Tuesday, January 10, 2012

X-MAS LOOT: 2011

Merry Christmas... Happy Holidays.... Happy Festivus.... or whatever happy greetings you festive nuts prefer.

Christmas has come and gone and now I'm left with a shitload of new movies for my collection, thanks to my generous family and that fat bastard named Santa Clause. It's time for The Lucid Nightmare's yearly rundown of loot that I've managed to collect over the holiday festivities and there's some rather fine gems in the mix if I do say so myself. Let's get this shit started. Ho Ho Holy Shit I love movies!

Year 2010

I was initially skeptical about these animated versions of the Star Wars universe, but after giving the introductory movie a chance, I found that there's much to like about this series. I've waited patiently for each season to come out on DVD, because I couldn't FORCE, no pun intended, myself to bunker down and watch the live showings with commercial breaks included.

Being able to plunk down and watch each episode in a non-interrupted viewing session, gives the show a more meaningful and cinematic feel that mirrors their feature film counterparts. Now that I've got season three, I can reintroduce myself into this vibrant world of cartoon jedi and surprisingly entertaining stories that surpass the prequels.

Working on Christmas? Sucks to be a clone.

Director: Eugene Lourie
Year 1961

GORGO! Every country needs to get themselves a movie monster that they can call their own. One that can decimate local landmarks and essentially wreak havoc on their respective home turf. Japan has their Godzilla and the UK has their GORGO! I have yet to see this film, but from what I have seen in the trailers, it is nothing short of fun-tastic.

Practical effects, rubber suited monsters, and miniatures galore. This is the stuff movie magic is made from and I can't wait to check it out for the first time. There's just something special about watching an over-sized monster topple over buildings and just basically be an all out wrecking ball of destruction. Can't see myself coming away from this one disappointed.

Don't be naughty or Gorgo will GET YOU!

Director: Hal Needham
Year 1981

Now here's a real treat. I'm really looking forward to checking this film out again, because I haven't seen it since it was running on TV almost fifteen years ago. Such a great cast across the board from front runners Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise, to the priceless Roger Moore, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., to the vivacious Farrah Fawcett and Adrienne Barbeau, this flick has it all. Hell they even threw in Jackie Chan for good measure!

For a fun romp filled with early 80's icons, comedic antics, slick cars, and fast women, you can't go wrong with the old classics like The Cannonball Run. Gonna put this bad boy in and rev it up soon!

The whole gang is here.... even the twins.

Director: Jimmy T. Murakami
Year 1980

I have never seen this interesting little Sci-fi film, which was produced by Roger Corman during the year of my birth, and I'm finally making it my goal to remedy that horrible fact. From the cover art alone, I'd want to see it, and to couple the fact that the film resembles the wacky science fiction antics of a favorite flick of mine, Ice Pirates, is too much to handle.

Not to mention that the film is scored by James Horner, of all people, the composer of my all time favorite movie score Willow. Let's also not forget that a young James Cameron did some effects work on this movie. Sounds like a good time to me, but either way it has to be interesting. I mean look at that damn cover! Does that spaceship have BOOBS?!?

Just give me my damn presents or there will be hell to pay.

Director: Bill Rebane
Year 1979

I first saw this flick this year while I was doing some research for an upcoming faux trailer that I am developing that centers around a killer sasquatch. I'm fascinated by any film that focuses on that mysterious stink ape, including the strange turd of a film, Abominable. Alright, so Abominable isn't that bad of a flick, but when sitting down with some friends to check out The Capture of Bigfoot, my expectations were low yet my interest was peaked in seeing if it could capture that atmospheric essence that is The Legend of Boggy Creek.

I'm happy to say that the filmmakers of The Capture of Bigfoot nailed it. This low budget sasquatch flick is enjoyable to say the least and those special moments that Boggy Creek let slip out every so often, is replicated with that same gitty enthusiasm and strange spectacle. Couldn't be happier that I'm able to add it to my collection and revisit it whenever I get that hankering for stink ape. Now that just sounded plain nasty.

I see you over there you naughty little monkey.


