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Cheepnis Round-Up

eroslane asked what bad movies I've been watching lately. I've been thinking about starting another blog devoted to reviews of cheesy movies, but for now, here are a few I remember off the top of my head.

Beast From Haunted Cave (USA, 1959): produced by Roger Corman's older brother Gene, who obviously shared his production aesthetic. Lurid, no-budget crime melodrama with a $5 monster thrown in for marketing purposes. Pretty good ensemble acting, what with the bad girl torn between the criminal with the sleazy mustache and the almost Jesusly-wholesome ski instructor.

House on Haunted Hill (USA, 1959): Vincent Price doing his David-Niven-gone-bad schtick in a sort of diseased Agatha Christie environment. Incoherent but with some nice, campy marital treachery.

King of the Zombies (USA, 1941): A plane crashes on a jungle island. Nazi spy with undead flunkies and wife in a trance. Pretty slow. Warning: offensive racial stereotyping of black "valet" and kitchen help.

Frozen Alive (West Germany, 1964): Scientist has an alcoholic wife with borderline personality disorder. Minimal sci-fi elements but quite a good potboiler.

Revolt of the Zombies: (USA, 1936) A classic, at least to me: Cambodian zombies utilized in the Allied war effort. Not as eerie as I walked with A Zombie but still genuinely creepy. Or maybe I was drunk and sort of dozing off.

The Monster Maker (UK, 1944): Peculiarly starchy British melodrama about a mad doctor who becomes obsessed with a concert pianist's daughter and schemes to force her to marry him. (Review forthcoming.)

Project Kill (USA, 1977, color): Leslie Nielsen, pre-Airplane, as a secret agent on the lam when his project goes bad. Numbingly wooden 70's macho drive-in action with bad martial arts. Saved by the pleasure of seeing how Nielsen acts exactly the same, whatever kind of film he's in.

Horror Express (International, 1973, color): A rather testy turn-of-the-century English anthropologist (Christopher Lee) hacks a frozen early human from a Manchurian ice cave and hauls it back for study on a trans-Siberian train ride. (Spoiler: it turns out to house an evil, body-jumping intergalactic entity.) Pretty gorey for the 70's. Yul Brynner shows up towards the end as a sadistic, vodka-swilling cossack, chewing the scenery with delightful gusto - definitely the liveliest part of the film.

Nightmare Castle (Italian, 1961): A truly rotten scientist kills his wife (and her lover), then pulls her sister out of the asylum to marry her and drive her really mad so he can usurp her estate. Torture, treachery, bleeding plants, ghosts, mad science, an evil girlfriend shivering because she needs a transfusion of fresher blood... all in a gloomy castle. Gothic dread abounds.
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