Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Nothing Funny About "Joker"

This makes only the second time since I inaugurated this blog that I've chosen to give some thoughts on a movie I saw that is currently in theaters.

I don't have a TV anymore.  Unless I happen to be in a bar watching a sports game I don't see any commercials for coming attractions or for movies that are in their first run.  My first indication that they had made this movie was when an email notice from EVO (where I have a rewards app to get points when I go to movies and/or eat a meal there) appeared in my in-box.  It offered first chance at pre-sale tickets.

Because I happen to like superhero movies and have watched nearly every one that has been produced in the past 20 or 30 years in the theater, and because I knew The Joker character from reading DC comics well before then, I was intrigued by the concept of a movie focusing on him.

It's an origin story, and one that delves very much into the same stark portrayal that Frank Miller's Dark Knight comic series did with Batman. "The Joker" as portrayed in that comic book was as far from Caesar Romero's "Joker" in the 60's Batman TV show as, say, Jack Spade (I'm Gonna Git You Sucka) is from Paul Kersey (Death Wish).

But Joker takes it several steps farther.  Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck is a mentally unstable man long before the tribulations of his life transform him into his ultimate alter-ego.  At least Jack Nicholson's Jack Napier (Batman) had some slight hold on sanity before his transformation into the iconic villain.  Fleck has no such semblances towards a normal mentality.  He is already unhinged.

Joker, which is rated R, so that should send up flags to any of you parents considering sending the kids in to see this movie, has absolutely got insanity under wraps (warps?).  I personally felt extremely dirty after watching this movie.  And if you are familiar with some of the more outre output I have reviewed in the past three years, you must know it would take something extroadinary to make me feel uncomfortable.

It is a credit to Phoenix that he was able to pull this off.  In 40 years of watching movies I have NEVER walked out on a movie mid-showing.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that I considered it.  But all those other times was because the movie was so damn boring.  (The Postman was the most egregious offender in that category.)  I read a Yahoo feed that quite a few people HAVE walked out mid-showing on this film, which says something.

Phoenix's Joker, in my opinion, makes Heath Ledger's Joker look like Barney the Purple Dinosaur.  And he will probably get an Oscar nom for his portrayal.  I think he did a damn decent job in the role.  But I just didn't like the way the movie made me feel.  It doesn't let up.  The comic relief of the movie (his attempts at trying to start a career as a stand-up comedian, I think, is supposed to be "comic relief") does nothing to quell the inner turmoil that the movie creates in the viewer.

A word of advice.  If you choose to watch this film, be sure you go in the daytime.  Leaving the theater after dark may make you a little nervous about the trip to the car.

Drive safely, folks


Friday, October 4, 2019

Man on the Edge

This is my entry in the Unemployment Blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlogii

(Forenote on the title of this entry:  I came up with the title on my own.  But afterwards I found that it was not exactly original.  The heavy metal band Iron Maiden wrote a song called "Man on the Edge" released on the album The X Factor.  Since I am not an Iron Maiden fan, I had not heard the song.  It is based on the movie, however.  I was reluctant to change the title I had come up with.  As a consolation to Iron Maiden, though, I include here the lyrics to what is a pretty decent song:

The freeway is jammed and it's backed up for miles
This car is an oven and baking is wild
Nothing is ever the way it should be
What we deserve we don't get, you see
A briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge
Each step he's closer to losing his head
Is someone in heaven? Are they looking down?
Nothing is fair, you look around
Falling down
Lyrics:  Blaze Bayley, Janick Gers)

 So what would it take to send you over the edge?  Losing your job? Being stuck in a traffic jam with no AC in the middle of summer?  Having an ex-wife who refuses to let you see your daughter?  Or just the fact that society in general is falling apart at the seams?

The film Falling Down gives us a look at a man who has issues with all of the above.  William Foster is not really a bad man, but he is a bit mentally unstable even before society starts to Break down the breach of his defenses.

