Thursday, August 16, 2012


Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956): Despite its climax in a pretty awesome battle for and semi-destruction of Washington (effects by the glorious Ray Harryhausen, of course), and its status as a demi-classic I've never been that fond of Fred F. "The Giant Claw will forever overshadow all those decent movies I made" Sears's Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. I think it's actually some of the film's virtues that drag its entertainment value down for me. The comparative lack of nonsense science (apart from a bit of "that's not how time works, guys!"), the avoidance of the usual horrifying romance by letting hero Hugh Marlowe and heroine Joan Taylor already be married, and other elements like them do look good on paper but the film doesn't offer much that's interesting or entertaining in their stead before it's time to destroy Washington DC. Sure, there's the usual "the aliens are communists" subtext, but that's neither interesting nor commendable - and worked better in much crazier films.

The Haunted Sea (1997): The only remarkable things about this decidedly boring horror movie are a) the curious fact it needed two directors b) its idea that cursed Aztec gold can turn a man into a were-snakeosaurus c) the clear enthusiasm with which its early scenes look for pretences for Krista Allen to take her shirt off, and d) the appearances of James Brolin and Joanna Pacula who are slumming even below their usual slumming standards. The rest is an especially uninteresting case of corridor horror that can't even be saved from the tedium and stupidity of its plot by those scenes of Krista Allen taking her shirt off.

The Haunter of the Dark (2011): One of the most pleasant aspects of keeping track of Lovecraft fandom is that one will again and again stumble upon decidedly awe-inspiring pieces of fan-driven art like this computer animated short movie adaptation of Lovecraft's final story (freely available to watch here). There's so much obvious love and passion oozing out of every minute of the film it seems somewhat churlish to criticize it for anything; helpfully, there really isn't much about the short to criticize. The animation gets a bit rough from time to time, and not every voice actor is doing quite as good a job as Richard Grove does as Robert Blake, but that's the sort of minor complaint a film like this transcends by doing so much right.

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