Chuck Norris Ate My Blog: Silent Rage (1982)

My Chuck Norris Ate My Blog Contest entry is the 1982 semi-horror flick “Silent Rage.” CNAMB’s list of submissions is here! The movie features Chuck, breasts, a maybe-zombie, and a dozen great character actors; my review features Spoilers! *** Originally, I had planned to watch “Code of Silence,” but when I told my husband this he asked “Hey, is that the one with a zombie?” There’s a Chuck Norris movie… with a zombie? Oh, I had to see that. However, it’s equivocal whether the bad guy in “Silent Rage” is really a zombie or not. The movie’s promotional material seems to take great pains to frame him as a product of genetic science gone wrong, but genetics were a bigger marketing ticket than zombies back in the early 1980s, so I’m not fully willing to dismiss the zombie theory. The film — which is sadly in 1.33:1 ratio on the DVD — opens with boarding house roomer John Kirby having a freak out, on the phone with his doc and sweating heavily. An annoying landlady and some screaming kids drive him a bit battier than he probably would have been otherwise, so of course he walks out into the back yard, grabs an axe, and starts choppin’ the people around him. Not the kids, though. Chuck wouldn’t have stood for that. Kids don’t get chopped into chum in his movies no matter how much they might deserve it. After Kirby makes quick mincemeat of a fellow boarder and the landlady, … Continue reading

My Best Post: The Blogathon

This entry is for the He Shot Cyrus “My Best Post” Blogathon which runs from May 21st to May 23rd. Start at Day 1 here. You can read Day 2 here and Day 3 here. My Best Post: “The House of Mirth” (2000) for the Counting Down the Zeros series. It was hard to choose my best post, mainly because I have no love for my own writing style. I considered a lot of things. Did I have an influential post? Uh, no. Nothing I wrote was influential, not even the pair of posts about a certain horror film controversy — a controversy that won a stupid Rondo Award, of all things. (Because rewarding attention whores who make up lies about lost films is always a good idea.) Did I have a popular post? Rarely do I get more than maybe 300 page views on one post, so no. I had to fall back on what I liked, and I liked not only my entry on “House of Mirth” but the terrific comments I got from readers as well. Speaking of what I like, I have been meaning to find a way to write a separate entry about a bunch of other bloggers’ posts which I think deserve a little love. This blogathon has given me a great segue into listing other blog posts from the past I highly recommend: * Shyamalan Is As Shyamalan Does. Quite frankly, D.C.Girl@TheMovies is the best blog you aren’t reading. D.C.Girl is perceptive, insightful, … Continue reading

Smart Money (1931)

It happened again: Ivan has passed along to me the Kreativ Blogger Award, probably because he ran out of spare Oscars to hand out instead. I kid, I kid; SBBN is only eligible for Emmys. Anyway, I would like to thank Ivan again for the kind thoughts and the award, and though I am running low on time and can’t pass this on to other blogs per the Kreativ Award rules, I type like the dickens so I can at least list the seven “interesting” facts about me: 1. I learned how to make pasta from Rudolph Valentino. ‘Struth. Several years ago I watched a bio of Rudy where someone related an anecdote about how he would cook enormously long strands of spaghetti by slowly adding one end of the pasta and swirling it in the boiling water until the whole batch was submerged. It works! No longer do I break spaghetti in half like my mother taught me. Someone online has also happily posted Rudy’s “Secret” Spaghetti Sauce recipe, which I’m going to have to try some time. 2. I work in m*dical tr*nscription. Asterisks to thwart web searches. Anyway, last week this slight-doofy doctor I work for left his tape recorder running while he went to the bathroom. Yes, folks, I get paid less than minimum wage to hear a doctor urinate via tape. 3. I plan on watching “Astro Zombies” this weekend. You’ll hear about it, I’m sure. 4. I’m going crazy trying to remember what the … Continue reading

Bette Davis Project #9: Hell’s House (1932)

