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07-29-2005, 02:26 PM
No exhaustive reviews here ladies and gents. Just a few recommendations - one which I haven't even thought about in years (my copy is on vhs and WAS packed away in a box on the top shelf of my closet) and two that I've seen recently.

First up is a Peter Weir gem from Australia called Picnic at Hanging Rock. This film was recommended by a genuine Australian bloke who just appeared here one day at the fave films board. I used my Barnes & Noble gift cards (yes, I received more than one) that I got for Christmas and picked this up early in the year - and now I'm just getting to it!

Criterion did an outstanding job on this 1975 film - pristine picture and even a 5.1 treatment. But I watched this one in the bedroom with my NAD 2-ch. amp and NHT speakers firing at the bed from either side. Even in stereo I was impressed with the sound. Some older movies that are reproduced in mono or that receive no special sound treatment have a harsh often compressed sound, especially when the music crescendos in the big scenes. It often hurts my ears, but not this one, folks. The sound is smooth and warm and I believe it had to be because none other than Zamfir shows up throughout the soundtrack! Can you imagine the shrill of that damn pan flute on a harsh recording?

This film is dreamy with its soft visuals, unusual music and interesting subject matter (it's unbelievable what you can see in the lengthy rock formation shots - I don't have to tell you to look for the faces because they will suddenly appear). The story revolves around an Australian boarding school for girls and is set in 1900. It begins with the appropriately chaperoned young sheilas traveling to Hanging Rock for a picnic which soon turns otherwordly and nightmarish. Three of the sheilas disappear along with a teacher, but the way they vanish is cleverly and mysteriously depicted. And then we have a mystery with no answer, only clues leading in different directions.

Now for a jolt - Dog Soldiers. I happened to rent this one a couple of weeks ago and if you're looking for action and suspense with a little legend and family secret thrown in then this is for you. Some Scottish guardsmen are out doing their weekend warrior thing except this time, unbeknownst to them, they're supposed to be confronted by special forces from Scotland's regular army. Instead, the band of special forces is destroyed, and I mean ripped to shreds, by some horrific force from the wooded hillsides. It turns out that this is a werewolf flick - the best one I've ever seen - and only the weekend warriors are up to stopping these lycanthropes!

Last is the little flick that had escaped my mind for several years - Spider Baby. This B-movie from 1968 by Jack Hill was a pleasant surprise when I first saw it in '96. I understand it's been released on dvd. If you've sought famous B-movies in the past, searched high and low for them and then finally see them and come away disapointed, I feel your pain. I've sought out many "cult" status films in which I could find no redeeming qualities. Here, however, we have a well-acted little horror tale told in a playful manner. Lon Chaney, Jr. is the glue in this picture, and his last film performance is one of his best. Sid Haig, a strange looking character actor who shows up in many of Hill's later movies like the Pam Greir vehicle Coffee, shines in his freakish role. And the females (there are 3 high-lighted female roles) are all pleasant to look at. This is a story about the Merrye family which is cursed with a dreadful genetic defect caused by too many generations of in-breeding (yes, in-breeding). Chaney plays the chauffer and caretaker of the Merrye estate, but he's also undertaken to care for the three remaining Merrye children who are afflicted with what's known as the Merrye Syndrome. Chaney and the children remain isolated and they've developed a special bond until one day some distant relatives and their lawyer come to the Merrye House to claim their part of the estate. Things get a little out of hand from that point on. You'll have to see it to believe it folks.

Have a great viewing weekend and report back on Monday with all you see!

07-29-2005, 05:08 PM
Have to agree with ya on Dog Soldiers. Ok, it's a low-budget flick and a bit cheezy, but I was very pleasantly surprised at what a good old fashioned monster flick it is. The director definitely has a sense of humor, but it never got too silly like some stupid Freddy Kruger sequel.

I think this movie would be a great treat for some friends if you don't tell them anything about it when you pop it in.

On the topic of off-beat movies, I have one more suggestion that probably most of you may have never heard of or seen (Kam not included.). White of the Eye is a thriller made with David Keith (or is it Keith David?) and Cathy Moriarty set in the south west in the 80's. Women are being brutally murdered in their upscale desert homes and the main character is just odd enough that you are not sure if he is the killer or not. The film is a bit slow (British director I think), but the payoff in the end is pretty great...or pretty bizarre anyway.

07-30-2005, 10:54 AM
Yeah, I'm not sure whether my expectations were lowered for Dog Soldiers, but I enjoyed it. Once the action got going (relatively early with the camping couple - can you imagine being out in the middle of nowhere and something like that happens) it was pretty much non-stop. I don't think the creatures were CGI which was refreshing - they were convincing enough. I don't know how it would stand up to a second viewing yet. I would probably be too critical if I watched it again by myself, but it would be a blast, as you suggested, with some friends who haven't seen it.

I'll look for White of the Eye. Thanks for the suggestion. BTW, I'm familiar with David Keith (but not Keith David).

07-30-2005, 04:19 PM
Last is the little flick that had escaped my mind for several years - Spider Baby. This B-movie from 1968 by Jack Hill was a pleasant surprise when I first saw it in '96.

Lon Chaney, Jr. is the glue in this picture, and his last film performance is one of his best.

This edit falls into the "If you say it enough they will believe it" category. I knew that Lon Chaney, Jr. appeared in Al Adamson's Dracula vs. Frankenstein film, but I wasn't sure when it came out. Spider Baby is in black and white and Drac vs. Frank is in color. I suspected that Dracula vs. Frankenstein came after Spider Baby but I wasn't sure.

However, I've read over and over again that Spider Baby was Chaney's last film. I do not believe this is true.

BTW, if anyone cares for REAL CHEEZE (and not that processed stuff made by Kraft), visit the following site:

07-30-2005, 05:09 PM
Okay, the Keith David dyslexia has gone away.

For the record:

David Keith is a character actor who kinda looks like Patrick Swayze's older, beefier brother without the lisp. He was the suicidal buddy in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Keith David is the the big black bald dude who usually shows up in supporting roles in decent B movies such as They Live, The Thing, Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick....and also does voice overs in many commercials.

08-01-2005, 05:56 AM
Worfster had reccomended this one a while ago, and i definitely enjoyed it as well. I've seen it a couple times now and have enjoyed it more everytime. although the suspense in the house and the family secret isnt as fun, obviously, on repeat viewings, overall it held up really well. i always got a kick out of the either intentional, or unintentional matrix reference "there is no spoon!" and deano, you're dead on with the lack of CGI with the wearwolves, they were all costumes and looked way better than any cgi wearwolf has looked. albeit still kinda cheesy when they were 'fully' revealed, but still apropo for the mood of the movie. good fun!

and ya stumped me on that one daigaro, haven't seen/heard of it either. will have to check out White of the Eye!


08-01-2005, 06:13 AM
On "Dog Soldiers" I'd seen the cut up version on USA Network then rented, then bought the DVD and reviewed here over a year ago, But man it's always good to get re-emphasis and fresh takes on good film. D.S. is a great popcorn muncher with superior special effects and a whole lot of good campy fun. Love it!!!

As for "Picnic at Hanging Rock". I've not seen this movie in years and will have to do a reviewing on your recommendation. As for "Spider Baby" I'll have to rent and see this one. Never ever heard of it. Doubt it's at the local BB though... Thanks for the information and the love...

Da Worfster :cool: