Movie: The Black Cat (1941)

I am increasingly wondering what qualifies as “horror” in selections chosen for the Universal Horror series of blu-ray sets Scream Factory has been issuing.  Tower of London, to cite one example, was entirely a history drama, with the only trappings of the genre being the castle’s torture chamber. 1941’s The Black Cat is a comedy […]

Movie: One Way Street (1950)

Many movies stumble to some extent in their second acts.  On rare occasions, a picture might hit its stride in the second half, only for me to be let down by the third.  Such is the case with 1950’s One Way Street. This curious noir stars James Mason as a doctor who flees gangster Dan […]

Movie: Moonfall (2022)

How strange it is that, with studios creating any and all kinds of spectaculars to lure audiences back to theatres, we don’t have many big, loud and stupid sci-fi blockbusters anymore (emphasis on stupid).  Mind you, I always found films like Armageddon laughable, at best.  Today, it is rare for there to even be another […]

Movie: Undercover Girl (1950)

Except in melodramas, women were rarely top billed in features in 1950.  Alexis Smith is the lead of that year’s Undercover Girl, as the title character.  That this is a female-led noir is a reason to seek this out, but there is more of interest here than that. When we first meet Smith, at the […]

Movie: Angel Face (1952)

It is often hard to decide whether a film is noir or not.  In many regards, the 1952 feature Angel Face has the trappings of that genre.  On the other hand, it is very heavy on the melodrama.  That doesn’t automatically disqualify a film from being noir but, in my mind, it makes it more […]

Movie: David Lynch: The Art Life (2016)

Despite being a fan of most of the David Lynch’s films, I have always found him a tad suspect.  As time goes on, I increasingly find something off-putting about him.  This, despite his aw-shucks demeanor and Jimmy Stewart voice.  Or, it may be because of it.  I felt the same after watching the 2016 documentary […]

Movie: Lady Frankenstein (1971)

Rasalba Neri plays the title character in 1971’s Lady Frankenstein, a role that is mad scientist-y enough for a man but made for a woman. She is obviously solidly of Italian descent, but is inexplicably the daughter of that deeply American staple of cinema Joseph Cotten.  He will be out of this picture before too […]

Movie: Flight to Mars (1951)

The mock-religion The Church of the SubGenius employs as its primary symbol a clip art image of the stereotypical ideal of the 1950’s American male, complete with pipe clenched between teeth.  I kept thinking of this image every time the eerily similar Arthur Franz appears on screen during 1951’s Flight to Mars.  He is like […]

Movie: Man-Made Monster (1941)

Those who have seen enough of Universal’s horror and sci-fi b-movie fare will know roughly what to expect before watching 1941s Man-Made Monster.  What is interesting is how well the movie hits the expected beats, and then does a number of things which were unexpected. Lon Chaney, Jr., stars as the sole survivor of a […]

Movie: Death on the Nile (2022)

It was startling when Kenneth Branagh helmed Thor, a Marvel film, in 2011.  I don’t necessarily dislike the actor/director, but I have always found him to be smug and pretentious.  His association with Shakespeare doesn’t help dissuade that opinion.  And yet it now seems he always wanted to do “big” productions, as evidenced by his […]

Movie: Cellar Dweller (1987)

Given the choice, I think I would often choose to see a movie that does something different and doesn’t quite succeed instead of watching one that does nothing I haven’t seen before while doing it extremely well. That’s how I would summarize my feelings so far about Arrow Video’s blu-ray set Enter the Video Store: […]

Movie: The Seventh Grave (1965)

I had a weird moment of confusion while watching the beginning of 1965’s The Seventh Grave, as a found myself thinking about the 1990’s puzzle-mystery CD-rom game The Seventh Guest.  Typical of such games of the era, which was one of those things set in a creepy mansion on a dark and stormy night.  These […]

Mix: State of the band union

For whatever reason, I am fascinated by songs about the experience of being a recording artist, especially those addressing frustrations toward the industry. When they are autobiographical, I consider these “state of the band union” songs, the public airing of an artist’s grievances. I’m surprised there aren’t more such songs, as that would seem to […]