Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Danger Ahead (1935)

Captain Matthews has just delivered one of his biggest shipments yet, and has been paid handsomely for it. Unbeknownst to him, however, he's being set up by a gang of criminals, who intend on snatching up his newly gained $40,000. While he puts up a fight, the criminals are almost successful, until they're stopped by a reporter who witnessed the attack. Now possessing the money for safekeeping, Jerry Mason now has to not only keep the money out of the gang's hands, as well as protect the Captain and his beautiful daughter Lorraine, and get a good story for his paper...

Danger Ahead is a crime/adventure that sure gets off to a cracking start! The first twenty minutes are an ultra/hyper energetic = that goes from one scene to the next to the next at breakneck speed, drawing you into the = and showing you the stakes very well! If this had been the whole movie, it may well have been exhausting, but as just the first act, I have no complaints.

The story is simple, but well written, with relateable stakes. Some might find it too simple, but there's something human in the story about simply trying to stop a man from being [burgled.] There is a greater goal in the form of taking this gang down too, but the main thrust is keeping the Captain's money safe. It's nice seeing what good samaritans are on display in this story. They have no reason to get involved the way they do beyond it simply being the right thing to do.

The film moves along naturally, reaching an entertaining climax, with a big showdown on a boat.

If I had to pick a problem with this movie, it'd just be that the romance could've done with more attention. What we see is sweet and romantic, but it was nice enough that I wished there was more to enjoy.

Onto the characters. The heroes all convince, the bad guys are suitably dastardly, and no one is unlikeable unless they were intended to be. No-one is snippy either!

The comic relief here is the biggest surprise, in that he actually gets a sizable role! And I don't mean the romance or action keeps getting interrupted by mugging either. He legitimately takes part in the story, helping drive it forward. He even gets his moments of bravery and resourcefulness too, despite his otherwise dopey exterior. The dude's a badass! It's nice seeing a comedic character getting more to do than just be stuck behind a desk making cracks every ten minutes.

I really enjoyed the action in Danger Ahead. It really shines in an era where punch-ups were inevitable in just about every feature. When people get slugged here, you really feel it, and the impacts in this movie are crazy! Some of them will take you so by surprise. The action is at its height in the end, which is a big free-for-all with two against half a dozen, and the half a dozen don't stand a chance.

Danger Ahead is bereft of any score. The film makes up for this with its dynamic nature, although it does affect the final fight a little, since it happens in total silence

The acting here is all fine, with no bad performances. Lawrence Gray is a good lead, with plenty of spirit, and a charm to him. Sheila Bromley is cute and nice in her role. Fuzzy Knight is very amusing as the comic relief. His biggest non-action moment comes with his comedic musical number. Some might find him grating, but I liked him for the most part, and he cycles through so many comedy styles in just the one scene that he really impresses.

Danger Ahead is a surprisingly great little time! At 58 minutes, it's a thoroughly entertaining little package, and well worth checking out...

Monday, November 11, 2019

Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankhamen (1968)

A priceless Egyptian mask of the pharaoh Tutankhamen has just been loaned to a Parisian museum, and every measure possible has been taken to ensure the artifact's protection. No-one could possibly steal it now!...But no-one would want to, as it turns out, because it's only a decoy that sits on display at night, while the real mask sits in an unassuming safe, where a ruthless gang manages to steal it from. The museum is desperate to get it back, so luckily for them the mysterious avenger Fenomenal is on the case...

Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankhamen is a film that started out with plenty of promise. It's your typical dime-a-dozen Diabolik knock-off, but inverted. This masked criminal, Fenomenal, fights for justice, and against crime. The other draw is that we don't know his identity! There's any number of characters in the film it could be, and it's a guessing game to figure it out.

Sadly this is where any interest in the film dies out. It's apparent from the start that this is a painfully slow movie, with long stretches of nothing happening, and the most barebones plot. For example, early on we're 'treated' to a 14 minute long heist scene! Look, I like heist scenes as much as the next guy, and it's all great training for whenever I feel like topping off a bank, but once they approach 10 minutes we have a problem. This example is especially frustrating given the reveal at the end, where the whole thing turns out to have been a security exercise.

The plot here is awful! It's simultaneously underplotted, and yet so convoluted you'll need a flowchart to understand everything. For the first hour of the film, all we know is that these baddies wanna steal a mask. We still know nothing of the greater plot (although the title is a giveaway, thankfully). The story never has any focus, and just moves on from scene to scene, with things just happening, feeling random. I think the reason for this is the fact that with no central character, the film feels untethered. Even though there is a plot, it doesn't really feel like it.

Worse though is the use of Fenomenal himself. Once he appears in the intro, it takes another (and I swear I'm not kidding here) 43 minutes before he appears again, or is even mentioned! He never appears consistently after this either, getting only a couple of sporadic fight scenes. Also, some might say it's a bold decision to not have Fenomenal feature in the climax of your Fenomenal movie! Thankfully he does arrive eventually...four minutes before the end.

A problem with the pacing here is that we get many scenes without context. For example, after the opening gambit], we get a several minute sequence of cars driving, and that's it, and I thought to myself 'This would be a lot more interesting if I knew who any of these drivers were or what they were doing!'. Such scenes end up feeling random and pointless, as well as tedious. I don't wanna watch some random people walking on the streets for five straight minutes!

The ending is the biggest disappointment of all. The reveal of Fenomenal's identity is handled so casually, and it seems like that is intentional. It could've worked too, if I wasn't so bored. However, the movie doesn't end here. It keeps going. I was wondering what could still be left to happen, and what we're given is a weird ending.

Despite the intrigue of his identity, Fenomenal himself isn't a very compelling character. The groundwork is all there! Mysterious criminal? Check! Eerie faceless mask? Check! Ethereal laugh? Double check! And yet he appears so little that we get no insight into his character. With protagonists like this, it is possible to understand them if they're mute or speak fleetingly. You can determine their motives and personality from their actions, but Fenomenal *has* no real actions beyond punching a couple of guys, 60 minutes apart.

The mystery itself is, like I've said, the best part of the movie. Although the only weak link is the way it's presented. The characters in question appear either infrequently or fleetingly, or both, and there are never any real clues or suspicious moments for you to sink your teeth into. You just have to wait for the reveal at the end.

Getting more into the suspects, the three biggest possibilities were the Count, the museum secretary, and Inspector Beauvais. I discounted the Count from my list for being too possibly amoral, and likewise with the secretary for being too obviously meek and unassuming. With them both out of the way, that left Inspector Beauvais as my number 1 suspect. He's not too obvious or not suspicious enough, and he bears the greatest sense of justice of anyone else in the movie, and is thus a prime canditate to be Fenomenal! Is he though? Well I can't say. Naturally I don't recommend this movie, but no way am I gonna spoil the only good thing about it!

The characters themselves are a dull bunch. Count Norton isn't the most likeable guy, but he gets better. It took me over an hour before I worked out who his girlfriend was. She's nice, and I wished she had more consistent screentime. Inspector Beauvais is fine at first, but totally unremarkable as the film goes on, getting too little to do. The movie often feels like a search for the protagonist

The museum's curator gets a couple of unintentionally funny moments. He's dumb enough to enter in a safe's combination when in plain view! He doesn't even try and hide what numbers he's punching! He also gets the most laughable moment of the film, when he rings up the police and declares "I just found out who stole the mask! There's only one person it could be, and that's...HURK", getting killed juuuust at the right time to say everything but the culprit's identity. I would've opened with the name myself, dude!

The weirdest character has got to be the silver haired Mike, who gets this choice comment early on after stepping on Count Norton's foot at a party-"Sorry, did I hurt you? Good. When a relationship is based on pain, it always works out well.". She and her household also seem to be in the habit of being tied up by masked intruders on a regular basis.

