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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It's been a loooooong time since I've seen That Darn Cat, but I do recall that I liked it.

I will have to see That Darn Cat.

Coincidentally, I was watching the film noir Down Three Dark Streets (1954) when TCM brought "The Gordons" to my attention. They wrote mostly crime fiction.

Wiki on The Gordons (writers)


"Many of these feature fictional protagonist FBI agent John "Rip" Ripley. After they learned that the screenwriter of Make Haste to Live received $40,000 while they, the authors, only received $5,000, the Gordons insisted on writing the screenplays for their books being filmed."

They held out until they got it. They wrote the screenplays for Down Three Dark Streets and That Darn Cat. Broderick Crawford played their character John Ripley in Three Dark Streets and Glenn Ford played him in Experiment in Terror (1962 - also written by The Gordons).

Captain Comics said:

The most terrifying thing about these movies is that, no matter how bad they get, you and Tracy keep watching them. I fear for your brain cells.

As bad as these movies are, watching them is better than watching the news.

ETERNAL EVIL (1985): "A bored television director is introduced to the black arts and astral projection by his girlfriend. Learning the ability to separate his spirit from his body, the man finds a renewed interest in his life and a sense of wellbeing. Unfortunately, the man discovers while he is sleeping, his spirit leaves his body and commits savage acts against those in his life."

The word "girlfriend" in that summary is misleading. The spiritualist (Karen Black) is named Janus. The man is married and has a young son. Although the marriage is going through a rough patch, he is not cheating on his wife. He used to direct movies and documentaries, but now he directs television commercials. He dreams of visiting people in his life (partner, father-in-law, etc.) and the next day they turn up dead. He has a pretty good alibi (at home in bed with his wife), but he is the only common connection to the victims, which brings him to the attention of a particularly abrasive cop. Earlier in his career, the last documentary he made was about the supernatural, astral projection, and so on. One old couple he interviewed insisted they had reincarnated many times and always managed to find each other. But they don't reincarnate as infants; they take over the bodies and minds of full-grown adults. Before the documentary was completed, the couple had died. Unfortunately, the wife was played by Lois Maxwell (James Bond's Miss Moneypenny). 

Meanwhile, the couple's son is behaving strangely, too, as if being controlled. Janus has a lesbian lover, but she herself is dying of some incurable disease. If you haven't already figured out where this is going, "Janus" is the old man "reincarnated" and the "lesbian" lover is Lois Maxwell. All along, the man's son is being manipulated by Janus, although why he/she wants to kill everyone in the man's life escapes me. Oh, the man's wife ends up dead, too. Janus wants the man's body. To make a long story short, the cop kills "Lois" and Janus dies. At the end we find out that Janus has inhabited the cop's body. Oooh.

The next movie in queue was Idaho Transfer but Tracy put her foot down.

"Uh uh. I've seen that POS twice now; I'm not watching it again."

"Too soon?"

"Too soon."

I've been meaning to mention, as bad as these movies we have been watching lately are, the newer ones are at least audible. So many of those from the "Strange Tales" set we watched a while ago were right on the threshold. Many of these more "recent" ones, however, have films shot at night. Remember when we were discussing The Walking Dead every week and complaining about how well lit the woods were at night? I'll never do that again. It's almost impossible to figure out what's going on in an outdoor night scene in one of these movies. Now it's back to a barely audible one.

SHADOW OF CHINATOWN (1936): "A group of Chinese merchants and importers are the target of a European import firm that uses a beautiful Eurasian girl and a mad scientist (Bela Lugosi) as the means to put them out of business. A newspaper reporter and her dashing boyfriend learn of the problems the Chinatown businessmen are are dealing with and decide to investigate. Will our intrepid couple and the police be able to track down and stop those responsible for the hardships of the merchants before their businesses are ruined?"

Bela Lugosi is not a "mad scientist" per se so much as he is some sort of mystic. Also, this is a thriller; not sure why it's included in a set dedicated to "Sci-Fi Classics" (not that the other films are "classics" by any means, but most of them are at least "sci-fi"). Wikipedia tells me this movie was cobbled together from a movie serial, which explains a lot.

HAPPILY (2021)

Tom and Janet have been married for 14 years and to the annoyance of their “friends,” are very happy and can’t keep their hands off each other. A man in a suit (played by the wonderful Stephen Root) shows up at their door with a briefcase containing two large hypodermics full of green something. It seems they are defective and he’s there to fix them. In a panic, Janet kills the man and soon after they go to a rented house with all of their “friends.” Hijinks ensue. One of the smarter reviewers on IMDB said that this dark comedy was “Twilight Zone-ish.” I really enjoyed it. I watched it on DVD but it’s also available on Amazon Prime.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FLIGHT 412 (1974): "A flight wing of the Air force has been experiencing difficulties with some of its aircraft so as a test they send aloft a jet with a four-man crew. Once airborne, the jet picks up three mysterious objects on radar and when two interceptors are sent to investigate, they mysteriously disappear. When the test flight is rerouted to a second airbase for interrogation, the flight wing commander (Glenn Ford) decides to do some investigating on his own and uncovers some very disturbing information."

This NBC TV movie tries so hard to be a "serious" movie about UFOs that it's almost painful to watch. If it's not painful, it is boring, perhaps the most boring of these B-films we've been watching lately. the scenes are narrated by a Rod Serling sound-alike who disappears about 30 minutes in, then reappears ten minutes from the end. there are lots of "Hey, it's that guy!" actors in this one, including Bradford DillmanDavid Soul and Guy Stockwell and Greg Mullavey. Avoid this one at all costs; it's not even inept, it's just boring.