Michael Douglas stars as "D-Fens" (the name is what he is credited as in the movie, based on his car's  license plate, but he does have a name, William "Bill" Foster).  Five years earlier Douglas had won the Oscar for his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.  He was not nominated for his role here, and I really couldn't switch places with any of the five nominees that year, but I think he does an spot-on job in the role.

The movie also stars Robert Duvall as Sgt. Prendergast, a man who is on his last day on the police force before his imminent retirement.  Duvall as Prendergast is a desk jockey, due to some event prior to the film which caused him, at the behest of his wife, to get off the streets.  He is the one who realizes there is a connection between several random incidents happen in a ghetto area of L.A.

Falling Down (1993):

It's hot.  Bill Foster (Michael Douglas) is stuck in a traffic jam.  His AC isn't working.  Finally something just snaps and he abandons his car in the middle of the road, telling a fellow frustrated driver that he is "going home."

Sgt. Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall) just happens to be in the same traffic jam.  He helps the police push Foster's abandoned car out f traffic, noting that the license plate is one of those vanity plates, with the name "D-FENS" on it.

We follow both characters as they progress through the day.  Prendergast ends up eventually at his desk in the police station, while Foster progresses across the low-rent neighborhoods of L.A.  Foster has a goal to reach the home of his ex-wife in time for his daughter's birthday party.

The first indication that something is really wrong with Foster comes early on as he tries to get change for a phone call.  (In case you are a product of the 21st century, there used to be pay phone booths were you could make phone calls...I don't know if there are any left anymore.  I haven't seen one in years.  To my American readers:  Have you seen one recently?))

The Korean store owner refuses to give Foster change, instead demanding that he buy something.  When Foster learns that his can of soda is going to cost him such a rate that will leave him with not enough change to make the phone call he initially wanted the change for he begins to rant about the injustice of the economy.  Foster relieves the storekeeper of his baseball bat that he pulled out to chase off Foster and uses it to smash several displays.

While sitting on the remains of a demolished building, Foster is accosted by two gang members who confront him about trespassing in their gang territory.  One of them pulls a switchblade, but Foster uses his newly acquired baseball bat and chases them off.  He trades the bat for the knife that the gang member dropped.

Not long after, the two gang members are cruising the streets with a couple of others in a car when they spot the offending Foster.   They attempt to perform a drive-by shooting, but only manage to either kill or wound several innocent bystanders.  And wreck their car.  Foster comes along and sees the carnage and takes their gym bag full of guns, leaving behind the knife.

Several events occur over the course of the film in which Foster becomes increasingly agitated over the state of affairs in society.  The most impressive scene (and one in which I can relate) is when he walks into a fast food restaurant wanting breakfast, only to be told that they are only serving lunch menu items now.  They stopped serving breakfast at 11:30.  (It's 11:33, according to Foster's watch.)

(I had a similar incident happen at a McDonald's some years back.  I wanted breakfast and because it was 5 minutes past the breakfast menu, they refused to sell me breakfast.  I, however, did not pull out a gun at my frustration.  I just went elsewhere, where I found a place that would serve me a breakfast.)

Back at the station, Prendergast is dealing with certain events that come up and putting two and two together eventually draws a connection to the abandoned car, the harassed storekeeper, the gangland shooting and the to-do at the fast food restaurant.  All the while dealing with his own connection to instability with a wife (Tuesday Weld) who is insistent that he come home and forget about his last day at work.

Prendergast runs into a bit of a brick wall because no one else will believe that the events are interconnected.  No one except his confidante in the force, Det. Sandra Torres (Rachel Ticotin).  With the help of Torres however, Prendergast ends up on the trail of Foster, whom he determines is trying to get to the home of his ex-wife.

A final confrontation between Foster and Prendergast occurs on the pier near the ex-wife's home.  And its not going to go down easy, although Foster can't believe that he is the "bad guy".  After all all he wanted to do was see his daughter and give her a birthday present.

I have to admit I can relate to Foster on some level.  He isn't really a bad guy.  After all, he only really kills one person in the film and that is a guy that most of us probably wouldn't feel much compassion for in the first place, whether or not we can agree to the self-appointed execution of him by Foster.  Really, Foster is just a man who has become disgusted with the way society seems to be crumbling around him.  He just takes it to another level that most of us would not.

The film got a lot of good reviews at the time it came out, although there were a few dissenting views.  Most of those, as you can probably guess, disparaged the vigilante theme of the movie.  One can't help but think of parallels between it and Death Wish, although I think Paul Kersey kept his head for the most part in that film, even if he did kill more people.

Well folks, time to fire up the old Plymouth.  Fortunately, my AC works.  Drive home safely.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Family That Commits Crime Together Does Time Together

This is my entry in the Shelley Winters Blogathon hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews and Poppity Talks Classic Films

Batman, the 1960's camp TV series had just about everyone in Hollywood banging on the door to be cast as a supervillain, if the hype can be believed.  You can't help but love some of the takes that some of those Hollywood stars that got lucky enough to get the nod took with their roles.  My personal favorite of these second tier villains would be Vincent Price as Egghead.  (Note: by 'second tier" I'm not impugning their status as actors.  I just consider the quadrumvirate of The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and Catwoman to be "first tier" because they were such frequent guest villains.)

Shelley Winters got her chance to battle the Dynamic Duo in the second season of the show, as Ma Parker, a sort of parody of the real criminal Ma Barker (a character she actually played in Bloody Mama, a Roger Corman flick from 1970.  She may or may not have gotten the role in that movie in part due to her stint on Batman.)

Batman (TV series) "The Greatest Mother of Them All"/"Ma Parker" (original air date: Oct. 5-6, 1966)

What constitutes a great criminal? Is it the ingenious way he/she commits their crimes?  Is it their willingness to go to great lengths to their illicit gains?  Or maybe its just their ability to somehow outwit the local gendarmes when engineering their escapes.

"Ma" Parker (Shelley Winters) and her family of three boys, "Pretty Boy" (Richard Biheller), "Machine Gun" (Peter Brooks)  and "Mad Dog" (Michael Vandever) and her daughter "Legs" (Tisha Sterling) have managed to make a mockery of every major city in the nation and have ow set their sights on Gotham City.  No, Chief O'Hara, Ma Parker has not avoided Gotham because of the legendary derring-do and capabilities of the intrepid police force of the city.  She has been avoiding contact with Batman and Robin.

But now Ma and her brood have descended on Gotham, with a nefarious plan that even the quick-witted  Batman could never have deduced.  After all, why would the world's most notorious family of thieves intentionally get themselves arrested?  Which is what they proceed to do, but only as a matter of being "foiled" in their attempts at escape.

First is a shootout at the hideout of the Parker clan, in which Ma and the boys escape (only "Pretty Boy" is captured.

Next is a robbery of a charity event at a theater.  Ma escapes in an a truck, but "Machine Gun", having dropped his violin case, is left behind and captured.

Next, a armed robbery of a drugstore ends with the capture of "Mad Dog".

Batman, using his supercomputer, can't locate the whereabouts of Ma Parker, but the usually slower witted Robin observes that the best place for an old lady like ma to hide out would be an "Old Folks Home".  (Hey, don't blame me.  That's what they call it.  This show was made B.P.C. "Before Politically Correct")

Sure enough, Ma and her daughter are captured making it a family reunion in the prison.

(Note: "Legs" prison # is 35-23-34!  "Holy measurements, Batman!")

But now Ma can put her real plan into action.  You see, for months she has been surreptitiously replacing the guards at the prison with her own henchmen, thus making it possible for her to take over the prison.  And with Batman and Robin out of the way, it will be a piece of cake.

