Terror in Space – Galaxy of Terror

Galaxy of Terror is currently available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

One Line Review: Incomprehensible mess + bizarre rape scene = a world of no

Galaxy of TerrorGalaxy of Terror (1981) – Rated R

Dispatched to a distant world to rescue the crew of the spacecraft Remus, astronauts aboard the starship Quest instead find their comrades gruesomely slaughtered and themselves on a journey into mortal terror.

The first thing I have to mention is the rape scene. Normally (and in this case) a rape scene is an automatic knockout for me. In Galaxy, a giant worm rips off Dameia’s (Taaffe O’Connell) clothing, covers her in slime, and rapes her.

Erin Moran starred as Alluma in this at the height of her Happy Days/Joanie Loves Chachi fame. Oddly she seems to have mostly retired after Happy Days went off the air. She is not bad but doesn’t really have the strength to hold this together.

Moran is joined by Edward Albert as Cabren. Albert is the son of Eddie Albert and would star as Mr. Collins in innumerable Power Rangers shows. Ray Walston, My Favorite Martian, plays Kore. Corman regular Sid Haig and a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund also put in appearances.

I think the major problem with Galaxy of Terror (besides the rape sequence) is the writing. William Stout wrote the outline and Marc Siegler and director Bruce D. Clark wrote the script. Much of the script appears to have been written on the set. Every crazy idea that they could come up with seemed to have received a green light.

The script was so bad that reportedly Sid Haig refused to use the dialog. He preferred instead to communicate mostly through grunts and gestures. I believe the only line his character, Quuhod, utters is, “I live and die by the crystals.”

Galaxy of Terror is only notable for launching a few careers.

People Watch: Zalman King appears here as Baelon. While his acting career was undistinguished (Galaxy of Terror was a highlight), Zalman would go on to some fame/notoriety as a director/writer/producer/creator of the softcore series The Red Shoe Diaries.

People Watch 2: One of the production designers on this was none other than uber-director James Cameron. Future actor Bill Paxton was the set dresser.

Fishy Fishy Fishy Attack of the Crab Monsters

Attack of the Crab Monsters is currently available on instant Netflix

Attack of the Crab MonstersAttack of the Crab Monsters (1957) – Not rated

Killer crustaceans unleash their wrath and their sizable claws on scientists sent to explore their habitat in this Roger Corman classic. Nuclear fallout has mutated ordinary crabs into supersize creatures that are able to absorb human intelligence.”

You are about to land in a lonely zone of terror… on an uncharted atoll in the Pacific! You are part of The Second Scientific Expedition dispatched to this mysterious piece of Coral reef and volcanic rock. The first group disappeared without a trace! Your job is to find out why! There have been disturbing rumors about this strange atoll… frightening rumors about happenings way out beyond the laws of nature…

Preservation of the species. Once they were men. Now they are land crabs.

What is so likable about a film like Attack of the Crab Monsters? For all of Asylum’s shoddy CGI, their films do look better than a 1950s Roger Corman cheapie. Acting in both is wooden with a few exceptions. Attack of the Crab Monsters is in black and white.

I think the answer is in Attack of the Crab Monsters’ earnestness. The film takes everything seriously, even the comically goofy monsters towards the end. It also helps that Corman’s cheapies acquire a certain charm a half century later. They helped pave the way for modern science fiction (and sadly Asylum).

Richard Garland is the star here as Dale Drewer. He had 79 roles in his brief career from 1951-1969. He had a shot at leading man status but his problems with alcohol stymied his career and ultimately his life when he died at the age of 41 in 1969. His co-star is Pamela Duncan as Martha Hunter. Pamela would also co-star with him again that year on Corman’s The Undead.

Attack of the Crab Monsters is cheesy and not good but it is good cheesy fun.

People Watch: While Russell Johnson is mostly known today as The Professor from Gilligan’s Island, he appears here as Hank Chapman. He also had roles in the classic sci-fi movies: It Came from Outer Space (George) and This Island Earth (Steve Carlson)

Poster Watch: The poster for this film, highlighting one of the creatures, is so iconic that it shows up in many other movies from Pulp Fiction to Footloose (2011) to Julie & Julia.

 

The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum is currently available on Amazon Prime

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

“Vincent Price plays a 16th century Spanish nobleman who slowly goes crazy when he thinks that his wife has been buried alive. It’s all a joint plot between the supposed dead wife and her doctor/lover to get Price’s money. Price now totally insane, assumes his father’s identity (that of a grand inquisitor) and starts to murder!”

The House of Usher (1960) was Corman’s gamble on a big Poe production. Not only did he spend the money to film it in color but also in widescreen. The gambit paid off handsomely so naturally Corman looked to repeat that success. Most of Corman’s Poe films exist to showcase the talents of Vincent Price and this one is no exception.

In 1961, Roger Corman released The Pit and the Pendulum. With each film in the series Corman takes further liberties with Edgar Allan Poe’s source material. Here, in a stroke of genius, he capitalizes on Vincent Price’s popularity by using the character’s madness to essentially double-cast him. As a nod to Poe, there is someone who was bricked up and someone who may or may not have been buried alive.

Vincent Price was not always a flamboyant actor but his success with House of Wax and subsequent roles persuaded him to make his performances more and more theatrical. Vincent Price plays Nicolas Medina who is going insane. The insanity allows him to play both Nicolas and his father.

Barbara Steele plays Elizabeth Barnard Medina. Steele was hot off her Italian horror hit Black Sunday. She performs well here and looks very striking but her voice is dubbed by another actress. John Kerr as Francis Barnard makes a solid if low-key leading man.

In addition to the titular pit and pendulum, we also get a rack, pokers, and an iron maiden. Corman definitely does not shirk on the torture devices but this being the 60s, actual torture is only alluded to (thankfully). Because this is Corman, we also get a castle (matte painting), scenes of crashing waves, a cobweb machine on overdrive, and wonderful sets.

Remake-itis: The Pit and the Pendulum was previously made in 1909 (Le puits et le pendule) and 1913. After this it was remade in 1991 with Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, and Oliver Reed and, in 2009, the name was ripped off for a David DeCoteau movie.

The Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace is currently available on Amazon Prime

The Haunted Palace (1963)

“When a man arrives in the New England village of Arkham to claim the palatial mansion that was once the domain of his great-great grandfather (a black magician who was burned alive 110 years before), he discovers an evil curse. In HD.”

“One becomes accustomed to the darkness here.”

The official title of this movie is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Haunted Palace which is funny because it is not at all based on Poe. Corman takes the title of a Poe poem (Poe-m?) and has Price quote a few lines in voiceover in order to shoehorn this into the Poe series.

In actuality, if the location of Arkham did not give it away, The Haunted Palace is based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It is based as loosely as the Poe adaptations before it but the movie captures a wonderful Lovecraftian feel. In addition to Arkham, we get Elder Gods, the Necronomicon, and a pervasive atmosphere of doom. The eyeless, webbed and deformed villagers are sooo creepy.

Once again the script provides Vincent Price the opportunity to play both protagonist (Charles Dexter Ward) and villain (Joseph Curwen). He does a superb job of both, though certainly his villains are more intriguing. Instead of being grandiose (as many of his villains are), Price’s Curwen is icy and menacing.

Price gets an assist here from another legend of horror, Lon Chaney Jr. (here billed as Lon Chaney as if he did not have a separate identity from his silent movie star father – poor Creighton). Chaney plays Simon Orne, the more sensible villain but still second fiddle to Joseph Curwen. Sadly Chaney’s alcoholism was in full swing at this point and he never did another Corman picture. He still had one good role ahead of him – that of Bruno in Spider Baby (1968).

The female lead, Ann Ward is played by Debra Paget in her final film role. She had a wonderful career in the fifties – she rocked with Elvis in Love Me Tender (1956), played Cosette in Les Miserable (1952) and Cecil B. DeMille picked her to play Lilia in The Ten Commandments (1956) without a screen test. She retired after this.

As usual Corman gives us a castle (matte painting), wonderful sets, creeping fog, lots of candlelight and crashing waves. Fire is a recurring theme throughout the film – starting with the burning of Joseph Curwen in the prologue.

People Watch: Look for the instantly recognizable Elisha Cook Jr. as Peter Smith and Micah Smith. He is probably best remembered as Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon. He also appeared in The Big Sleep, Shane, House on Haunted Hill and Rosemary’s Baby.

The Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death is available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

“At a 12th-century masked ball from hell, dissolute satanist Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) torments his guests, forcing them to participate in a variety of gruesome lethal games in this Roger Corman-directed horror flick based on two stories by Edgar Allen Poe. While most of the games end in someone’s death, those who survive Prospero’s amusements must endure the nightmare of torture and unthinkable depravity.”

“You promised me entertainment, I never expected this. Have such eyes seen sin? ” – “They will.”

The Masque of the Red Death is Roger Corman’s most sumptuous Poe adaptation. There were a lot of reasons for this. The film was shot in England to take advantage of a government subsidy by using a British cast and crew. Corman also allowed for a five week schedule as opposed to three weeks for the previous Poe adaptations.

Masque was filmed using sets leftover from Becket (1964). The costumes are simply lavish and amazing, especially at the masque itself. Screenwriters Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell should be applauded for squeezing in Poe’s short story Hop-Frog as a subplot.

Vincent Price does not play a dual role here – he is simply evil…grandiose evil as Prince Prospero. His performance is nuanced, hammy (in a fun way) but nuanced. He lusts after Francesca but not for her flesh, he just wants to corrupt her.

The delightful Hazel Court is Juliana, Prospero’s consort. It is clear that while Juliana is evil, her motivation is to keep the eye of Prospero, who has been fascinated by the innocence and beauty of the young Francesca. Court had 72 roles but is best remembered for her handful of horror movies: The Curse of Frankenstein, The Man who Cheated Death, Doctor Blood’s Coffin, The Raven, Premature Burial, and Masque. Masque would be her last speaking role in a movie.

Patrick Magee makes a great foil as the evil Alfredo. He spends much of the time being the butt of Prospero’s humor. Magee would go on to be a veteran of Hammer and Amicus productions appearing in The Skull, Tales from the Crypt, Asylum, And Now the Screaming Starts and Demons of the Mind.

The Masque of the Red Death naturally has the hallmarks of a Corman Poe adaptation: Castle, dungeon, torture devices, lots of cobwebs, even more candlelight, and wonderful sets. It is the best of the Poe adaptations and that is saying something since all eight are enjoyable – only Juliana’s dream sequence stood out as unnecessary.

People Watch: Nigel Green has a small part as Francesca’s father. He had his best role earlier that year as Colour-Sergeant Bourne in Zulu, stealing the movie from leads Michael Caine and Stanley Baker. Patrick Magee also did a wonderful turn in Zulu as Surgeon Reynolds.

Celebrate The Raven with a Poe-a-Thon!

Sadly events beyond my control will prevent my seeing the FREE Edgar Allan Poe marathon at Carolina Cinemas this Friday (4/27). Still there are many Poe films available on instant Netflix. I apologize though as the latter part of this list looks just like my celebrate Roger Corman’s birthday post – unfortunately the Karloff/Lugosi Poe movies are not available at this time.

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971) – Rated PG-13

“In the midst of preparing his theater troupe for their upcoming production, Cesar (Jason Robards) struggles to soothe his wife, Madeleine (Christine Kaufmann), who’s been suffering dreadful nightmares, and races to figure out who is brutally murdering his lead actors one by one. A loose adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story, this chilling horror tale effectively weaves back and forth between disturbing dreams and reality.”

The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1986) – Rated PG

“This adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic 1941 tale of the same name stars the legendary George C. Scott as gumshoe C. Auguste Dupin, who comes out of retirement to take on one last case. Two murders have been committed in Paris, and the clues left behind are so sparse — comprising only a razor and batches of hair — that everyone involved in solving the crime is stumped. Val Kilmer and Rebecca de Mornay co-star.”

Tales of Terror (1962) – Not rated

“It’s a triple threat of terror from the master of the genre: Edgar Allan Poe. This collection of three films — The Black Cat, Morella and The Case of M. Valdemar — offers everything horror fans can’t get enough of, from murder and dementia to live burials, open tombs, resurrection and zombies. And with three of horrordom’s greatest villains (Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone) in the lead roles, the chills are guaranteed.”

Masters of Horror: Stuart Gordon – The Black Cat (2006) – Not rated

“In this stylish thriller, famous American author and master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe (Jeffrey Combs) is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. To make matters worse, he’s tormented by an evil black cat that’s slowly driving him insane. Stuart Gordon’s chilling film, part of Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series, looks at what may have inspired Poe to dream up such fantastic stories and poems full of suspense.”

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) – Not rated

“Francis (John Kerr) visits the gloomy Spanish castle of his late sister Elizabeth’s husband, Nicholas (Vincent Price), to learn the reason for her death. Nicholas fears his wife isn’t really dead and that her spirit wanders the halls at night. Seems Nicholas’s father was a feared leader of the Spanish Inquisition; as a child, Nicholas saw his father torture his mother and bury her alive, and he’s convinced Elizabeth has suffered a similar fate.”

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) – Not rated

“From director Roger Corman comes this supernatural tale of undying love set in the early 19th century. After the death of his wife, Ligeia, eccentric Verdon Fell (Vincent Price) will do anything to replace her, even if he must sacrifice his new wife, Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd). Plagued by eerie events in her new home, the terrified Rowena seeks help from former suitor Christopher (John Westbrook), but can he thwart Fell’s plan to revive Ligeia?”

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) – Not rated

“At a 12th-century masked ball from hell, dissolute satanist Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) torments his guests, forcing them to participate in a variety of gruesome lethal games in this Roger Corman-directed horror flick based on two stories by Edgar Allen Poe. While most of the games end in someone’s death, those who survive Prospero’s amusements must endure the nightmare of torture and unthinkable depravity.”

 

Happy Birthday Roger Corman!

I love our local Carolina Cinemas but I’ve always wanted to go to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. They have such wonderful screenings. Today (April 5th) they are having a showing of the Vincent Price classic, The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) in honor of Roger Corman’s birthday. Knoxville (Tennessee) Horror Film Festival is presenting two Roger Corman films on 16mm on the 7th – Battle Beyond the Stars and Death Race 2000.

That said there are plenty of Roger Corman goodies on instant Netflix. Here are just the ones he directed (before moving into producing):

Five Guns West (1955)

“An early effort by director Roger Corman — who would become famous for a long run of entertaining B-grade exploitation films — this Western tale follows five outlaws who are promised a pardon if they’ll take on a mission for the Confederacy. John Lund stars as Govern Sturges, the Confederate officer who leads the band of prisoners in their search for Union gold. Jazz great Buddy Bregman provides original music for the film.”

The Wasp Woman (1959)

“No longer the young stunner she once was, the queen bee (Susan Cabot) of a struggling cosmetics company turns to a potions expert (Michael Mark) who extracts an age-defying enzyme from the jelly of royal wasps. But no one’s prepared for the new cream’s side effects. Cult movie king Roger Corman directs this shocking black-and-white classic — and also appears in a quick, uncredited cameo as a doctor.”

A Bucket of Blood (1959)

“Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) is a shy busboy at a hip coffeehouse where beatnik poets perform. Yearning to be accepted into the world of avant-garde art, Paisley finally gets his chance when his sculpture of (and containing) a dead cat turns him into an overnight sensation. Barboura Morris, Ed Nelson and future game show host Bert Convy co-star in B-movie king Roger Corman’s classic black comedy.”

Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

“Down-on-his-luck plant-shop employee Seymour (Jonathan Haze) thinks he’s got it made when he develops a new Venus flytrap hybrid. Not so fast, Seymour: Turns out, the plant has not only a voice but also a voracious appetite … for human flesh! This 1960s cult classic directed by B-movie master Roger Corman and co-starring Jack Nicholson inspired a hit Broadway musical, a TV cartoon series and a 1986 remake.”

I wear a T-shirt with the movie poster for this film on it every time I go to the dentist. Thanks, Maya!

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

“Francis (John Kerr) visits the gloomy Spanish castle of his late sister Elizabeth’s husband, Nicholas (Vincent Price), to learn the reason for her death. Nicholas fears his wife isn’t really dead and that her spirit wanders the halls at night. Seems Nicholas’s father was a feared leader of the Spanish Inquisition; as a child, Nicholas saw his father torture his mother and bury her alive, and he’s convinced Elizabeth has suffered a similar fate.”

Tales of Terror (1962)

“It’s a triple threat of terror from the master of the genre: Edgar Allan Poe. This collection of three films — The Black Cat, Morella and The Case of M. Valdemar — offers everything horror fans can’t get enough of, from murder and dementia to live burials, open tombs, resurrection and zombies. And with three of horrordom’s greatest villains (Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone) in the lead roles, the chills are guaranteed.”

The Terror (1963)

“Lt. Andre Duvalier (played by a very young Jack Nicholson) is an officer in Napoleon’s army. When he pursues a mysterious woman into the castle of an elderly baron (Boris Karloff), he uncovers a bizarre plot: A witch (Dorothy Neumann) is planning to drive the baron to suicide. Duvalier soon finds himself in a world of supernatural treachery where nothing is what it seems in this thriller shot in just three days by B movie king Roger Corman.”

