The Cabbage-Patch Fairy (1900)

THE CABBAGE-PATCH FAIRY (1900)
aka La fee aux choux, ou la naissance des enfants
Article 4120 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-30-2012
Directed by Alice Guy
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Novelty short

A woman displays babies found in a cabbage patch.

Sometimes the title is the main source of the fantastic content of the movie; if this one had been called WOMAN FINDING BABIES HIDDEN IN A GARDEN, no one would have seen any fantastic content at all. It’s the title that tells us that the woman is a fairy, and the garden is where the babies come from. Well, at least the movie doesn’t steal any special effects from Melies, but that’s because there are no special effects to speak of; the babies are hidden behind garden displays, and she just finds them and sets them down in our line of vision. And that’s about all this slight little short gives us.

Sonicman (1979)

SONICMAN (1979)
aka Supersonic Man
Article 4060 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-19-2012
Directed by Juan Piquer Simon
Featuring Antonio Cantafora, Cameron Mitchell, Jose Luis Ayestaran
Country: Spain
What it is: Superhero hijinks

Supersonic Man comes from outer space to prevent an evil genius’s plan to conquer the world.

If you’ve committed to making a low-budget rip on SUPERMAN and you know it’s going to end up bad, you could do worse than make it at least colorful and goofy, which this one does. It has Cameron Mitchell as the villain, a flame-throwing robot, lots of people running around with blasters, a comic relief begging wino and a stupid theme song. Granted, it’s not in the same league as INFRA-MAN as far as inspired goofiness goes, but it’s at least much better than THE PUMA MAN. And, truth to tell, I would have liked to see a sequel… but only if they followed up on the ending of this one and gave the comic-relief wino the super powers as they seem to be doing. But I’m not going to hold my breath for the release of SUPERSONIC WINO.

I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen (1970)

I KILLED EINSTEIN, GENTLEMEN (1970)
aka Zabil jsem Einsteina, panove
Article 3905 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-13-2012
Posting Date: 4-23-2012
Directed by Oldrich Lipsky
Featuring Jiri Sovak, Jana Brejchova, Lubomir Lipsky
Country: Czechoslovakia
What it is: Science fiction comedy

When a new bomb causes women to grow beards, a desperate government decides to fix the problem by having the inventor of a time machine go back into time and assassinate Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, thus preventing the development of the bomb. However, meddling with history isn’t always easy, and has its side effects…

What we have here is a variation on the old idea of going back in time and assassinating Hitler before he became a dictator, and the movie does give the original concept some lip service in a rather amusing scene. The movie opens with a scene which looks for all the world like two men kissing, but you’ll quickly find that that’s not what you’re really seeing. However, it is a great way to catch your attention and it drew me into a movie that, at least for the first half, is one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in a long time; I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times during this part. It loses a bit of steam in the second half, mostly due to the fact that the addition of a resistance group that is trying to prevent the assassination of Einstein complicates the plot enough that you’re distracted from the humor by trying to figure out who everybody is and what is going on. Still, there’s a few clever moments in the second half as well, and the style of direction makes me wonder if Terry Gilliam might have seen this movie. Despite the weaker second half, I still think the movie is a creative and interesting comedy overall, and I highly recommend it .

Vargtimmen (1968)

VARGTIMMEN (1968)
aka Hour of the Wolf
Article 3879 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-19-2012
Posting Date: 3-28-2012
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Featuring Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh
Country: Sweden
What it is: A descent into madness

An artist, tortured by memories and unable to sleep at nights, shares his darkest memories with his wife. He is invited to a party by the owner of the island… but what do the owner and his friends intend for him?… and are they even real?

Many Bergman films have touches of horror to them; I’ve had the chance to cover several of them already. However, this is the one that is usually thought of as his horror film, and, given some of the events and imagery during the final half of the movie, I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though it’s certainly not one that can be easily parsed out. It most reminds me of REPULSION and THE TENANT, and both Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann are excellent as the artist and his wife who has loved him so long that she has begun to see the ghosts that haunt him. Some of the imagery and events are truly haunting; there’s a shocking encounter with a young boy on a cliff side, and a nightmarish sequence where a woman finally removes her hat. It’s not Bergman at his very best; for one thing, it does take a little too long before things get moving. But even with that in mind, it’s fascinating. The script is apparently a scaled-down, reworked version of an earlier one called THE CANNIBALS, which Bergman abandoned because he thought it would have been too expensive and involved to make; however, I would love to have seen that one.

