Not Quite Horror – Iron Sky, Donovan’s Brain, Red Lights

Boy I watch a lot of streaming Netflix.

Iron Sky (2012) – Rated R

“Having secretly fled to a base on the moon at the end of World War II, Nazis put the final touches on their scheme to launch an invasion of Earth. When a new space shuttle mission threatens to expose them, they rush their plan into action.”

Okay I am a sucker for movies where Nazis are the bad guy. I love Dead Snow, The Boys from Brazil, Outpost, even the super-cheezy Shock Waves. On the other hand I’m not completely blind – Blood Creek was a ridiculous mess in spite of the sublime Michael Fassbender and Outpost: Black Sun clearly didn’t understand what made Outpost so much fun.

Iron Sky treads the middle ground. It is quite ludicrous (in a good way) but also tasteless (not in a good way). It is funny enough to be amusing (Nazi base on the far side of the moon) but many of the jokes fall flat (a faux President Palin) and some dip into the offensive (albinoing an African-American astronaut). I found Iron Sky to be worth a watch but only just.

Donovan’s Brain (1953) – Not rated

“While conducting groundbreaking but highly illegal experiments, brilliant scientist Patrick (Lew Ayres) falls under the supernatural control of a dead industrialist’s living brain, which commands him to carry out numerous nefarious deeds, including murder. Based on the novel by Curt Siodmak, this sci-fi horror classic co-stars former first lady Nancy Davis (Reagan) as Patrick’s wife, who bravely struggles to defeat the evil brain.”

This is a nice little science fiction tale. As with many of them in the 50s, it is somewhat dry. This is based on Curt Siodmak’s novel, Donovan’s Brain and was previously filmed as The Lady and The Monster (1944). Curt Siodmak also used many of his same elements in the Bela Lugosi thriller, Black Friday (1940).

Red Lights (2012) – Rated R

“Professor Margaret Matheson and her assistant, Tom Buckley, set out to debunk claims of paranormal activity. During their investigation, a legendary psychic comes out of retirement, and Buckley becomes obsessed with proving he’s a fraud.”

Red Lights is a well-acted, atmospheric drama but it is a slow burn that builds up to nothing. In the end, it just kind of fizzles out.

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