Monday, April 30, 2012

May Monster Madness Is Here!

The May Monster Madness blogfest is finally here! It'll last from May the 1st to the 7th, and I'll be posting two reviews each day (except for the last day, I've only got 13 films lined up). I've already listed what movies I'll be reviewing here, but a few have been removed from that list and a few others added. I removed Demons 2 from the list because the whole movie isn't on Youtube anymore; and the Crazy Fat Ethel bizarro duology/quadrilogy, because I've decided to save those horrifying movies for October. As for what I've added, there's Horrors of the Black Museum, Counter Destroyer (it has to be seen to be believed-let's just say that it's about a lady private detective/crossbow assassin who fights Freddy Krueger, ninjas and hopping zombies with exploding footprints!) and Night of Horror, a movie about Confederate zombies that is the most punishingly evilly boring movie in all existence (save for...*shudders*...The Brown Bunny)!

So, I hope everyone enjoys my MMM posts, and here's the listing of everyone else who's participating in he blogfest!...

1. Annie Walls  15. Horror Author Vanessa Morgan  29. blackdragon  
2. Little Gothic Horrors  16. Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer  30. Jurassic Goth  
3. Pensive Pumpkin  17. It Came From The Man Cave  31. Monsterfink's Midnight Monster Spookshow  
4. Queens of the Wild Frontier  18. It's On Random  32. Residentgamer  
5. Lady Bethezda  19. Not This Time, Nayland Smith  33. nitebyrd  
6. Le Professeur Gothique  20. Artwork By Living Dead Girl Nicole  34. Everything You Want  
7. wicKED  21. Metamorphosis  35. Kweeny Todd  
8. Shingle Creek Manor  22. Crafts and Creations with KMOM14  36. Ghost Stories and Haunted Places  
9. Daph's Dark Little Corner  23. skarlett  37. Jess @ Wickedly Bookish  
10. Jenny Krueger  24. Dani Harper, Paranormal Author  38. GingerRead  
11. Holly's Horrorland  25. Manvshorror  39. Lynoire  
12. blackwood  26. Horror Shock Lolipop  40. HorrorSmorgasbord  
13. Punk You  27. Bob @ Beauty in Ruins  

14. Kharisma Rhayne  28. Precious Monsters  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Good Man-Script Review

This review was meant to be up on the 15th, but I'm uploading it a bit later, due to me being busy with stuff, and thanks to bad ol' procrastination, the usual curse that all writers, whether it be for reviews, stories or otherwise, suffer from (I was once writing a crime/comedy with my Will Addyson character about a gang called The Ramblers, a vicious robbery group. At one point, I was stuck at what to write for a character in the latest scene that I'd written, so I decided to think of it later. ...That was in 2009, and it's now 2012 and that sentence, along with everything beyond is not yet finished!).

Vanessa Morgan is a writer of horror fiction and has been called 'the female Stephen King'. While I haven't read her first two books, The Strangers Outside and Drowned Sorrow (yet), I have been sent a copy of the script of A Good Man-Morgan's latest book and upcoming film-for review.

The plot of A Good Man centres on Louis Caron, a 55 year-old (when he died) vampire, who, despite his nature, strives to be a good person-helping the homeless, and is a vegetarian. He has two friends, Vincent, who is a coworker of Louis' at the bar where he works, and and Emma, Vincent's girlfriend.

Louis is a close friend of Vincent and Emma's, and when she falls pregnant, they ask him to be the baby's godfather. Louis, overjoyed, accepts, but he's pressured by both the head of his 'vampire support group', who warns Louis that he'll have to leave them eventually, and by policeman Inspector Taglioni, who is getting suspicious of Louis. Soon enough, things get worse and worse for Louis...

While it is pretty short, this is a great story! The best way to describe it is as a mix of black comedy/horror/drama. The characters are well-written, the comedic moments are funny, and as for the story, it goes from humour to being very dark, and it segues from tone to tone seamlessly, eventually culminating in a great ending. The story also has some dramatic moments, that are all handled very well.

As for negatives, I...honestly can't think of any. A Good Man is a great story and is well worth the read!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Legacy: His Name Was Jason

Here's hoping that everyone is having a great Friday the 13th! And thanks to Jenny Krueger of Memoirs of A Scream Queen for starting this blogfest! I had a great time rewatching the Friday the 13th movies that I own, writing the review for them, and reading the other entries (that have been uploaded so far) of this blogfest and I'm looking forward to the ones to come!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday the 13th, Saturday the 14th, Sunday the 15th (1981, 1982, 1984)

Friday the 13th, a day of woe and bad luck! Also the day that usually...has barely anything to do with the Friday the 13th movies!

Since his appearance in Friday the 13th Part II, good ol' Jason Voorhees has become an icon, an icon that's had the distinction of having been in Crystal Lake, Canadian New York, Hell, and Space (only Pinhead has the majority of those covered as well).

There are two unofficial trilogies in the franchise-the 'Tommy Jarvis trilogy' (part 4, 5 and 6) and the 'I don't think it's ever been given a name' trilogy. The latter is made up of Parts 2, 3 and 4, all of which take place within a three day period (barring a couple of bits). That 'trilogy' is what I'll be looking at for today...

Friday the 13th Part II opens up with Alice (Adrienne King), the survivor of the first film dreaming about the climax of the first movie, from when she met the killer, Pamela Voorhees, and when she introduced a machete to Pamela's neck. She wakes up, then talks with her mother on the phone. When she's done with that, she goes and showers, and when she comes back, she gets a mysterious phone call-she hears nothing from the other end of the line. She goes to feed her cat and opens the fridge, where, to her horror, she sees the head of Mrs. Voorhees! Then she's killed by a prowler (Jason), proving that the F13 franchise has way more balls when it comes to killing off main characters than the Scream franchise! (Why the hell is Dewey still alive! 'No-one is safe this time' my ass!)  Poor Alice...

After the explosive opening title and credits (The title slowly advances to the screen, then speeds up and fucking EXPLODES! Ain't that a cut above the first movie with the title just smashing through glass!) we cut to couple Jeff and Sandra driving to a new campsite in Crystal Lake, situated nearby the now infamous 'Camp Blood'. They stop the car and go to a payphone, and they're accosted by Crazy Ralph, who warns them and tells them they're 'all doomed!'. After their car is towed, thanks to a prank by their friend Ted, Jeff and Sandra go to the campsite, where all of the other camp counsellors are. The head counsellor, Paul (John Furey) talks to everyone until Ginny (Amy Steel) camp counsellor and Paul's girlfriend arrives, late, thanks to her beat-up car.

Later, when everyone's gotten ready at the campsite, Paul tells a ghost story about Jason Voorhees, ending with Ted jumping out of the shadows with a mask and spear. Everyone laughs at the story and Paul claims that it's all fictional-Mrs. Voorhees died years ago and Jason drown back in the 50's...or so he thinks...  Later in the night, when Paul and Ginny get it on, Crazy Ralph watches, and is suddenly garotted by a mysterious figure.

The next day, everyone goes for a jog, and Sandra, interested in the cordoned-off Camp Blood area, wants to see it, dragging Jeff along. They find the mutilated corpse of counsellor Terri's dog, Muffin (except it sort of isn't-explanation later), then are found by a policeman, who takes them back to the station and reprimands them. Paul takes the two back and the cop goes off somewhere and sees someone running into the woods. He gets out of his car and gives chase, eventually finding a ramshackle cabin. He goes inside and sees something horrible, and is immediately killed by someone, via a hammer to the back of the head.

Come nightfall, most of the counsellors go into the town, while a select few stay behind And completely unbeknownst to them, Jason Voorhees is stalking them, picking them off, one by one!...

F13 Part II is a fun little movie. Sure, it follows pretty much the same formula as the first movie, but it's not a bad formula to follow, so long as it's done well. The film has the usual slasher film tropes-skinny dipping, characters too dumb to live, and brutal violence...or at least, censored violence, thanks to the bastards of the MPAA!

On the subject of stupid characters, there's only one in particular in F13 II-Vicki! Over the course of the film, Vicki has the hots for parapalegic Mark, and while she changes into something more seductive for some fun in the bedroom with him, Mark is machete'd out of his cabin and down a staircase. So Vicki goes back into the cabin, can't find Mark, and decides to look for the guy in the wheelchair upstairs! So she goes upstairs, and into the room where Jeff and Sandra were getting it on until they were speared together by Jason, and suddenly Jason leaps up from under the sheets and advances on Vicki...who doesn't move for nearly 20 seconds! Run you dumbass! Run out through the open door! Don't just stand there and wait for death! Oh, would you look at that, Vicki, you've been stabbed to death, good going!

Onto Jason himself, (played by Steve 'Dash' Daskawisz for the whole film, barring the scene at the end, where he's played by Warrington Gillette). He's kept under wraps for most of the film (to the effect of this movie, not to the sequels!) and when we do see him, he doesn't have his iconic hockey mask yet, he has an Elephant Man-style sack, with a single eyehole. While many audience members of 1981 couldn't look at him without thinking "I am not an animal! I am a human being!", now, 30+ years since The Elephant Man, the sack looks creepy as hell! Much creepier than the hockey mask. This isn't the unstoppable Jason that we've come to know and love though, this is clumsy human Jason! Which brings me onto the film's final girl, Ginny...

