Archive for the ‘dolls’ Tag

Attack of the Beast Creatures (1985)   7 comments

attack

In 1920, a group of people we care nothing about abandon their sinking ocean liner in the North Atlantic and hit the lifeboats.  They end up on a thickly forested, warm island.  Lifeboats drift, after all.  They have to find water and food to survive, but spend most of their time standing around complaining about Morgan, the grumpy, rich guy you love to hate.  Morgan is obnoxious, but at least he has a personality.

morgan

“Morgan, are you drooling again?!”

A guy who looks like George Peppard’s son, finds a creek and boy is he thrilled.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be filled with acid.  The corrosive brook melts his face and he’s toast.

peppard

“I love it when a plan comes toaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!”

After the Peppard-melting incident, the group begin to feel a bit homesick and we learn that one of the women comes from an Iowa farm and she digs sailors.  Mrs. Gordon, the only character we might have even mild feelings for, says dreamy, yet practical things that boost the troops’ morale.

As the gang sleep peacefully around the fire, crazed, toothy, 16-inch natives jump them and begin to snack on the castaways.  Instead of running full speed to the shore to build a huge fire and survivalist junk like that, the crew do a kind of Bataan Death March through a forest in Connecticut…I mean, some foreign land.

not

Not Connecticut or anything.

Their pokey speed means they’re constantly at the mercy of these nasty little dolls.  Many don’t make it.  It would be tragic if you cared about any of these people, but the wooden acting, prosaic dialogue, and just lack of suspension of belief make that impossible.  Will they make it?  Who cares?

island

“I sure wish we weren’t on this island.”
“Yeah.”
“Do you like crullers?”

The horrendous earworm theme killed any possible drama and the director, Michael Stanley, was out of his element.

donny

“Shut up, Michael.”

Then came the moonlit beast creature attacks.  Ferocious, ankle-biting crazies with glow-in-the-dark eyes launch themselves toward our heroes with reckless abandon.  People scream, wrestle dolls, and flail about helplessly as the little buggers screech and bite.

do the

“Let’s do the beast creature tonight!”

It’s fun to watch.  In fact, it’s odd that there’s no beast creature wrangler credit because the people who chuck the little beasties onto the victims are talented.  The diminutive critters have voracious appetites and grip like pitbulls.  There’s even an homage. Really?  Yes, it’s a tribute, of sorts, to Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS.  At one point, Mrs. Gordon, lost in thought, turns around to see dozens of the little bloodsuckers staring at her from the trees.  A moment later, they’re hurling themselves at her and there’s no escape.

tree

“Ready…set…hurl!”

Amazingly low production values and a sound crew who phoned it in knock the wind out of ATTACK OF THE BEAST CREATURES and it was winded to start with.  During a night scene, I swear they miked the fire.  I could see mouths moving, but all I heard was crackle crackle.  I recommend watching this with a group of like-minded friends as I did.  If you can slog through the dull conversations, you’ll enjoy the Olympic beast creature toss.

bc

“I’m coming to get you, Barbara.”

I watched ATTACK OF THE BEAST CREATURES with the #Riffotronic crew on Twitter.  Thanks, @adw1661 and @DmathchesLive who allow me and other weirdos to watch strange and wonderful films with them every Saturday night.  I may never forgive you.

haunty

 

The Devil’s Hand (1961)   2 comments

devil's hand

Rick Turner (Robert Alda) has a problem.  Despite being engaged to the sweet and lovely Donna Trent (Ariadna Welter), working a job with a future, and wearing a series of hideous sweaters, he has disturbing dreams about a beautiful woman which keep him up every night.  During one of his insomnia induced walks through the city, he comes upon a doll shop and spies a doll which reminds him of his dream woman.  The next day, Rick and Donna visit the shop and meet the proprietor, creepy to the extreme Francis Lamont (Neil Hamilton-Yes! Commissioner Gordon!) who tells Rick he ordered the dream woman doll and must bring it to Bianca Milan (Linda Christian).  Rick has no memory of this but brings the doll to Bianca anyway.  He falls in lust at first sight and blows Donna off completely.  If that weren’t bad enough, poor Donna suffers in a hospital bed with a sudden heart ailment brought on by Francis’ sticking a pin in a doll with her likeness.  Moments after they meet, Bianca tells Rick he must renounce all goodness and virtue and join her cult which worships Gamba, the devil god of evil.  Since he has nothing else planned, he agrees and goes with Bianca to a meeting of the cult in the back of the doll shop.  I have to say that an evil cult meeting in the back of a doll shop does not surprise me.  The Kerry Scale of Creepy rates clowns as the most creepy.  After clowns come dolls that look like you, regular dolls, and ventriloquist dummies.  Please consult the following chart.

Kerry’s Scale of Creepiness

Totally Effing Creepy Very Creepy Creepy Less Creepy Awkward Benign
Clowns Dolls that look like you Dolls in general Ventriloquist dummies Taxidermied horses Puppies

 

I hope that clears things up.

Rick flourishes using Gamba’s evil and soon he has money, a cool car, and a far more fashionable wardrobe.  Donna’s still in the hospital with a pin in her doll’s chest.  Rick lusts after Bianca and they share a few sexy kisses.  The movie hints at sex, but Rick still goes home and sleeps in his little twin bed.  Anyway, we get to see a few Gamba Book Club cult meetings where people dance to bongo music and cult members sit on pillows and watch each other tested for loyalty under a knife-filled light fixture.  Commissioner Gordon officiates over these meetings speaking with the same voice you use when you’re a kid having a fake séance and wears a natty smoking jacket/bathrobe over his shirt and tie.  It’s a lot of fun really.   Obviously the halcyon days of Gamba can’t last forever and since this stuff happens in a movie, it all has to come to a conclusion they’ll love in Peoria.   I liked The Devil’s Hand.  It boasts cool Misirlou-like tunes, weird cult scenes, Isadora Duncan dream sequences, and Commissioner Gordon as a weirdo with a doll shop.  Jo Heims, who would go on to write Play Misty for Me and Dirty Harry wrote the screenplay and William J. Hole, Jr. (Highway Patrol, 77 Sunset Strip TV episodes) directed this fairly odd story well.  All hail Gamba!

devils

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