Director: Jesus Franco
Year 1968

This collection looks to be epic in every way possible. Having not seen any of the movies featured in this Christopher Lee box set, I'm highly looking forward to delving right in to this legendary actors mix of films. The blood of Fu Manchu looks to be nothing more then bloody good fun, featuring Lee in one of his more memorable roles outside of Dracula. The Blood of Fu Manchu marks the fourth time Lee has revisited this character, setting my expectations for this entry rather high.

I feel kind of bad though that it's taken me this long to see these particular performances by Lee, but I guess better late then never. This entry for the series is directed by Jesus Franco, who is better known for his sleazy horror flicks that experimented with the ideas of sex, death, and SEX. The guy is a master of sleaze and I love him for it, so I'm looking forward to checking out his collaboration with the iconic stature of Christopher Lee.

All Fu Manchu wants for Christmas is a line of hot chicks.

Director: Jesus Franco
Year 1969

Franco and Lee return for the sequel to The Blood of Fu Manchu and to the fifth entry in the series, which again looks like it's going to be a winner. From what little I've read up on the film, it seems that Lee's Fu Manchu is plotting to freeze the Earth's oceans in some wild diabolical plot. I'm game. Sounds like good harmful fun and there's nothing wrong with that. If I dig these entries in the Fu Manchu series, I'm going to have to recover the previous three entries and experience the entire insanity of this treasured collection of films. Plus the film has Rosalba Neri listed in the credits so at least we get a little Lady Frankenstein action. Woohoo!

Good.... Bad..... I'm the guy with the fu manchu.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Year 1966

Now these next two films, Circus of Fear and The Bloody Judge, are the main reason why I wanted this Christopher Lee collection, and that reason would be the lovely and talented Margaret Lee. Mostly known for her handful of roles within the Eurospy genre, Margaret takes a stab at two horror-centric flicks headlined by the master of disaster himself, Christopher Lee. Upon hearing about this I was compelled to check it out for myself and... well here we are.

I haven't seen this film yet, but from what I can gather, Circus of Fear features a whodunnit story where a murder has been committed on the grounds of a strange circus in which Christopher Lee performs as a lion tamer. The film features a diverse cast of strange characters and oddities, and the interactions between them all appear to be quite interesting and entertaining. At least that's what I'm hoping. If anything, it at least looks like a strange time at the movies.

Hey kids! There goes Santa!

Director: Jesus Franco
Year 1970

This film is another one of Christopher Lee's heralded roles, where he portrays.... a bloody judge of all things. Franco directs and it looks like he's up to his old sleazy tricks again. The Bloody Judge looks like it borrows heavily from The Witchfinder General, which is not at all a bad thing, and appears to also be a distant cousin to the film, Mark of the Devil, that came out the same year. To add even more interest and intrigue into the mix, the film lists Margaret Lee in the credits, so even if it is just a short cameo we get a double Lee sandwich. Yippie! I'm anticipating a good time with this one.

On the naughty list? Don't pout Mr. Lee. There's always next year.

Directors: Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Year 1995

What a warped looking movie. The plot goes a little something like this, set in a strange and obscure city, a scientist kidnaps local children to steal their dreams in hopes that this will slow his aging process. Say what? As crazy as the film sounds, it's even wackier visually. The strangeness of it all is actually quite breathtaking and from my quick overview of the film and from what I've seen while researching the movie, it looks to be a rather unique production.

I've seen both directors' works, from Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement and Alien: Resurrection to Marc Caro's Dante 01, and I have no reservations that this collaboration between both of their talents is going to be nothing less that spectacular. Damn I still need to check out Delicatessen and Amelie! Too many movies, not enough time.

I'm officially weirded out.

Director: Nathan Juran
Year 1962

Now this one just looks like plain old fun. A Ray Harryhausen-esque stop animation adventure, that features a plethora of interesting creatures and plenty of cheesy antics. The film stars Kerwin Mathews who starred in such winners as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, OSS 117 se dechaine, OSS 117 Panic in Bangkok, and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver.