(Did I mention that one of the prison inmates installed a block of dynamite in the engine of the Batmobile, designed so it would set off when the car went over 60 MPH?  Of course, since Batman obeys every law, and the speed limit is only 55, Ma's plan is foiled...)  [and so much for those "atomic engines to power, turbines to speed" that Robin is so often saying after jumping in to the Batmobile]

After Ma takes over the prison, she has the perfect hideout for criminals.  After all, who would look for escaped criminals inside the prison....

Ma and an entourage of criminals escape from the prison and go on an armored car robbery gig.  Batman and Robin show up but are unable to capture any crooks.  They do come away with a piece of a sleeve, however.  Which the intrepid bat computer determines can only be from a prison uniform.  (I guess the prison must have an exclusive contract with J. Crime or something like that)

So the Dynamic Duo head back to the Gotham Pen, only to be captured by Ma and her boys.  They are hooked up to electric chairs where they will be turned into fried appetizers on the stroke of midnight.  Ma and the boys leave. leaving poor Legs to watch them.  Batman manages to use the girl's sense of insecurity to send he running to see what the boys are doing, and manages to make the electrocution plans go out like a light.   And this time Ma and her boys are thrown into prison for real.

The "Holy..." radar doesn't go off for very many of Robin's usual "holy..." exclamations in these two episodes.  "Holy Edison" has to be the lamest (said after it is revealed that Batman had telegraphed Alfred through his bat-belt to have the power shut off at the prison just before Ma can throw the switch to electrocute the duo.)  But I kinda got a kick out of "Holy Werner von Braun" when Ma tired to escape from the pair in a rocket powered wheelchair...

Well, folks, time to go visit mom.  She's living the life of Riley in an old folks home.  (Albeit one with bars on the windows, never understood why...)  Drive safely folks.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Troubles in Tijuana

This is my entry in the Hispanic Heritage Blogathon hosted by Once Upon A Screen

Cheech and Chong, a comedy duo that made a name for itself with the drug counterculture society was a fixture in the late 70's and early 80's.  Somewhere along the way they had a split however and each went their own separate ways.

Of the two, Thomas Chong and Richard "Cheech" Marin, Cheech Marin probably made the bigger transition to the solo concept (130 credits to Chong's 62, according to IMDb).  Although Thomas Chong's output still mostly revolved around his stoner image, Cheech moved on to more sedate roles, including appearances Ghostbusters II (as a Port Authority agent witness the return of the Titanic) and a bartender in the Robert Rodriguez film Desperado, as well as several movies in which he was the headliner.

The last album that Cheech and Chong released as a duo was Get Out of My Room which featured a parody of the Bruce Springsteen song Born in the U.S.A., called Born in East L.A. Prescient of the imminent breakup, the parody only featured Cheech, Chong having refused to be involved in it.  (Cheech was also the only writer for the song, although Chong also got credit on both the album and the single.)

A music video for the song made the rotation on MTV, also made without Chong's participation.

A few years later Cheech was approached by Hollywood in the person of Frank Price.  Price told Cheech that the song would make a good movie.  Cheech wrote the screenplay, and got to be in the director's chair, as well as the starring role, Rudy Robles.

Several other Hispanic actors got screen time on the film.  Familiar comedian Paul Rodriguez played Rudy's cousin, Javier.  Tony Plana, sporting a pair of gold buck teeth, played a prison intern named Feo.  Kamala Lopez played Rudy's potential love interest, a waitress in a dive owned by Daniel Stern's character, Jimmy.

Born in East L.A. (1987):

Rudy Robles (Cheech Marin) is a regular schmo who is working in east L.A.   On his way to work his mother (Lupe Ontiveros) asks Rudy to go by the factory after work to pick up his cousin, Javier (Paul Rodriguez), as she and Rudy's sister and his nieces and nephews are going out of town for the week.

Rudy inadvertently leaves his wallet on the counter and goes off to work.  Upon arrival he can't find his cousin, whom he has never met inthe first place.  The factory is raided by INS while he is there, however, and since he has no identification, he is deported along with the rest of the illegals working at the factory.

Upon his arrival in Mexico, with only 25 cents in his pocket, and unable to convince the agent at the border that he is a legitimate American citizen. His name pops up as the same name as a multiple time illegal . The illegal in question is 57. ( Cheech was only about 41 at the time of the movie's production.)

Unable to convince the INS agent that he is not the 57 Robles, he has to go outside into mexico.  He tries to call home, forgetting that his family has gone out of town.  Angrily he starts pounding on the phone and is arrested.  In prison he is molested by two prisoners, but he is saved by Feo (Tony Plana), a prison trustee, sporting a pair of gold-plated buck teeth.  Feo is an opportunistic Christian (a parody of Jim Baaker and Jimmy Swaggart, both of whom where in the news at the time for committing un-Christian acts, despite their status as religious icons).  Upon getting out, Rudy insults Feo, making an enemy right away.

Wandering the streets he meets up with Jimmy (Daniel Stern), the owner of a cantina, who convinces him to work a few hours trying to convince tourists to enter the cantina.  Jimmy also agrees to help Rudy return to the US, albeit only through the services he provides to get illegals across the border, and only for a preposterously high fee.

Over the course of his time in Mexico, Rudy proves himself to be rather adept at certain jobs.  He hooks up with a street band and rakes in some cash in that way.  He tries to teach several Chinese illegals how to be Hispanic homies. And he has one rather hilarious scene in which he tries to be a tattoo artist.

During his stay he befriends the waitress at one of Jimmy's dives, Delores (Kamala Lopez).  Although Delores is at first rather standoffish to Rudy's come-ons, she gradually starts to like the little runt.

 Meanwhile, Rudy tries several attempts to enter his home country through subterfuge, including one funny scene where he stows away on a mobile home owned by two citizens returning from a "vacation".  But the citizens get stopped at the border and it turns out they are trying to return with some items that the U. S. government doesn't want to come in to the country.  (And I don't mean Rudy).

This is social satire, of course.  Depending on how you feel about the influx of illegals coming in to the country you may cheer for Rudy or you may be offended by the whole schtick.  But if you can get past the underlying message, its not all that bad a movie.  Although Cheech never delves into the stoner character that made him famous, all in all its worth a peek.  Especially if you like the song that inspired it.  (See video above.)

Time to roll these wheels home.  Drive safely folks.


Friday, September 20, 2019

Make Room for Hannibal

This is my entry in the Siskel and Ebert Blogathon hosted by 18 Cinema Lane

The Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert phenomenon was at the very least a compelling tête-à-tête that appeared weekly on TV.  As early as the 1970's in various formats, the two would come on and discuss the current batch of releases in the theater, famously giving either a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" rating for each movie.  Sometimes both would agree on the rating, but then at other times they would disagree.

In particular, as to the disagreement theme, was their view of The Silence of the Lambs.  While Siskel berated the movie for lack of compelling characters and the subject matter being a little too sensitive, Ebert actually liked the movie.

I wholeheartedly agree with Ebert's take.  Yes the movie does dip a little at the end, what with the "who's behind the next door" typical horror film trope, I feel, however, that both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins deserved their gold statuettes from the Oscars.  Hopkins in particular is extremely memorable.  You'll probably never hear the word "liver" in the same way after viewing Hopkins tell of his encounter with a census taker.  (and BTW, just in case you didn't know, that "thhpthhpthhp" he utters at the end was improvised.  It wasn't in the script.  And yet his little slurping noise is probable the one most recognizable part of the entire film..)

Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert have gone on to do their reviews from "the other side" now.  Siskel passed away in 1999 and Ebert left us in 2013.

Silence of the Lambs (1991):

A serial killer is on the loose.  Known by the FBI as "Buffalo Bill", he has the habit of kidnapping young girls and cutting them up, removing certain body parts, primarily skin, before disposing of the bodies.

