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Showing posts from June 29, 2003
Bambi Meets Godzilla (film #1 on Weird Cartoons (Rhino, 1987) Also, extra on Godzilla and Other Movie Monsters (Passport Video, 1998). Also, film #7 on Godzilla Trailers & Sci-Fi Monsters (Simitar Entertainment, 1998)). [Category: Hollywood]A classic. I won't give away the ending, but if you haven't seen this, you definitely need to. Interesting trivia: Apparently, Marv Newland made this as a class assignment at the last minute! Shows what a little deadline pressure can do.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: *****.
Allen Carpet Commercial (film #323 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]A housewife is served coffee and mints by a solicitous carpet salesman who wants to please her so much it hurts. And it hurts to watch him. A mildly amusing bit of commercial flotsam from the 60s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Because of Eve extras (extras on Because of Eve (Something Weird)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]To complete the "roadshow" theme, I guess, Something Weird threw on a bunch of really weird psychedelic stripper footage to the end of this tape. Strippers switch back and forth between positive and negative film images, get tormented by black blobs drawn on the fim stock, interact in a disturbing way with snakes, and generally behave in a trippy fashion. Weird, man, weird.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Along the Way (film #324 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]This 60s film gives a glowing report on the progress of building the BART (Bay Area Rapid Trasit) subway and interurban train system in the San Francisco bay area. Endless footage of construction is shown while the narrator tells us how wonderful it and good for the city it will all be. Whether or not it fulfilled this rosy promise is not for me to say, since I've never been to San Francisco. I guess this film has some historical value, though.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.
Alphabet Antics (MST3K Episode #307: Daddy-O). [Category: Educational] Kindergartners are taught the alphabet through the use of stock footage. Seriously, it seems like the only criteria used for choosing what will represent each letter is what stock footage they had lying around, and if they didn't have anything good for a particular letter, they just used what they had and stretched it (example: "T" is for "trying terribly hard" and the visual is some bear cubs trying to reach baby bottles hung from a string just out of their reach––Tom Servo says "T is for tormented, tortured, and teased!" which would fit just as well). Some of the stock footage looks positively ancient. The msting is pretty good.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: **. Msting: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Arrival of Express at Lyons (film #2 on Pioneers of the French Cinema (Hollywood's Attic, 1996). Also, film #6 on The Movies Begin, Volume Two: The European Pioneers (Kino Video, 1994) (titled "Arrivee d'un Train")). [Category: Early Film & TV]A train pulls into a station going 15 miles per hour. A bunch of people get off and get on. No other train pulls into no other station on no other track. How long is your interest held? Show your work. An 1895 Lumiere film. The version on The Movies Begin is in much better shape than the version on Pioneers of the French Cinema.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: **. Overall Rating: *.
The Auction (film #6 in the Indie Section of Movieflix (www.movieflix.com)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]This film features a high-class art auction in which some of the participants are dangerous psychos and most of the other participants are merely annoying psychos. Natually, things degenerate into chaos eventually. This mostly elicits a big "huh?", but it is a lot better than most of the other Movieflix Indie films I've seen so far. Some of the characters are pretty interesting and the humor is generally above college freshman level, which it deserves some credit for. Still, I think it would be better if it were just a little bit less obtuse.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: **. Overall Rating: ***.
The Big Bounce (film #450 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: News]This film, made by Bell Labs, documents the first satellite telephone transmissions, using a satellite balloon named Echo. Considering how ubiquitous satellite communications are today, this is rather quaint to watch. It's pretty straightforward and well-made, with some mstable moments. President Eisenhower's recorded message, back with "America the Beautiful" is schmaltzy as all get-out. Overall the film is a mildly interesting bit of history.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Appointment in Tokyo (film #2 in the WWII section of Movieflix (www.movieflix.com)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]This film documents the war in the Pacific during the last months of WWII, especially the drive to re-take the Phillipines. Battle and tactical footage is interspersed with interesting sequences that dramatize the GIs' thoughts, as well as fairly grisly footage of the dead, the wounded, and the suffering. The film ends with scenes of the formal Japanese surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri. All in all, it's an interesting document of the last days of the war, from an American perspective. Especially interesting is some of the footage of the infantry slogging away through the mud––you really get a sense of what it must have been like to have been one of them.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Alchemist in Hollywood (film #312 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]Hollywood film processors try to show us how exciting their career is by making the most boring film ever. They start by writing a script that tells us in excruciating detail the exact chemical processes of film development. They hire boring narrators to carefully and slowly read the script word-for-word (at one point, you actually hear one of them turning the pages!). They illustrate this science lecture with such exciting visuals as plain title cards with chemical formulas on them, disembodied hands mixing things in beakers, and bored-looking technicians doing their jobs with grim determination. Isn't Hollywood an amazing land of dreams?
