’13 Ghosts (B-Movie Review) — Part Two

Ready to pick up from where we left off in Part One? 🙂

Well, ready or not … here we go!

So, after a second act full of spooky, Illusion-O effects, etc., things come to a head when it turns out there’s hidden money in the house. Apparently, every time Cyrus’ Very Young, Innocent Little Boy (VYILB) slides down the bannister, money just falls to the floor. Someone did a great job of hiding that money. (No, not really.)

Um …!

Then, Rush (Dr. Zorba’s lawyer) finds out about the hidden dough and uses the kid to keep it secret from the family. You see, Rush killed Zorba (using a combination bed canopy/trash compactor) and he suspected there was money hidden in the house, but he didn’t know where it was. This is why he insisted the family had to stay in the house. In other words, he lied. This is a lot of exposition that’s revealed in ways much better than this, believe me.

Anyway, Rush tries pretending to be a ghost (or other spectral being) to scare the family out of the house, now that he’s close to getting the money. The Big Bad Lawyer even tries to kill the VYILB.

Ya smug bastard!

However, the boy manages a last-minute escape from the deadly bed canopy/trash compactor and the Big Bad Lawyer ends up in his place. How ironic. Or karmic. Or just … justice.

Thus, Lawyer Guy ends up being the 13th (or 12th) ghost. And thus the title.

And they all lived happily ever after. In another house.

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My Review of ‘Los Angeles Overnight’ (2018)

There’s so much I could say about this film that it’s hard to know where to start. But here’s what I’ve got.

Azim Rizk (L) and Arielle Brachfeld (R)

The opening scenes evoke classic “We’re in La La Land” imagery. However, before we’re treated to a flowing visual sweep of palm trees (and California sunshine flickering through the fronds), we are in the dark, listening to the soothing, rhythmic intonation of psychobabble a motivational speaker psychotherapy/hypnotism session. It doesn’t hurt any that the voice is that of Peter Bogdanovich.

Peter Bogdanovich (lurking in the shadows)

The client is our protagonist—a poverty-stricken down-on-her-luck, struggling actress named Priscilla (played by Arielle Brachfeld).

Arielle Brachfeld

She works at a diner with the distinction of having its servers dress up like Marilyn Monroe. The question at the heart of the story is: how much is she willing to do to become rich and famous?

Camilla Jackson (L) and Arielle Brachfeld (R)

And I really cannot say much more about the plot without completely spoiling it.

Yet, I can’t stop there, because I wouldn’t be doing the film justice. I should note that this is an indie film production that equals anything a big studio could produce. And strikingly so, given the reportedly low budget. (The producers make maximal and frugal use of the L.A. landscape.) The cast is stellar and the production values tip-top. And, yes, the writing is awesome.

The cinematography is a neo-noir feast for the eyes. There’s also a “you are there” feel in the tracking shots that heighten the plot’s tension.

Run!

The theme and characters mimic those you’d expect from movies by David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, or the Coen Brothers. However, beneath the modern veneer, the classic film noir plot twists and character types lurk, emerging now and then from the depths.

I’ll only say two more things about the story, which I don’t think are spoilers.

When did you last see a movie villain torture (psychologically) a child AND make you laugh about it? (Really!)

Now, think of a typical neo-noir trope about villains, femme fatales, self-help programs, and therapy. And, now … turn it on its head. Period.

Among the sly references I caught:

That man on the beach, looking out to sea. Is that a Barton Fink callback?

Those four wackos bizarre people odd strangers Priscilla waits on at the diner. Shades of Pulp Fiction? A hint of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive? (I kept waiting for the “Monster in the Back” to show up.)

Nonetheless, those characters could just as easily appear in such classic heist films as The Asphalt Jungle and The Killing, with a dash of … can’t tell you. Spoilers! 🙂

Bottom line: it’s all so classic film noir. But for the cellphones.

Plus, prepare to enjoy a chase scene on staircases that will leave you … dare I say it? … Breathless! 🙂

Azim Rizk. And is it me or …

Is there a resemblance? 🙂

Jean-Paul Belmondo in “Breathless”.

Check out the trailer!

Here’s the movie’s Facebook page. And you can follow it on Twitter.

Watch the movie on Prime Video or on iTunes.

Disclosure: This reviewer received a free screener link for purposes of reviewing the film.

Posted in Black Comedy, Crime Movies, Movie Reviews, Neo-Noir, Psychological Thrillers, Thriller | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

’13 Ghosts’ (B-Movie Review) — Part One

From the blog that features only the most twisted and mind-numbingly weird significant and tasteful movies ever made. Here’s another from the vaults of a hopeless B-movie fan!

Submitted for your derision approval! 🙂 It’s 13 Ghosts from 1960!

This one comes from director and producer William Castle, who invented a cheesy gimmick low-tech special effect called Illusion-O. This bit of movie magic requires viewers to wear funny glasses to see the incredibly dumbass gory details of the ghosts. So expect a truly high-class production here (okay, maybe not).