As always, he's entertaining as hell, hamming it up for the camera and having a generally damn good time in the process. I'm going to be making this one a priority watch, because I love me some old school fantasy flicks. Check out those other Kerwin Mathews films I mentioned. They're stellar!

You two-faced son of a bitch!


Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Year 1966

Well here's an odd treat. Say hello to Germany's answer to James Bond. I've been dying to check these films out and I've finally got a watchable version to quench my curiosity. While I was searching for a few stills, I couldn't help but notice how extremely enjoyable the films were looking. There looks to be enough tongue and cheek style to satisfy any Eurospy fan, with a plethora of wacky spy situations provided by actor Tony Kendall who portrays the super spy Kommissar X. In this entry, Tony teams with his muscled partner Captain Tom Rowland as they investigate a recent explosion that has killed two prominent crime lords. That's about all I know of the film, but it looks to be a rip roaring fun time and one hell of a Eurospy effort. Can't wait!

Santa got me a gun.

Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Year 1966

Kendall you crazy bastard! Tony Kendall is at it again in Death Is Nimble, Death Is Quick, as he plays the ever charismatic super agent, Kommissar X. Like with Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill, I don't know much about the plot aside from an evil scientist that has some form of deadly bacteria he wants to infect the world with. Hey, that's good enough for me. The same respectable pair of crime fighters from the previous film appear, Brad Harris and Tony Kendall, and the film looks to be another fun and wild ride. Super excited to check all of these movies out.

Looks like somebody's pissed that they didn't get that Easy Bake Oven.

Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Year 1966

And now for the third film in this interesting box-set. So Darling, So Deadly once again brings Kendall and Harris back together as they embark on a brand new mission. In this entry, it looks like another mad man is out to conquer the world. This time the baddy has his eyes on a scientist's new invention, a laser that can shut down electrical engines from miles away. As usual with these kinds of Eurospy films, the good guys must travel to exotic locations, battle henchmen, and have a few close encounters with the lovely female population. This third film looks to be a silly yet highly enjoyable romp.

On a side note for anyone out there that is interested in buying this set of three Kommissar X films, apparently it has just been announced in a few Eurospy forums, that 6 of the 7 Kommissar films will be put out by Koch Films in a running box-set. From what I could gather, they are going to gradually release each film throughout 2012, and the transfer that they are using for this edition is said to be a great step above the edition that I just received. Widescreen and all! Bring it on!

Don't fight you guys, it's Christmas.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Year 1968

I stumbled across this little unknown gem while I was doing some research on Raquel Welch's filmography. After seeing the trailer, I knew that I had to check it out for myself. The film stars Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, a Maimi based detective who finds the body of a dead woman at the bottom of the ocean. He's then hired to get to the bottom of the mystery. The film looks beautifully shot and with the inclusion of Raquel Welch, the film gets that much more stunning.

The movie appears to be something quite special and I'm willing to bet that this will be my skipping stone to Sinatra's other detective films including his other Tony Rome detective entry, simply entitled Tony Rome. Even if the film somehow turns out to be a dud, at least it has this awesome scene below. Frank you perv.

Merry Christmas to me!

Director: Peter Yates
Year 1976

I saw this movie for the first time over the Thanksgiving holidays and had a blast with it. The film follows a rag tag group of ambulance drivers who work for a privately owned and chaotic LA ambulance company. There's a huge dose of dark comedy splattered throughout the film and the movie tackles some pretty edgy topics, making it one hell of an interesting flick. I really don't know what genre you would place Mother, Jugs & Speed in, because it doesn't really apply itself to one single frame of mind.

It definitely has that raw late 70's vibe down, with that gritty persona and politically incorrect mindset that I absolutely love revisiting on film. The cast is superb giving screen greats like Raquel Welch, Harvey Keitel, and Bill Cosby, a handful of entertaining things to do. The film is an interesting look into the seedier side of the ambulance world, so give it a spin.

Give me a damn Jello shot.