The acting here is pretty crummy. Only Gordon Mitchell and Mauro Parenti stand out, and the latter only visually. The dubbing is awful too, with some of the performers not skipping a beat, regardless of punctuation. The fight scenes are decently handled, save for an absolutely shameless sauna brawl. The room is full of half naked women, who are all screaming and running about, desperate to leave, but they somehow manage to consistently miss the open door, and rotate all around!

I was surprised to learn that this film's director is none other than Rugerro Deodato (here credited as Roger Rockfeller). This is his debut solo feature in fact! He's reportedly not the proudest of it, and I can see why. He does a decent job directing everything, and the cinematography is quite good, even if it is spoiled a bit by the prevalent low-quality prints the film is most available on. The most interesting moments for me were the underwater battles! The lack of sound besides the water really fitted the mood!. Of course, I would've preferred the friggin' climax to have a more dynamic sound (read: any sound at all), but thank heaven for small favours. My favourite image was that of the pure black Fenomenal standing against the bright blue sky. It's the kind of idea that shouldn't work on paper, but it looks good here.

The Parisian setting is nice, and it lends a very Sly Cooper-esque touch to the proceedings, which you better believe I like. The shift to Tunisia is welcome in theory, but it comes too late, and the movie is too bland to get anything from the new locale. By the by, is there any particular reason everyone's looking for the treasure of Akhenaten in Tunisia?

Praise sometimes goes to the score here, but I can't say I enjoyed it. It's not terrible I guess, but it got on my nerves a little with its chorusing.

I went into Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutenkhamen with an open and optimistic mind, so for it to have disappointed me so greatly is testament to how bad it is. I chose not to heed these warnings because I thought maybe I'd like it. After all, it looked interesting! But no, everyone else was correct in this case. I don't recommend it at all.

Sorceress (1982)

The sword and sorcery genre isn't one that ever got much love, certainly not the phase that came in the 80s. We got Deathstalker, Ator, a few random pictures like the Barbarian Queen movies and Warrior and the Sorceress, and that's pretty much it! This is such a shame, because when done right, this can be such a fun genre!

Evil sorcerer Traigon wants to sacrifice his first born child to his god to make himself the ruler of the world, but the mother is able to save the two babies with the help of good wizard Krona, at the cost of her life. Krona brings them to a friend, asking him to raise the two children as his own, and let no-one know they're girls. 20 years later, Traigon returns, and gathers his soldiers to find his offspring. The girls have all grown up, still unaware that they're not boys, and live a happy life with their adoptive family, until they're tragically killed by Traigon's men. With the help of a group of adventurers (viking Baldar, faun Pando, and hunky barbarian prince Erlick), they go on the hunt for Traigon, to destroy him once and for all...

1982's Sorceress comes to us from Jack Hill (director of such films as Spider Baby, and Black Mama, Whit Mama), not to be confused with 1995's Sorceress, also made with Jim Wynorski. Funnily enough, that's why I avoided this movie all these years, because I got the two conflated in my head, and really had no intention of watching a 90's skinemax flick replete with obviously fake boobs, as opposed to an 80's sword-and-sorcery fantasy flick in the same vein as Deathstalker II. Upon learning of my mistake, I was eager to see this! However, after finally watching Sorceress, I have to say I didn't miss much all these years!

This is an all-round bad film. Over the years, Jack Hill has made plenty of excuses for how it ended up like this, and how if only he'd gotten the money he was promised from producer Roger Corman, it would've been a fantastic and popular movie! I have to say, nope! Sometimes a film is just bad! Even if he'd gotten the budget he wanted, it wouldn't have changed the story, the dialogue, or the acting. Frankly this movie looks like it got the budget perfectly suited for it. There are some thing  money cannot save.

