Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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My Darling Clemetine may be one of the poorest title choices ever. I too avoided the film for years thinking it was some sappy old west romance instead it is one of Ford's best ever westerns.

And I avoided it until about a year ago, thinking it was about horticulture.

doc photo said:

My Darling Clemetine may be one of the poorest title choices ever. I too avoided the film for years thinking it was some sappy old west romance instead it is one of Ford's best ever westerns.

I've seen My Darling Clementine a couple of times. I think it deviates from reality too much for my taste. Hour of the Gun (1967) starred James Garner as Wyatt Earp and Jason Robards as Doc Holliday, and is a pretty good movie. I think the Spectre of the Gun episode of Star Trek is misleading in the extreme, trying to tap into the then-popular anti-establishment bias. My favorite is Tombstone. The bad guys are truly bad and the good guys, though imperfect, are clearly the good guys.

One should not go to Star Trek episodes for history lessons.

Michael Crichton's screenplay and movie Westworld initiated his bit of a high-tech amusement park killing its guests, which he later retooled as the basis for his novel Jurassic Park.

BEFORE I HANG: Boris Karloff stars as a physician on death row for a mercy killing in this thriller from 1940. He is given special permission to work with the prison doctor. He creates a serum from the blood of an executed murderer and injects it into himself (no ethics violations there), then his sentence is commuted to life. The killer’s blood changes his personality and he kills the prison doctor and another prisoner, but the other prisoner is blamed. He is later pardoned and allowed to rejoin society, where he attempts to use his youth serum on his friends. When they refuse, he doesn’t take it well.

FIRECREEK: I had never heard of this 1967 movie before, but it was part of a James Stewart/Henry Fonda double feature when I bought The Cheyenne Social Club. In it, Stewart and Fonda play opposite sides of the same coin. Stewart is part-time sheriff of a small community and Fonda is the nominal leader of a gang of rowdies. There are lots of other actors you’ll recognize, such as Gary Lockwood and Jack Elam. Also from the “Dagger of the Mind” episode of Star Trek is the guy who played Dr. Van Gelder. Featured in a small but pivotal role is the guy who played Elvis’ father in King Creole. It’s worth watching.

I also watched two more Boris Karloff movies…

THE DEVIL COMMANDS: (1941) Karloff plays a scientist who becomes obsessed with communicating with the dead after his wife is killed in a freak accident. It’s a Columbia picture, and a lot of Columbia stock players from Three Stooges Shorts are used, including the guy who often plays thugs, and the guy who often plays the lead gangster.

THE BOOGIE MAN WILL GET YOU: (1942) This is a horror/comedy co-starring Peter Lorre. It kind of reminds me of Arsenic and Old Lace, but with mad scientists.

That’s it. Six pretty decent Karloff movies for $9.

A Ghost Story (2017): the first third move at quite a slow pace, and the characters are a little on the mumblywhispery side, but the film develops into something original and worthwhile. Not a horror story, but a haunting one. It could have run an hour without losing anything, I think.

The Spectacular Now (2013): a plausible and engaging coming-of-age story, though the characters felt more like they were closer in age to the twentysomething actors playing them, rather than the 18-year-olds they are supposed to be.

Superfly (1972): grew up hearing the soundtrack, so it was inevitable that, sooner or (as it turns out) later, I would see the film.

I'm really looking forward to A Ghost Story -- I see it's on one of the streaming services I get, so I'll have to jump on that.

I recently watched Pretty Poison, a 1968 film starring Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Perkins plays a guy on parole (or some parole-like system) after a release from a mental hospital, because he burnt down his family home with his aunt inside. Weld is a high-school student he convinces that he's in the CIA -- or at least, she humors him on that point. But Weld is a more dangerous than she looks, and Perkins is, surprisingly, more innocent than he seems. It makes for an intriguing combination. I recorded it from TCM last month, and finally got around to watching it -- it was a movie written up in the back of an issue of Kill or Be Killed. The articles in the back of those comics (and other Brubaker/Phillips books) have provided me with plenty of great movie recommendations -- and are a great reason not to wait for the trade!

 

Two more Karloff Movies…

THE WALKING DEAD (1936): doc photo recommended this to me a couple of weeks ago. Karloff is set up on a murder charge an executed. He is revived and sets about seeking revenge on those responsible. Yes, it is a worthy companion to the seven Karloff films I watched previously recently. But I’m not done yet! I also watched…

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (1958): I don’t know how we missed this one when we watched all of those other “Frankenstein” movies last summer, but I see it as an integral part of the “Fankenstien family tree” which I assembled from various studios’ movies.

Also on queue this weekend was…

DON”T LOOK NOW (1973): This is part of the “Criterion Collection” (always a good sign). Tracy says after this and The Room, I’m not allowed to pick the movies anymore.

I've gotta get me one of these.

Watched The Ritual, about four London guys hiking through Sweden who run afoul of an ancient evil. It's reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, only it's good. Lots of jump scares, and a genuine story. And, unlike Blair Witch, these guys aren't idiots and I'm not rooting for them do die. There's an actual evil thing, with a genuine mythology, and ... well, I will say no more.

Watched Pandemic, a sort-of zombie movie, about a pandemic which seems to overwhelm the world (the movie takes place in L.A., and we don't see anywhere else, although we're told New York "has fallen"). It's not good enough to entertain and not bad enough to laugh at. It's predictable and derivative, and could serve as a bottle episode of The Walking Dead, only not as good. Weirdly, Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones, is one of the four principals, with a dismal American accent.

YOU’LL FIND OUT (1940): This light-hearted mystery is primarily a showcase for Kay Kyser and his band, but Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre all turn in serious performances.

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