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a young recruit, is given the task of interviewing Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a former psychiatrist who has been imprisoned because of his taste for human flesh and his propensity for killing his prey to quench his tastes.

The task is given to her by her superior and mentor Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn).  John Kenneth Muir, in his book Horror Films FAQ, suggests that Crawford is in essence a surrogate father to Clarice, since she lost her father at an early age.  He also suggests that on some level that Lecter is also somewhat of a surrogate father (sick as that may seem).

Clarice interviews Lecter, but Lecter gains the upper hand immediately, by demanding a tit for tat.  He will only talk about "Buffalo Bill" if Clarice reveals some intimate details of her own life.  The most intriguing part of this movie is that tête-à-tête, as Clarice delves into her own past and psyche in order to appease Lecter and get him to open up about his insight into the current case.

Lecter also manages to convince Clarice that a "reward" is appropriate for his insight; that is he will tell her things to help her if she can manage to get him a better arrangement within the prison.  Of course Clarice doesn't have that kind of pull, but her boss does.  But the  deal is hampered by Lecter's nemesis within the prison, the doctor/warden.  Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald) is reluctant to give any concessions to his prisoner.  Chilton is a smarmy self-satisfied jackass, and despite the presence of Lecter and "Buffalo Bill" is probably the least appealing character in the movie.  (it's almost gratifying when his imminent end is hinted at in the ending of the film).

Through Lecter's help and some luck, eventually Clarice is able to track down "Buffalo Bill", although her luck may just run out, as the film descends into the "who's behind the next door" sequence hinted at above.

One must approach Silence of the Lambs with a bit of an open mind.  The fact is that Lecter is alternately disturbing and, at some times, even appealing as a villain.  One cannot watch this movie and expect that all will be right in the end, even if one is an optimistic idealist.  If you like your movies to be on the dark side, however, it can be a good experience.  But don't fool yourself into believing that it will be uplifting.

Well folks, time to head home.  Drive safely.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Old West Meets the Monsters

This is my entry in the Costume Drama Blogathon hosted by Moon in Gemini

If Abbott and Costello can be said to have been responsible for ringing the death knell on the Universal monsters (with their comic turns in such movies as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein), then William Beaudine can be said to have dug up the bodies and poked them with a big stick.

William Beaudine was a prolific director, although most of you may have never heard of him before.  He directed a number of the Bowery Boys films, a slew of low-budget westerns and even Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (famous for having been sued by Jerry Lewis for its characters who were deemed a knockoff of the Martin and Lewis pairings).

Beaudine's last two films featured Old West settings with characters in a battle of wits with the classic monsters of Frankenstein and Dracula.  Both films were released in 1966 as a double bill and toured the drive-in circuit.  Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula may not be the top shelf fare that the originals were.  For one thing, Beaudine was not nicknamed "One Shot" for nothing.  (He apparently went to the can with the first shot no matter what happened during the shoot).

But Beaudine is not always as bad as say, Ed Wood or Ray Dennis Steckler.  Some of his output is pretty good.  Not Academy Award material, to be sure, but easily worth the investment of the hour and a half or so to check them out.  Neither of these is super great, and most of the acting is sub-par.  I'd save them for an afternoon when the lawn needs mowed but you just aren't ambitious enough to do it.  (You may decide mowing the lawn is not so bad an idea, afterwards, but be that as it may.)

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966):

The first in our double feature is a mash-up of horror and western.  In some border town there is a mysterious new neighbor, Maria von Frankenstein (Nardia Onyx), the granddaughter of the famous doctor  Frankenstein .  (so why is the title "Daughter" and not "Granddaughter"?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I lean towards budget concerns. It would have cost more money to add those 5 extra letters...)

Maria and her brother Rudolph (Steven Geray) have moved into a mansion on the hill near the town.  (and when you see the mansion from a distance you may be excused if you think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail... "It's only a model".  Actually I think its just a matte painting.)  Rudolph is Maria's brother, but looks like he might be her father.  (The actors were 27 years apart in terms of age).

