Sunday, November 4, 2012

Recommendations :: What I've Been Watching. And So Should You (or Not.)


By no means great, but, when considering it's lackluster reputation, even among William Castle's fans, Macabre wasn't nearly as bad as I'd anticipated. In fact, I found it to be pretty good. (Who knew Jim Backus had that kind of a heavy in him?) A bit clumsy, structurally, sure (--there might have been a flashback inside a flashback), and though this tale of kidnapping and buried secrets threatens to derail itself, the ending twist works and those closing credits are simply ADOREABLE! Recommendation: You'll never get to cash in your Fright Insurance policy, but still worth a look.

So. Finally saw the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, where a small town with a lot of skeletons takes a spin on the Wheel of Morality. But this morass of maudlin is lost in a metric ton of George Pal silliness. But you probably won't care as Tony Randall runs completely amok through all those characters; and watch and boggle as uptight school marm Barbara Eden gets the -- *ahem* vapors after hearing the siren call of the decadent goat-man. Recommendation: How it took me so long to watch a movie where cowboys fight the Loch Ness Monster is beyond me.

Though it isn't much of a mystery due to a limited amount of suspects (--- who keep getting bumped off), and hamstrung by a reliance on hypnotic hookum to explain away a few plot-holes and make the bad guy's nefarious scheme work, Dr. Morelle: The Case of the Missing Heiress works thanks to the efforts of Valentine Dyall as our pompous sleuth and (most credit to) Julia Lang as his danger-prone assistant; the inappropriately named Ms. Frayle (c'mon, really?), who does most of the heavy lifting until our "hero" swoops in, saves the day, and gets all the credit. Recommendation: A bit slow and stodgy, but I would love to have seen more adventures with this crackling, crime-solving duo.

Gorgeous set designs, arresting cinematography, and a completely whackadoodle script should equal a demented good time in my book but it's easy to see why Tomb of Torture (a/k/a Metempsyco) was director Antonio Boccaci's only film  because he executed all those elements so incompetently. And while I was kind of mesmerized by the mounting stoopidity and inherent eh, why-the-hell-not-ness of the proceedings, odds are you probably won't. Recommendation: Skip it.

Interesting social experiment disguised as an ersatz slasher movie where a deranged killer traps three people in a remote ATM kiosk. But instead of attacking, the killer just kind of pokes and prods and lets the "rats" trapped in a maze of his own design devour each other. But, in the end, this scott free modus operandi of ATM doesn't hold water if one thinks about that fire-hose a little too long. Recommendation: New twist but nothing you probably haven't seen before.

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