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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And now I'm imagining a medley/mashup of Easy Street and Ease on Down the Road

In my head, it works!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE WIZ: I will always associate The Wiz with Annie for two reasons: 1) We played a medley of both in concert band, and 2) I didn't see the actual movies for the first time until some 20-25 years ex post facto. (Today I can't get "Ease on Down the Road" out of my head.) 

THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (Spanish, 1972): "While traveling in the nountains, a man is attacked by a mysterious creature that promptly departs, leaving no trace of its presence. Unbeknownst to the man, he has been attacked by a werewolf and now he's inherited the curse associated with such creatures. Now our hero must race against time to rid himself of this dreaded affliction before the next full moon."

Sounds pretty standard, doesn't it? Think again. It opens with a but of prose obviously ripped off from based on the old Universal films ("Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night..."). Oddly, the whole "werewolf bite" thing was antecedent action; yes, by the time to movie begins, he has already been bitten. His "origin" (such as it is) is relayed through a series of poorly edited montage shots. At one point, the werewolf victim is driving a car, loses control and crashes into a tree. This is conveyed by the director entirely by close-ups of the man's face alternating with close-ups of the man's feet working the brake petal. then there is one quick shot of a car, followed by the camera being run toward a tree. We don't even get to see wrecked car!

The man staggers home, bloodied, through a rainstorm. He arrives to find his wife in bed with another man, He turns into a werewolf and kills them both. Just a word here about his fighting style. One might expect a werewolf to go for the throat, but he bites his female victims on the neck, vampire style. One might similarly expect him to slash with his claws, but he punches his male victims, like a boxer would. He wanders out into the rain, comes upon a downed electrical pole, grabs a livewire and kills himself. We are now 20 minutes into the film. Then it gets weird.

He is brought back to life by a female mad scientist. She lives in a castle. She has a female assistant who falls in love with the werewolf guy (and vice versa). She keeps the (involuntary) subjects of her upcoming experiments locked in the dungeon, where they apparently pass the time by engaging in a constant orgy. There is a guy in a "Phantom of the Opera" mask (who ends up being the scientist's father) and at least two "knights" in suits of armor running around the castle. Neither Tracy nor I could follow the plot. We kept asking each other, "What's going on now?" I can't really recommend this movie to anyone unless you like puzzles. Maybe you can figure out what's going on.

In addition to punching his male victims, he runs around the castle and countryside making sounds more like the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil than any wolf.

The female mad scientist believes she can mind control people and dominate them. The tormented wolf man and the student assistant were being controlled but once they read about themselves in a journal, they were cured. 

The Velvet Vampire (1971) aka The Cemetery Girls: The Corman factory decides to cash in on the success of contemporaneous vampire films with softcore erotic elements. Stephanie Rothman, the rare woman among the era's exploitation filmmakers, co-wrote and directed this occasionally interesting but tonally incoherent flick about a young couple invited to stay with a mysterious woman, Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall), who is.... gosh, see if you can guess:

(a) a vampire

(b) bisexual

(c) all of the above

(d) it's (c), right? Is it (c)? I bet it's (c)!

The film is an odd blend with some effective direction and uneven acting. Sherri Miles was clearly cast for her looks and willingness to do softcore scenes than for her acting ability. She's not a bad actor; she's just not especially good. The owner of the art gallery where the couple meet the bisexual vampire (urrgh! Sorry! I forgot to post a Spoiler tag!) is named "Stoker." This film is worth seeing if:

(a) You're a pre-Anne-Rice-era vampire completist

(b) You're a fan of early 70s exploitation films

(c) You absolutely have to see any movie where a vampire asks someone if he knows how to drive a dune buggy.

Doubtless named for Sheridan Le Fanu, who wrote the vampire novel Carmilla.

JD DeLuzio said:

Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall)

I answered "C" to both questions. (Tracy, OTOH, wants to see a bisexual vampire.)

HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD  (1973): "An insane scientist has been experimenting with the transfer of souls between human beings. The crazed doctor has conducted his nefarious deeds upon even his own family members, including the exchange of his own soul into his brother's body. With his soul inhabiting a new body, the madman believes he can continue his experiments uninterrupted."

This movie takes place on a plantation in South Africa in the 19th century. It is easily as confusing as The Fury of the Wolfman (neither Tracy nor I was certain when the switch of "souls" was made; he keeps them in jars of colored gasses), but not  nearly as "entertaining." I am pretty sure that Chester Gould must have seen this movie at some point because he used one of the bizarre murders in Dick Tracy in order to show why the murderer shouldn't've been able to get away with it. Nothing really happens until the last five minutes of the film; in fact, one could watch just the last five minutes and know all there is to know and not have wasted an hour and a half.

JD DeLuzio said:
The Velvet Vampire (1971) aka The Cemetery Girls: The Corman factory decides to cash in on the success of contemporaneous vampire films with softcore erotic elements.

I just watched this after recording it from TCM. It has its moments. The gutsy thing they did (according to IMDB trivia) was to go to the bus station and film the portion of the ending that takes place there (a lot of running). They apparently just showed up and started filming without approval, so all the people you see except for the cop are just civilians. Next, they apparently go across the street to the Olvera Street historical area, presumably also without approval. (The Olvera Street historical area is across from the train station, not the bus station.)

Sherri Miles was clearly cast for her looks and willingness to do softcore scenes than for her acting ability. She's not a bad actor; she's just not especially good.

I’m sorry, but either she was directed to be emotionless or she was just a bad actor. Scenes that should have excited her or angered her get no visible reaction at all. Her scenes took me out of the movie, which I thought it was generally enjoyable.

You absolutely have to see any movie where a vampire asks someone if he knows how to drive a dune buggy.

According to IMDB trivia, the lead actress Celeste Yarnall learned how to drive one just as filming began. A vampire driving a dune buggy in the desert sun is an interesting image. “She had a hat,” in the words of a vampire from a commercial. She carries the movie and is convincing as a seductress.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I answered "C" to both questions. (Tracy, OTOH, wants to see a bisexual vampire.)

IMDB tells me that it’s available for streaming from several sources. If you have access to TCM’s streaming option, it should be there for a while. After some of the things you've been watching it should seem great.

We just finished watching THE VELVET VAMPIRE.

"After some of the things you've been watching it should seem great."

Sadly, that is so true.

Try any unlit club in a college town or outré group of high school kids, circa 1997.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I answered "C" to both questions. (Tracy, OTOH, wants to see a bisexual vampire.)

Yeah, I was 33 in '97. I don't think so. (Although Tracy may have been there.)

One thing that struck me odd about the movie was that she wasn't (particularly) averse to sunlight, but she was to crosses. I don't like the vampires who glow in the sunlight, but I was okay with this one. The cross thing kind of threw me, though. Aversion to sunlight (AFAIAC) is physiological, but aversion to crosses (again, AFAIAC) is psychological. Then it is hinted at the end that she may not have even been a real vampire, but just thought she was [although "Stoker" probably was one(?)].

Well, there was the gay bar full of feminists in Washington DC when I was in college but I was just an observer out with friends. I met a lot of nice people but no vampires. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Yeah, I was 33 in '97. I don't think so. (Although Tracy may have been there.)

One thing that struck me odd about the movie was that she wasn't (particularly) averse to sunlight, but she was to crosses. I don't like the vampires who glow in the sunlight, but I was okay with this one. The cross thing kind of threw me, though. Aversion to sunlight (AFAIAC) is physiological, but aversion to crosses (again, AFAIAC) is psychological. Then it is hinted at the end that she may not have even been a real vampire, but just thought she was [although "Stoker" probably was one(?)].

Tracy of Moon-T said:

Well, there was the gay bar full of feminists in Washington DC when I was in college but I was just an observer out with friends. I met a lot of nice people but no vampires. 

Not even in Adams Morgan or Georgetown?

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