The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975)

THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (1975)
aka La maldicion de la bestia, Night of the Howling Beast
Article 3828 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-27-2012
Posting Date: 2-6-2012
Directed by Miguel Iglesias
Featuring Paul Naschy, Mercedes Molina, Silvia Solar
Country: Spain
What it is: Werewolf/Yeti action

An explorer on an expedition to find the Yeti is bitten by a werewolf and becomes one himself. Can he find a cure to his condition?

The film opens with the Yeti attacking an exploratory party. The Yeti turns out to be a large creature with black fur and white fangs. This is all well and good, I suppose, but I did find myself asking whether this was the Yeti or the Werewolf, who also has black fur and white fangs. The context of the story helped me find the answer, but the point I’m making is – wouldn’t it have been more interesting to pair up a couple of monsters that looked different?

Still, the movie ended up pretty much what I expected; it’s another of Paul Naschy’s “El Hombre Lobo” movies, and it has Naschy once again in the role of hero/monster. There’s also some torture, sex, sadism and nudity, plus all these beautiful women who want to sleep with Naschy. There’s some bandits and evil sorceresses to add to the usual Naschy monster mash mix. Those who know and like Naschy’s movies will probably be quite happy with this one; there’s little in the way of surprises. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me about it was the neat way the movie makes use of the Tibetan setting to dovetail it with a similar plot device from WEREWOLF OF LONDON, indicating that Naschy knows a bit of cinematic werewolf history.

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Where Has Poor Mickey Gone? (1964)

WHERE HAS POOR MICKEY GONE? (1964)
Article 3827 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-26-2012
Posting Date: 2-5-2012
Directed by Gerry Levy
Featuring Warren Mitchell, John Malcolm, Ray Armstrong
Country: UK
What it is: An eerie tale

A gang of hooligans break into a magician’s shop and terrorize the owner. When they force him to give a magic performance, they discover that he may be more than he seems…

This movie has only a 4.9 rating on IMDB. I’m not sure why, but one other fact may explain it. My copy only ran about 35 minutes, a good deal shorter than the given running time of 59 minutes. The plot description on IMDB says that the hooligans are ejected from a nightclub, and there are several members in the cast list playing people in the nightclub. My print picks up with the hooligans out on the street, which I suspect comes after the nightclub scene. I’m wondering if that scene turned out to be long and unnecessary; as far as I”m concerned, I saw everything I needed in order to understand the characters and the situation, and its 35 minute running time was brisk and to the point. So maybe this edited version is stronger than the full one. At any rate, in its present shape, it’s like a slightly long episode of “The Twilight Zone”, well acted, fun and rather eerie.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971)
aka La notte che Evelyn usci dalla tomba
Article 3826 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-25-2012
Posting Date: 2-4-2012
Directed by Emilio Miraglia
Featuring Anthony Steffen, Marina Malfatti, Erika Blanc
Country: Italy
What it is: Horror story with twists and turns

A troubled Lord, haunted by the death of his wife, picks up red-headed prostitutes and kills them. Eventually he decides that he can escape the haunting if he marries again. But this starts a whole new chain of horror…

I’ll give this movie a certain amount of credit for continually managing to get more complex as it goes along without giving the game away early on. It starts out looking like it’s going to be like a sixties-style Italian horror movie (only with more nudity than they could get away with earlier), but it doesn’t stop there, eventually having as many twists and turns as a giallo. Still, though I admire the structure somewhat, I’m afraid I really didn’t find the whole journey a lot of fun, and once I think back on the plot as a whole, I start wondering about the purpose or necessity of certain scenes; for one thing, I’m not sure I can find a really good reason for the lord’s second wife trying to establish whether his first wife is still in her tomb. In the end, it’s a movie I more admire than like.

Little Boy Blue and Pancho (1962)

LITTLE BOY BLUE AND PANCHO (1962)
aka Little Boy Blue, Paraiso escondido
Article 3825 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-24-2012
Posting Date: 2-3-2012
Directed by Mauricio de la Serna and Raphael J. Sevilla
Featuring Maria Elena Marques, Jorge Martinez de Hoyos, Luis Osorno Barona Jr.
Country: Mexico
What it is: A boy and his monkey

A Yucatan farm boy collects animals, but his favorite is a monkey named Pancho. When his father gets irritated by the monkey’s mischief, he gives it away to a beggar, who sells it to a couple of poachers. The boy undertakes a trek through the jungle to find his beloved monkey.