Amy Steel plays Ginny very well. She's likeable, we know a bit about her character, and she's intelligent and resourceful, from when she finds her way into Jason's cabin and his shrine to Pamela (namely her severed head), and when Jason comes a'knockin', she puts on Pamela's sweater and roughly copies the head's hairstyle, and she almost manages to fool Jason (in a scene with a cameoing Betsy Palmer); to when she attacks Jason with the chainsaw! Jason grunts in fear as Ginny slashes him up with it and smashes a chair over his head!

While the film has many great scenes (the campfire scene, the aforementioned 'mother' scene, and others), there are a couple of weird things. For one, the film's comic relief Ted is the kind of character who you expect to see die, but he just goes into town, drinks for a while and we never see him again...ever. Also, why is the hair on Pamela's severed head long? She had short hair! Another strange thing is Muffin the dog. Either that whole ending scene was a hallucination or Muffin is as invincible as Jason!

Onto the violence, as I said before, they were heavily cut by the pricks of the MPAA, leaving scenes like the one where Terri just screams at the camera, to the spear scene (only the bloody spear hitting the ground is left in). A couple are more violent, like when sorta-jerk guy Scott gets his throat slit, and when Mark gets machete wacked in the face.

As for the ending, it's ambiguous and well-handled. I'm not sure if it's a hallucination, since Muffin is back, but there's one thing for sure-Paul is not having fun!...

Friday the 13th Part II is a fun sequel that has a few problems, but is still a very enjoyable sit!

Friday the 13th Part III (Part 3D!) is more of the same-it follows the same formula as the last two films, and at one point it even has a near identical scene! (More on that later)

F13 Part III opens with a montage/recap of the last film, which is ok, but not as good as the ones in Parts II and IV. Then we get the 3D credits, scored to an awesome disco beat!...Hilariously out of place for a Friday the 13th film, but I still get up and dance every time I hear it!

After that's over, the movie cuts to Crystal Lake townie and slob Harold (Steve Susskind) and his wife Edna (Cheri Maugans), who run a convenience store. While Harold is pigging out at the store's produce, Edna watched a news report on the massacre of the previous film, then sees a mysterious figure behind her washing...

Said 'mysterious figure' is Jason, and after hacking and knitting-needling through the couple, the movie cuts to the next day, where teens, Chris (Dana Kimmel), Andy (Jeffrey Rodgers), Debbie (Tracie Savage), and horror geek Shelley (Larry Zerner), (as well as Chuck (David Katims) and Chili (Rachel Howard), who we don't see until the pot comedy scene) go to the house of their friend Vera (Catherine Parks). They've planned a trip to Chris's old home in the country, Higgin's Haven, in Crystal Lake...

After another funny scene, the car comes across a vagrant (David Wiley) lying in the middle of the road. They all get out of the car and go over to him, and he stirs. He gets up and spouts off a religious phrase, then shows everyone a disembodied eye! (which he 3D holds towards the camera). After driving way from the man (while he spouts of Crazy Raph-ish dialogue), the group arrive at Higgin's Haven.

While everyone else goes off to the lake to skinny-dip, Chris goes into the house and is suprised by Rick, her old boyfriend. She talks with him while he stacks hay, then they hear a shriek. They run into the house and find Shelley, with an axe in his head!...a fake axe-he's just pulling a prank, much to the anger of the group, especially Chris. While she storms off, Vera heads off to town, and Shelley tags along.

While Chris talks with Debbie, Shelley and Vera go to a convenience store (where the movie's theme is playing!), where they're harassed by a biker, Fox (Gloria Charles), who grabs Shelley's wallet when it falls onto the floor and taunts Vera, refusing to give it back unless Vera says please...which she does, and Fox gives back the wallet! Not very mean bikers, are they! Or at least, they aren't until Shelley accidentally backs the car into their bikes...

The two get back to Higgin's Haven, with the car's windscreen trashed up thanks to the bikers (who Shelley pisses off even more by nearly running the leader, Ali (Nick Savage) over). Also at HH though is a sinister pair of feet!...that isn't Jason, but the three bikers, Ali, Fox and Loco (Kevin O'Brien), who are out for revenge. They syphon the gas out of the group's van, and are going to vandalise HH, but before they can, Fox goes into the barn and, and when Loco follows, he finds her, pitchforked against a wall!...

