Saturday, May 24, 2008

PD Project Horror Part 5

Before we begin, one note of apology. Last week I said this disc had two silent films. I was wrong, there's just one.

Now, awfulness!

Disc 5

Maniac

A failed actor, after killing the mad scientist he works for, decides to take over the scientist's life and continue his work.

An exploitation film that's supposed to portray various mental derangements. Now I'm a fan of mental derangement, indeed, it's the only thing that explains most political decisions. The film's logic takes some odd turns, largely making the turns it does to place women in peril. Silly overall and pretty forgettable. Metropolis

Fritz Lang's classic film about a population reduced to the roles of cogs in a machine that serves the whims of the rich.

You know, I was a film major and I never say this movie. It's a long picture and pretty neat. Nice images. My print had a crappy score that didn't sync with the film at all. Remember how people tried syncing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz? It was like that except instead of syncing up, it was more like someone left an NPR classical station on in the other room.

This film's apparently still under copyright due to some odd legal wrangling but it's that same wrangling that's created sundry versions. I dug through my video tapes and found a copy of Metropolis with a running time 15 minutes longer than the version on this DVD. Wikipedia says the original version of the film ran 210 minutes. My copy is 119. To call the ending abrupt is to make it seem far more languid and relaxed than it actually is.

The Ape

Boris Karloff plays a mad scientist who uses the spinal fluid from victims of ape attacks to develop a polio cure.

Man in a monkey suit
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Man in a monkey suit
Sis! Boom! Bah!
Man in a monkey suit
Man in a monkey suit
Man in a monkey suit
Yay!

Monster Maker

A mad scientist infects a concert pianist with acromegaly in hopes of convincing the daughter to marry him in exchange for the cure.

The movie's just over an hour and takes thirty minutes to complete the set-up. Two things recommend the film. One is that there are long stretches of silence where you can insert your own jokes. The other is there's a man in a monkey suit--a man in a monkey suit who kills! Almost. Okay, not really. But everything's better with monkeys on it. Except the new Indiana Jones.

One weird twist, it's a woman who proves to be the hero. Not much is said about it though. Where other films would have accolades or congratulations showered upon the hero, nothing of the sort is given the woman here even though she's the one who ultimately saves the day. And for those who are curious, yes, there is a white guy who doesn't do anything. It's a Sam Neufield staple.

The Vampire Bat

A small town is plagued by a series of murders that resemble vampire attacks.

I'm watching this on The It's Alive Show right now which makes me wish I hadn't watched it just a little while ago. Oh man does this movie bite. It features, as its hero, an investigator who initially dismisses claims of vampires only to completely accept the concept for pretty much no reason at all. The only up points are the wha-a-a-acky small-town Germans, the film's goofy logic and the hypochondriac aunt. I think the movie ends with a diarrhea joke, but I can't be sure. Do Epsom salts give you the trots?

Next time, Disc 6 featuring two MSTie classics, one silent classic and a Mantan Moreland flick.

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