‘Blacula’ (1972) (B-Movie Review) — Part One

We have another real treat for you. From the film vault of Svengoolie comes this unique take on the Dracula franchise.

It’s Part One of the review of Blacula!

This interesting movie is part of what was/is called the blaxploitation genre. Unlike most films of the genre, this one features a vampire. I can only assume that William Marshall (who plays Prince.Mamuwakie/Blacula) must’ve been desperate for work anxious to do a movie. I remember him from when he appeared on Star Trek as Dr. Richard Daystrom, the inventor of the Star Trek equivalent of the Intel processor. Don’t ask me what it was called. M-something-or-other. M5, M6, I don’t know. It’s been a while, okay?

Anyway, Dr. Daystrom the prince takes a trip to Transylvania of all places to seek Count Dracula’s help in ending the slave trade. Why he expected to get assistance from that quarter, I’m not quite sure. What he does get is definitely not what he hoped for. A new set of fangs and eternal existence as a non-dead person. In short, he becomes a vampire, courtesy of a bite on the neck from the count, who pronounces him Blacula. Dracula does all this while forcing the prince’s wife. Luva, to watch. Then he leaves her to die with her non-dead hubby.

We flash forward a few centuries to 1972, when a mysterious container is shipped to the United States—the city of Los Angeles, in particular. It is, of course, the coffin that contains Blacula. A real find for a couple of collectors, who happen to be flaming gay. They snap up that coffin and take it to a warehouse. I’m not sure what they intend to do with it, as they never get a chance to follow through on whatever plan they had for it. One of them removes the lid. Can you guess what happens next? And, yes, it does involve an undead prince sinking his fangs into some gay man’s someone else’s neck. Which, of course, leads to yet another gay man being indoctrinated into the cult of vampirism.

One of the undead bodies is placed on display at a funeral home, where many of his friends come to pay their respects. I’m not at all sure what an undead person is doing at a funeral home, but whatever, right? I would have thought you’d have to be stone cold dead to enjoy the pleasures of a coffin at a funeral home. But what do I know? Not much about vampires or funeral homes, eh?

One of the undead (or maybe slightly dead) guy’s friends, Tina, bears a striking resemblance to Luva, the dead wife of Prince Blacula. It helps just a little that they’re played by the same actress, Vanetta McGee. In any case, once Blacula observes her among the gathered friends, he reaches the conclusion that she is the reincarnation of his long dead wife/princess/queen. He becomes quite obsessed with her, as a result.

Complications result however, when Tina’s sister, Michelle has a boyfriend named Dr. Gordon Thomas who works as a pathologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. Dr. Thomas observes a few “oddities” with the man’s “death” that are consistent with vampire lore. I would tell you what those are, except that my husband fast-forwarded through most of the movie I got distracted by a piece of lint failed to pay strict attention to the details.

So, Blacula follows Tina, which freaks her out, and she runs away from him. This causes Blacula to cross the street without looking both ways, and he ends up getting hit by a cab. This could be an homage to An Affair to Remember, except Blacula doesn’t end up in a wheelchair. He does, however, take out his frustration on an innocent cabbie, who ends up joining him in Undead Land.

Nonetheless, in what could be an homage to Cinderella, Blacula retrieves the purse Tina dropped whilst running from him and shows up during Michelle’s birthday party at a nightclub to return it to her. Then, Dr. Thomas gets a phone call from the funeral director, who tells him McCoy’s body is missing. I believe McCoy was one of Blacula’s victims, which hardly kept me from making Star Trek-related commentary throughout the fast-forwarded flick movie.

Luckily for him, Blacula does his level best to impress Tina enough to persuade her to see him again. However, they are interrupted by a photographer named Nancy, who takes their picture. This will lead to problems for Nancy later on, mainly because the photo of them will develop into an image of Tina only (i.e., Blacula isn’t in the picture). Uh-oh. Look out Nancy, because Blacula will hunt you down, pierce your neck, and destroy the damning the photo. And, yes, he does just that.

Then Blacula goes to Tina’s apartment and gives her the full rundown on her presumed past life as his significant other, as well as the whole vampire business. He explains the vampire curse so nicely, they end up spending the night together.


That’s it for now. More to come! 🙂

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‘The House of Mystery’ (1934) — Part Four

At last Now, for your viewing pleasure, we have the fourth and final part of this peculiar weird unique little movie.

Get ready to watch Part Four of The House of Mystery!

Sit back and enjoy! 🙂

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Thank you!

Posted in 1930s Films, Horror, Mystery, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Review of ‘Flamingo Road’ (1949)

Hi. Today I’m doing a review of Flamingo Road with Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, and Sydney Greenstreet. They are the major players in this kind of potboiler film noir, if you will, but it’s more than that. It’s way more than that.

It is about, okay, Joan Crawford plays a carnival dancer and she’s tired of the life of traveling around with the carnival. She gets involved with Zachary Scott, who is a sheriff who is kind of under the thumb of the—no, I’m sorry, a deputy—who is under the thumb of the sheriff and the sheriff is played by Sydney Greenstreet in the most unctuous and horrible manner you can imagine. You really just want to kill him and he exerts every pressure to keep the two of them apart because he wants Zachary Scott, the deputy who has the unlikely name of Fielding Carlisle. I love that name. And he wants him to marry this other woman who he’s been involved with because it’s the perfect political marriage or some kind of thing like that. 

If only they could see the light. (Via the ace black movie blog)

Anyway, so Mildred, I want to say—no, Joan Crawford—who plays, what the heck is her name? She plays some name that isn’t mentioned here. All I know is since she’s a … Lane Bellamy, that’s her name. Lane Bellamy is her name, and as I said, she is in love with Zachary Scott, Fielding Carlisle. (I love that name.) Anyway, she’s in love with him and well, her love is unrequited at that point, or she feels he’s abandoned her because he’s married this other woman, and so she ends up hooking up with a guy who’s rich. They end up living on Flamingo Road, thus the name of the film. There’s this whole intro where she talks about people on Flamingo Road and people who can’t live on Flamingo Road.

It’s very … social commentary stuff here. So in any case, she’s married to him and living on Flamingo Road, and at some point I believe Zachary just turns into a drunken zombie in a sense. I mean, he just doesn’t know what to do. It’s after a certain point, and I don’t want to go too far into this because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but lemme just tell you, it’s a very, well, it’s a very noir sort of ending. It’s a very poignant ending. It’s, it’s a good movie and you should see it. It’s one of the film noirs that should be noted, and part of that is the strength of, yeah, Joan Crawford. Part of that is Joan Crawford. I mean, she herself is just awesome. In a way. She practically carries the movie, in my opinion. She just …I love the part where she slaps Sydney Greenstreet so much.

“I’m gonna slap you silly, Fat Man.” (Via the ace black movie blog)

Honestly, it is worth the price of admission cable TV just to see that. Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. I really enjoyed it a lot. So see Flamingo Road, it is well worth it, even if I can’t remember everybody’s name.

Oh, also, I believe the sheriff played by Sydney Greenstreet is named Titus Semple. Where did they get these names? This was based on the novel, by the way, which is interesting. In any case, one of the novelists, it was co-written by Robert and Sally Wilder, and the screenplay was written by Robert Wilder and somebody else who added additional dialogue, Edmund H. North, so I throw that in for what that’s worth. Thanks, and I’ll talk to you later.

Directed by Michael Curtiz
Screenplay by Robert Wilder and Edmund H. North (based on the novel by Robert Wilder and Sally Wilder)
Produced by Jerry Wald

“Her life was slandered by the whispers of the WHOLE town!”

PS: Now, honestly. Can anyone claim not to see any resemblance to this film? 🙂

Posted in 1940s Films, Drama, Film Noir, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

‘The House of Mystery’ (1934) — Part Three

We are back again with another part of this increasingly bizarre old movie.

Prepare to be confused or amazed by Part Three of The House of Mystery.


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The House of Mystery (1934) — Part Two

In further proof that miracles can come true, we have Part Two of The House of Mystery here for your bafflement enjoyment!

So … on with the show! 🙂

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A Quick Look at ‘Rain Man’ (1988)

This has been a very weird interesting week. My computer crashed. I had to buy a new one. And now I’m trying to access all my files.

I’m sure I’ll find them. Eventually. Maybe.

Anyhow, I’m part of a group that reads scripts of produced movies and we chose this script to read, which I did before watching the movie for the first time in ages.

A couple of things I noticed:

There was a WHOLE lot of dialogue that didn’t make it into the movie. And that was a good call.

The use of sound is remarkable. Note the low-pitched noise that occurs about halfway through this video. There are other examples of using noise to startle and create tension.

This scene is basically the movie’s setup in summary form.

Tom Cruise finds out he has a brother (Dustin Hoffman) he never knew about, who’s an idiot savant. When their dad dies, the brother ends up inheriting most of the assets and Tom Cruise ends up with rose bushes.

So, Tom cleverly busts the secret brother out of the institution in which Dustin’s been hidden from the world. They’re on the road now. And Tom has no clue whatever what he’s put himself in for.

It’s a great concept and I have to say, the movie is better than the script. The version I read, anyhow.

Another thing that struck me about the film was its visuals of wide open spaces and neo-noirish lighting at the occasional cheap motel.

Also, there’s a love interest played Valeria Golino. She serves (on and off) as Tom’s conscience throughout the film.

