Movie Reviews 255 – Shocker (1989)

February 3, 2016

ShockerNow that the X-Files are back on TV, I thought it’d be a good time to watch my DVD of Wes Craven’s Shocker starring everyone’s favorite television FBI assistant director Skinner, Mitch Pileggi.

Pileggi plays Horace Pinker, a psychotic serial killer that runs a TV repair shop on the side where he seems to enjoy having hundreds of antiquated TV sets with exposed circuitry running full time in every nook and cranny inside his massive shop. In the midst of Pinker’s front page murder spree highschool football jock Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg) knocks himself unconscious on the field after which he establishes some sort of mental connection with Pinker and can now envision Pinker’s next moves in his dreams. Unfortunately the first dream he has is one in which he watches as Pinker slays his mother and siblings. Arriving on the scene at his home he learns that his dream/nightmare occurred exactly as he envisioned it. Now he has to convince his dad the police detective that his dreams are real and he knows who the serial killer is.

With Jonathan’s help Pinker is finally caught red handed, tried and sentenced to fry in the chair. But Pinker who’s already shown a tendency to be comfortable with shocks and electricity possesses some disjointed connection to an evil force (the devil?). In his last minutes before taking his final walk down death row he jury riggs a TV in his cell and makes a plea to his deity which responds by giving the appropriate ‘boost’. Minutes later with Piker finally strapped in the electric chair ready to receive his death sentence with the decreed giant jolt, the flowing electricity doesn’t kill him but rather empowers him with a new ability to take over bodies on touch.

With his new powers, which takes a while for Jonathan and his dad to figure out, Pinker is once again on another killing spree, but this time has his sights clearly on Jonathan, and not only for the obvious reasons. After this we’re treated to one long, multibody hop chase scene after another until Pinker is finally stopped once and for all.

The problem with this movie, aside from the fairly lame plot to begin with, is that it has more holes than a weekend PGA golf tournament. With one illogical shot after another, the central thread about some tenuous link between Pinker and Jonathan is not only lame, but illogical in itself. Aside from the body jumping ability, the film effects include Pinker occasionally appearing in a stylized TV-raster image that I doubt was impressive even back in the late eighties. We have no real empathy for any of the cardboard characters (even when they are not raster reflections) and the body jump schtick gets tiresome after the first few. Alright maybe that one jump to a kid in the playground was a bit fun.

Bit parts by Ted Raimi and Heather Langencamp are not enough to make up for being subjected to John Tesh, although thankfully he only plays an annoying recurring newscaster and we are not subjected to his music. (A hollow victory). By the time we get to see another cameo by 60’s counter-culture “Turn on, tune in, drop out” guru Dr. Timothy Leary in a facetious role reversal as cash pleading TV minister, I had pretty much dropped out myself and was more than ready to tune out when the end credits came.

I’ve said it before that Craven was always a hit or miss movie maker and this one falls squarely in the miss column.

Movie Reviews 254 – Detroit Rock City (1999)

January 27, 2016

Detroit Rock CityThe teenaged members of a Kiss cover band named Mystery have never actually attended a Kiss concert over the years, having constantly run into complications at every past opportunity. With the rock supergroup coming to Detroit once again for a live show, the boys are all set this time around with tickets in hand and just counting down the hours when, once again, the fickle finger of fate intervenes.

Frontman Hawk (Edward Furlong) and members Lex (Giuseppe Andrews), Trip (James DeBello) and Jam (Sam Huntington) are belting out a bastardized rendition of “Rock and Roll All Nite” in their garage when a surprise visit by Jam’s puritanical mother (Lin Shaye) ends up with their tickets being burned. But then, fate once again intercedes when Trip answers a radio contest question correctly. Well kind of. Anyhow the boys set out on a trip full of adventure, trials and tribulations, where in the end each is left to find a way to get their own ticket to the concert of their dreams.

This coming of age film is firmly rooted in a montage of 1970’s icons, events, and of course music. The complications they have to deal with include the Disco juggernaut of the day in the form of a pair of “Guidos and Stellas” encountered in a road rage incident, a girl appropriately named Beth (Melanie Lynskey) with a high school crush on Jam, a cougar seductress (Shannon Tweed, Gene Simmons real life wife), a pizza munching priest (SCTV alumni Joe Flaherty), and the patriarch of porn himself, Ron Jeremy, emceeing a stud muffin contest in a male strip joint.