How to Apply Viewer: A Handy Guide

When Dr. Plato Zorba (really!) dies and leaves a spooky old house to his nephew, Cyrus, and family, not only does the place seem to be haunted, but the housekeeper is the Wicked Witch of the West. Definitely not a good sign.

Via Basement Rejects

But Cyrus’ family is so poor and Dr. Zorba’s lawyer, Ben Rush, tells them they have to move in or they won’t inherit the place. It will, however, be converted to a B&B for ghost hunters and psychics. (Well, no, not really.)

So there are supposed to be 13 ghosts—but you knew that, right? The thing is, despite assistance from a handy ouija board and multiple glares from the Wicked Witch, they only count 11. Or maybe 12. I think.

Via Grindhouse Database.

There’s the wailing lady, the clutching hands (just hands), a floating head (just head), a fiery skeleton, an Italian chef murdering his wife and her lover (that’s three, I guess), a hanging lady, an executioner with a severed head (which is arguably 1-1/2 ghosts), an adult lion and its decapitated tamer (does the lion count?), another floating head, and Plato Zorba the Greek himself. So … 11 or 12. What. Ever.

Via Grindhouse Database

At some point, Cyrus uses a special pair of glasses (left with the house) and sees the ghosts in all their Illusion-O-created splendor. The audience can also enjoy these ridiculous special effects, too. These glasses were reserved for “brave” viewers who could stomach a bit of fake flame or blood red mixed in with their black-and-white movie experience.

Ghosts in the basement!

Ghosts in the kitchen!

Lions, tigers, and bears?

And, then, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz show up! Psych!

But, eventually, something more happens. But it takes a while and a lot of ghostly doings. The magic of B-movie screenwriting and healthy dashes of Illusion-O manage to stretch an incredibly thin plot over the course of 84 minutes.

Things actually manage to get interesting about two-thirds of the way through this threadbare horror flick, when it turns out there’s big money hidden in the house.

Um … spoiler? 🙂

Stay tuned and watch in awe as I stretch this review of a movie with a gossamer-thin plot into Two Parts! 🙂

PLUS! The joy of watching movies so bad, they’re awesome!

PS: My sincere thanks to Joe Stroud for becoming my very first Patreon supporter here! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Saturday B-Movie Review | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Book Review: ‘An Army of Phantoms’

Today I’m reviewing Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War by J. Hoberman.

This is a really interesting non-fiction book. If you’re into Hollywood history at all, I highly recommend you read it. The book goes into all sorts of detail about the different aspects of the Cold War and how Hollywood contributed to it.

The Hollywood Ten
Via Wikipedia.

Not only in terms of the blacklist, but the movies that were made at that time: the war movies, the sci-fi movies, the horror movies, all of it. And it reads like a series of film reviews, in addition to being a historical book, so it’s highly entertaining. This guy really writes well and paints a picture for you. And so I highly recommend the book if you’re interested in Hollywood history and the Cold War years and the blacklist, in particular.

That’s it. I’ll talk to you later.

You can buy AN ARMY OF PHANTOMS on Amazon: http://mybook.to/ArmyofPhantoms (affiliate link)

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/ArmyPhantomsApple (affiliate link)

Kobo: http://bit.ly/ArmyPhantomsKobo (affiliate link)

B&N: http://bit.ly/ArmyPhantomsNook

OR …

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/ArmyPhantomsIndie

PS: You can watch my review here! 🙂

Or listen to it here! 🙂

PPS: And speaking of Cold War entertainment, here’s something pretty awesome!

Posted in Book Review, Video | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Part Five of ‘The Killer Shrews’

And at last … the Final Part of this amazing bizzaro interesting movie, The Killer Rats From Hell Shrews!

PS: When my YouTube channel quits acting up, I’ll upload the video there! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Review of ‘Nox’ (2019)

I’m always awed when someone can tell a complex story in a short time. The film Nox is an excellent example of that.

The opening shots of a nighttime vista of water and woods sweep across the screen, with the ominous tones of the score in the background. In a few short scenes, we learn that the movie is dark, edgy, and about a crime (or crimes).

I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that the story starts off deceptively simple. However, buried beneath that facade are possible inferences, plot complications, secrets.

As someone who writes crime fiction and knows something about thriller and crime tropes, this film’s ending really made me think.

And the final shot? Love the watery reflection off the pool. I’ll leave the rest for you to mull over.

Another great short thriller from writer-director Keyvan Sheikhalishahi.

I’m still thinking about that ending! 🙂

PS: Seriously, keep your eye on this guy! Here’s his website!

Disclosure:  The writer-director sent me a link to the screener in exchange for an honest review. Here’s the trailer again! 🙂

Posted in Crime Movies, Indie Film, Movie Reviews, Short Film, Thriller | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Part Four of ‘The Killer Shrews’

So … think you can stand manage deal with another episode section part of this movie? 🙂

I’ll wait for you to decide.

So … you’ve decided to stay! Awesome!

Here’s Part Four of The Taming of the Killer Shrews! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Horror, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment