Scream Bloody Murder (1972)

Scream Bloody Murder (1972)
Article 5984 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-17-2021
Directed by Marc B. Ray
Featuring Fred Holbert, Leigh Mitchell, Robert Knox
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho Killer on the loose

A young boy with an Oedipal complex is sent to an institution after killing his father but losing his hand in a farming incident. When he returns home to find his mother has remarried, he becomes even more homicidal, seeing every woman as his mother and all her loves as evil fathers…

So why haven’t I covered this movie earlier? After all, it’s easy to find and is listed in most of the movie guides I used to cull my review list. It’s the result of a technicality. There were two movies from this era that had the same title, and the various guides would conflate them, giving the plot of this movie but listing the credits of the other movie (which is better known now by its other title, MY BROTHER HAS BAD DREAMS). When this sort of thing happened, I made the rule that I would follow the credits first, and this movie was constantly overlooked. So much for the explanation.

As for the movie itself, I’ll start out by saying that I’ve never been much of a believer in the Oedipal complex, and so this movie’s harping on it just made me take it less and less seriously. However, only the first third of the movie emphasizes this aspect. The middle third of the movie however turns to one of my less favorite horror situations, in which a woman is held prisoner and tormented by the psycho, so naturally we have the obligatory long sequence where she desperately tries to escape but you’ll know she’ll fail because that’s how these movies work. For me, the movie only starts to come to life when the woman begins turning the psycho’s stunted sexuality against him, and even if things don’t quite come out as she expected, it’s the only time the movie surprises me. The ending follows logically from this and is perhaps too arty for its own good. Nevertheless, the movie ends up better than I expected it would be, especially after seeing the first two thirds of the movie.

Scrappy’s Side Show (1939)

Scrappy’s Side Show (1939)
Article 5983 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-16-2021
Directed by Arthur Davis
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Scrappy cartoon

Scrappy tries to make some money by putting on a homemade side show, but a mischievous little girl interferes with his acts.

I wasn’t sure whether to give this one a review or not, but I decided to for two reasons. The side show was one of the sources of horror content in the early days of cinema (consider FREAKS and some other Tod Browning movies), and this one has a couple of non-existent exotic (albeit faked) animals, such as a turtle dog (a real dog wearing an umbrella top). Scrappy was a regular cartoon character at Columbia during the thirties who at least didn’t come across like a Mickey Mouse imitation, though he really doesn’t have much of a character (though the picture of him in the opening segment of the cartoon makes him resemble Peter Lorre a bit). The cartoon is fitfully amusing, with my favorite moment coming early on when the little girl digs herself into the side show only to find herself on exhibit as an animal. This one is okay, but nothing special.

The Scared Crows (1939)

The Scared Crows (1939)
Article 5982 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-13-2021
Directed by Dave Fleischer and Dave Tendlar
Featuring the voice of Margie Hines
Country: USA
What it is: Betty Boop cartoon

Betty and her dog Pudgy are planting crops on their farm only to discover that the seeds are being eaten by crows. Will their scarecrow get rid of the pests?

To my understanding, a scarecrow would keep the crows away not by necessarily being scary, but rather by making it appear there was a human being in the field, thus making it less likely that the birds would invade. Such is not the case here; the crows have no fear of either Betty Boop or Pudgy the Dog and only flee when a scary-looking scarecrow is pulled out. This explains why this cartoon qualifies for my reviews; a scarecrow as a scary manifestation makes the cartoon move a little into the realm of horror, especially near the end when Betty dons the costume to frighten the birds. On its own merits, this is one of the lame cartoons from near the end of the Betty Boop series; she is so removed from her sexy flapper image here that she spends the whole cartoon wearing farming clothes. In general, you can guess the quality of a Betty Boop by taking a look at which secondary character is emphasized, and Pudgy was only used after Betty was effectively rid of her early bawdy image. This is one of the weaker cartoons from the Fleischer era.

Satan’s Waitin’ (1954)

Satan’s Waitin’ (1954)
Article 5981 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-11-2021
Directed by Friz Freleng
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: Tweety and Sylvester cartoon

Sylvester ends up dead after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Tweety and finds himself in hell which is run by a devil dog. Fortunately, he has eight more lives, but how long will that last, especially with the dog egging him on?

Truth to tell, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, largely because I had originally mistaken it for a different cartoon (whose name eludes me at the moment) in which a character’s descent to hell is the framing story for a bunch of footage from earlier cartoons, meaning I would end up having another opportunity to grouse about recycling footage, which I never enjoy. Still, this isn’t really one of the better Tweety and Sylvester cartoons, largely because it makes very poor use of Tweety, who is really little more than the prey of the cat here. Perhaps is no surprise that my favorite moment here is a Tweety one, in which he mistakes Sylvester’s frantic flapping of two feathers as a generous attempt to return them to the bird. To my mind, the funniest thing about this particular series is how Tweety generally proves more than a match for Sylvester.

Sandokan, Pirate of Malaysia (1964)

Sandokan, Pirate of Malaysia (1964)
Article 5980 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-6-2021
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Featuring Steve Reeves, Jacqueline Sessard, Mimmo Palmara
Country: Italy / Spain / West Germany / France
What it is: Historical action

Pirate Sandokan aids a rebellious faction in an Asian country to save them from being taken over by British invaders.

Despite the presence of Steve Reeves and its presence in the Mill Creek “Warriors” megapack, this is not a sword and sandal movie; it’s historical action/adventure in a time much closer to the present. Nor would I bother reviewing it if it weren’t listed in the Walt Lee guide; its sole fantastic content is the presence of one of those drugs which cause a man to feign death until given the antidote, a device which drives the plot in the middle of the movie. As for the movie itself, it’s a passable example of the genre, but my viewing is marred by the fact that my copy seems underlit; many of the scenes are so dark it’s difficult to tell one person from another, and that makes it very difficult to appreciate the action sequences. If better copies exist, those seeking to view the movie would be better off waiting for those to show up.