The plot is pretty standard. It ticks off a bunch of fantasy cliches, without a hint of irony or any real spirit. I wouldn't mind if they were handled amusingly, but they barely raise a smile. And anything the movie does that is unique is just bizarre, like the sheep invasion at the end, or the giant magical lion in the sky that comes out of nowhere. All of this culminates in a crushingly disappointing ending!

One frustrating thing about the movie is how characters are consistently too late to save anyone. It's ridiculous! Even in the grand finale, they don't lift so much as a finger when a bunch of women are carried off by horny zombies, nor do they really seem that broken up about the brutal murder of their adopted parents and sister.

The cringiest part of the story has got to be the gender confusion. Since Traigon's forces always know they're the 'two who are one', it adds nothing but some forced comedy.

The credits say this is written by Jim Wynorski, though Hill admits to having written it himself. Given how lifeless  feels, I can imagine that the writer of Deathstalker 2 wasn't behind this. How Jack Hill made such a bad picture though is mystifying!

The dialogue in Sorceress is next-level awful! A lot of this is down to the stilted acting, but my god, these lines are so clunky it's unbelievable! This is a script with no saving. No amount of top actors could help. No-one here comes across as natural, and it's enough to make you believe this is really set in the future, where everyone are secretly robots. Perhaps the worst and most baffling line is "Death is only death, swine!".

The acting here is bad. Playboy playmates Leigh and Lynette Harris are pretty but incredibly vapid, and it's clear they were only hired for two reasons (or should I say four?). Bon Nelson looks unappealing, but to his credit he does become slightly more likeable as the movie progresses. Doesn't mean I wanted to see his ass though! Bruno Rey is ok as the viking Baldar, but his fake beard is distracting, especially when it appears to have slipped. David Millbern has a silent role as the weird braying faun Pando. He has the most convincing make-up in the whole movie, and has his moments.

Roberto Ballesteros is hilariously unimposing as the villain, with cheesy eyeliner and colourful fashion (which shows altogether too much of his legs!), not to mention his perm hairstyle. Traigon and Erlick must share hairdressers!

Appearing briefly is a much welcome Miguel Angel Fuentes, who cuts a memorable figure even when dubbed. The rest of the actors range from ok to absolutely awful. The fight choreography isn't much better either. Too slow and unconvincing.

Te biggest selling-point to this film is the abundance of nudity, which is of course a good thing in my book! Then comes the two leads, however. Do they get nude a lot? Yes. Are they, err, really related? Yep! Whether or not the majority of this movie is sexy for the viewer depends on how much they like the idea of two real-life sisters getting naked with each-other all the time. Ewwwww, excuse me while I throw up!

It gets worse though, in a sex scenes that's creepy on at least three levels! A hypnotised sister and Erlick have sex while both hypnotised, it's overseen by her father, and her sister feels everything she feels, if ya know what I mean. Ughhh, enough to make even the strongest man shudder!

The effects are one of the best things about Sorceress. The costumes range from cheap to decent, while the make-up and masks are mostly convincing enough, and all the magic is well handled. The battle of the gods at the end is well-crafted too, even if the magic lion's face isn't the most articulated.

The costumes for the villainous guards look silly, but at least they're inventive, and consistent. The movie found a design it wanted, and it stuck with it. As I said in my Deathstalker 3 review, I won't hold the silly design against it given crazy real world examples of helmets, but it is still amusing to see these rough tough soldiers with gigantic beaks.

Overall, the appearance of Sorceress is by far its best aspect! I like Jack Hill, but I really think he was just making excuses when he said he didn't have enough money, because that's clearly the one thing this movie actually had going for it! Especially when you consider the supposed behind-the-scenes setbacks that [supposedly] plagued the production.