The Cask of Amontillado (1954)

THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO (1954)
Article 3617 by Dave Sindelar

Viewing Date: 6-25-2011

Posting Date: 7-10-2011

Directed by Nathan Zucker

Featuring Monty Woolley, Shepperd Strudwick, Caren Preiss

Country: USA

What it is: TV adaptation of Poe story

A man hatches a plot do take vengeance on a rival during Mardi Gras.

This came on to my list as a movie, but I’m not sure it was ever released as such. It was an episode of an obscure TV show called “On Stage with Monty Woolley”, and it runs just about twelve minutes long. You know it’s a bare bones treatment when you don’t see any of the bricks or mortar for the final sequence of the story; it does this more through lighting, sound effects and suggestion. Monty Woolley is obviously having the time of his life as Montresor, and even though it feels a bit stagebound, it’s done with a certain creativity and efficiency. This one is rescued from my “Ones that got away” list, though I notice there’s still no listing on IMDB for it, neither the TV series or this specific episode.

The Night God Screamed (1971)

THE NIGHT GOD SCREAMED (1971)
Article 3519 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-10-2011
Posting Date: 4-3-2011
Directed by Lee Madden
Featuring Jeanne Crain, Alex Nicol, Dan Spelling
Country: USA
What it is: Not quite what you’d expect

When her preacher husband is robbed and crucified by a bizarre cult of Jesus freaks, a woman fingers three of the killers, who are tried and sentenced to death. The fourth killer was unidentified because he was wearing a hood. A year later, she returns to the area where the crime was committed to look after the teenage children of the judge, who is leaving town with his wife for the weekend. But have the cultists forgotten the woman who identified their leader…?

You know, there is something to be said about a movie that you can’t quite second guess. In some ways, the movie is a very familiar type of horror movie, but it gets away with it because it seems like a different familiar type of horror movie. There is a certain novelty value to the fact that cultists are not Satanists, as one of my sources misinformed me; they’re actually a Christian cult that considers all other practitioners to be phonies. The script is very clumsy around the edges, and characters frequently act with utter stupidity, but there’s even an explanation for that. It all ends with a double twist; I was half-right about the first twist, but once I realized I was halfway wrong, I immediately figured what the second twist was going to be. I’m not sure how I feel about the twists; part of me feels they were stupid, but another part admires the way they changed my interpretations of the earlier scenes. In fact, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the whole film; it doesn’t quite work and it doesn’t quite fail. I will say this however; this is easily the best movie of the last five or so that I’ve seen.

Les douze travaux d’Hercule (1910)

LES DOUZE TRAVAUX D’HERCULE (1910)
aka Hercules and the Big Stick
Article 3509 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-27-2011
Posting Date: 3-24-2011
Directed by Emile Cohl
Featuring Maurice Vinot, Alice Tissot (?)
Country: France
What it is: Animated mythological epic

Hercules performs his twelve labors with the help of his big stick and whatever else he can get a hold of.

Most of the other Emile Cohl movies I’ve seen have been combinations of live action and animation; this one is entirely animated, which made me rather surprised to see a cast listed on IMDB. Maybe they served as models for the animated characters. Despite given prominent mention in the English title, truth to tell, Hercules’s big stick isn’t particularly effective; though it helps him in wiping out an army, it’s pretty useless against non-human foes. In fact, when he tries to use it on a lion during the first task, the lion eats his big stick and then spits it out him; Hercules has to defeat him by sitting on him and squashing him, which is pretty easy, given the fact the Hercules’s stomach in this one is… well, I’ll be nice and describe it as Herculean. Most of the tasks involve killing beasties, though some of them rely on Hercules calling in some favors from buddies. It’s fairly amusing, though I think it might have been a bit easier for me to follow if I had familiarized myself with his twelve tasks, as the title cards are in French on this one.

And just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I think I ought to tell you that the big stick is a club.