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.
Classic Sci-Fi Trailers, Vol. 3 (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Commercial]Still more science fiction movie trailers from the 50s and 60s. This tape contains a lot of trailers from particularly campy movies, so lovers of cheese should enjoy it. Ends with a bang with the trailer from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Highlights:
Did you know that Them! is an acronym for Terror, Horror, Excitement, and Mystery?
The trailer for The Giant Claw actually shows the monster! What were they thinking? (And if you've never seen this, the single most ridiculous-looking monster in screen history, you are sorely deprived and need this tape!)
The Brain Eaters will "burst your blood vessels with suspense"! And if that's not enough, see Attack of the Giant Leeches, where "fear will pierce your flesh"!
Journey to the Center of the Earth stars Pat Boone and Gertrude the Duck! See their journey through the Mammoth Mushroom Forest!
The Hideous Sun Demon breaks into the lab of "Atomic Re…
The Flying Saucer Mystery (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]This short exploitation "documentary" about flying saucers is pretty much what you'd expect, and that means it's pretty campy. There's the usual array of blurry photographs of barely visible round objects in the sky, local yokels giving eyewitness reports, scientists pooh-poohing it all, and air force generals reassuring us that they found no threat to national security from all this. An extra element of weirdness is provided by the aerodynamically-sound ears on most of the people in the film, including a real pair of whoppers on UFO expert Donald Keyhoe. Lots of fun. Sinister Cinema rounded out the tape with a selection of 50s sci-fi movie trailers with an alien invasion theme.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
The Airport (film #308 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]This straightforward Encyclopedia Brittanica film about airports is pretty dull in and of itself, but it has tremendous msting potential. With lines like "Here is the pilot. He is high in his plane," and "The passengers are waiting to get off," how can you resist? And when you see how small and low-tech the airports are and how easy it is for passengers to get on a flight, you will probably have a lot of post-9/11 hostility to vent.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
America Goes Over (film #343 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]This is a sort of This Film Is Restricted for World War I, which is surprising, because I didn't know such a thing existed. This 1918 U.S. Government war newsreel tries its best to give the viewer a complete picture of what it was like Over There. The usual battle scenes are interspersed with fascinating human interest stuff, such as recruits getting their teeth inspected, Salvation Army volunteers handing out doughnuts, doughboys getting their heads shaved, KP, slop buckets, trench digging, interrogating German prisoners, animal mascots, and yes, dead bodies (though shown only briefly and without a lot of blood). Many of the title cards have cartoon drawings of doughboys in various humorous situations (for example, check out what the cartoonist counts as "decorations"). Kudos to the Prelinger Archive for preserving this––it has incredible historical value.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. …
Alexis Lichine Wine Commercial (film #338 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]Standard, unremarkable early 60s wine commercial. It does have a good shot of a cork coming out of a bottle with a loud pop, if you're looking for footage of that.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: **. Overall Rating: *.
Beauty and the Beast (extra on The Beast That Killed Women/The Monster of Camp Sunshine DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Hey! I've got an idea! Wouldn't one of these burlesque dancing shorts be a lot better if a guy in a gorilla costume came out and ripped the woman's clothes off? A guy in a really bad gorilla costume?? This definitely goes into the "I can't believe I'm watching this" category. I'm sure this is what the woman in the film went to dancing school for.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
All the Way Home (film #319 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]Remember the 50s, folks? Remember what a better, simpler time it was? Remember how people lived in nice safe neighborhoods where it was safe for children to play? Unless, of course, you show the house you are selling to an African-American family. Then tongues will wag, telephone harassment will ensue, and your grandchild will get a can of black paint thrown at her from a moving car. Ah yes, racism. That was a part of the 50s, too. This film about housing discrimination serves as a reminder that it really wasn't so long ago that most white people were sure that the presence of a single black family in their neighborhood would turn it into a slum, realtors made under-the-table agreements with banks to turn down mortgages from African-Americans who wanted to move into the "wrong" neighborhood, home sellers were harassed for even showing their houses to persons of the wrong skin color, and it was a…
Creation excerpts (film #7 on Creature Silent Feature (Creepy Classics). Also, extra #3 on Dinosaurs! (Simitar Entertainment, 1993). Also, film #6 on Willis O'Brien Films (LS Video)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Scenes from Creation, an unfinished 1931 film with stop-motion animation done by Willis O'Brien (the man who animated King Kong). Stop motion dinosaurs frolic on a jungle set along with various zoo animals. The highlight is a very upsetting scene of a really cute baby triceratops getting shot by a Great White Hunter. The final scene is of the mama triceratops chasing the hunter, and you will definitely be rooting for the dinosaur all the way. An interesting relic, especially for animation fans.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.