Film Review: Mitchell (1975)

Also known as: Kill Mr. Mitchell (Hong Kong – English premiere title)
Release Date: September 10th, 1975
Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
Written by: Ian Kennedy Martin
Music by: Larry Brown, Jerry Styner
Cast: Joe Don Baker, Linda Evans, Martin Balsam, John Saxon

Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, 97 Minutes

Review:

“Piss off, kid!” – Mitchell

The only reason people even remember this movie now is because it was featured on one of the most important episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the episode that was the big farewell to original host Joel Hodgson.

Apart from that great episode, the movie itself is absolutely atrocious. It is a massive pile of steaming shit. It’s fucking horrible, if I can be so bold.

Sure, Joe Don Baker is the man. This also has John Saxon in it. But even these two can’t save a picture that is so poorly written and horrendously directed. It is one of those movies where watching too much of it will cause your eyeballs to bleed out of your sockets. It may even induce vomiting and diarrhea.

Yet, I still love Baker and Saxon and for some reason I’ll never understand, I love to torture myself with the worst movies that Earth has to offer. Maybe I should see a therapist but my Uncle Grapes once told me that “therapist” is spelled the same as “the rapist”. He spent a lot of time in a sanitarium though because he tried gluing cats to his naked body to “blend in with the bears”.

So what’s really wrong with this shit pancake of a movie? Well, a lot… frankly.

To start, lets talk about the action. There is a car chase that is so slow and boring that Crow T. Robot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 commented that it made “…Driving Miss Daisy look like Bullitt.” Also, watching Mitchell (Baker) do anything athletic, like running away from gunmen and such, was laughably bad. Although, we get that scene where he waves down a helicopter and it drops a shotgun down to him. I mean, who doesn’t want a shotgun dispensing chopper overhead when bad guys got you surrounded? Maybe that part of the action was kind of cool.

You also have to sit through one of the most awkward and strange sex scenes in movie history. Plus, it is accented by the horrible Mitchell theme song that just won’t go away from the time the picture starts till the very end of the credits when this turkey stuffed with crap finally ends.

Honestly, these could have all been different songs throughout the movie but they all sounded the same and I had to be on suicide watch for 37 days because that’s how long it took to get them out of my head.

Mitchell really is friggin’ dreadful. That being said, it has to be run through the Cinespiria Shitometer. And the results read, “Type 6 Stool: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.” Ew… gross, Mitchell!

Film Review: The Crawling Hand (1963)

Also known as: Don’t Cry Wolf, The Creeping Hand, Tomorrow You Die
Release Date: September 4th, 1963 (Hartford)
Directed by: Herbert L. Strock
Written by: Joseph Cranston, Bill Idelson, Herbert L. Strock, Robert M. Young
Music by: Marlin Skiles
Cast: Peter Breck, Kent Taylor, Rod Lauren, Alan Hale Jr., Allison Hayes, Sirry Steffen, Arline Judge

Joseph F. Robertson Productions, 89 Minutes

Review:

These really shitty no budget horror/sci-fi pictures from the 50s and 60s usually never had enough money to hire a full ensemble of characters. Well, this managed that feat except none of the actors are really notable except for Alan Hale Jr. but this came out a year before he was “The Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island.

The monster in this thing was literally a crawling hand. It was like Thing from The Addams Family except it was still attached to an arm that slowed it down and made it an even less effective monster.

The arm is all that’s left of an astronaut that exploded. However, the arm is possessed by a sinister alien. After a bunch of people are strangled to death by the alien possessed astro-arm, the town is saved by a hungry cat. I would’ve said “spoiler alert” but c’mon, I watch these things so you don’t have to.

The only real reason why this film even sees the light of day, five decades later, is that it was featured in the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1989.

The lighting in this movie is horrible, the acting is worse and the sound is pretty bad too. It is a visibly dark film but that was probably to obscure the monster in an effort to hide the effects, as it was obviously still attached to a human being for most scenes. They couldn’t pull this off with animatronics, as they didn’t quite exist in a really effective way in 1963. And whatever did exist would have cost money, which is something that this film didn’t have behind it.

This is a bad film but it isn’t so bad that watching it get riffed on MST3K isn’t a fun time. It certainly isn’t one of the worst films that was featured on that show. I rather enjoy that episode and this film being the focal point of it.

However, The Crawling Hand is most assuredly shit. And here at Cinespiria, we run these films through the trusty Cinespiria Shitometer. The results read, “Type 1 Stool: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass).”

Film Review: Monster A-Go-Go (1965)

Also known as: Terror at Halfday (working title)
Release Date: July, 1965
Directed by: Bill Rebane, Herschell Gordon Lewis (uncredited)
Written by: Sheldon Seymour
Cast: Henry Hite

B.I. & L. Releasing Corp., 68 Minutes

Review:

“What you are about to see may not even be possible, within the narrow limits of human understanding.” – Narrator

There are a lot of films that are truly atrocious. This one is worse than that, so I don’t know if there’s a proper adjective to describe it in one word.

This is horrible, even for Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. It may be the worst movie featured on that show and that should say a lot in regards to the type of premium schlock MST3K liked to throw at its audience.

I hate this movie. I hate it like a vegan trapped in a Longhorn’s Steakhouse during a zombie apocalypse. I hate it like a cop hates getting a doughnut box full of celery. I hate it like Hillary Clinton hates penis. I hate it like field mice hate owls. I hate it like an astronaut hates being marooned. I hate it like Gene Siskel hated Roger Ebert whenever he always got the upper hand. I hate it like Tom Brady hates solid balls. I hate it like an intelligent person hates Twitter. I hate it like… well, you get the point.

Herschell Gordon Lewis is the only remotely notable person associated with this film. He is uncredited for co-directing this movie. He would go on to make a ton of crappy exploitation films that gorehounds and sexually depraved misfits would cherish for decades. Films like Blood FeastTwo Thousand ManiacsThe Wizard of GoreThe Gore Gore Girls and others. I heard he’s a really nice and cool guy though. If John Waters likes him, he’s probably alright.

The killer in this film looks like the giant from Twin Peaks but with papier-mâché strips crudely placed on his face. He isn’t intimidating or scary, he just looks like a lanky drunk bald guy. He moves really slow but at least we get to see him creep up on some bikini chicks with decent tushies.

This movie gave me a headache. While the MST3K crew made it as tolerable as possible, it was still hard to get through and I’d prefer never to have to sit through this piss sandwich again.

So this most assuredly should be run through the Cinespiria Shitometer, even though there is a risk of breaking the machine with this massive turd. We’ll run it through anyway, as it is still under warranty for another hundred or so shitty films. So the results read, “Type 6 Stool: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.”

Serial Review: Undersea Kingdom (1936)

Release Date: May 30th, 1936 (first chapter)
Directed by: B. Reeves Eason, Joseph Kane
Written by: Tracy Knight, John Rathmell, Maurice Geraghty, Oliver Drake
Music by: Harry Grey
Cast: Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Lois Wilde, Monte Blue, William Farnum

Republic Pictures, 226 Minutes total (12 episodes), 100 Minutes (TV)

Review:

Undersea Kingdom, on its surface, should be pretty cool. However, it is an underwhelming dud. It was featured sparingly on Mystery Science Theater 3000 when they needed some shorts. But that program never played the serial in its entirety.

This was made in response to Universal’s hit serial Flash Gordon, but it pales in comparison and certainly isn’t as remembered. Honestly, other than popping up a few times on MST3K, this serial is forgettable.

In this epic, there is a suspicious earthquake. A professor leads an expedition in a super submarine to what is believed to be the location of Atlantis. The heroes arrive at the mystical continent and find themselves in a civil war between Sharad, who leads the White Robes, and Unga Khan, who leads the Black Robes. It is obvious who the bad guys are because this was the 1930s and shit was simpler back then. Unga Khan has a superweapon, the Disintegrator, which he plans to use to destroy the world with earthquakes unless he is made the ruler of Earth.

“Crash” was added to Ray Corrigan’s name in an effort to sound close to “Flash”. Frankly, this attempt at a ripoff was pretty damn blatant about it. He would continue to use this name in other serials he filmed after this one.

The only cool thing about this serial is Unga Khan’s Volkites. They were metallic warriors that looked like very primitive versions of the classic Cybermen from Doctor Who. Granted, they look more like Cybermen trying to wear Dalek armor over their heads and torsos.

Undersea Kingdom is kind of fun but that fun runs out quickly, as the serial is bogged down with retreading familiar territory and for utilizing tropes that were probably already played out in 1936.

I like stories about Atlantis and I love classic serials like this. Unfortunately, the two weren’t a perfect marriage or even a good one.

So does this deserve to be run through the trusty Cinespiria Shitometer? It certainly does! The results read, “Type 2 Stool: Sausage-shaped but lumpy.”

Film Review: Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Also known as: Attack of the Blood Leeches (working title)
Release Date: October, 1959
Directed by: Bernard L. Kowalski
Written by: Leo Gordon
Music by: Alexander Laszlo
Cast: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard

Balboa Productions, American International Pictures, 62 Minutes

Review:

“Who do you think your talking too? Don’t touch me? You’re my wife, I’ll touch you anytime I feel like it. Where you going? Where you going?” – Dave Walker

Here we go, another one of those late 50s classics by the Brothers Corman. Roger did not direct this and Gene did not write it but they did produce this for American International. Like a lot of their work from this era, The Giant Leeches was lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

This film features giant leeches, just as the title implies. However, they are more like dudes wearing rubber octopus suits because Roger Corman doesn’t care much for that logic stuff. Realism… what’s that? Corman is all about making cool cheap creatures that clobber human beings with their might. But at least they always have a hokey charm and in this film, they vampire the crap out of people with their big sucker faces.