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

“At a 12th-century masked ball from hell, dissolute satanist Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) torments his guests, forcing them to participate in a variety of gruesome lethal games in this Roger Corman-directed horror flick based on two stories by Edgar Allen Poe. While most of the games end in someone’s death, those who survive Prospero’s amusements must endure the nightmare of torture and unthinkable depravity.”

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

“From director Roger Corman comes this supernatural tale of undying love set in the early 19th century. After the death of his wife, Ligeia, eccentric Verdon Fell (Vincent Price) will do anything to replace her, even if he must sacrifice his new wife, Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd). Plagued by eerie events in her new home, the terrified Rowena seeks help from former suitor Christopher (John Westbrook), but can he thwart Fell’s plan to revive Ligeia?”

The Secret Invasion (1964)

“After the Nazis lock up an Italian general who was about to become a turncoat and hand his army over to the Allies, five convicts are given a chance at redemption in exchange for infiltrating enemy territory and rescuing the general. Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney, Edd Byrnes, Henry Silva and William Campbell play the commandos — led by British intelligence officer Stewart Granger — in this tense World War II drama directed by Roger Corman.”

The Wild Angels (1966)

“When someone steals Hells Angels member Loser’s bike, Loser (Bruce Dern) asks his buddy Blues (Peter Fonda) and his other pals to help him get the bike back — and get the guys who stole it. Unluckily, however, the cops show up while the Angels are in the middle of payback. When Loser gets shot while fleeing the cops, Blues devises a plot to rescue him from the hospital, but things go horribly wrong in this gritty biker flick from Roger Corman.”

Bloody Mama (1970)

“Shelley Winters stars in Roger Corman’s Depression-era gangster drama as Ma Barker, who leads her family on a crime spree. Loosely based on the real Barker gang, Corman’s film focuses on the family’s perversions. Look for a young Robert De Niro as a glue-sniffing druggie, Bruce Dern as an ex-con who joins the gang and climbs into Ma’s bed, and Robert Walden as Dern’s former cell mate and lover who isn’t happy about his mother’s new boyfriend.”

 

Roger Corman Day – Revenge of the Drive-In Movie!

Well after three dentist appointments, two oral surgeon visits and three prescriptions I’m temporarily back to writing. I say temporarily because I have about a good half dozen visits to go in the next month. I hope to get ahead in the next few days so my schedule will be a little less unpredictable.

Apparently Netflix made some kind of deal to get Roger Corman movies because a slew of them became available today. I look forward to some schlocky drive-in goodness soon.

Humanoids from the Deep (1980) – Rated R

“From schlockmeister Roger Corman comes this creepy chiller about some mutant fish monsters who bring mayhem to a sleepy oceanside community as they kidnap — and mate with — the town’s nubile teenage girls.”

Grand Theft Auto (1977) – Rated PG

“When Sam and his wealthy girlfriend decide to run off to Las Vegas and get hitched, they steal a Rolls-Royce from the girl’s father and head for Sin City as their angry parents, a private eye and a gang of mobsters all give chase.”

Women in Cages (1971) – Rated R

“Gerardo de Leon directs a chick flick of a different sort. When sadistic women’s prison warden Alabama isn’t harassing her female inmates in her torture chamber, she’s maniacally seducing them, forcing them to bend to her every sexual whim.”

Caged Heat (1974) – Rated R

“A new inmate at a women’s prison falls in with a tough band of sex-starved chicks. When they incur the wrath of the prison’s sadistic warden, the girls are tortured with electroshock therapy. Now, the only thing they want is revenge.”

Crazy Mama (1975) – Rated PG

“In this joyous, unrelentlessly kitschy celebration of 1950s America, three outlaw ladies head back to their hometown to take over a family farm that was lost during the Great Depression. Along the way, the ladies pick up some strange men.”

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) – Rated PG

“This musical comedy cult classic follows Vince Lombardi High School’s fervent love of rock ‘n’ roll — particularly The Ramones — and the students’ quest to party. After a few principals have gone nuts and quit, the latest one tries to end the fun.”

The Big Bird Cage (1972) – Rated R

“The girlfriend of a radical guerilla leader named Django, buxom bad girl Blossom and her man devise a plan to liberate the inmates of a local women’s prison when Django’s mercenary friends itch for some female companionship.”

