'! I guess that's a sign of the times. Sexist men would've found women taller than themselves 'undesirable', because they seemed 'too dominant', I guess. Ugh, 1950's! So yeah, as far as this film is concerned, unattractive people can only find love with other 'ugly' people. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be funny, or taken completely seriously, because despite the opening narration, and the Greek chorus parrot inserts, this isn't actually a comedy at all. It's pretty depressing and uncomfortable, actually! But then again, I was in a horrible mood when I saw it, so maybe it's not quite as uncomfortable as I make it out to be.
The worst thing about Wild Women of Wongo is how leaden its pacing is! So little happens over so much time! It may only be 72 minutes long, but believe me, it feels like 172! Then, in the last six minutes, too much happens in too short a span of time, as the movie tries wrapping up its plot before the film reel runs out! Some plot threads (the ape-men) are just dropped altogether! There's also the superfluous narration from Mother Nature at the start, which plays no part in the story at all.
The acting isn't very impressive, and neither are the effects, while the prehistoric location is obviously Florida. The credits don't even bother hiding it.
The movie also wastes a skinny dipping scene, and I do NOT take that lightly! Even Zmbie Lake, the worst nazi zombie film next to Oasis of the Zombies had a fiiine skinny dipping scene. Wild Women of Wongo, you fail your audience!
With all these negatives in mind, I was simultaneously fearing, yet prepared to embrace the episode of MST3K this was riffed on!...Only to realize that no such episode exists. *sigh* There is a rifftrack by some Mystery Science Theatre alumni though, under the short-lived pre-Rifftrax 'Film Crew' title. If you have to watch this film, I recommend you seek out that version, as on its own, Wild Women of Wongo is a pretty bad sit...
Cat-Women of the Moon
Five astronauts are on a journey to the moon, and when they arrive, they find an area with breathable atmosphere. Leaving their space suits behind (IDIOTS!), they explore, and the psychically controlled woman of the group leads them into an ambush, where they're trapped by the malevolent Cat-Women, who desire stealing their knowledge of space travel, and go down to Earth, where they'll mate, propagating their near-extinct race, and take over...
Cat-Women of the Moon isn't a very good movie, and it seems keen on really making science cry, for reasons I'll get into below.
The characters are certainly an 'incredible' bunch, who don't seem to quite have their priorities in order. The woman's immediate action upon waking up when the shuttle has broken Earth's atmosphere is to go over to a draw, take out a compact mirror and comb, and start doing her hair! And later on, when everyone treks out onto the moon's surface, she brings a packet of cigarettes! "I feel more at home with these", she says. Just in case you had trouble telling this movie was made in the 1950's. And of course, one of the guys brought a gun on his space trip to the moon! However that turns out to be a good idea, as the moon is obviously frequented by giant killer spiders. I must say, they're a ballsy bunch, because they don't actually shoot the spider at first. Two of the guys grab hold of it, and the other stabs it! Most people are unwilling to touch regular spiders, let along giant ones, and near its dripping fangs, too!
This is yet another hour-long movie, and yet another one not as mercifully short as that running time would suggest. This sure doesn't feel short! It's pretty slow, the length makes the repeated 'by the book' lines gratingly repetitive and we don't meet the cat women until the halfway point! As for this being a 'Battle of the sexes' movie, it barely is. If it is, I sincerely doubt the filmmakers were on the side of the women, or even neutral. The lead male character is an alpha male dickhead, and he's totally meant to be the hero.
It's pretty neat that a film of this time has a member of the crew be female. You'd think they'd make 'em all men!...However, it turns out there's a reason for that! The reason Helen knows so much about astro-navigation is because the cat women telepathically taught her. You get the feeling the writer was thinking to himself "Heh, this is the only way a woman would know anything about navigation!".
I also find it irksome that Lambda, the good Cat Woman, is killed at the end, which I'm pretty sure was a studio mandate, due to the evil Hays Code, which demanded 'moral purity' in movies. I imagine they felt Lambda had to die because she was still genetically "the enemy", and thus deserving of death. Sort-of like in The Mole People, where the Middle Eastern character who saves the heroes and falls in love with one is depressingly and pointlessly killed at the end, because at the time, the studio (and entire industry) forbid interracial romance onscreen. That's messed up!
The movie's idea of romance overall is pretty iffy. With dialogue gems like "You're too smart for me, baby. I like 'em stupid.", and "Lambda told me. I guess we sorta fell in love.", Cat-Women of the Moon is facepalmingly written. Couple that with the unlikable alpha male, and the literal offscreen climax, and this movie does not impress. Jeez, by film's end, there's little wonder why the Cat Women want all men dead!
The effects here range from ok, to bad, to hilariously bad! The sets are ok, though. The Cat Women are absolutely super-duper not cats though! The acting is all pretty standard.
Cat-Women of the Moon is a bad movie, but if you wanna watch such a B-Movie, sure, go for it...
To be continued tomorrow...