Ultimately, this is a poor ripoff of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. This was just one of a few of those Creature ripoffs that Corman attempted. This one feels the closest, however, due to the outdoor locations, the creatures having a cave where they take their victims, most notable the damsel at the end of the film. Also, the two heroes in diving gear are very familiar looking when comparing this film’s climax to the one in The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

Truthfully, I like these goofy Corman pictures and this one is no different. The creatures work for what this film is and at least they are more fantastical and exciting than what a giant leech would actually look like. However, if these things are supposed to be leeches, couldn’t the heroes just throw salt at them?

Film Review: The Final Sacrifice (1990)

Also known as: Quest For the Lost City
Release Date: 1990
Directed by: Tjardus Greidanus
Written by: Tjardus Greidanus, Christian Malcolm (uncredited), Bruce J. Mitchell (uncredited)
Music by: Robert Skeet
Cast: Christian Malcolm, Bruce J. Mitchell

Flying Dutchman Productions Ltd., 78 Minutes

Review:

Canada has made some decent motion pictures over the years. The Final Sacrifice is not one of those pictures.

Truth be told, this could be one of the worst things that has ever come out of Canada. Strangely, I have a weird appreciation for it. It is an awful movie but it is ambitious in spite of its mountain of faults. Okay, maybe not ambitious but it tried some really big special effects at the end. Emphasis on the word “tried”.

Maybe I just like this dumb movie because it was featured on one of my favorite Mike Nelson episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The movie takes place in southern Alberta and it was shot there as well. Apparently, the evil Satanic cult that has plans on ruling the entire world, decided to make their base of operations the rural countryside south of Calgary and north of the Montana border. Seems like as good of a spot as any.

In this film, we follow this kid and an out-of-shape denim-clad mullet-sporting middle-aged hoser. They are on the run from a Satanic cult that wears black wife beaters and ski masks. Most of the time they are running around with machetes too. Their leader doesn’t wear a mask and he dresses nicer but he’s still a total choad. He also has a weird voice. All of this is happening for reasons that aren’t ever all that clear but in the end, some mystical city rises out of the Albertan countryside and then keeps raising up into outer space. Shit’s confusing.

There really isn’t a single positive about this movie other than it did provide a ton of material for the MST3K crew to riff. Plus, the episode poked a lot of fun at Canada, a country that probably deserves it due to giving this movie to the world.

So, does this film deserve to be run through the Cinespiria Shitometer? Yep! And the results read, “Type 3 Stool: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface.”

Film Review: The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Release Date: May 8th, 1942
Directed by: Wallace Fox
Written by: Harvey Gates, Sam Robins, Gerald Schnitzer
Cast: Bela Lugosi, Luana Walters, Tristram Coffin, Minerva Urecal, Elizabeth Russell

Banner Productions, Monogram Pictures, 64 Minutes

Review:

“You should forget all that silly nonsense about those brides dropping dead.” – Alice Wentworth

Bela Lugosi fell on troubled times as he got out of the 1930s, which was the height of his career following 1931’s Dracula. By 1942, he was mostly relegated to making schlock. He tried to work as much as possible but even just a decade later, his Dracula had become sort of a caricature.

The Corpse Vanishes is one of his better known B-movies but that doesn’t mean it’s good. It is a film that would go on to be lampooned in the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and for several very good reasons.

The plot is awful, the script is worse and the acting is pretty horrendous. Even Lugosi couldn’t carry this picture and by this point, Lugosi always played Lugosi and was pretty one-dimensional. He was simply dialing it in, as were the crew and the other actors.

Lugosi plays the evil Dr. Lorenz, a mad scientist that sends a peculiar orchid to young women on their wedding day. The orchid has an effect that causes these women to drop dead at the altar. In reality, he is putting them into a form of suspended animation. He goes on to rob the “corpses” of the brides before burial and takes them to his evil lab.

While not too far outside of the box of what were normal plots for these sort of films, the premise is still pretty ridiculous.

The Corpse Vanishes is a disaster and it is sad to see how far Lugosi has fallen in a decade. Where Boris Karloff seemed to continue to get quality roles all the way up until his death in the 1960s, Lugosi wasn’t so lucky. But at the same time, Karloff was just a lot more versatile as an actor.

Out of respect for Lugosi, I’ll refrain from running this through the Cinespiria Shitometer.