Whether you’re a Kiss fan or not, this is an enjoyable short jaunt into a not too distant past. If the comedy itself isn’t enough for you the retro soundtrack will more than make up for it. If you haven’t already signed up, this may be your induction into the Kiss Army.

Movie Reviews 253 – Tai Chi Master (1993)

January 18, 2016

Tai Chi MasterNever disappointed in any movie starring Michelle Yeoh, The Tai Chi Master, co-starring Jet Li captivates viewers with a barrage of novel and inspiring masterful martial arts moves on par with the best examples in the class. The acrobatics are not only relegated to the expected battles, but are also exhibited in more mundane scenes as well, delivering a character rich story dealing with life choices and the omnipresent battle between good and evil.

Two young monks grow up together in a Shaolin monastery in a friendly rivalry that nurtures their martial arts training and making both of them master practitioners. Opposite in nature, Junbao (Li) is the calm, cool headed thinking individual while his friend Tienbo (Chin Siu Ho) is the brash, obstinate one always seeking something better in life. When Tienbo dares to challenge a master at the monastery after a fellow student disciple cheats him in a battle contest, both he and Junbao are expelled together, forcing them find new lives outside the confines of the communal safe haven.

As soon as they get to the nearest village, they soon learn of the brutal and unfair tactics of corrupt gangs and tax collectors all at the behest of the governor and his henchmen. The men come to the rescue of Miss Lee (Fennie Yuen) a local restaurateur and another street merchant, Siu Lin (Yeoh) who has disavowed her former husband after he spurned her for a rich socialite. When the governor’s men extort the restaurant and the four newfound friends all ending up battling the governor’s representatives, they know this will be just the beginning of their troubles. Junbao decides that he will stay with the rebellious group associated with the establishment while to his surprise and shock, Tienbo takes up the recruitment offer by one of the governors captains. This pits the two men at odds with one another and their chosen paths in life. The entire movie plot reflects those virtues as the running theme like the art of Tai Chi itself which teaches patience and skill in order to train one’s mind.

As good as the story itself may be, it is enhanced at every turn by great action sequences and mesmerizing agile feats of physical prowess. Even imagining unseen wires and other photographic tricks, I found myself wondering how they filmed many of the spectacular sequences.

There are a few variants of English language releases for the DVD which was also released under the title Twin Warriors), mine being from Universe Laser (shown above and labelled as The Tai-Chi Master) suffered the always annoying, barely intelligible at times, ‘chinglish’ subtitles with no special features other than some equally terribly written bios for the stars and director Yuen Woo-ping. But even worse for me was the fact that I could not view the final chapter of the movie as my DVD kept faltering. While frustrating being deprived of the ending, there is no doubt that this is certainly of one of the most well rounded martial arts movies around.

On a side note, Woo-ping is the one who brought us Drunken Master and will be soon releasing the follow up to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, CTHD:Sword of Destiny which will have Yeoh reprise her role in the original. Yeah for more Yeoh!

Movie Reviews 252 – Scanner Cop (1994)

January 9, 2016

Scanner CopWhat do you get when you combine Scanners and Maniac Cop? Scanner Cop!

David Cronenberg’s Scanners set the bar for pulsating mind control and exploding heads (the two are not mutually exclusive) and this late entry in the Scanner series is considered a spin-off rather that a direct sequel. The movie takes place in a world established by Scanners (and it’s sequels) where ‘psionics’ exist, people with the ability to ‘scan’ the thoughts of others but whose ability can lead to insanity if left unrestrained, which can be remedied by taking pills.

When young Sam’s psionic father spirals into poverty, disillusionment and paranoia, he finally loses control one night when he no longer has the resources to buy the pills for either himself or Sam that would allow them to remain sane and temper their scanning abilities. Samuel is then adopted by one of the cops who answered the call on the night his father dies after seeing imaginary miniature clones of himself erupting from his forehead (a special effects shot not to be missed).

Now a young man, Sam’s father, now police chief, makes sure Sam maintains a daily dose of the anti-scanning pills and he grows up to be an upstanding citizen that then joins the ranks of the police force himself. All is well for new recruit beat cop when a sudden cop killing spree begins, the most puzzling aspect being that in all cases the perpetrators are people who’ve never shown any signs of bad behaviour and have all lived or works closely with cops for years. The killers are semi catatonic after they kill the cops and in some cases claim to have killed after thinking the cops are some form of threat to them, even monstrous creatures.

With the aid of department psychologist is trying to puzzle out the mystery, Sam is faced with a choice of skipping his daily dose of pills so that he can leverage his psionic powers to find the perpetrators creating unwary cop killers.

Directed by Pierre David who not only produced all the Scanner movies but many of Cronenberg’s other movies including Videodrome and The Brood, this was his first stint in the Director’s chair. Unfortunately this a also a problem as his directorial skill set is not up to par with the likes of Cronenberg. But if you want a good head exploding romp in the psionic preserve, this will fill the bill.

Movie Reviews 251 – Wasabi (2001)

January 1, 2016

WasabiRelegated to bit comedic parts in North American movies, Jean Reno gets his due in other countries with starring roles that flaunt his many talents. Wasabi is an excellent example of this as it places punch happy French cop Hubert (Reno) in Japan to deal with a 19 year old, free spirited Shinjuku girl and she is just the beginning of his problems.

Heartbroken by the mysterious sudden rejection of Miko, the love of his life, years ago while working in Japan, Hubert likes to round up bad guys (and the occasional innocent bystander) with his fists as much as with his gun, both with equal precision and equally effective. He’s also pretty good with golf clubs and golf balls sometime even using them for golf. But when the latest victim of his flying knuckles is the son of a high ranking official, he gets an unwanted two month vacation.

Rather than getting a chance to practice his golf swing instead of his fist swing, he gets an unexpected call from an estate lawyer in Japan. It seems that Miko has passed away and left him something in her will. Arriving in Japan he is presented with a box of memories, and a daughter he never knew he had. Yumi (Ryôko Hirosue) doesn’t know the identity of this stranger Hubert, but is placed in his care until she becomes 20, which will be in a mere two days.

But bent on solving the mystery of why Miko left so suddenly those many years ago, especially given the fact that they had a child on the way, Hubert is now faced with caring for a wild child and the fact that she seems to be the target of the yakuza. Hubert enlists the aid of his longtime friend, the flap ear lobed Maurice ‘Momo’ (Michel Muller) who is a French cop still with the Japanese operation Hubert used to work for. The clash of lifestyles is matched by the clash of ages as Hubert and Momo try to reel in Yumi as the clues and insanity mount.

Written and produced by Reno’s frequent partner in crime, director Luc Besson, the movie was not directed by him this time around but rather another of Besson’s collaborator’s, fellow director Gérard Krawczyk.

Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with Jean Reno in a great cop comedy that also has just the right tug of the heartstrings, riddles and slice of Japanese craziness.

Movie Reviews 250 – The People Under the Stairs (1991)

December 24, 2015

The People Under The StairsThe essence of our deepest fears are those where the threat is sensed or hinted at, but of an unknown quantity. Based in the title alone, The People Under the Stairs harkens a tale of dark mystery and intrigue. But this Wes Craven film is nothing of the sort, though a surprise in an entirely different way.

The last family living in a ghetto tenement apartment have fallen on hard times with a mother dying of cancer. Without any source of income her young son, Pointdexter “Fool” Williams (Brandon Adams), is now the man of the house and must find a way to make the rent payment. As it turns out, his older sister recently discovered the identity and address of their sleazy landlords hoping that are trying to get rid of the distressed family in the hopes of razing the building and building a luxurious condo in it’s stead.

Fool’s sister’s boyfriend Leroy (Ving Rhames) and his buddy Spencer are small time hoods and have heard rumours that the landlords, the Robesons, a couple who call each other Mommy (Wendy Robie) and Daddy (Everett McGill), have a horde of gold stashed somewhere. Knowing that Fool is eager to help, Leroy enlists the young boy to help scout the Robeson’s home. But once inside the trio find a few surprises.

For starters the Robeson’s have a daughter, Alice (A. J. Langer), who’s never been outside of the house. Living a sheltered life and in ever present fear of her parents, her only friend is Roach, a speechless kid scampering within the walls, basement, attic and every other crawl space available.  Always one step ahead of the Robeson’s and their dog Prince the Rottweiler, the Robeson’s have been trying to recapture Roach since he escaped from a basement cell that is inhabited by a horde of shambling, grunting zombie-like cannibal dwellers. These zombies are the other offspring of the family that have also been locked up in the house, but without having even the minimal freedom accorded to Alice.