The two are conducting evil experiments in which Maria is kidnapping local immigrants and replacing their brains with artificial ones in an effort to create slaves.  Which causes the immigrants to become a bit distressed.  Juanita (Estelita Rodriguez) and her parents decide to leave town.

Meanwhile the notorious outlaw Jesse James (John Lupton) and his henchman Hank (Cal Bolder) run into a bit of trouble in town.  They hook up with the remainder of the Curry gang, which includes Butch (Roger Creed) and Lonny (Rayford Barnes).  Jealous of Jesse's intervention in the gang, Lonny arranges with the sheriff (Jim Davis, yes the same actor who played Jock Ewing on "Dallas") to capture and kill Jesse for the reward on his head.

Injured, but not dead, Hank and Jesse end up meeting up with Juanita and her family.  Juanita takes Jesse and Hank to the doctor, although Juanita does have some reservations since she does not entirely trust Maria.

Which is a good thing, since Maria makes plans to use the injured Hank as her next experiment, and arranges to get Jesse out of the way by having him inadvertently turn himself in to the authorities.

You can't keep a good man down, and apparently you can't keep a bad man down either.  Jesse does his best to save the day and his friend and deal with the evil doctors, but he may not be entirely successful.

The second feature of our double feature involves another outlaw trying to hide from the authorities. In this case William "Billy the Kid" Bonney (Chuck Courtney) has gone straight and is trying to live a normal life as a ranch hand.  (Apparently no one knows William Bonney was really "Billy the Kid" as that is the name he uses.)

The only one who is aware of Billy's true identity is his fiancee' Betty (Melinda Plowman).  Betty is the daughter of the ranch owner.  Betty's uncle is on his way to take over the ranch until Betty becomes of age, but the stagecoach is attacked by Indians before it ever arrives.

As to why the stagecoach is attacked?  A vampire (he is never actually identified as "Dracula" within the movie)  killed one of the Indian maidens and they exact revenge on the riders of the stagecoach.  But the vampire was not among those killed.  Posing as Betty's uncle, the vampire becomes Mr. Underhill (John Carradine). 

Underhill has ulterior motives.  He doesn't really want the ranch.  What he wants is to ultimately make Betty his undead bride.

He is hampered in this endeavor by a pair of German immigrants Eva and Franz Oster (Virginia Christie, Walter Janovitz), both of which are suspicious of Underhill and quite sure he is a vampire.  Eva tries several times to expose him, as well as provide Betty with the accoutrements for warding off vampires (wolf's bane, crucifixes, mirrors) .

But she runs into a block by the fact that Betty doesn't believe in the foreign superstition.  And Billy is also skeptical.  Will they realize their error before it's too late?

With the monsters safely returned to heir graves (until next time) it's time to head home.  Drive safely, folks.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Are You Ready for Some Football? THe !st and 10 Blogathon is Underway

The football season is here.  College and high schoolfootball are in full swing and the pros just kicked off their season last night.  So Dubsism and I have a special treat to celebrate this great sport.  A blogathon.  We have several entries already, but if you have a last minute choice, go ahead and write it and we'll post it here.  Over the weekend just keep checking back to see all the football fanatics and their posts here or over at Dubsism's page;

Firstly, I give credit where credit is due to the only good version of The Longest Yard.

Realweegiemidget Reviews tells us about the football aspects of The Big Chill

Moviemovieblogblogii praises the football heroes in Popeye

The Stop Button discusses the negative side of Wildcats

Sports Chump brings us another Burt Reynolds gem Hooper

Silver Screenings gives us a look at the classic The Freshman

MovieRob gets with The Program

MovieRob also delves into The Express

MovieRob also gives us some insight  into John Wayne's Trouble Along the Way

MovieRob goes into overtime with The Fifth Quarter

My co-host Dubsism gets flagged for Necessary Roughness

More to come.