Sunday, May 18, 2008

PD Project Horror Part 3

Sorry about the late update. I got distracted by Son of Rambow (which is pretty good) and then the It's Alive Show featuring First Spaceship on Venus (which isn't). First Spaceship on Venus came up before in PD Project Sci-Fi Part 8. It doesn't improve with repeat viewings.

Onward to further misery!

Disc 3

Attack of the Giant Leeches

People start disappearing after a local drunk shoots a monster in a swamp.

There actually isn't a snarky description of this film that can top what it's really about. Drunks, yahoos and losers from a backwoods nowhere that, oddly enough has its own wildlife marshal, get seized and eaten by giant leeches. Yes, the monsters look like Glad bags come to life, yes, there's a dry, charmless white guy who doesn't do anything and yet is still the "hero," and yes, there is a point where the "hero" tells them not to destroy the monsters because it'll damage the local ecosystem. In short, this is a Roger Corman film through and through. Woo-hoo!

This was featured as episode 0406 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 6.

Beast of Yucca Flats

Tor Johnson is a Russian scientist defecting to the United States only to be attacked by KGB agents the moment his plane lands. He escapes them only to wander onto a nuclear test site where the radiation from a bomb turns him into "The Beast," a rampaging monster that kills indiscriminately.

Yikes. It has been years since I've seen this but just a peek at its Wiki page is enough to remind me not to return to it. Tor Johnson, were you ever in anything good?

This was featured as episode 0912 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be downloaded via the Digital Archive Project or watched on YouTube (in 10 parts).

This is supposedly PD, but I found records at saying it's still under copyright--Registration Number/Date: PA0000385906 / 1988-10-11

The Screaming Skull

A newlywed couple moves into the husband's home where his new wife starts being haunted by his previous wife.

Another Gaslight-type film done a little better than Nightmare Castle even though it doesn't have Barbara Steele. Ultimately kind of weird and boring, it's most notable for the promise of the trailer: if you die while watching the film, the producers will pay for your funeral. If I get cancer, this film's going on a loop just to spite those bastards!

This was featured as episode 0621 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be downloaded via the Digital Archive Project or watched on YouTube (in 12 parts).

Revolt of the Zombies

An ancient Cambodian method of hypnotism, a man stymied in both love and career, an army of zombies bent to the whim of a mind gone mad with jealousy and betrayal.

The movie is about a man abusing zombie powder for his own ends (as though you'd use it for anything else. "It's a floor wax!" "It's a dessert topping!"), but it takes forever to get there. The first half of the movie is spent establishing the man's devolution from a moral man to a madman intent on power. In other words, filler. The ending is an absolute cop-out, even after being foreshadowed. The movie enters so-bad-its-good territory with the rear-projection journey downriver though. That's worth the price of admission alone.

But I love the unintended messages of these films. Actual quotes: "It may mean the destruction of the white race!" "When dealing with these Orientals, you deal with fatalists. Death to them is a transition to a better life." There's this constant repetition within colonial narratives of "the end of civilization!" "the very survival of our race!" "a threat to our very way of life!" The unimaginable threat of "the other"--always cast as an utterly alien other--such that the use of machines of war and atrocities against them is justified. It must be, because otherwise the invaders, us, are patently bullies, monsters and fiends.

Fun with remixing: the ghostly eyes that appear throughout the film when the zombie power is being utilized are Bela Lugosi's from the film White Zombie, mentioned earlier.

The Terror

An officer from the French Army gets lost and follows a girl to a strange castle where he finds himself in the middle of a revenge plot from beyond the grave.

Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson in a Roger Corman film with additional direction by Francis Ford Coppola. S'alright I guess. It's a neat enough story with a twist I didn't expect, but man is it plodding.

Next time, Disc 4: 2 more Misties, 2 George Zucco films (one with 2 George Zuccos) and Boris Karloff. It... kills four or so hours.

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