Fool manages to escape with a single gold coin, but vows to return for Alice. The coin is real and Fool then learns the origins of the fortune and the true nature of the Robeson family history. With a little help from the neighborhood citizens, Fool makes good on his promise to rescue Alice, and then some.

The movie is as crazy as it sounds but if you can forgive some of the obvious nonsense like crawl space within the entire house wide enough for kids to walk and crawl in, it ‘works’ in it’s own way. It’s mostly slapstick horror, but the Robesons are genuinely creepy and there are a few good kill scenes to keep things interesting. It all corny as hell, but this is where Craven excelled as director.

Oh, one small tidbit. Pulp Fiction is not the first movie where Ving Rhames costars with a leather clad ‘gimp’. Gotta watch the movie to see for yourself though.

Movie Reviews 249 – Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

December 15, 2015

Silent Night Deadly NightForget Ebenezer Scrooge. In Silent Night, Deadly Night the badass that doesn’t have a merry bone in his body is Saint Nick himself. I recall the furor over it’s release just days before Christmas, one that got the movie banned in many states shortly thereafter. It wasn’t banned here in Canada, but all that publicity sure put it on my ‘must see someday’ movie list. More than 40 years later I finally caught up with it.

Orphaned after witnessing the brutal slaughter of his parents on Christmas eve at the hands of a lowly convenience store robber, Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) grows up in an orphanage under the watchful wing of his own guardian angel, Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick). Traumatized, Billy doesn’t fit in with all the other orphans, but he is otherwise obedient and good. But scars of that dreadful night remain, and Billy gets panic-stricken whenever confronted by any Santa Claus, whether they be men wearing suits or simple images. But the Mother Superior at the orphanage will have none of it, believing that she can punish the fear out of him, something that just aggravates Billy’s hostility when faced with his red suited nemesis.

All grown up and seemingly normal, Sister Margaret persuades a local toy store owner to hire Billy as a stock boy where he works hard and does everything he is told, despite being bossed by a lazy, conceited supervisor. He even takes a shine to one of the girls working there.

But all his progress comes to an end Christmas eve when the hired Santa calls in sick and Billy is asked by the boss to put on the dreaded red suit. Things aren’t too bad at first, with Billy only scaring the bejesus out a a few kids on his lap, but once the store closes and the employee after party starts things get a little out of hand. Billy’s supervisor starts putting on the moves with that girl and as he tries to rape her, Billy, now in full berserker mode, strings up a set Christmas lights around the scoundrels neck. When the girls starts screaming, well Billy then goes on a full rampage, first in the store and then along to the next house he finds, but not before a late night slay ride encounter with some bullies  Let just say that that axe used in the movie poster is no red herring. It’s bloody red before long.

With plenty of gore and nudity to boot, the critics and cynics had an easy target, as there had never been a Christmas movie like this before. Today, I’ve lost count of how many Christmas horror movies there are even on my own shelves.They’ve been around so long that they’re remaking them. But this is the granddaddy of them all and the first to get the old ladies all tied up in their knickers.

The interview with director Charles E. Sellier Jr. as DVD extra was fascinating as he didn’t anticipate the reaction the movie received when released. To him this was just another slasher that was all the craze at the time and a project he was reluctant to do in the first place, but not because of the subject matter or it’s treatment.

While not intended as one, the final scene is a great setup for a sequel. In fact there are five movie in the series. I’ll be getting to Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, shortly as my DVD box has both movies. How’s that for an X-Mas gift?

Movie Reviews 248 – Tusk (2014)

December 9, 2015

TuskI find myself in the astonishing and unprecedented situation of reviewing a Kevin Smith written and directed movie for which I must render a less that stellar rating. The man is an exceptionally talented writer whether it be screenplays, books, comics, or even just blogging. As a whole, his movies have always been interesting, engaging, and either funny as comedies, or dramatic when serious. That is not to say that some of his past movies are without fault, but rather, the minor misgivings in the past were always forgiven when assessing the movie as a ensemble. Sadly Smith’s latest, a foray in horror, Tusk fails the litmus test and has more than a few faults that taint the overall end result.

