In the Bogie Man’s Cave (1907)

IN THE BOGIE MAN’S CAVE (1907)
aka La Cuisine de l’ogre
Article 2533 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-12-2008
Posting Date: 7-19-2008
Directed by Georges Melies
Cast Unknown
Country: France

A bogie man (or ogre, as the case may be) makes a meal out of a captured man. However, he falls asleep, and dreams that the men that he’s eaten come back to seek revenge.

Melies gives us another argument about why you should watch your diet; what you eat may come back to haunt you. Last night I saw talking cows, pigs, carrots, and heads of lettuce, but then, I was watching “The Muppet Show”. At least they didn’t try to cook me; had they done so, I would have come back to haunt them. It’s a vicious circle, I tell you.

Sorry, I’m rambling. Me, I spell bogie man with two o’s, but that’s a propos of nothing, and I only made that last comment because I wanted to use “a propos” in a sentence. Life is full of its minor pleasures.

All right, I’ll shut up.

 

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Inn of the Damned (1975)

INN OF THE DAMNED (1975)
Article 2524 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-2-2008
Posting Date: 7-10-2008
Directed by Terry Bourke
Featuring Judith Anderson, Alex Cord, Michael Craig
Country: Australia

A trooper tries to hunt down a wanted man, and then investigates an inn with which he was associated. The inn has a history of people going missing after they’ve stayed there; in truth, the owners of the inn have been murdering the guests for their money.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday; an Australian horror western. It’s a fairly interesting movie in its way, but it isn’t really successful. Part of the reason is that the movie never really settles down into what it wants to be, and ends up trying several approaches. The first half of the movie concentrates on the chase of a criminal and the second half of the movie concentrates on the goings-on at the inn, where a madwoman and her husband murder the guests in various ways. Individual moments work well enough, but at one time or another it aspires to be a western action thriller, a mystery, a horror movie and an exploitation movie (there’s a lot of gratuitous nudity and an unnecessary lesbian subplot during one twenty minute stretch of the film). For those watching it for its horror movie elements, you’ll find most of the first half of the movie a waste of time. It does build up a good amount of suspense during the final showdown between the trooper and the innkeepers, and this is the best part of the movie. Unfortunately, it tries to end the movie with one of the most protracted explanations of “why these mad people do what they do” since PSYCHO, and it tries way too hard to make us feel sorry for them. It’s worth catching if you’re interested in something different, even if it doesn’t hang together very well.

 

Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972)

INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS (1972)
Article 2510 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-17-2008
Posting Date: 6-26-2008
Directed by Ed Adlum
Featuring Norman Kelly, Tanna Hunter, Bruce Detrick
Country: USA

Druids are attempting to revive their goddess with the blood of a person immune to a disease. Scientists try to figure things out, but soon the druids set their sights on them.

You know, the first four words of this title, INVASION OF THE BLOOD —-, is pretty good; it’s the final word, FARMERS, that starts to bring the giggles. And if the title doesn’t start you giggling, wait till you check out the acting and dialogue in this no-budget horror movie filmed in upstate New York. One interesting idea pops up; the idea of a blood disease that causes blood cells to multiply at a maddening pace is something that could make for the basis of an interesting movie (I’m sure Cronenberg could have done something with it). The idea seems out of place in the silliness of the rest of the movie, which has characters named Creton, Egon, Sontag, Ogmar, and Queen Onhorrid, and features some of the stupidest cops I’ve seen in years. This was the sole directorial effort of Ed Adlum, but not his only contribution to the genre; as an actor, writer, and producer he would contribute to bringing the world SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED, which I’ve not seen yet, but which I’m confident will probably be as silly as this one.

Here are some other unpromising words to use to end the title of this movie.

INVASION OF THE BLOOD PLUMBERS
INVASION OF THE BLOOD WAITERS
INVASION OF THE BLOOD TRUCKERS
INVASION OF THE BLOOD SNORKLERS
INVASION OF THE BLOOD ACTUARIES
INVASION OF THE BLOOD CLAIMS ADJUSTERS

Feel free to add your own.

 

Infernal Trio (1974)

INFERNAL TRIO (1974)
aka Le Trio infernal
Article 2509 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-16-2008
Posting Date: 6-25-2008
Directed by Francis Girod
Featuring Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Mascha Gonska
Country: France/West Germany/Italy

A French man and two German sisters engage in a series of insurance-bilking scams.