The score here is pretty decent. It's been lifted almost entirely from Corman's sci-fi flick Battle Beyond the Stars, and this track admittedly works a lot better in fantasy outings than it ever did in a science-fiction setting

As far as movies go, Sorceress is an ignominious end to its director's once thriving career, and one of the worst sword-and-sorcery films to have come out of the 80s.. I'd recommend it for the camp value, but even there the film is far better as short clips rather than sitting through the whole thing. Stick with Deathstalker...

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Kriminal (1966) and The Mark of Kriminal (1968)


After successfully stealing her majesty's crown jewels, arch-fiend Kriminal has finally been captured, and is all set to face execution. Knowing he'll never talk, Inspector Milton decides to facilitate Kriminal's escape, to lead him to the stolen goods.  Despite their best efforts, he evades the police, but sends the crown jewels back anyway. It's not like fencing them was a real possibility, and he just wanted to have some fun. And now he'll have it when he discovers an insurance scam over a priceless diamond...

Kriminal was one of the wave of comic book anti-heroes to have emerged from Italy during the 1960, spurred on by the popularity of Diabolik. All these characters were pretty derivative of each-other, but that's honestly not that big a deal. They're all fun, and besides, Diabolik himself is a nicer version of the older character Fantomas! Kriminal was one of the meaner ones. Not as bad as the deranged supervillain Kilink (who also dressed like a skeleton), but not the kind of guy you'd wanna invite over for a nice dinner.

Kriminal's first film outing is an entertaining eurospy/supercriminal flick. The plot's simultaneously simple and labyrinthine, and thankfully you're mostly able to keep it all in your head. The movie tends to pick a subplot and stick with it for a block of time, so we're never racing from one scene to another without any sort of reprieve.

The story concludes well, and there's a development in the climax that's really well thought out. The kind you're aware of, but don't realise will play any kind of big role, until the end when you realise, and pick your jaw up from the floor with a grin of surprise.

The ending is loads of fun, and transitions well into the comic layout, although it then keeps going, suddenly trying to cram a whole bunch of stuff into like 5 seconds.

Kriminal is an entertaining lead character. He may technically be the villain, but you have fun watching him, and he's just bad enough to be interesting, while being 'heroic' enough that he doesn't come across as a psychopath...Well, except that attempted bombing scene, anyway, though that kinda felt out of character and unnecessary!

His costume is great, with the yellow streaks making it pop out more and stand out, while managing to not be so garish that it's ridiculous. The film strikes a good balance of his handsome regular face, his various disguises, and his masked self  until the last act however, where the Kriminal costume is conspicuously absent

The policeman hot on the 'hero's' trail is Inspector Milton, who I liked at first, but soon proved himself to be an old fuddy duddy, who wants to capture poor Kriminal just because he's committed a few thefts here and there. And then there's his 'golden' line of "Kriminal was not the type to allow himself to be killed by a woman.". As the movie progresses though, I grew to like him more. The more he fails, the more you want to see him finally drag that criminal Kriminal behind bars.

There's moreso several little villains here rather than one main antagonist for Kriminal to face, and perhaps that's because he's the real bad guy, and from his point of view that distinction falls upon his nemesis Milton

Just about every character here  has at least one lover, and are always double crossing each-other. It gets a little confusing at times, but at the same time it's a treat watching all these criminals think they're so clever, as if they're the top-dog, only to see their whole plans unravel before them, Kriminal having truly been in control the whole time.

Set in a vision of the world where everyone speaks Italian, regardless of nationality (even the British!), Kriminal is a very international production, made by Italy and Spain, starring a Dutch lead, and filmed in Turkey. It's just globetrotting enough to be exotic and fun, while at the same time not overwhelming us with vista after vista.

The acting is pretty good. Glenn Saxson is a charismatic and deadly lead, while Andrea Bosic is fine as his rival. Helga Line does an alright job with her double role, but is a bit underused. Ivano Staccioli is an alright villain, but is hopelessly outmatched by Saxson's Kriminal, which perhaps works!