So Loco is killed by Jason, then Ali goes in, and gets killed (or does he?...), then Andy nearly goes into the barn! Luckily he doesn't, otherwise the scene would've started to get silly! So night falls, and Chris and Rick are out in the wilderness, talking, and Chris tells him in more detail about when she was attacked in the area two years ago. So everyone does their own stuff, as does Jason, who's ready for a'killin'!...

F13PIII is about as good as Part II-that is, unless you watch them in quick succession, because they pretty much follow the same formula, which can make this entry boring. It does have many positives though! The film is shot well, with many cool shots, like when Jason is behind the washing line at the start of the movie. The film's acting is also good, and the characters are fun (although Shelley can be an unwitting asshole with his horror pranks).

Onto what makes this film really stand out-the 3D! The 3D is great, and unlike the masses of  films of today that are converted terribly into 3D (Titanic 3D? Really?! The damn film wasn't originally intended for 3D, so how the hell are they going to make it work now?!), this movie was actually shot in 3D, which was an arduous and difficult technique that paid off greatly! We get zooming credits, eyeballs, yo-yos, oranges, arrows, machetes, blood and chain-punches hurled at the screen!

Onto what's important in an F13 film, the red stuff! The gore in this is better than in Part II, seeing as how the bastard sons-of-bitches of the MPAA weren't as censor-happy with this entry as they were with Part II (but that doesn't mean that the film's violence is uncut). We get stabbings, head-crushings, impalements, and various other awesome death scenes!

The film's final girl is Chris Higgins, and she's ok, but not as good as Ginny from Part 2. Dana Kimmel is a good enough actress, but she doesn't leave much of an impression. Plus, she comes across as very stupid when she underreacts hilariously to a bathtub full of blood and shredded clothes! She's good in the finale though, where she faces off against Jason (where she finds out that he was the one who attacked her two years prior). The whole finale is suspenseful, and it's very entertaining, although there are a few problems with it. One, Ali is still alive, and he tries to attack Jason...and is killed immediately. It's not too bad of a plot turn, except that Ali was attacked by Jason before...why didn't Jason finish the job?

The other problem is pretty stupid. Part of the film's climax is beat for beat, the same as Part 2's! Ginny is in a derelict cabin-Chris is in a barn. Ginny is being attacked by Jason-Chris is being attacked by Jason. Paul rushes in and attacks Jason...-Ali rushes in and attacks Jason... ...Which distracts Jason long enough for Ginny to ram his machete into his shoulder-...which distracts Jason long enough for Chris to ram an axe into Jason's face. The scene's even shot similarly!

Another problem is with just before the end. After Chris dispatches Jason, she goes in a canoe, falls asleep, and drifts in the lake until she wakes up the next morning, then she sees Jason by the barn's window. He burst out though the door as she tries to get the canoe unstuck out of branches, then he disappears, and the barn is suddenly undamaged...then a rotting Mrs. Voorhees jumps out of the lake and pulls Chris in... While the whole Jason bit is cool, everything else is basically the same ending as Part 1! And this is made even more annoying by the fact that a planned alternate ending sounded a lot cooler, as well as more original! Chris wakes up and sees Rick (who died a while prior) inside the barn. He calls for her and she runs over to the barn, overjoyed, and she runs to the door, opens it and Jason is there! He decapitates her, then she wakes was all a dream. then the ending goes as follows as normally-she goes nuts as the cops take her away

Onto Jason himself, this is the film where he got his hockey mask! One of the reasons that Shelley is so cool is that he gives the lumbering killer his trademark mask!...Well, 'gives' as much as one can when they're dead. Richard Brooker is cool playing Jason, and is very intimidating. This Jason is also a lot less clumsy and hurtable than in Part II, which is a plus. The make-up effects for his face are great too. There is one problem with him though. This is the third movie, we know that Jason is the killer, stop only filming his feet!

F13 Part III is about as good as Part II, with some positives over it's prequel, but some negatives as well.

Now onto Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter! (um...yeah...)

F13 Part IV opens with an awesome super-recap of Parts 1, 2, and 3, which is really well put together, and is a great final recap for the seres' 'final' entry! Then the film opens proper with the title card zooming slowly to the screen, then slamming at it full throttle and exploding with what must be nuclear force! It may be the same title-style as Part II, but the explosion being bigger more than makes up for it!

