Blue Demon contra cerebros infernales (1968)

BLUE DEMON CONTRA CEREBROS INFERNALES (1968)
aka Blue Demon vs. the Infernal Brains

Article 2471 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-7-2008
Posting Date: 5-18-2008
Directed by Chano Urueta
Featuring David Reynoso, Ana Martin, Noe Murayama
Country: Mexico

Mad scientists are removing the brains of non-mad scientists, putting new brains in their heads, and turning them into zombies. Mexican wrestler Blue Demon must prevent this.

Let’s define our terms.

MEXICAN WRESTLING MOVIE – what this is

BLUE DEMON – heroic Mexican wrestler. You can’t have a Mexican Wrestling Movie without one.

MASK – What heroic Mexican wrestlers wear. Blue Demon’s is blue. As if you couldn’t guess.

BEAT UP BAD GUYS – What heroic Mexican wrestlers do in these movies.

WRESTLE – What heroic Mexican wrestlers do in these movies when they aren’t advancing the plot.

WRESTLING SCENES – What happens in this movie when the plot isn’t being advanced.

SINGING AND DANCING SCENES – What happens in this movie when the plot isn’t being advanced and the heroic Mexican wrestler is in the bathroom.

BRIGHT COLORS – What you’ll see lots of if you see my copy of this movie. Honestly, this is one of the most colorful Mexican wrestling movies I’ve ever scene.

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE – What you won’t get any of if you see my copy of this movie. In short, undubbed Spanish.

BAD SPECIAL EFFECTS – What you’ll get during the scenes where brains are being removed and inserted.

BRAINS – What the bad guys are taking out of and putting into the scientists’ heads.

SCIENTISTS’ FOREHEADS – What the bad guys will press their disembodied brains against when they’re trying to give the illusion they’re putting brains back into the scientists when it’s obvious the scientists’ heads are fully intact. See BAD SPECIAL EFFECTS.

SEXY GO-GO DANCERS – What the bad guys’ female robots look like.

JANITORS – What the bad guys’ male robots look like.

SEXY GO-GO DANCERS WITH PARALYZING GUNS – What the referees miss when they’re trying to manage one of those wrestling scenes.

TRUMPET WITH SEVERE NECK STRAIN – What is played by the band during the Singing and Dancing scenes.

MINISKIRTS – What is worn by the females during the dancing scenes.

BLUE CAPE AND TIGHTS – What Blue Demon wears all the time.

LAME EXCUSE FOR A REVIEW – What you’ve just read.

 

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Bird of Paradise (1951)

BIRD OF PARADISE (1951)
Article 2470 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-6-2008
Posting Date: 5-17-2008
Directed by Delmer Daves
Featuring Debra Paget, Louis Jordan, Jeff Chandler
Country: USA

A Frenchman comes to a Polynesian island with a returning native and decides to stay there when he falls in love with the chief’s daughter. However, he has to be careful not to break the tribal taboos, and he has to contend with the Kahuna, the local witch doctor who does not approve of him.

I’ve heard this movie denigrated quite a bit, primarily for two reasons. The first is that the story is old-fashioned and hokey, and, what with the maiden sacrifice to the volcano, I suppose it is. The other is with the casting, with Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget and Yiddish stage actor Maurice Schwartz as Polynesians. But anyone who has enough experience with older films should be able to get around the latter problem, and, as far as I’m concerned, the actors do a convincing enough job so the illusion is not broken. For me, the movie has one thing really going for it; the native dances and rituals are extremely convincing, and the opening credits claim they were based on real Polynesian dances and rituals. This gives the movie that extra sense of verisimilitude, and I really felt like I was being transported into another culture, which is something I always enjoy in a movie. The fantastic content is that some of the native beliefs have a reality in the story; a woman walks across hot coals without burning herself, a waterfall turns red with blood at one point, and the solution to the problem of the erupting volcano seems to work.

 

The Big Game (1972)

THE BIG GAME (1972)
Article 2452 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-19-2007
Posting Date: 4-29-2008
Directed by Robert Day
Featuring Stephen Boyd, France Nuyen, Ray Milland
Country: USA/South Africa

The son of an inventor is blackmailed by a spy organization so they can get their hands on one of his father’s inventions – a machine that can control men’s minds from a distance.

“The Motion Picture Guide” was a multi-volume movie guide that came out in the mid-eighties; it was much anticipated, but proved a real disappointment when it first came out. I myself picked it up, and though it does have its uses, it certainly wasn’t worth the exorbitant amount I paid for it. For those who want an example of a its sloppiness, be aware that when describing this movie, it refers to it as a drama about big game hunting. Obviously, they never saw the movie; there is no big game hunting in the movie at all. I suspect they came up with the plot description after looking at the title of the movie, and little else. They do give it a fairly low rating, though, and that’s accurate enough; at best, this thriller is pedestrian and ordinary, but mostly it’s just dull. The science fiction concept behind it is its most interesting aspect; the concept of a machine that can take over the minds of armies and make them do their bidding is a truly frightening idea, and it’s sad that the best they can do with the idea is to make it the Gizmo Maguffin in a low-budget spy thriller. The closest I’ve seen to this idea being used before was REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES , and that one was no better, though they used the idea more. The star power doesn’t help; of the name actors here, only Cameron Mitchell really does a memorable job, but he’s been the best thing in many movies far worse than this, so he knows his way around bad movies. The movie attempts to have a profound ending (which is where the title is finally explained), and it might have worked had the rest of the movie been up to scratch. As it is, this one is forgettable.

 

The Barefoot Executive (1971)

THE BAREFOOT EXECUTIVE (1971)
Article 2379 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-30-2007
Posting Date: 2-16-2008
Directed by Robert Butler
Featuring Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Harry Morgan

An ambitious mailboy at a TV network discovers that his girlfriend’s chimp can pick the best-rated TV shows. He decides to use the chimp’s ability to help his own ambitions to move up the executive ladder.

Apparently the fantastic content of this show is that a chimp is better able to pick hit TV shows than Joe Flynn and Harry Morgan. Though I don’t mean this as a slap against either Flynn of Morgan, I see nothing fantastic about this concept; with the recent spate of popular reality TV shows, I find it quite plausible that a chimp may be in charge. At any rate, I don’t think there’s enough fantastic content to qualify this one as genre. Nevertheless, I found this one of Disney’s more enjoyable shopping-cart movies; like many of their better comedies, it has a satirical edge and (for the most part) eschews over-the-top slapstick. As usual, there’s the great cast of familiar faces; on top of those listed above, we also have Wally Cox (who steals the movie as Flynn’s nervous chauffeur), Hayden Rorke, John Ritter (in his first theatrical movie role) and one-time serial actor Tristram Coffin (as a sponsor). One of my favorite things in this movie is to listen to the names of the various programs and then try to figure which real-life programs are being referenced; you’ll find references to “Star Trek”, “Laugh-In”, “I Love Lucy”, “I Spy”, and others. And, remember, “Abe Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog” is not the same as “Abe Lincoln’s Dog’s Doctor”.

Hey, here’s an idea for a reality show – “Can your Pet Be a Big TV Executive?”. People bring in their pets and they compete to see who will be the next head of a network. Let me run that one past the chimp and see if it will fly…

 

The Brain Machine (1977)

THE BRAIN MACHINE (1977)
aka Grey Matter
Article 2378 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-29-2007
Posting Date: 2-15-2008
Directed by Joy N. Houck Jr.
Featuring James Best, Barbara Burgess, Gil Peterson

Four volunteers are involved in a scientific experiment designed to explore the problems of overpopulation and pollution. However, unbeknownst to all, the experiment is being used as a front by secret government agency experimenting with mind-reading.

I figure that we’re all entitled to like certain movies that the rest of the world has no use for. And with a 3.3 rating on IMDB, it’s apparent that this movie doesn’t have much love coming its way. Nevertheless, I found myself entranced by this one. In some ways, it comes down to how you respond to the confused story; where I’m sure other people find annoying muddle, I found alluring mystery. I found myself caught up in the characters who volunteered for the experiment, especially James Best’s troubled reverend. I also found some of the philosophical questions about truth and mortality to be rather interesting. Still, I do agree that in the final analysis, the movie doesn’t make much sense, and I also found it rather hard to keep track of the characters not directly involved in the lab experiment. Nevertheless, I found it fascinating enough that I’d be willing to give it another viewing to try to sort things out, though I do understand why others wouldn’t bother with it. The cast also features Gerald McRaney as one of the other experimental subjects.

 

The Black Abbot (1963)

THE BLACK ABBOT (1963)
aka Der Schwarze Abt
Article 2369 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-20-2007
Posting Date: 2-6-2008
Directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb
Featuring Joachim Fuchsberger, Grit Bottcher, Dieter Borsche

A man is killed in a deserted abbey by a hooded being known as the Black Abbot. Detectives come to investigate, and find themselves caught up in a web that involves a hidden cache of gold.

The print I managed to get of this movie was in extremely good condition, the dubbing was better than usual, it was letterboxed, and the credits were in color (the rest of the movie is in black and white). All of these elements made me initially excited about viewing this entry in Germany’s series of Edgar Wallace movies; it was really shaping up to be something special. Unfortunately, disappointment set in fairly early; the story involves a bewildering array of characters, and trying to sort them out in the first part of the movie turned out to be a real chore, and a rather tiresome one. Throw in a singularly unfunny comic relief character, and things just get worse. Still, once the plot gets moving again and they start thinning out the cast with a series of murders, things pick up considerably. I suspect that the plot is pretty good, and I think about this one as I do about so many of the other movies in the series, in that I’m willing to bet it’s one of those movies that really repays on a second watching. Still, I do feel a little disappointed with this one, especially in comparison to some of the coherently plotted Dr. Mabuse movies I’ve seen lately.

 

The Baron’s African War (1966)

THE BARON’S AFRICAN WAR (1966)
Feature version of MANHUNT IN THE AFRICAN JUNGLE (1943)
Article 2316 by Dave Sindelar
Vewing Date: 7-29-2007
Posting Date: 12-15-2007
Directed by Spencer Bennet
Featuring Rod Cameron, Joan Marsh, Lionel Royce

Yesterday I covered a bogus TV-movie culled together from episodes of a TV series. Today, for a change of pace, I’m covering a bogus TV-movie culled together from episodes of an old serial. In comparing the experiences, I have to admit I prefer covering the ones culled from TV series; at least I haven’t already covered the originals as part of this series. For the record, this probably does as decent a job as any of converting a serial to a feature, but, like most of the others, it only manages to convert it to a fairly dull feature. As usual, touches of science fiction give it its fantastic content, including the ubiquitous death ray. Nothing new here.