What’s the fantastic content in this French black comedy? A goodly portion of the middle of this movie involves a rather horrific sequence where the insurance-bilkers (the trio of the title) engage in a bloody double murder and use a particularly disgusting method of body disposal; these sequences push the movie into horror territory, though the movie never really turns into outright horror. This one was very difficult to follow; I was a good fifteen minutes into this before I was able to pick up any sort of plot thread that could help me figure out what was going on, and even after having seen the entire movie, I’m still not sure about the significance of sizable chunks of the movie. It might make more sense on a second viewing, now that I have more of a sense of what’s going on, certain early scenes might sort themselves out. I had to read some of the user comments on IMDB to help me with this one; it was apparently based on true events that happened in the twenties. As usual, since this is a French movie, I saw comments talking about its political subtexts in which the word “bourgeoisie” gets used a lot. I found this one interesting enough, but overall I’m just not sure how I feel about it. Perhaps when I give it that second viewing sometime down the road…

 

The Invisible Terror (1963)

THE INVISIBLE TERROR (1963)
aka Der Unsichtbare
Article 2480 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-18-2008
Posting Date: 5-27-2008
Directed by Raphael Nussbaum
Featuring Hannes Schmidhauser, Ellen Schwiers, Herbert Stass
Country: West Germany

A scientist creates an invisibility formula. Unfortunately, he vanishes at the same time a guard is murdered during a payroll robbery.

It starts out like your basic science fiction story, but once the invisibility formula starts being used, the invisible man vanishes. Unfortunately, I don’t mean just that he becomes invisible; I mean that for a goodly portion of the story, he seems to disappear from the storyline, as the movie takes a turn into krimi territory; this is a German movie from the early sixties, you know. It even name-drops the Edgar Wallace series at one point. In short, it largely turns into a crime/mystery movie, and, like too many of the krimis, too many characters clutter the landscape, and it becomes nearly impossible to follow. There’s the occasional interesting idea (invisible men show up in photographs) and the oddball character here and there (the harmonica player named Fatso who would take advantage of invisibility by following Brigitte Bardot), but for the most part, it’s a badly-dubbed bore. It did make me want to go out and buy a guinea pig, though.

 

The Iron Claw (1941)

THE IRON CLAW (1941)
Article 2426 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-18-2007
Posting Date: 4-3-2008
Directed by James V. Horne
Featuring Charles Quigley, Joyce Bryant, Forrest Taylor

A treasure from an old Spanish galleon is the goal of various members of the Benson family as well as a gang of thieves. One of these people doubles as a caped and masked villain (with an iron claw for a hand) called The Iron Claw. Who is it? Two reporters and a comic-relief cop try to find out.

The opening scenes of this mystery serial are so confusing that it really started off on the wrong foot for me, and, in general, I don’t care much for mystery serials, as I don’t think the form really lends itself to mysteries very well. After a while, though, this one began to win me over, largely thanks to the fact that it takes a somewhat campy, over-the-top approach to its thrills, and I found this a relief from most of the other serials I’ve seen recently, most of which have been latter-day Republic serials (after they abandoned the warehouse-wrecking fights and settled for blandness). The Iron Claw himself represents the horror content here; he’s your typical masked villain with a gimmick. The heroine screams a lot, the reporter’s photographer buddy Flash gets beat up a lot, and I’ll never understand why the police department chooses to send out its comic relief cops to solve these cases. At least they keep the bail-out cliffhanger resolutions to a minimum.

 

It’s a Small World (1950)

IT’S A SMALL WORLD (1950)
Article 2397 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-19-2007
Posting Date: 3-5-2008
Directed by William Castle
Featuring Paul Dale, Anne Sholter, Todd Karns

A midget longs for love and acceptance in the real world, but finds it tough going.

First of all, let’s deal with the fantastic content in this movie; there is none. The only reason for its inclusion in this series is that midgets fall into the category of “freaks and deformities” that make up one of the common subjects of horror movies, and therefore nudges up against the genre close enough that one of my sources saw fit to include it. As for the movie itself, if the exploitation concept of a midget in love with a full-size woman strikes you as fascinating, you might have a use for this one. If, however, you are hoping for some new or subtle insights into what it would be like for a midget to live in this world, there is little here for you; the movie only touches on the most obvious of ideas, such as him being sensitive about being a midget. You won’t be surprised at where he ends up and how he finds love at the end of the movie. The most interesting plot development is when he joins a gang of criminals and becomes a pickpocket, though it’s not really a very convincing thing to happen. It’s not a bad movie; there’s just not much more to it than the central exploitation concept.