“Hell’s House” (1932) is an odd film. It’s part drama, part social commentary /exploitation, part juvenile delinquency film, and all badly-made quickie. For evidence of the quality of this film, just check out the title screen. Who did that, the director’s 8-year-old nephew? More than anything, this is a boring movie, as it tried to be salacious without going so far as to offend anyone. And this really confuses me, but the opening screen just after the credits tells us that this story “goes back to the days of PROHIBITION.” Since the movie was filmed in late 1931 and released January 1932 — the Cullen-Harrison act didn’t get signed until over 2 years later (Prohibition completely ended at the end of 1933) — audiences wouldn’t have had to go “back to the days” of Prohibition at all. Even if that was a screen tacked on for re-release several years after it was first shown, I can’t imagine any studio would assume audiences were so dim as to not know the movie was made during Prohibition, because it’s obvious from the first few minutes. For this film, Bette was on loan from Universal who, by this time, had no idea what to do with her and were probably happy to ship her off somewhere. She got top billing above Pat O’Brien, and the 3rd star is juvenile actor Junior Durkin, hot off of 2 popular performances as Huckleberry Finn. Durkin made very few films, and besides his roles as Huck Finn, … Continue reading

Atlantis: The Lost Continent (1961)

There is so little to say about “Atlantis: The Lost Continent” in terms of plot, acting, or high adventure. Rather, one watches ATLC for the enormous cheese that abounds in this campy Metrocolor B-grade flick. Much of this movie is stolen outright from popular Italian Hercules-based movies as well as hit 1950s Hollywood features. The IMDb says some props were borrowed from “The Prodigal” and “Forbidden Planet”, that make-up and music were taken from “The Time Machine”, and so much stock footage from “Quo Vadis” was used that an attendee at a screening of ATLC quipped that his favorite scene was the one “where Robert Taylor saved Deborah Kerr from the fire.” I hope someone handed that man a contract; he had the exact kind of wisdom the Hollywood studios needed in 1961. So just what does “Atlantis: The Lost Continent” have to offer? Exciting hats!   Behind-your-back bitchface and bleached blonde pixie cuts: They never go out of style. Triangle bling! Traditional peasant fashions, dirty washed for that vintage look. Kicky lavender wrap skirts with festive fringe! Also, great big screws. These guards are fashion forward in trendy fall favorites: Brown leather tunics accentuated with gold duct tape and worn over fuzzy leopard print tees, tastefully paired with bright yellow tights. ATLC also provides plenty of sessy mens: I watched this for John Dall, and folks, he did not disappoint, especially at the end where he went fucko bazoo with the ray gun, as seen on “Mythbusters:” The only … Continue reading

Recently Watched: The “I Made This Face” Edition

It’s not often that a movie causes me to look like this: Usually I’m pretty stoic like my beloved Henchman 21 in the background, but “Jamaica Inn” (1939) gave me Dr. Girlfriend face for days. I spent much of the movie wondering what the hell was even going on. Almost nothing works in this film, neither technically nor artistically. Laughton’s make up is unnecessary. The sound quality is terrible, and I’d blame the cheapie DVD transfer except half the dialogue was spoken in caves, during windstorms, or, in Laughton’s case, through a ridiculous set of prosthetic teeth. The editing was so bad I still believe there are some scenes missing in the film. If I had a magic genie to rub, I wouldn’t be here. Wait, let me start again. If I had a magic lamp to rub and a genie gave me three wishes, one wish would be for someone to clearly and convincingly explain to me Mary’s (Maureen O’Hara’s) behavior. She tells the law about the scalawags at her uncle’s home, yet gets mad when the law arrives to do something about it. On several occasions she runs directly toward someone who wants to harm her, then gets upset when she’s grabbed and/or harmed. Once, she sees someone get shot and, instead of running for cover, just stands there and then goes about her business as though nothing happened. She is, of course, surprised when someone with a gun shows up seconds later. The audience is told what … Continue reading