Tag Archives: movie reviews

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

Despite the movie poster's warning this flick won't even untie your shoelaces. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973) – Category: Bad movie elevated by kitsch value in the casting.

Directed by THE Darren McGavin and featuring his wife Kathie Browne in a small role, this hilariously bizarre film is also known as Run, Stranger, Run. “Run, Potential Viewer, Run” would be a more appropriate title. 

Happy Mother’s Day Love, George  (henceforth HMDLG) is often described as a psycho-sexual thriller but actually it is nothing more than a melodramatic soap opera with a few murders and VERY few scenes of blood and gore. Those blood and gore scenes are so over-the-top they are completely at odds with the low-key, almost made-for-tv mildness of the rest of the movie.

This was a theatrical release but is so subdued and slow-paced it seems like a telefilm. You and your friends can keep yourselves entertained making jokes about the recognizable cast members to kill time since the first murder doesn’t happen until we’re more than an hour into this flick.

Ron Howard IS Johnny, a teenager who has come to town to discover who his birth parents are but who mostly just stands around staring at people and ESPECIALLY at houses. He seems completely taken aback that the townspeople find this somewhat creepy. Johnny is intrigued by the rash of missing persons plaguing the small town and feels they are connected to the secret of his past. Continue reading

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CLONES OF BRUCE LEE (1979)

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

This is one of the reviews I get the most e-mail over so here it is again for the new readers who have been requesting it without realizing I already reviewed it.

Remember, before requesting a review you may want to see if I reviewed it already by checking my Bad Movies page. https://glitternight.com/bad-movies/

Clones of Bruce Lee Bronze ManTHE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE (1979) – Category: Brucesploitation with an enjoyably absurd twist.      

In the joyously tasteless beginning of this quintessential Brucesploitation movie British secret agents extract cell samples from the martial arts superstar on his deathbed. Since E-Bay wasn’t around yet they can’t auction off the cell samples so instead they use them to make three Bruce Lee clones to form an elite crime fighting unit.

You have to love a movie called The Clones Of Bruce Lee even though it stars three guys who not only don’t resemble Bruce Lee but who don’t even resemble each other! Some clones! Dick Miller and Priscilla Alden look as much like Bruce Lee as these clowns do. Continue reading

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PASSION-FIRE SWORD (1965): SON OF THE BLACK MASS SERIES

Son of the Black Mass

Raizo Ichikawa as the Son of the Black Mass

Balladeer’s Blog resumes my reviews of the Son of the Black Mass series of Samurai movies. This time around I will examine the fifth film with legendary Raizo Ichikawa. I will eventually cover the pre-Raizo and post-Raizo SOTBM flicks as well PLUS the original novels that the movies were based on.

Though the Son of the Black Mass series has also been released under alternate titles like The Full Moon Killer and Sleepy Eyes of Death (?) I go by the original title to the novel and movies. The recurring lead character is Kyoshiro Nemuri, a Ronin who is the product of the rape of a Japanese woman by a Portuguese Christian Missionary during a Black Mass.

Nemuri inherited his father’s red hair, marking him as a half-breed and leading to his disgrace. He wanders Japan of the 1780s, a time when Japanese Christians and the foreign Christian missionaries who converted them were being oppressed. As in imprisoned and told to renounce their faith or be executed through Crucifixion.

Raizo Ichikawa 1

Raizo Ichikawa as the red-haired Samurai Kyoshiro Nemuri, the Son of the Black Mass.

I consider Passion-Fire Sword to be the worst of the Raizo Ichikawa movies in the series. Usually the Son of the Black Mass films go beyond typical Samurai movies and into a realm of quasi-horror and moral anarchy. This flick is instead so bland it could pass as just another Samurai story. It even takes a step backward regarding Kyoshiro’s supernatural abilities like his power to communicate with the dead and the hypnotic nature of his Full Moon Death Strike.  

Stripped of the whispers our anti-hero hears from the dead, he winds up looking like just a man who makes incredible guesses as he sorts through the layers upon layers of deception in this tale. (The novel highlights the manner in which Nemuri’s most recent kills speak to him from beyond the grave to set him on the right path in this labyrinthine conspiracy.) And the story itself is a rehash of The Chinese Jade as crooked businessmen and outright criminals conspire to hide their joint activities from the Shogun and from the head of their own Clan.

One of the fresh elements of Passion-Fire Sword comes in the way Kyoshiro gets caught up in the intrigue. The conspirators refuse to believe that a man who interacted with our protagonist at his Edo hideout did not have time to tell him anything about their plot. Believing that Nemuri MUST have been given information that could lead to their death they have no choice but to continue to try killing him, no matter how many people die in the attempt. Continue reading

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PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010): MOVIE REVIEW

Psycho Gothic LolitaPSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.  

Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks  provide background details as the story  unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last.  

In fact, I’ll give you my personal guarantee: if you aren’t as blown away as I was by this movie’s climactic revelation … I don’t know what you can do about it. (Just a little something for my fellow Marx Brothers fans out there.)

At any rate lovers of J-Horror know the type of surreal, over-the-top bloodletting and gory violence that awaits in Psycho Gothic Lolita. Yuki’s weapons of choice are umbrellas that are souped-up like the guitars in Once Upon A Time In Mexico and in many Spaghetti Westerns. If you don’t see the logic of her using modified umbrellas just remember it goes with her “look.”

Psycho Gothic Lolita 2Umbrellas are essential to Goth women to block out the sun and keep their skin pale, so Yuki makes a virtue out of fashion necessity by wielding high-tech bumbershoots that have razor-sharp points, shoot bullets like a machine-gun, are bullet-proof themselves and are stronger than steel. Burgess Meredith, eat your heart out!

Our main character expertly employs these weapons to impale, disembowel and shred her opponents to bloody, fleshy ribbons.  Yuki’s most blood-spattered move is to run a foe through with a closed umbrella, then open it while the victim is still clinging to life so they can feel their torso being torn apart by the opening of the umbrella. Look, you’re either committed to movies like this or you just aren’t.     Continue reading

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BEGOTTEN (1990): FILM REVIEW

BegottenBEGOTTEN (1990) – Written and directed by E. E. Merhige, this black and white art film runs 72 minutes. Merhige later directed Shadow of the Vampire, a surreal horror movie about the making of the silent film Nosferatu.

Begotten was grandly described by its creator as a depiction of “the death and rebirth of gods.” If that didn’t make critics and viewers of the time want to belt Merhige in his pretentious face then the movie itself did. Okay, I’m largely just joking with that remark, but I’m sincere when I say that Begotten IS one of those experimental films that practically dares viewers to dismiss it as nonsense masquerading as art. 

Begotten 2I like Begotten but if I was doing a promo blurb for it I would avoid its director’s lofty tagline and instead use something like “It begins with God committing suicide … Then it gets weird.”

The opening several minutes of this movie – the portion where God does indeed kill itself – have been all over YouTube for well over a decade. The footage seems to have inspired many of the creepy, black and white, nonsensically macabre videos that uploaders post when trying to start an Alternate Reality Game or just to get easy hits from sheer weirdness.  (Think of Plague Doctor masks and such.)     Continue reading

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HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980)

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following 

Okay, this movie is better known than many of the other joyously bad films I review, but it still hasn’t acquired the reputation or the following it deserves as Midnight Movie or Movie Host material. Vic Morrow IS the heavy and Doug McClure IS another bland and unmemorable hero in this Continue reading

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RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

*** FEATURING A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE SHOW’S HISTORY ***

Morning Breath

Morning Breath

BEFORE MST3K THERE WAS … THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT!

In the mid-1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights to see “Film Vault Technicians First Class” Randy Clower and Richard Malmos show and mock bad and campy movies preceded by episodes of old Republic serials. Machine-gun toting Randy and Richard would also have comedic sci-fi adventures before and after commercial breaks. 

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult series via my research into really old newspapers, my interview with Randy Clower and recollections from my fellow fans of this show. Keep those emails and comments coming “Vaulties”. Here’s another review of a movie shown when a date can be verified.  

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday August 9th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1am.  * Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Spearman for the date.

Atom Man vs SupermanSERIAL: Before the movie an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman was shown. Kirk Alyn starred as Superman with Lyle Talbot as his archenemy Lex Luthor. Lex has his own secret identity in this serial – each episode he dons a lead mask and oversees the villainy as “Atom Man”.

This was one of the liveliest and most campily watchable serials of the 50s. Especially laughable are the bits when Superman “flies” – an effect achieved by switching from live footage of Kirk Alyn to INSERTED CARTOON FOOTAGE of Superman flying. Think of the ‘Toons in Roger Rabbit interacting with the live backgrounds and you have the idea.   

FILM VAULT LORE: The previous week our boys of the Film Vault Corps (“the few … the proud … the sarcastic”) had shown The Story of Mankind, another film with this episode’s interview subject: THE Vincent Price. Like this week’s showing of Return of the Fly it was used to promote Randy and Richard’s upcoming public appearance at the Dallas debut of David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. (More on that public appearance after the movie review) Spearman also tells me this August 9th episode also featured R&R’s interview with Vincent Price.

THE MOVIE: Return of the Fly is a black and white sequel to the Continue reading

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