The seed for the movie was planted during a particular episode of one of Smith’s “Smodcasts” where Smith and best friend/producer Scott Mosier discussed an ad in which a homeowner offered free lodging to anyone willing to dress up as a walrus. After discussing the temporal, moral and psychological implications (with a lot of jokes and innuendo on par for any Smith rant) the director proceeded to let fans decide whether the kooky concept should be made into a film, for which they readily voiced their approval.  Thus Tusk, a tale of a recluse serial surgical rogue who lures innocent victims to his house to be drugged and transformed into living human-walruses was born.Yep, you read that right.

While the film does have a few things going for it, the script is paltry with a few exceptional scenes and not up to par with other Smith scripts which are usually a lot funnier, grittier and like Tarantino scripts, usually imbued with provocatively unique views on otherwise mundane topics. Worse, the script is not the only under performer here.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) and Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment) host the popular podcast, The Not-See Party (get it?) where they deride and mock online videos and personalities that aren’t playing with a full 52 card deck. When their podcast scores big when mocking a kid who’s video shows him slicing off his own leg while mimicking Jedi moves with a sword, Wallace decides to fly down to Manitoba to interview the kid in person. Arriving only to find that the kid had the gall to die of his wounds, he tries to find some other local nutjob to salvage his trip. He thinks he may have found his answer while reading a washroom bulletin board notice from an old sailor wanting to share stories, positing that anyone crazy enough to even post such a bulletin must surely be fooder for their show.

Upon arrival at the poster’s home Wallace meets one Howard Howe (Michael Parks, a ‘go to’ favored thespian of both Smith and Tarantino), a man who among the many hardships endured included being a former Duplessis orphan, and was once shipwrecked which led to him befriending a Walrus. But Howe had a score to settle with that Walrus and ever since that encounter he has been trying plying his crude surgical skills on luckless victims aiming to create a Franken-Walrus. Wallace of course becomes Howe’s next victim, slowly and barbarically, a few stitches at a time.

Smith being a diehard admirer and supporter of all things Canuck should know better than to pepper a film with lame, uninspired Canadian jokes mocking “Eh?”, DeGrassi, Hockey and the holiest of holies, Poutine. Ok, I’ll give him the DeGrassi jab since he really is a fan and even had a role in the revival. But the jokes are mostly ‘easy’ stabs and not original in any way. I guess I can be thankful that he shunned Beaver Tail jokes which would have been right up his alley.

But the worst offence in this script is the inclusion of the bumbling Sûreté du Québec officer Guy Lapointe credited as “Guy Lapointe”, but in reality played by Johnny Depp. Perhaps Depp had an inkling of where this movie was going. Other notable failures include pronouncing Maurice Duplessis’ name ending with ‘sis’ instead of ‘see’, something anybody should know unless this was only researched online. Minor, but hard to believe anybody working on the set didn’t pick this up.

Some of the finer moments of the film include a great performance by Parks (as always) and some crazy shit effects and prosthesis/costumes for the Walrus transformation. Hell, just attempting that is cool. In the end one of the few reasons I can understand someone wanting to watch this for that crazy story.

First truly disappointing film by Kev. Hope this is not a portent of things to come, although this is supposed to be an endeavour that promises to be a trio of films in what is being called the True North Trilogy. Sometimes we hurt the ones we love most, and everyone knows Smith loves Canada. You do the math.

Tusk? Tsk tsk.

Movie Reviews 247 – Dog Soldiers (2001)

November 27, 2015

Dog SoldiersFull credit goes to writer and director Neil Marshall for delivering a refreshing take on well worn staple. Werewolves are almost as old as Hollywood itself (yes even before Universal studios added them to their line of horror movies) but most follow the standard plot of some poor soul getting bit by one and the audience then following along as the victim discovers bane of their new curse. Think about it. The Wolfman, The Werewolf of London,  An American Werewolf in London, I was a Teenage Werewolf, Curse of the Werewolf, Ginger Snaps, Cursed and even comedies like Teen Wolf. They all share that singular plot. There are a few exceptions, but to a large degree that is the recipe. So it’s always a great feeling when finding a werewolf movie that breaks the mold and surprises us with something new, exciting and original. A movie like Dog Soldiers.

Right from the opening sequence we are witness to a vicious late night attack on a couple of unsuspecting campers in a remote area of the Scottish Highlands. But the scene then switches to a band of military soldiers where we are introduced to Private Cooper (Kevin McKidd) as he fails the survival entrance test for a band of elite commandos under the reign of hardass Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham).

Weeks later and now back in regular uniform, Cooper and his troop are on a training mission but when they meet their intended mock rival team, they find all dead except one, Captain Ryan himself, now a bleeding blathering mess. As the troop tries to make their way out of the forest, they are attacked by a creature and barely escape with the help of a timely arrival of zoologist (Emma Cleasby), who drives them to the only nearby chalet of a resident family. There she must convince Cooper and the rest of the surviving lads that they are dealing with intelligent and persevering werewolves and together they must somehow manage to survive the night. But don’t think for a minute that this will be a mundane battle of creature versus man as they await dawn as there are some whopping surprises in store for the cowering group and their battle with the hairy foes.

One noticeable difference between this movie and the many feeble peers is that the characters are all well defined, and as a group the troop functions like one. The zinger twist at the end, while not foreshadowed with the exception of miniscule clues, fits in with all the evidence without feeling shoehorned for the sake of a shock ending.

Minor squabble for me was a bit of trouble with the thick accents and slang, but not enough to interfere with the understanding of what is going on. Aside from the pared down quality of the werewolf costumes, this movie falls in league with other werewolf classics like those mentioned above.

You have an intelligent script, the gore, and fleshed out characters. Well at least some of them get to keep their flesh. The movie tagline of “Jaws, Aliens, and Predator” is a bit of a stretch (although there are elements from each), but certainly worthy.

Movie Reviews 246 – Nightmare Castle (1965)

November 21, 2015

Nightmare CastleWhat could be better than watching fiery eyed Barbara Steel in a gothic horror role? Having her play the role of two sisters in the same film, one a sultry blonde, the other a dark vixen. Grrrowl! Nightmare Castle may not be a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have a few horror staples (besides Steel) that make it worthy of a late night viewing.

Botanist Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Muller) discovers his wife Muriel (Steel) fooling around with the handyman David in the greenhouse after the doctor supposedly just left for a trip. Catching them in the act he savagely beats and whips them before having them hung in shackles in the castle basement. As he tortures Muriel and she begs to be killed she also reveals that she has already preempted any plans he may have had to kill her and inherit the castle as she secretly created a will bequeathing her possessions to her sister Jenny, currently resident in an asylum.

This surprise revelation also worries the scraggly old housemaid Solange (Helga Liné) as Dr. Arrowsmith had developed a serum that would rejuvenate her to her former beauty and the two had planned to live together in the castle after killing Muriel. Undaunted, Arrowsmith kills the lovestruck Muriel and David, removing their bloody, beating hearts, and has equally sinister plans for dealing with Jenny.

We then cut to the doctor arriving at the front door by horse and buggy with his new wife… Jenny!. (It seems marrying your widowed brother-in-law was deemed acceptable in Victorian times.) His plan is simple. Have Muriel believe that she is once again losing her sanity (or at least believing so) which will give him title to the castle. Going so far as to invite a psychiatrist to live with them for a while, with Solange as his accomplice (inexplicably now a beautiful young woman again, although she is getting blood transfusions from Jenny with perhaps with the aid of some serum) they no sooner begin their assault on Jenny’s senses when the murdered duo start appearing for real. Revenge can be sweet especially when dealt by Steel, now walking around in a zombie like state with her dark hair covering half her face.

There are plot holes galore including no explanation of Solange’s decrepit old state at the beginning of the film (and why would Arrowsmith even fathom rejuvenating her?), why Muriel bothered sticking around in the first place since she already made sure Arrowsmith would not inherit the castle, and most of all, why invite an impartial psychiatrist to stay in the house as you play with someone’s senses.

This Italian horror serving courtesy of director Mario Caiano (as Allen Grünewald) also went by the title The Faceless Monster, apropos given the glimpse we get of a scarred half face Muriel in the final moments of the film. Maestro Ennio Morricone provides the score, but don’t expect any of his later musical magistry here.

Not a classic, but Steel fans will be amply rewarded and there are a few neat FX and makeup scenes to make it watchable. My DVD was one from the 50 Horror Movie collection of public domain movies and was lackluster transfer. It would be nice to someday see this in a clean and restored form as it deserves better.


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