Well, it takes him a while but Tom finally, finally notices Dustin’s superpower. This leads them to the blackjack tables of Vegas.

Image via pathe.nl

They take that train to its inevitable end, of course. I won’t tell you how it ends, but it does strike me as somewhat, um, Hollywoodish optimistic.

Finally, I’d completely forgotten what an awesome movie this is. It’s resolution is bittersweet and left me wondering if it really was the right outcome.

Who’s to say who’s better at taking care of those who can’t care for themselves? Family or professional carers?

Just a thought.

And here’s the movie trailer!


Directed by Barry Levinson.
Produced by Mark Johnson.
Screenplay by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass (based on the story by Barry Morrow)

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A Saturday Matinee Rerun

Due to technical problems beyond my level of computer expertise or control, the next part of our featured movie has been delayed.

However, in its place, I hope you’ll enjoy a rerun of another old mystery. A Close Call for Boston Blackie!

Be seeing you!

Posted in 1930s Films, Mystery, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The House of Mystery’ (1934) — Part One

Once again, we have a peculiar weird interesting old B-movie for your viewing pleasure. It is just amazing how many of these bizarre fascinating little gems are out there!

For the next few weeks, the Saturday Matinee feature will be The House of Mystery from 1934.

So … grab your popcorn and let’s get the party started! 🙂

For early access to reviews and more, become one of our patrons!

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My Review of ‘City of Fear’ (1959)

This is an odd little film, mainly because the premise is slightly unbelievable.

Vince (played by Vince Ryker Edwards) is an escaped convict from San Quentin. Before he left San Q, he stole a canister that he thinks contains heroin. Why does he think this? I haven’t the faintest idea. We are not told.

“I’ll make a mint from selling this heroin. It does contain heroin, right?” (Image via Classic Movie Ramblings)

We are told (through dialogue, of course) that this canister does contain Cobalt-60, a “dangerous nuclear substance with enough radiation to kill most of the population of Los Angeles,” according to Wikipedia.

And mainly the movie is about the cops trying to catch up to him.

“Oh, man. I’m working up a sweat here.” (Image via Dear Old Hollywood)

Vince Edwards puts in a highly sweaty and frenetic performance.

In general, this movie left me with memories of Vince sweating and sweating even more and driving fast and taking evasive maneuvers. So the cinematography and editing were great. Such a relentless use of montage series of images—all that hair, all that sweat, all that skin.

“Can I get a towel?” (Image via Make Mine Film Noir)

And all I could think was, “Why is he so convinced that thing has heroin in it?”

For what it’s worth, the scenes of Vince in damp flight are broken up by screen time with the cops. There’s much talk of having to possibly evacuate the City of Los Angeles, because what with a mildly paranoid convict on the run holding Radioactive Shit in a Can, things could get ugly if the container were opened.

So this is a film noir and a thriller. With a dumbass protagonist, who is trying desperately to evade the cops and open a canister full of Major-End-of-the-World-Shit.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “Shades of Kiss Me Deadly?”

* * * * *

Directed by Irving Lerner
Produced by Leon Chooluck
Screenplay by Robert Dillon and Steven Ritch

PS: Did I mention that this film apparently has a love interest femme fatale?

“Everything’s swell, baby. No sweat.” (Image via Classic Movie Ramblings)

PPS: Okay. According to this review in Classic Movie Rambles, Vince stole “a steel flask containing a million dollars’ worth of heroin from the prison infirmary. The heroin was being used in experimental trials on prisoners. Or at least that’s what Vince thinks.”

I vaguely recall mentions of the infirmary. It’s not entirely clear whether the infirmary actually carries heroin or conducts these experiments, let alone why they’d store heroin in such an insecure canister.

Of course, in the old days (long before most of us were born), people used to take opium laudanum nearly routinely. So … who knows?

Seems like a fair number of stars. I’d say it’s worth an hour and change of your time.

Here’s the trailer:

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Posted in 1950s Films, Crime Thriller, Film Noir, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

‘My Day as a Detective’ (A Short in Two Parts)

I’ve been playing around with video storytelling for a while now.

This was my first attempt to tell a complete story using nothing but stock footage, excerpts from an old TV show, and my own Smartphone footage.

It may not be shown anywhere other than YouTube, probably. Or possibly Vimeo.

Anyhow, consider this a kind of double feature, I guess. Or a two-part web series. Whatever you’d like to think of it. 🙂

So, here we go!

Part One!

And Part Two!

Not bad for a first effort.

What do you think?

I made this video three years ago:

I love film noir and mystery. What can I say? 🙂

PS: Have I mentioned that I’ve been invited to participate in this project?!

I’m scared thrilled! 🙂

Posted in Short Film, Video, Web Series | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments