July 19th, 2010

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "The Giant Gila Monster"



Somewhere out west, (perhaps near Yucca Flats?) a Giant Gila Monster is annoying teenagers who like to drag race.The Sheriff is not getting Federal assistance, so it is up to the local community to solve the mystery of "The Gila Monster," At 74 minutes, the pace is as slow as a character's descrption of local yokel's eye witness report about the Giant Gila Monster's attack upon a train. Even the monster moves at a snail's pace.

This flick from 1959 takes one back to the era when a high school dipoloma was the pinacle of education for middle class America. A middle class Amercian Family when a handicapped child is serranded by a greaser who sings Gospel on the banjo. Hot rods were converted model T Fords.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "The Fatal Hour"



Boris Karloff stars as Mr. Wong in Monogram's answer to Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan. Set in San Francisco, Mr. Wong is called to investiage a murder involving some Chinese jewels. Wong is mostly in the shadows, observing the inapprorpiate behavior of the suspects. If Mr. Wong looks bored, then blame the boring suspects.

Despite the static phtography and the drab sets, "The Fatal Hour" features some interesting technology of times, circa 1940. Mr. Wong learns about "a remote controllled radio tuner" and sees how it was involved with one of the many murders.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "Dead Men Walk"


"Dead Men Walk" stars George Zucco in a dual role as a good and evil twin.
The opening is impressive, an ancient monograph titled "History of Vampires" is tossed in a fire place. A head appears who talks about witchcraft, a reminder of the talking head that introduced 5 of the 6 "Inner Sanctum" movies tarring Lon Chaney Jr.

Lloyd Clayton (Zucco) killed his brother Elwyn (Zucco). A scholar of the dark arts, Elwyn returns from the dead to pester his brother. Dwight Frye is Elwyn's human assitant who has a bit of a hunchback, much like the characters he played in the "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" series from Universal. Halfway through the movie, a Van Helsing inspired character gives the leading lady a cross. The Van Helsing character, named Kate, is a female who sounds like Dana Carvey's "Church Lady."

The firery climax is worth noting. After pinning Dwight Frye under a statue, the Clayton Brothers battle it out. It is a creepy scene enchanced by Frye's screams for his "Master." While Zucco headlines, once again Frye steals the show from the tob billed villain and monster.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "The Mad Monster"


Glenn Strange passed away within a year as Lon Chaney Jr. Onscreen these two actors were usually pitted against each other as Frankenstein's Monster and Larry Talbot (alias the Wolf Man), off screen these two actors were friends. Besides the Frankenstein Monster, Strange portrayed Butch Cavendish, the villain who created "The Lone Ranger," that strted the series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. During the last years of his life, Strange got a steady paycheck as Sam the Bartender on "Gunsmoke," starring James Arness.

Glenn Strange does not received featured billing, but he is "The Mad Monster," which costars Anne Nagal and second billed George Zucco cast as another Mad Scientist.