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) – Rated PG

“With the peaceful planet of Akir in peril, seven mercenaries join forces to protect it from the plottings of an intergalactic megalomaniac in this Roger Corman-produced sci-fi fantasy inspired by The Seven Samurai.”

The Tomb of Ligeia

The Tomb of Ligeia is currently available on Amazon Prime.

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

“A widower falls in love and marries an exact replica of his first wife. The second wife soon discovers her husband’s fixation with his dead spouse and becomes the object of evil happenings. In HD.”

“She will not die because she willed not to die.”

The Tomb of Ligeia is the last of Corman’s eight Poe adaptations. Like Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia was filmed in Britain to take advantage of the subsidies.

The Tomb of Ligeia is far more subdued than the other adaptations. Not much actually happens during the course of the film but an atmosphere of dread permeates the whole feature.

I love Corman’s elaborate sets but I really enjoyed that he opened up The Tomb of Ligeia (so to speak). A majority of Tomb takes place outdoors. We have cemetery scenes, scenes among the ruins and in fields and a fox hunt.Even the indoor scenes in The Tomb of Ligeia are spacious.

The outdoor ruins of Castle Acre Priory and Stonehenge are fabulous. It is great to see Stonehenge, albeit briefly, without all the ropes and safeguards in place. I envy my wife getting to have a champagne breakfast there with her father but I digress.

Vincent Price is wonderful again here, alternately subdued and manic, haunted and doomed. He is our haunted protagonist and does not get to fall back on his villainous persona this time.

Elizabeth Shepherd, taking a page from Price’s book, gets to play a double role here. She plays both Ligeia and Lady Rowena Trevanion. She was actually cast as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers (1961) but somehow lost the role to Diana Rigg. Ligeia was her big movie role – she moved back to television afterward.

The rest of the cast is stable but do not make much of an impression. Richard Vernon, who plays Dr. Vivian, had just finished playing Smithers in Goldfinger. He would later play Slartibartfast in the 1981 adaptation of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Cat lovers may want to skip this one and the ending feels forced but Elizabeth Shepherd and Vincent Price are fun to watch, the feeling of dread is nicely communicated, and the sets and scenery are nice to look at.

Remake-itis: This was remade, sort of, as The Tomb (2010) starring Michael Madsen, Wes Bentley, and Eric Roberts. It is called The Tomb and has a female character named Ligeia but it is set in modern times and bears almost no resemblance to the Poe story.

Machete Maidens Unleashed!

Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010) – Not rated but lots of nudity and gore.

In the 1970s and ’80s, makers of exploitation films loved to shoot in the Philippines, which offered gorgeous scenery, beautiful extras and cheap fun in the sun for the crew. This intriguing documentary examines the real face of Hollywood in Manila. Directors such as Roger Corman and Eddie Romero shot in the Southeast Asian nation, and their movies overflowed with sex, gore and action. Plentiful movie clips and in-depth interviews are featured.

“I wasn’t supposed to be a karate-kicking stewardess”

“They wanted love. He gave them terror and death.”

Mark Hartley follows up his terrific Not Quite Hollywood: The Untold Story of Ozploitation with what is essentially the same film. He takes his proven formula and moves his story from Australia to The Philippines. That sounds lazy but it’s actually wonderful.

Hartley intersperses great well-chosen clips with interviews from both people who worked on the films and experienced directors and writers like John Landis, Joe Dante, Allan Arkush, and Brian Trenchard Smith. If you notice that that is the crew from Trailers from Hell, that is not a surprise. If you don’t then you should go to Trailers from Hell and watch a few. They post vintage trailers with new commentary every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Hartley covers the films in a mostly sequential manner, clustering some films together for topic sake. A lot of the film is taken up with New World Pictures and Roger Corman, which is understandable given his sheer volume. There are innumerable shots of quaint 70s gore, naked breasts, and real death-defying stunts.

Machete Maidens Unleashed covers the filming of Apocalypse Now. Martin Sheen’s heart attack, Marlon Brando’s weight issues, fights with the military and a typhoon were only some of the problems encountered by Francis Ford Coppola.

The only reason that I consider Not Quite Hollywood the better film is because the Australian exploitation films are more recognizable than the Philippine ones.

People Watch: Keep watching through the credits for a lot of fascinating interview bits.