I saw Clytaemnestra, a 2021 South Korean movie directed by Ougie Pak about a theater troupe that travels from South Korea to Greece to rehearse a production of Agamemnon. There's an overbearing (and abusive) director and a diva who he pulls into the lead role when the actress he originally cast isn't working out, but it still feels pretty flat and lackluster. I watched till the end to see the director get his comeuppance, but it's not a movie I'd recommend. 

Satan's Triangle (1975)

I saw this when it was originally on TV as a movie of the week. It was made for TV but you wouldn't know it. A very creepy story about a pleasure craft and what happened to the people aboard her in the infamous Devil's Triangle. Doug McClure is a Coast Guard rescuer and Kim Novak is the sole survivor on the boat. Alejandro Rey is a priest who was rescued from an earlier boat, Michael Conrad (of Hill Street Blues) is the rescue helicopter pilot, the always reliable Ed Lauter is the boat's captain and Jim Davis (JR;s dad on Dallas) is the man who chartered the boat. Everyone turns in a great performance. The ending will blow you away as it did me (seriously). I got goosebumps even though I knew what was coming. Available for streaming on Amazon Prime. If you watch it you won't be sorry.

GOOD AGAINST EVIL (1977): "A young couple is forced to confront the ultimate horror when Satan decides to claim the young woman as his own. the boyfriends consults with two priests in the hopes of getting guidance on his spiritual dilemma. The two priests in turn decide to perform an exorcism in order to rid the woman of her possession. The boyfriend and the exorcists are pitted in a battle for the woman's soul with Satan and his clan of worshippers."

That capsule summary is about as wrong as it can be and still be referring to the same movie. For example, the "two priests" don't "decide" anything, at least not together. One is in San Francisco and the other New Orleans, and the one dies without ever even meeting the other. IMDB tells me that this was a TV movie intended as the pilot to a series which was not picked up by the network. (Actually, that explains quite a bit.) It starts off as Rosemary's Baby, veers off into The Omen for a while, when settles into The Exorcist

The movie begins in New York city 1955 with the birth of a Satanic child. This woman is destined to give birth to the Devil's son (or a devil's son, in any case). then it jumps to San Francisco 1977 where she is making her living as a seamstress. Unbeknownst to her, many of the people in her circle (and all the cats in the city) are actually Satanists assigned to keep tabs on her. She then meets a young man (Dack Rambo) and falls in love. When he takes her into the church where they are to be married, all sorts of weird things begin to happen including, eventually, the desecration of the church and the death of the priest. The woman disappears and the dress shop where she works closes overnight. At this point, the woman is essentially out of the plot.

Having nowhere else to go, the guy returns to him home in New Orleans, where he sees a newspaper headline about a little girl who (somehow) drew a pentagram while she was in a coma. He goes to the hospital to see the girl, but the staff , understandably, won't let him in. The duty nurse does, however, point out that the child's mother is in the waiting room. The mother (Kim Catrell) turns out to be the guy's old girlfriend. What a coincidence! (I'm not sure what happened to the father of the Catrell's little girl, but he's out of the picture.) She knows that he's trying to find his girlfriend from San Francisco, but falls in love with him (all over again) anyway. 

This is when he decides to contact the priest from his boyhood parish who decides to perform an exorcism (on the little girl, that is, not on his missing girlfriend as indicated in the summary). the priest and the demon have clashed before, as it turns out, and he manages to exorcise the demon from the girl's body. That the demon just happened to possess the child of his old girlfriend, BTW, isn't quite the coincidence it at first appeared to be. It seems the Satanists arranged it to distract him from searching for his San Francisco girlfriend.

Now that the little girl has been saved, he follows a hunch to track down his girlfriend's previously-unmentioned sister. As he is getting into his car, Kim Catrall hopefully calls out, "If it doesn't work out..." On his way out of town, he passes the priest sitting at a bus stop and gives him a ride. If you're wondering what happens next (I know I am), remember I already mentioned this pilot movie was not picked up as a series. :(

THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977): I thought how bad can this be? It stars Burt Lancaster and Michael York, but Lancaster is clearly doing this for the paycheck and York can only act one way, I'm beginning to think! Barbara Carrera is a beautiful Maria but they only imply at her backstory. Richard Basehart is the Sayer of the Law. This has a TV-movie feel despite being a major motion picture! 

I remember reading about the makeup for the Manimals in an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland and they clearly set their goals too high! 

Still it's better than the 1996 Marlon Brando version! 

DAY OF THE ANIMALS (1977): this I saw on Rifftrax! Leslie Nielson played the crazy bad guy in this one! Twelve people struggle to get out of the wild before all the animals team up to kill them! This is blamed on holes in the ozone layer! 

THE ALAMO (1960): Produced, directed and starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett! I feel that Wayne is a better actor than most give him credit for but I can't see him as Davy Crockett! We all know that Davy looked like Fess Parker! 

Also, Wayne can get preachy at times, always casted his friends and appeared to believe in his own press clippings!

But it's way too long to enjoy!

RODAN (1956): Another slow-paced movie that hasn't aged well! It's no wonder why there was no sequel and it got absorbed into the Godzilla franchise! It was actually a better film with the smaller bug-monsters!

Jeff of Earth-J said:


Unbeknownst to her, many of the people in her circle (and all the cats in the city) are actually Satanists assigned to keep tabs on her.

Another slander against cats.

the priest and the demon have clashed before

Also "inspired by" The Exorcist.

"But it's way too long to enjoy!"

Tracy and I watched The Alamo for the first (and only) time shortly after moving to Texas and visiting the Alamo. We watched a "director's cut" which was even longer than the theatrical release. "Way too long to enjoy" is about the best, most succinct way to sum up this movie that I can think of. If you want to watch a long movie about Texas, I recommend Giant

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