August 26th, 2010

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror The Monster Walks

"The Monster Walks" is a 60 minute routine programmer from 1932.The plot involves a late mad scinetist, a creepy looking mansion and an unhappy ape named Yogi. After his dark introduction early in the motion picture, Yogi is heard squealing off camera at inappropriate times.

In Denis Gifford's "A Pictorial History of Horror Movies," "The Monster Walks" opens his chapter titled "The Curse of the "B" People." Promoted as "Greater than "Frankenstein" say the critics," none of the critics were actually attributed to this quote (page146). With a black butler who trips over a polar bear skinned rug to multiple offscreen terror, Mischa Auer is the top billed star of this unintentional comedy. Nowadays, the closing lines about "The Darwinian Theory" would be offensive to modern sensibilities on all sides of the political fence.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" AKA "Gappa the Triphibian Monster"

Lost among the Godzillas, Rodans and Gameras of Japan, comes "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet." Actually, this monster, called a Gappa, is found on a South Pacific island. Back in the day when publishers used to finance expeditions, a group explorers survey an island owned by the publishers of "Playmate" magazine. After an earthquake, a scientist and a reporter discover a giant egg in an underground cavern.

The "Playmate" editor claims the egg and takes it to Japan. En route, the egg hatches and Ma & Pa Gappa sense that their baby is alive. The Gappas visit Japan. Guess what happens.

On one hand, "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" is routine giant monster attacks Tokyo story, complete with a little native boy who befriends the baby Gappa. Yet there are some beautiful outdoor scenery with a sense of cultural documentary.

In terms of monster scholarship and scientific research, "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet" was released in 1967 under another title, "Gappa the Triphibian Monster." In Dennis Gifford's "A Pictorial History of Horror Movies," this "Gappa" is advertised as "Even Mightier than KING KONG!" Thirty four years after release, "King Kong" was still the yardstick in which all monsters were measured.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "The Gorilla"

Lionel Atwill gets 5th billing over Bela Lugosi, but "The Ritz Brothers" get top billing above "The Gorilla." Based on a stage play that was a burlesque homage of the standard haunted house mystery, "The Gorilla" was a production fiasco. The Ritz Brothers did not want to perform in this routine programmer and got into a legal battle with their studio, 20th Century Fox. When filliming was complete, The Ritiz Brothers were dropped by the studio.

Released after "The Son of Frankenstein," "The Gorilla" reunites Atwill and Lugosi in the roles of the red herring. However Lugois gets some moments to shine, especially when he gets to use some karate upon one of the Ritz Brothers. The reliable Zasu Pitts could have made this movie without the Ritz Brothers.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Public Domain Horror "A Shriek in the Night"

"A Shriek in the Night" is a static mystery that is dull. A young Ginger Rogers investigates the sucide of a playboy. She and Lyle Talbot sit around an apartment and wait for the telephone to ring. Best known for playing the Little Rascals/Our Gang villian Mr. Crutch in the short subject, "A Shrimp for a Day," Clarence Wilson portrays Ginger Rogers boss.

Like "The World Gone Mad," "A Shriek in the Night" does not belong in this collection. perhaps the distributor meant to put in "A Scream in the Night," a B-movie quickie that starred a young Lon Chaney Jr..
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Expendables" shows how to win the Box Office.

For two weeks in a row, **The Expendables** has dominated the box office. This ensemble testosterone flick lives up to expectations with plenty of explosions, hand-to-hand combat and witty one liners. For the first time on the big screen, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis appear in an expository scene that sets up the plot for the rest of the movie. It is a funny scene and one that will be imitated for years to come.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Piranha 3 D" will be a cult favorite

A disappointing opening weekend, **Piranha 3 D** is essentially an old fashioned spring break comedy like **Porky's.** Set in a Colorado lake, an underground earthquake unleashes prehistoric piranha's upon a resort community celebrating the annual wet T-shirt contest. There is plenty of nudity, blood, gore and horrific deaths of unboiled extras, Oscar winning actors and former Playboy playmates. While the *Piranha 3-D** is technically well done and members of the audience were talking to the screen, when not talking on their cell phone, this film is rude, crude and socially unacceptable.