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Beach Blanket Ninja


Here are a few movie reviews, organized alphabetically.

Looked for a Weird Western for tishalro's birthday movie. Ended up with Death Rides a Horse, which was not so much Weird, but definitely a Western.

Young Bill's family is killed by a gang of masked outlaws. He's only seven, but he remembers identifying characteristics of each of them. A scar. A tattoo. Flamboyant jewelry.

Fifteen years later, older Bill (John Phillip Law) meets up with a mysterious gunman (Lee Van Cleef) who is also looking for revenge from this gang.

The high points of the film are Lee Van Cleef's performance and Ennio Morricone's soundtrack. The low points of the film are the rest of the 114 minutes. Although I was pleased to see one of the bad guys make effective use of a trapdoor.

For the Guru's birthday, we watched Flesh Feast. Veronica Lake's final movie, and she probably shouldn't have bothered. She already had celluloid immortality, and I don't think this one is how she wants to be remembered -- sprinkling flesh-eating maggots onto a geriatric Hitler.

Veronica Lake is the mad scientist who has developed a maggot-based rejuvenation technique, but in the end it's all a scheme to get her revenge on Der Führer.

The director has an unfortunate tendency to shoot people in longshot, and to frame his shots so that the actors are consistently in the lower half of the frame. Early on, a crusading reporter is on the phone in the lower-left quarter of the frame for about a minute before his assistant walks into the room, filling out the right half of the screen. Because apparently they didn't have Camera-Tilt Technology in 1970.

In many ways, the "best" part of the movie is the cover. It promises a "grizzly shocker," but not a single bear is tasered. It also refers to "flesh eating maggots," and without the hyphenation in flesh-eating, that's definitely a "man bites dog" story.

Finally, Grim. Which kind of was. Two couples are playing seance with a home-drawn Ouija board, and accidentally free this long-buried rock-dwelling cave beast thing.

It can move through rock with no trace of its passage. It can possess people. It has extreme strength. Its design and construction were really well-done; it's the rare monster film where you get to see a lot of the monster ... because they're justifiably proud of it.

The subdivision above the cave system starts experiencing serious cases of subsidence, so they call in an expert spelunker to determine if the caves actually extend underneath the development (in which case they're suing the developers).

This spelunker is accompanied by six neighborhood residents (two of whom were in on the Ouija / seance at the film's start).

They don't have a chance. It takes a serious deus ex machina for even two of them to escape.

Which movie will be watched next? None can say. Bribes, however, are always encouraged.