Salvage (1979)

Salvage (1979)
Article 5979 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-5-2021
Directed by Lee Philips
Featuring Andy Griffith, Joel Higgins, Trish Stewart
Country: USA
What it is: Successful TV series pilot

An ambitious junkman conceives of a plan to retrieve salvage from the moon. Can he make his plan become reality?

I’ve seen quite a few TV-Movies intended as pilots for series that never made the grade, but this is one of the exceptions; it did become a series, albeit one that had a very short run. Somehow, I’m not surprised; the premise here is rather far-fetched and I’m not sure a series based on this would work in the long run. On the plus side, the characters are fun, there’s a genuine wit to the proceedings, and it’s rather likable. The first part of the movie is involved with the implementation of the plan and gathering the necessary talent to pull it off; the second mostly plays for suspense and is far more familiar, as it concentrates with the various dangers and setbacks of the voyage to the moon itself. All in all, I rather like it, and I’m glad it was given a chance as a series.

The Sadistic Hypnotist (1969)

The Sadistic Hypnotist (1969)
aka Wanda
Article 5978 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-2-2021
Directed by Greg Corarito
Featuring Katherine Shubeck, Richard Compton, Janine Sweet
Country: USA
What it is: Nudies discover sex, drugs, and stupidity.

A man goes to a sleazy theater and watches a movie in which the male survivor of a car crash is kept prisoner by a sadistic female hypnotist and her gaggle of girls who have their way with him. Can he be rescued by a maniac from the fun-nee farm? And what will happen when they all take drugs?

It’s been a little while since my last review because none of my recent viewings had any of the necessary fantastic content. It certainly doesn’t bode well that this idiotic little feature (which serves as a link between nudies and full-blown porn) is the one that brings me back to the reviews. Between having a whip-wielding maniac, a woman with hypnotic powers, and a framing story with a very common final twist, there’s enough fantastic content to get by. For the record, it seems to be trying to be a comedy,(though it’s really just for the usual exploitation crowd), so I’ll give it a point for it’s best joke, which is how the guys raiding the kitchen find which jar has the LSD in it.

Song of the South (1946)

Song of the South (1946)
Article 5694 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-19-2019
Directed by Harve Foster and Wilfred Jackson
Featuring Ruth Warrick, Bobby Driscoll, James Baskett
Country: USA
What it is: Live action / animation combo

A young boy is left at his grandmother’s plantation and separated from his father. He befriends the story-telling Uncle Remus and deals with his personal problems.

Due to a certain degree of racial controversy about this movie, Disney has never officially released it on home video in the states. I’m not going to delve into the reasons for this other than to say that I’ve seen far more offensive movies that are available. What I will say is that I wasn’t sure I was going to review the movie as I was watching it. Yes, it has animated segments with talking animals, but since that’s not sufficient content for me in reviewing cartoons, I wasn’t sure I was going to make an exception here. It wasn’t until the closing moments of the movie that it really turns into a fantasy when the real world and the cartoon world merge, so I decided to cover it.

As for the movie itself, I like the animated sequences better than I like the live-action story, which comes across a little bit too mechanical on tugging on the heartstrings. However, it’s well acted, and I quite like James Baskett’s performance as Uncle Remus; he apparently showed up to audition for the voice of a butterfly. I do wonder how the movie would have turned out if the movie had been a fully animated set of Uncle Remus’s tales, but I suspect budgetary concerns might have prevented that. All in all, it’s a good Disney feature, though I wouldn’t rank it with their greatest work.

His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914)

His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914)
Article 5668 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-24-2019
Directed by J. Farrell MacDonald
Featuring Violet MacMillan, Frank Moore, Pierre Couderc
Country: USA
What it is: Another adventure in the Land of Oz

When the evil King Krewl is unable to make his daughter marry an unwanted suitor, he has a witch cast a spell over her so that her heart will freeze. Dorothy escapes from the witch, and finds friends to help her save the princess from her fate.

If I were to take a stab at describing this one, it would be as terminally distracted retelling of “The Wizard of Oz”, only with an entirely different plot driving the action. I’d be tempted to call it unfaithful to the spirit of L. Frank Baum, but I can’t, as Baum himself wrote the screenplay. It’s one of those movies that I don’t know how to react to; the plot becomes difficult to follow at times because it keeps being distracted by slapstick scenes with people in animal costumes, and these scenes generally bring the story to a halt. The costumes, however, are the best things about this one; it’s probably more enjoyable if you give up on trying to follow the story and enjoy the spectacle, but even that gets old after a while. All in all, this is a sporadically entertaining mess.

Spring (1909)

Spring (1909)
aka Le printemps
Article 5660 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-29-2019
Directed by Louis Feuillade
Featuring Henri Duval, Christiane Mandalys, Maurice Vinot
Country: France
What it is: Decorative short

Spring is celebrated with mystical characters appearing in vistas of nature.

IMDB splits this short into four different movies, with each movie consisting of one or two of the seven episodes that make up the combined version I saw. I decided to review them as a single entity, taking note that only the first of the four movies is classified as a fantasy by IMDB. Still, any one of the four sections would qualify; each section features characters magically appearing in a spring setting, and relaxing / dancing / cavorting / playing in the setting. As such, there’s no plot; it’s a decorative mood piece that’s pretty to look at. Oddly enough, this is the second movie in a row to feature fairies dancing on water.