The opening credits to Kriminal are a fun pop art spectacle, with still frames seamlessly morphing into comic pictures, with stylish speech bubbles and sound effects, and everything else.

Overall, I recommend Kriminal. It's a fun movie despite any small issues it has, and it's a great introduction to its genre (though still start with Danger: Diabolik, or I'll hunt you down and steal all your money).

The Mark of Kriminal

Master thief Kriminal has been enjoying himself with a cosy little job. Together with his new girlfriend, he's working as the kindly head of an old ladies' nursing home, where he makes a habit of frightening the frail women to death, then faking insurance papers to make it seem like a young 20-something has just died. One of the victims leaves behind a Buddha statue, which reveals a secret note and map after being accidentally broken. Kriminal realises its importance immediately, and sets off on a new treasure hunt, to get some long-lost priceless artwork. Trouble is, he's not the only one on the hunt...

Its super groovy opening theme setting the scene perfectly, The Mark of Kriminal gets off to a great start. The story is intriguing, simple enough to be understood, with enough twist and turns to keep you entertained. We get frenetic fistfights, calmer scenes of investigation or plotting, car chases, and other death defying stunts. All of this culminates in a thrilling conclusion.

The plot does somewhat beggar belief though. How the hell did this German guy in England hide two priceless paintings in an ancient tomb in Lebanon that conveniently no-one knew about but him, seal it all up, hope that no-one else ever found it, and return home to be arrested for the murder of his wife!

Whereas his actions in the first movie were more debatable, here Kriminal is more psychopathic   From frightening poor old ladies to death, to actively trying to harm Milton (unless he just took it for granted that he'd survive the gun-in-a-box trick). He's one clever skeleton though! He's a really quick-thinker, and the plans he comes up with are fab, especially for on-the-go ideas! His most ingenious moment comes on the boat ride, where he tricks the femme fatale into believing someone else is Kriminal so seamlessly and effortlessly that you almost believe the poor sap is Kriminal yourself.

I felt sorry for poor Inspector Milton this time round. The poor man just wants to get married, and the criminal underworld just won't let him, all because he had the misfortune to receive a nice antique Buddha as a gift.

His partner Gloria was maybe my favourite character. A smart and feisty fiancee, and the only girl immune to Kriminal's charms, she gas some great moments. Unfortunately she completely disappears after the halfway mark. Even Milton himself appears quite infrequently. I hoped we'd see their weddinf finally go off without a hitch, but oh well.

My favourite scene was at around the halfway mark, where all three threads from three characters all converge in the same room, and the inspector finally realises what's going on.

The ending here is something special too! I won't spoil anything. Just know that it's a very unexpected ending, and is a marvellous way to end the movie. I guarantee that no other masked supercriminal movie would've been this daring and complete.

The acting here is all good. Glenn Saxson exudes a fun charm that makes you root for him despite him being a pretty reprehensible scoundrel. Andrea Bosic is another welcome familiar face as the dogged Inspector Milton. Everyone else does good jobs, including a returning Helga Line as a different character.

Like its predecessor, this film has a variety of locales, while also keeping it simple. Unfortunately they're the exact same locations as the first movie. It's not a huge deal, as it has a nice ring of familiarity, and we see them from different places, but I would've preferred to see him in Rio, Vienna, or Nice. To my frustration, both these movie's keep mentioning Beirut as an important location, but never going there! Thankfully this is eventually remedied.

One of the most creative things about Mark of Kriminal is its use of art! Whereas the first movie just had the comic book credits, Mark has these nice scene bookends, where we transition from the real actor to an illustration, with a speech bubble providing their inner thoughts. This really sells the movie's comic book origins. I always like it when films of such origin aren't ashamed of it, and actively have fun with it. Being both visual, these are two mediums that can intersect quite interestingly!

The music here is very good. A swinging 60s score that elevates the movie and makes it so much more enjoyable. The composer must've only been able to think of the one tune, and so milked it for all it's worth. Props to him, he turned it into an effective leitmotif, with many enjoyable rescorings!