Here’s another K. Gordon Murray release of a Mexican children’s movie, but unlike most of the others I’ve seen, this is not a bizarre fantasy, but rather a straightforward adventure tale. It’s “The Motion Picture Guide” that has misidentified the movie as fantasy, but it’s not the first time I’ve questioned their genre classifications. The only content here that places it in the fantastic genres is more horror than fantasy; there’s a scene in a spooky old hacienda with a skeleton, and we see the skeleton’s head crawling on the ground, only to discover that there’s an animal under it. It is a bit creepy, but it’s only one scene, and it’s the only moment where the movie tries anything of this ilk. On its own terms, it’s passable, though it helps if you like animal footage; if not, there’s no point in looking for this one. There’s some adventure, a little action, a little tear-jerking, and lots of landscape. In my book, this is another false alarm.

Blood Relations (1977)

BLOOD RELATIONS (1977)
aka Bloedverwanten
Article 3824 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-23-2012
Posting Date: 2-2-2012
Directed by Wim Lindner
Featuring Sophie Deschamps, Maxim Hamel, Ralph Arliss
Country: France / Netherlands
What it is: Horror comedy

A nurse arrives at a small town to discover that the blood supply at the hospital is being raided by a small group of vampires.

The above plot description is an approximation based on what I was able to figure out visually. As you know by now, I don’t always see these movies under ideal circumstances; for example, I often end up watching movies that are not dubbed in or subtitled in English. The odd thing about this one is that I do appear to have an English print of the movie; the credits are in English. The trouble is that my copy lacks a certain something; namely, a soundtrack. The experience was somewhat like watching a movie in a foreign language, except I can’t even rely on sound, music, or even the fluctuations of the human voice to help me out. Still, I was able to figure out that the movie was at least partially a comedy, and it looks like a rather offbeat and interesting one at that. The vampires aren’t the conventional sort; they drink their blood out of bottles, sometimes with straws, and the only neck-biting is in a scene from a movie they end up watching. Naturally, I can’t give any worthwhile critique of this one; however, it is one in which I’d revisit if I could get it with the soundtrack. Until then, all I can say is that it looks quite interesting.

The Virgin President (1969)

THE VIRGIN PRESIDENT (1969)
Article 3823 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-22-2012
Posting Date: 2-1-2012
Directed by Graeme Ferguson
Featuring Severn Darden, Richard Neuweiler, Andrew Duncan
Country: USA
What it is: Political satire

A cabal of political advisers decides to assassinate the president, and then to use their powers of persuasion to control his successor, the president’s son who has been locked away in a bunker since he was four.

This movie takes place in the future, thus giving it a certain amount of science fiction content. It also features a ghost and a seance, thus giving the movie some horror content as well. Overall, it’s a comic political satire in black and white and what seems to be an incredibly low budget. The most striking credit in the movie is that the writing is credited to the actors, implying that the movie is improvisational in nature, but I can’t help but notice that IMDB credits only director Graeme Ferguson and star Severn Darden in that capacity, implying that it isn’t quite as improvisational as it seems. Still, it does feel improvised at times; the opening sequence makes you feel that you’re catching the film in the process that it’s being made, and there’s at least one on-camera crack-up to be seen. It’s a pretty amusing movie, but it’s perhaps played a little too broadly for its satire to work, though I can’t help but admire that the premise that this president’s destruction of the USA ends up having a very different definition of “destruction” than is usually thought, and it ultimately becomes the punch line of the movie. Outside of Darden, the only actors I recognized from elsewhere were Paul Benedict and Peter Boyle. Director Ferguson mostly works in the documentary field with an emphasis on movies about space exploration.

Sette scialli di seta gialla (1972)

SETTE SCIALLI DI SETA GIALLA (1972)
aka Crimes of the Black Cat
Article 3822 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-21-2012
Posting Date: 1-31-2012
Directed by Sergio Pastore
Featuring Anthony Steffen, Sylva Koscina, Giovanna Lenzi
Country: Italy
What it is: Giallo

A murderer is killing models in Copenhagen using a black cat whose claws have been dipped in curare. A man overhears a conversation which may reveal the murderer… but he is a blind pianist who can’t visually identify the killer.

I hear there’s a version of this one out there with English subtitles, but that’s not the one I ended up with; my copy is in Italian with no subtitles. Giallo is one of those genres that is very difficult to follow under such circumstances, though a few plot descriptions here and there did give me an inkling of what was going on. One says the plot is largely copied from BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, so watching that one again may help. Based on what I could follow, this is probably a fairly decent giallo, though its stylistic touches are the type I find more irritating than enticing – specifically, its high-speed multiple zooms during the murder sequences. In terms of the gore content, this is for the most part one of the milder examples from the genre, but it’s mostly to put you off your guard; there’s a murder near the end that’s in the running for one of the most gruesome ever committed to celluloid. My favorite scene has the blind pianist drawn into a treacherous environment where his blindness may be the death of him.