Tag Archives: Roddy McDowell

Cold-Weather Corman

Movie night!

If you are a devotee of cheesy horror, Edgar Allen Poe movies, women-in-cages flicks, and films about vegetables that aren’t vegetarians, Roger Corman is your guy.

Where would you like to begin?

There’s his contemplative “beast” series (The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes, The Beast from Haunted Cave, and The Beast of Yellow Mountain)?

Then there’s his Machen-like exploration of nature run amok (Attack of the Crab Monsters, Attack of the Giant Leeches – featuring Yvette Vickers in her best slutty Daisy Mae rendition, It Conquered the World, and The Creature from the Haunted Sea).

Or his taboo-shattering exposés of the sexual politics of beings that don’t even exist (Scream of the Demon Lover, The Wasp Woman, The Velvet Vampire, and Night of the Cobra Woman).

Corman’s canon is a treasure trove of cultural delights; discomfort food for the easily entertained. I shop there willingly and often.

Tonight’s film fare however, is a bit off the beaten Corman trail. It’s his 1960 WWII epic; Ski Troop Attack. Imagine The Longest Day. Now, imagine everything as much the opposite of The Longest Day as possible.

Cast of thousands? Try six – not six thousand – six.

The English Channel? German mountains.

Thousands of ships? Skis.

Years in the making? Two weeks tops.

You get the idea.

I will give the nod for acting to Ski Troop Attack but that’s by default as any discernible acting that happens in The Longest Day is accidental and laughable. Who can ever un-watch Richard Burton’s interpretation of the deathless line; “Ack-Ack.” Or Roddy McDowall crooning the word; “June” in the drizzle. Heady stuff.

Given all that, Ski Troop is OK in my book. It tells a straight-forward, stripped-down Guns of Navarone, The Dirty Dozen, etc. war adventure story pretty well. However, I didn’t care for all the snow. Frankly, I got cold. I think I would have preferred Surf Troop Attack with Lieutenant Moondoggy leading the squad. Ah well, I just put on a jacket and finished watching the film.

“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”

Hey pal, lemme give ya a coupla tips.

  1. On a cool spring afternoon at Keeneland, eat the burgoo. You can’t lose.
  2. If you ever find yourself in a horror movie and someone says to you; “Everything’s gonna be alright”, rest assured…it won’t be.

Yes, boys and girls, it’s Movie Night!

Tonight’s 1973 delight might be known to you as Crypt of the Living Dead…but probably not. Or you might know it as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires…but probably not. In fact, if you know this film at all I have to assume your parents did NOT know where you were at night.

Understand, I’m not qualified to judge the fine points of film production but;

  • I know when I can’t decipher half the words spoken, the sound is poor.
  • I know when half the scenes are 90% totally dark, the lighting is poor.
  • I know when half the cast (male and female) are wearing turtleneck sweaters, a bit more thought could have been put into the costuming…or some re-e-e-ally intriguing tattoos are being denied examination.

You get my gist; this film’s not good.

However, it does feature a cast of interest (interest, not quality, mind you).

  • Teresa Gimpera, fresh off her triumph in Love Brides of the Blood Mummy, is deadly, silent, and pretty. These acting choices seem to work for her.
  • Mark Damon reminds me of the lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. This acting choice…not so good, but the hair looks great.
  • Patty Shepard, fresh off her triumph in the title role of The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman (also silent and deadly), is actually not bad. She’s sort of a cross between Barbara Steele and Barbara Bach; not a bad scream queen pedigree.
  • As for Andrew Prine; imagine, if you will, Roddy McDowell playing a role written for Steve McQueen. McFoolishness!

No, the film’s not good, but just keep telling yourself; “Everything’s gonna be alright.”

Besides, I loved it.