Mark of Kriminal is a great sequel, improving on the first film's problems, adding cool new flourishes, and being an all-round fun time. With an ending that ties up all the series' loose ends, it really makes for a fine cap-off to an entertaining duology...

Girl on a Broomstick (1972)

Saxana is a young witch living in a supernatural world. Sounds like fun, except she spends all of her time in dull old school, where she's unpopular with the teachers for her fooling around, and somewhat flimsy magic. After being sent to detention for 300 years for transforming herself into a cow instead of a crow, Saxana decides to sneak off to the human world. As soon as she arrives, she meets meek schoolkid Johnny, and they become friends. She follows him to his school, where she's believed to be a new student by the staff.

Making no secret of her magical abilities, a gang of boys who are in constant trouble try and manipulate Saxana into helping them. She's willing to at first, believing they'll help her stay in the mortal realm, but they soon turn on her, and the inexperienced witch will have to use every spell she knows to stop them from their diabolical plans...

Girl on a Broomstick is a great example of the inventive Czechoslovakian cinema of times gone by.

The plot starts off well, introducing us to our young heroine, and establishing the doldrums of her life. We can plainly see she's bored, and this spooooky world she lives in doesn't appreciate her how it should. We spend just enough time there before we go to ours, and it never feels like a budget-saving cheat. Rather, the film is just as imaginative/creative.

Saxana is a likeable heroine, with her strange, slightly morbid, and kinda aloof attitude being = to watch. The characters and situations she gets into on earth are  Her new friend = is a nice young guy, pretty basic but you like him well enough. The teachers and adults are all amusing in various ways, and I wish they'd gotten more screentime, especially the rat-toothed Miss Pesková. The villains of the piece are the trio of bullies, who =, and just don't know when to give up! They're good villains, and all their actions feel in line with their personalities, even though you'll be increasingly going "Dudes, enough already!" come the end.

One of my favourite things about this movie is the way its characters react. Everyone has amusing priorities, and a sense of obliviousness that allows them to doesn't notice fangs and the casual = of the dialogue, with golden lines like "". Something I really like is that whenever it becomes necessary, the leads simply tell others about the magic. And they believe them immediately! No meandering skepticism. Just an instant "Oh, you're magical? That's nice. Let's go!" Even the most unbelieving are shown magic, and they realise the truth, as it would be in real life. There's no sense being skeptical when you've just seen half a dozen teachers be turned into rabbits

Girl on a Broomstick is a highly imaginative/creative flick! From the four-armed teacher and other [weird] and occasionally terrifying [designs], to the magic on display, and the =, there's always something weird and wonderful to look at. The finale is chockablock full of spells and a = car chase!

The actors here all do great jobs! They roll with the absolute insanity of the story with such a calm disposition, taking everything in their stride, and treating nothing like a joke. Petra Cernocká  is a very good lead, managing to come across as aloof without being a bitch, while Jan Hrusínský is good as the voice of reason. = is especially likeable as the vampire janitor who acts as her mentor, and gets a sweet romance of his own. Jana Drbohlavová is = as the = Miss Pesková, and I wanted her to appear more! Everyone here shares good chemistry with each-other, and no performances disappointed.

The effects in Girl on a Broomstick are surprisingly good! They're a real high point, and the production team should be proud! The magic is all pulled off well, the real animals are cute and cooperative, and the stuffed toys we see in some shots are hilarious. The best effect by far is the disembodied head, which talks and looks around naturally. There's no visible green screen, not any mirrors or other tricks like that.

The music here is nice, with a great main theme! It's a pretty simple and repetitive song, but it never overstays its welcome, and is played an appropriate amount.

Girl on a Broomstick is a wonderful little fantasy flick, and well worth a watch! The right amount of ghoulish and lighthearted, it's a perfect Halloween treat, or for any time of the year...