After the recap, Jason's 'dead' body is taken to a very empty hospital where there are only two nurses/morgue attendants (either every. single. one of the staff has something better to do, or Crystal Lake hospital sucks!).The guy, Axel (Bruce Mahler) spends his time watching aerobics and coming onto nurse Morgan (Lisa Freeman), which he nearly succeeds at, that is, until Jason's 'corpse' decides to cockblock him! (his arm falls out of the body bag and onto Morgan). So while Morgan storms off, furious, Jason wakes up and kills Axel, then Morgan.

The next day, (yeah, I know this blog post's title isn't all that accurate when it comes to the days these movies are set over, but it sounds cool, and it's for brevity) Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman) and her daughter Trish (Kimberley Beck) are jogging, all happy and chipper, like there hasn't just been a serial killer on the loose in the area who's killed at least 12 people over the last couple of days! They come back to their home, where Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) is, playing a video game and leaving the house's door wide open, which Mrs. Jarvis isn't too pleased about, since 'any stranger could walk in'. Yeah, like the 'stranger' who crushed a man's head so hard, his eyeball popped out of his skull, you terrible mother!

Meanwhile, a car full of teens, Doug (Peter Barton, Paul (Alan Hayes), Sara (Barbara Howard), Samantha (Judie Aronson), Ted (Lawrence Monoson) and  Jimmy (Crispin Glover), is headed for a house in the woods that they've rented for the weekend...and apparently they didn't listen to any of the news that reported the repeated mass killings in that area (and neither do any police ever check up on them, despite the nearby mass-killings and a loose killer)! While they drive, they come across a hitchhiker, but abandon her, because the car's full. Luckily for the hitchhiker though, she doesn't need to worry about getting anywhere...although I'm sure getting killed wasn't exactly the ideal way she wanted...

By the time the group arrive, it's nighttime. While the Jarvises have dinner and then meet the teens, the group chat about stuff. Then, when Tommy's in bed, he spies through his window at one of the teen gals in the very closeby house, getting dressed, and instead of acting normally, he squeals like a pig and pounds his fist against the bed!...serial killer behaviour much?

The next day, the teens are walking through the forest, and nervous Jimmy talks with sex-obsessed Ted, (who keeps calling 'Jimbo' a 'dead fuck', because of his bad luck with women). Soon enough, they bump into pretty twins Terri (Carey More) and Tina (Camilla More), who join the group in their hike, while Sara goes off to get the car. Sara walks through the forest, which has picked this opportune moment to darken and play atmospheric music...though nothing happens to Sara.

The group arrive at the lake (Just how damn big is this lake? It must stretch right over the freakin' state!) and decide to skinny-dip, so, AWESOME, nudity! One of the best reasons to watch a Friday the 13th movie (or any given slasher movie)! Meanwhile, Trish and Tommy are driving along when their car breaks down. Tommy tries to fix it (*insert a The New Barbarians kid mechanic joke here*), but has no luck. Then a sinister pair of feet arrives (enough wth the damn mysterious feet shots already!), which turns out to not be Jason, but hitchhiker Rob (Erich Anderson). After fixing the car, the Jarvises offer him a lift. On the way, Rob explains that he's in Crystal Lake hunting bears, which Tommy calls bullshit on as there aren't any bears in the area (then why the hell did Paul in Part 2 warn everyone about them and set up bear traps?!). Then he asks if there's any holidaying teenagers in the area, in a way that makes him sound like a serial killer!

So the Jarvises take Rob back to their house, and horror geek Tommy shows Rob the collection of masks and animatronics he's been making (which look too damn good for a kid to have made!). So then Rob leaves as night falls, and the teens are partying away, and Jimmy tries to dance. 'Tries to'! It looks more like he's having a seizure! And since night has fallen, Jason starts his usual one-by-one killfest rampage!...

F13 Part IV doesn't quite follow the same formula as the the previous two movies, but it's still pretty similar. The main difference is with the Rob character, the guy out for revenge against Jason because he killed his sister. Although that leads to a goof-Rob has clearly been out for Jason's blood for a while, and has been doing lots of research, having a huge scrapbook of Jason history...except Rob's sister is Sandra from Part II-Sandra who was killed only a couple of days prior to this movie! I'm surprised Rob even knows about his sister's death already, let alone is in Crystal Lake with a machete with Jason's name on it!

