June 26th, 2010

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror ~ The Screaming Skull



Haunted house mystery, may have been an inspiration for "What Lies Beneath." This film was obviously inspired by "Gaslight," a tale of passive aggressive horror. This time a bad person is placing skulls at inconvenient places and scares a newlywed. Gothic touches with a sloppy ending.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror ~ The Beast of Yucca Flats



There is nothing to do in Yucca flats, except show establishment shots of the mesa landscape. Lots of routine action shot within the camera frame, with the exception of a flash of a woman's left nipple during the opening seconds of the movie. With a partial reunion of the ensemble cast from "Plan 9 from Outer Space," the cast includes Conrad Brooks and Tor Johnson as the Beast.

"The Beast of Yucca flats" features cold war tension as a professor (Tor Johnson) escapes the iron curtain. The rooskies have beaten the Americans to the moon and Professor Tor Johnson has the pictures. While being chased by Soviet spies, Professor Tor Johnson hides in the desert of Yucca Flats and becomes the victim of nuclear testing.

With an unintentional comic voice narration used to fill in dialog gaps, "The Beast of Yucca Flats" features visual highlights such as

airplanes taking off and a family visiting a gas station that has caged wildlife, like pigs and coyotes.The family gets lost in the desert and are pursued by terrible Tor.

This was Tor Johnson's last movie. Like Lon Chaney Jr. in "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," Tor Johnson's last shot is a fitting end to his cinematic career.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror ~ The Terror



More has written about the production of "The Terror," than the actual film itself. The production was inspired by Roger Corman who realized that Boris Karloff still had some time on his contract and the sets from "The Raven" had not been demolished. Both Corman and costar Jack Nicholson discussed how, in 2 days, Karloff and Nicholson shot exposition scenes out of order. The ensemble of actors changed costumes and kept walking up and down the same stairs. Scenes that were not used in "The Terror" were used for Peter Bogdonvich's "Targets," starring Karloff in his last quality role.

With the interiors completed, the exteriors were shot in California, a process which took approximately thee months to achieve. Legend has it that Frances Ford Coppola (he owns an Associate Producer credit) some of it and Jack Nicholson took over the reigns.Given Corman's success with the Edgar Allen Poe series, "The Terror" is on automatic pilot and follows many of the plot lines of "House of User" and "The Pit and the Pendulum."

There is an effort to make "the Terror" to appear as a prestige motion picture. As the butler Stephen, Dick Miller is billed as "Richard Miller." Nicholson portrays a lost soldier of Napoleon who visits Baron Von Leppe's (Karloff) castle. Creepy cliches ensue and identity crisis of Edgar Allen Poe proportions are explained.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror ~ Attack of the Giant Leeches


"Attack of the Giant Leeches" is a product of it's time. Set in a Florida swampland near Cape Canaveral, people are disappearing and the the body is found, the victim is void of blood. A federal park ranger comes to town and straightens out the rednecks, one Yvette Vickers of "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" fame.

The film does create some moody and creepy scenes, until the giant leeches show up. Made of canvas or plastic, the giant leeches such their blood with an orifice the size of a life preserver. Also, the suffers from momentum kill when the scientific explanations intrude upon the murder and rampage. "Attack of the Giant Leeches" has the potential to become a great remake.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror ~ "Revolt of the Zombies"


The Halperin Brothers realized that zombies where economical monsters, not too much money was needed for make-up. "Revolt of the Zombies" was planned as a spin off to "White Zombie" starring Bela Lugosi. Lugosi was unavailable, so the location was moved from the Caribbean to Asia.

Set in Southeast Asia, "Revolt of the Zombies" predates many of the 1950s brain washing movies inspired by the Korean War ("the Manchurian Candidate"). The premise is more scary than the execution. However the final line of "Revolt of the Zombie" strives for literary merit;
"The gods who which to destroy, first makes one mad."
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Harry Potter Fans Deemed Too Heavy for 'Wizarding World' Ride

It was six years ago in Universal Studios that I realized that Cinema Dave's size could be a problem. It was on some ride (perhaps "Jurassic Park") that Cinema Dave felt top heavy, as if he were going to be pitched out of his seat. It did not help matters that the seat belt lock popped off mid air.

Afterward, Cinema Dave saw a sign for the "The Mummy" ride with a sign that a child had to be at least 4' 6". Cinema Dave wondered if some people could be too tall for the ride. If there are any basketball players or sumo wrestlers who went on the 'Wizarding World' Ride, please let Cinema Dave know about your experiences.