Director: Bernard Rose
Year 1988

Paperhouse is one of those films that make it their sole purpose in life to scare the shit out of kids that accidentally stumble across it when it comes on TV. The movie plays like a child's fantasy come to life, as a young girl named Anna paints a picture of a house in the middle of an open field that later shows up in her dreams. At first the notion of dream creation is a fun concept, but quickly Anna realizes that the dream has a life of its own and her own fears begin to work against her, turning the dream into a nightmare.

The film is a magical one that genuinely brings the fears that children have of being abandoned and forgotten to stark reality. The cast is also quite inspired, with the key performances of the younger actors feeling natural and not forced. Paperhouse is without a doubt a unique experience. If you have the chance, check it out.

Socks! You got me SOCKS!


Director: Henry King
Year 1930

I've got Lupe Fever! If you haven't ever heard of Lupe Velez, well then you're not alone. She was an amazing actress who reached her peak in the late 30's and early 40's just before a tragic turn of events claimed her life. The Mexican born actress was able to churn out a number of great performances in her short career, my favorites being The Mexican Spitfire series where she played the character of Carmelita for an astounding eight films. Being a huge fan of those films, I had to branch out and see if I could obtain some of her other cinematic efforts and that is where Hell Harbor comes into play.

I've never seen this film before, but from the short clip that I saw while doing my research, it looks to be the same kind of comedic turn that she's done so well in The Mexican Spitfire series. Lupe plays the role of Anita Morgan, a descendant of the famous pirate Henry Morgan, who lives in the Caribbean longing for a more exciting life. Once her father offers her hand in marriage to a local merchant, Anita tries everything in her power to escape to Havana and make her dreams a reality. The film looks to be something of a lost treasure and I'm looking forward to experiencing it for myself. Never can get enough of Lupe!

Lovely Lupe.

Director: Harry O. Hoyt & Albert H. Kelley
Year 1933

The second film of this Precode Collection, is called Jungle Bride. I've never seen it and have no idea what it's about. The film stars Anita Page as a curious young woman who believes that her recently imprisoned brother is innocent. Determined to prove his innocence, she follows a man that she believes to be the real culprit onto a ship headed to South America. Unfortunately the ship sinks and she is then stranded on a desert island. Sounds interesting enough and I'll give it a look, but I mainly got this collection to obtain Hell Harbor. Who knows, this could be one hell of a bonus flick.

Merry Christmas you wacky dame.

Director: William Cameron Menzies
Year 1936

This film looks to be epic, spanning one hundred years of a civilization's existence that has been ravaged by a a decades long war, famine, and chaos, until it is rebuilt in wondrous futuristic fashion. I've been meaning to see this film for the longest time, because the practical effects for this time period are, through the roof, spectacular. Plus the concept of seeing a society change over the course of one hundred years is to enticing to pass up.

I really love the Sci-Fi genre and to see such an ambitious effort put forth in the early years of the genre is mind boggling. It reminds me of the grandeur of Metropolis, a film that probably inspired the creators of this movie in more ways then one. I'm putting this one on the top of my viewing list.

The future RULES!


Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Year 1977

Chiba you beautiful bastard! I've been collecting Chiba films lately at a furious pace and the newest entry to my collection is the Masutatsu Oyama Trilogy. These are another series of films that I have yet to check out but they look phenomenal.

Karate Bull Fighter, Karate Bear Fighter, and Karate For Life are based off the real life story of Choi Bae-dal, a Korean fighter who founded the Kyokushin Karate Organization in 1953. These films tell the story of his trails and tribulations, providing an interesting look into the man now known as Masutatsu Oyama. I would be talking out my ass ff I went into any more detail, because the man's life is a mystery to me. I'm looking forward to gaining some knowledge when I put these three bad mofos in. Viva Chiba!

Heads up!
Was it something I said?
How do I keep getting into these situations?

Well I'm afraid that's it folks, but wasn't it a wonderful ride while it lasted? I might have forgotten a few that have gotten lost in the chaos that is Christmas and I added a few more gems recently on a wild online shopping spree, but hopefully those missing flicks will crop up in the form of reviews in the future. Until then, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and see you soon.

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