As for the characters, the teens are really forgettable, save for Ted and Jimmy, who are heaps of fun, and the hot twins! Trish is entertaining and makes for a fun final girl. As for good ol' Tommy Jarvis, he is entertaining, he isn't annoying, and he deals with Jason at the end awesomely! He does have a kind of stupid plan at the end though. While Trish and Jason fight in the Jarvis house, Tommy is upstairs, in the bathroom, shaving his head so he looks like Jason. That sounds clever, but there's no way that it'd work! Jason may be back-woods and deformed, but he knows how to use phones, and cut fuses-he's not THAT stupid! (Yeah, he was fooled by Ginny with the mother thing, but being fooled by someone pretending to be a kid version of himself is a bit of a stretch of disbelief). The plan doesn't even work. Sure, Jason stops attacking Trish and goes over to Tommy, but I'm sure that if you yell Jason's name repeatedly, he'll come over anyway!

As for the gore, it's not particularly graphic, (it should be legal to kill 1) Lawyers, 2) Telemarketers, and 3) bloody MPAA bastards!), but it's still fun. We get throats cut, death by syringe, throat impalements, crotch stabbings (OUCH!!!!), a violent axing, and corkscrew stabbings! The effects work in the film was done by Tom Savini (who did the first film's effects) and they're great! The film gets especially violent in a couple of scenes, like when Jason viciously breaks Axel's neck after slitting it, and during Jason's death.

As well as the Rob thing, there is another pretty big goof in the film. When Samantha is out on an inflatable raft, Jason stabs from underneath, right through the raft, killing Sam...but the raft is still afloat! Also, none of the teens hear each-other's screams when they die, which either means that they know they're in a horror film and are waiting for death, or...I have a theory-all buildings in Crystal Lake, from houses to cabins are soundproofed in a way that means that they're soundproofed even when doors are open, so it's impossible to hear anything in a nearby room!

The film does have two big problems. One is the pacing. The film moves along at an entertaining pace right up until about the 40 minute mark, then it is paced pretty annoyingly, and it gets a bit boring sometimes. The other big problem is with Jason himself-Jason is barely in this movie! For most of the movie, we only see the smallest parts of him, in the darkest shadows, and we only really see him properly in the climax! WE KNOW THAT JASON IS THE KILLER! THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUSPENSE AND BEING REALLY DAMN ANNOYING!

So in closing...

Well that was my Friday the 13th (series and date) review special, and I'll be back with more Friday the 13th reviews in October!...Until then...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Adventures of Fu Manchu: Episode 3-The Satellites of Fu Manchu

Opening with more voice-over distortion, The Satellites of Fu Manchu centres on the insidious doctor's plan to conquor the world's skies!...

The episode opens with Dr. Petrie accompanying a US government research team to New Mexico, in a bid to work out a way to 'sustain human life in the vacuum of space'. He's going there via plane, which is following a tracker beam on their radar, but it disappears. The plane drifts off course, but the beam shows up again, and they follow it.

Next we cut to to a newspaper saying that the plane has gone missing. We find out from a news-reporter that this is the fourth military plane to go down in the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Nayland Smith is on the case, meeting a government official, who tells Smith that the government is certain that sabotage is behind the disappearances.

Smith goes...somewhere, I have no idea...wherever Betty is-and he looks through papers. While Betty believes that everyone in the planes is dead, Smith senses a pattern-all four planes had space scientists onboard, i.e. meteorologiest, astronomer, medicine, etc.. Smith gives Betty an astronomy lesson on satellites, telling her that he who controls them controls the sky, and the world, and Nayland Smith is sure that Fu Manchu is behind this plot!... ...Six minutes in would be a good time to first mention the character who the show's named after!

Next we cut to Dr. Petrie being taken to Fu Manchu's current secret base. Petrie narrates about this, and he waxes on about seeing Fu Manchu, 'that evil visage', and other stuff to build up tension...that immediately falls apart the moment Glen Gordon opens his mouth. Fu talks menacingly to Petrie about his plans. Meanwhile Nayland Smith has gone to see Vosburg, an expert on guided missiles, and warns him that he might be next on Fu Manchu's scientist shopping list. Also, their conversation is interrupted by a rocket launching outside of Vosburg's office window, that's either stock footage or cardboard. Since Vosburg has to make a plane trip, Smith decides to take his place and be led directly to Fu Manchu.

I'll give the series this-it's plane cockpit mockup looks a universe better than the one in Plan 9 from Outer Space!

Smith gives the plane's pilots the oppurtunity to decline this mission due to it's danger, but they volunteer to go. The flight goes normally until Fu instructs some henchman to destroy the plane's marker beam, as well as the planes transmitter radio going out. The transmitter comes back online, as does the beam, and they are told over the radio that there was just a brief power shortage. They continue following the beam, then they realize that despite following the beam, they're miles of course. They pass over a beam station despite being in the ocean. Then they notice a ship below them, with a "plenty illegal" beam station attached. Low on fuel, they decide to attempt a landing on the ocean, and board the vessel.

Fu instructs Kolb to retrieve the landed plane's occupants, and Smith and the two pilots are taken to Fu's secret base from before (or not-more on that later). Fu threatens Smith, but he reveals that the plane had a tracker on it, and the Mexican authorities are coming. Fu doesn't believe him until planes arrive and start bombing around Fu's base...

Will Nayland Smith's plan work?
Will the planes bomb the shit out of the base along with Smith, Petrie and the scientists?
Will Betty do more in this episode other than make coffee?

This is a fun episode, despite the sparse plot, the large absence of Fu Manchu (screentime-wise), and both Betty and Kolb being underused. There are entertaining moments, and there are hilariously wooden lines! At the end, Nayland Smith delivers a speech that sounds very scripted! There's also a cool line said by one of the good guys near the end-"Drop the gun trigger man or the boss gets it"! I hope I can get a chance to say that line in real life sometime!...

The Adventures of Fu Manchu: Episode 2-The Assassins of Fu Manchu

The Assassins of Fu Manchu opens with the usual voice-over during the opening-credits, except this time it's augmented as hell! Since this is unremastered footage of a show that probably hasn't aired since the 50's, there are a bunch of glitches from booming, distorted voices, to tracking, to rainbow interference.

In Assassins, Fu Manchu wishes to halt an American secret experimental plane project indefinitely with the use of his specially trained assassin!...    ...Yeah, only one assassin, hence the pluralised title!

The episode opens with George, Fu's special assassin training on a dummy. Watching the test is Fu Manchu himself, and an associate. George leaves the room, and Fu Manchu explains to his associate that George is the son of a secret service man who was investigating him, who he had executed, and then raised George as a member of his organisation, teaching George to be just like him. Then Fu explains his plan and what he wants the associate to do...

We cut to a board discussing whether or not they should reveal the planes they're manufacturing to the public, and they end up voting to keep it a secret, so unfriendly countries don't try to steal the designs. One of the board members, Bishop, goes to his office, and unbeknownst to him, his cigar case is poisoned...

Dr. Petrie investigates the case on the behalf of the plane company (and in a funny bit of 50's slang (I guess), he says how of all the weird cases he's been on, "this was the topper!"). Strangely though, the company's head declares the case closed and demands Petrie off the case. He goes to his office (or whatever) and tells Betty of these events. He tells her not to bother about the matter and not to tell anyone else. After Petrie leaves, she immediately calls Nayland Smith and tells him about it, telling him to come over from England immediately! That's women for ya! No wonder us guys had to keep them back in line back in the 50's! (I can make a sexist joke if I'm reviewing something from the 50's can't I?).

Meanwhile Fu Manchu hears of Nayland Smith's arrival and sends George and Karamaneh to stake out the hotel where Smith is staying, booking the room next to Smith's. Smith talks to Betty over the phone when he hears noises from the next room and becomes suspicious. He finishes the phone call, but pretends he's still talking, and he goes over to the wall leading into the next room, inspects it, and he plows straight through it! He finds Karamaneh and holds her at gunpoint, and he questions her until George comes into the room, sneaking behing Smith and tackling him. The two scuffle until Petrie arrives. While Karamaneh escapes, Petrie and Smith manage to detain George, who, disguised as a hotel bellboy, claims that he came into the room, saw Smith with the gun, and assumed he was a bad guy.

Smith doesn't believe him and he has George taken to the police station, where he tells George about a friend of his, who was investigating 'an evil man' and he and his family went missing, and that the friend's son would be the same age as George is now. George leaves in a huff, but he's unsure about whether or not what Nayland Smith told him was true.

George goes back to Fu Manchu's headquarters, and he is given his first assignment-assassinate Some Guy (I didn't catch his name, assuming it was ever said). Fu sees that George is unsure, so when George leaves, he assigns one of his henchman to follow him and do the job if George fails...

Will George realize he's on the wrong side?
Will Dr. Petrie and Nayland Smith prevent Fu Manchu's evil assassin?
Will 1950's sexism prevail?

This is an entertaining episode! It has great characters, decent acting, and it partially delves into some of Nayland Smith's history with Fu Manchu, which is cool (although there isn't much said). It's plot does have a lot less meat on its bones than Vengeance though, but that isn't too much of a problem.

The Adventures of Fu Manchu: Episode 1-The Vengeance of Fu Manchu

When it comes to actors playing Fu Manchu (none of whom were ever Asian), they've always spoken in a regal British accent, rather than attempting a Chinese accent. After all, if Christopher Lee tried to play Fu with a Ching Chong Chinaman accent, all intimidation would go straight out of the window and into silliness-and this is Christopher effin' Lee we're talking about here! With this in mind, this would be a good  time to say that yes, Glen Gordon's Fu talks with a Ching Chong Chinaman accent!

The series' first episode (first episode on the DVD-R, IMDb lists the episodes differently-Not that it matters which order the episodes are in, as they're non-linear) is The Vengeance of Fu Manchu!...misspelled as 'Vengence' on the DVD-R's menu!

The episode is about 'The Devil Doctor's' evil plan to take over a chemical company and use it to secretly make weapons!...

The episode starts off with Fu Manchu talking to his henchman Manson about his plan. He has killed James Le Conte, head of Argosy Chemicals. Manson has bought stock in Argosy, per Fu Manchu's instructions, and he has made sure that the board votes executive Alexander Baldwin to take Le Conte's place. Baldwin is an activist for world peace, and Fu Manchu intends to use this against him and con Baldwin. Fu wants control of Argosy because the chemicals it manufactures are esssential in making explosives.

Manson goes to Baldwin's office, claiming to be a supporter, and tells him that instead of selling munitions to other countries, which will use up the remaining chemicals the company has (or something like that, it's sketchy), a better alternative is a chemical company in Brazil, Rio de Janero that needs those chemicals as an insecticide, among other uses for clearing forests for cultivating crops. Baldwin enthusiastically agrees to the idea, having no idea he's being tricked...

We then cut to our first look at Nayland Smith, Dr Petrie, and his secretary Betty. Smith has recieved word that Argosy chemicals have been sold to a 'country behind the Iron Curtain'. Smith also explains that an agent of his followed Fu Manchu to Rio and was later found killed-burned into his forehead was the mark of Fu Manchu. Smith and Petrie, Petrie a stockholder himself, go to meet Baldwin. They ask whether or not there's any possibility of the chemicals being used for munitions behind Baldwin's back. He denies the possibility and sends the two out. Then he calls Manson in, who assures him of the deal's legitemacy.

Smith, Petrie and Betty intend to go to Brazil, and Fu Manchu, knowing this, follows them. It's here in the episode where the show's limitations are shown-since each episode is only about 25 minutes long, this is how the plot goes: Smith, Petrie and Betty go from America to Rio de Janero, book a hotel, and investigate Argosy's chemical warehouses under the guise of inspectors from Argosy's auditing division...and instead of this actually happening, all of it is told to us in about 10 seconds in voiceover from Dr. Petrie!

Smith and Petrie talk with Manson and a Mr. Gonzalez about the warehouse's shipping records, and after they leave, Manson reports back to Fu Manchu. While Manson thinks that Smith and Petrie were convinced , Fu thinks otherwise, and he instructs Manson to set a trap for the two. Meanwhile, Smith explains to Petrie and Betty the clue he noticed. Then the three decide to go to a restaurant for dinner, because there clearly aren't more important things at stake here! After that, the trio go to one of the warehouses to covertly investigate the contents (covertly, even though both Smith and Petrie are in bright white suits! They'll stick out like disco-balls!). Smith and Petrie go inside while Betty doubles as a watchmen for them, and their getaway driver (does this lady have the BEST secretarial job or what!). She is approached by a local police officer, and she explains that she's waiting for her two friends who are at the nearby bar. The cop is fooled, but he stays behind with Betty anyway, to keep her safe, as it's a tough/violent area.

After finding evidence that the chemicals have been smuggled out, Smith and Petrie are spotted By Manson and security. They manage to escape outside to the car, where the cop is still waiting, and they act drunk. The cop believes that they're just drunk tourists and tells Manson that the two thieves are likely someone else (vote this cop for the Darwin award!). Manson knows that the two are the thieves, but he can't admit that to the cop, given the smuggling he's hiding.

Smith and Petrie go back to their hotel room, discussing the case, and saying that they won't bother the police this late at night and that they'll wait until morning! These two are in line for a Darwin themselves! Suddenly Manson and a few henchman burst into the room, holding the two investigators at gunpoint...

Will Smith and Petrie get out of this alive?
Will Fu Manchu's dastardly plan succeed?
Will this climax be wrapped up immediately in under thirty seconds?

This was a fun first episode, albeit some hilariously abrupt scenes. The acting is decent, the heroes are cool, and the villains are devious and entertaining...though Glen Gordon is a terrible actor! He's still fun to watch though, so that's a plus.

Another note about this series is that each episode ended with Fu Manchu, angry about his foiled plans, going over to his chess-board, grabbing a piece from it, and snapping it in two!...