Sunday, October 4, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 772nd Edition


Welcome to the 772nd Edition of my series.  Today is the official start of the Madness which is one of my favorite times of the year.  I hope everyone is staying safe and making the most of these times.  I am just going to get to my selections for the week.

They Live (1988):  John Carpenter directed this underrated sci-fi cult classic.  Legendary wrestler Roddy Piper stars as Nada who is a down on his luck construction worker.  He soon discovers a pair of sunglasses that make him see some people to be human but others to be alien and also sees lots of propaganda messages.  Keith David, Meg Foster, George 'Buck' Flower, Peter Jason, Raymond St. Jacques, Jason Robards III, and many others co-star in this film.  This is probably Piper's most known movie and was kind of ahead of his time in wrestlers trying to transition into film which is far more common today.  Piper and David have one of the best fight scenes in film when David is being very stubborn when asked to try on the glasses.  Get your bubblegum and watch this movie or Piper might kick your ass.

Dead Alive (1992):  This is my zombie film for the week which was directed by a young Peter Jackson.  Timothy Balme stars as Lionel Cosgrove and finally finds love with Paquita, played by Diana Penalver.  Things take a turn for the worst when going to a zoo and Paquita gets bit by a weird looking monkey which slowly turns her into a zombie and all hell starts to break loose.  Elizabeth Moody is rather amusing as Lionel's domineering mother.   Stuart Devenie, Jed Brophy, Harry Sinclair, Davina Whitehouse, and many others co-star in this horror comedy.  This is a pretty underrated New Zealand film that has a lot of laughs along with an extreme amount of blood.   If you can get past the gore, this is a very fun zombie movie that has gone rather overlooked through the years.

Hercules (1983):  Luigi Cozzi directed this really weird take the the Greek mythological figure.  Lou Ferrigno takes on the role of Hercules where the wizard King Minos, played by William Berger, and sorceress Adriana, played by Sybil Danning, are playing to take over the world by using giant robots.  They are also planning to sacrifice Herc's love interest Cassiopeia, played by Ingrid Anderson, so Hercules teams up with another sorceress in Circe, played by Mirella D'Angelo so lots of eye candy for guys here, to stop them and save his girl.  Brad Harris, Rossana Podesta, Bobby Rhodes, Gianni Garko, Yehuda Efroni, Delia Boccardo, Claudio Cassinelli, and many others co-star in this sci-fi movie.  What more can I say here?  I don't think Hercules ever took on much in the way of robots but how can you go wrong with Lou Ferrigno?  This is for those that like the cheesy sci-fi and don't take it too seriously.

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959):  Now I bring this Roger Corman produced b-movie which was directed by Bernard L. Kowalski.  This takes place in a town near a swamp where people are disappearing and as the title implies, giant leeches are responsible for these crimes.  Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Bruno VeSota, Gene Roth, Dan White, George Cisar and many other co-star in this movie.  What more needs to be said?  If looking for some absolute 4 star classic, this is not really the one to see.  This is worthy of being watched by MST3K or Rifftrax.  This could be good for a few friends to get together and just get a riff going on.

Verdict Not Guilty (1933):  This is my short film for the week which is a silent one.  Eloyce and James Gist directed this short film that takes place in the gates of heaven.  An unmarried mother who dies in childbirth must face judgement for this sin of hers.  This is looked at as some of the pioneers of African-American cinema and likely they wanted to convey a religious message.  It is mostly watchable for historical purposes and could be a good opening short to the riff of the previous selection.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962):  I come with another B-movie classic and this one directed and co-written by Joseph Green.  Jason Evers stars as Dr. Bill Cortner who is a very ambitious doctor that does experimental surgeries on his own without any permission.  His fiance Jan, played by Virginia Leath, has her head decapitated in a crash and Bill manages to save the head while he looks for another body to put the head on.  Jan is basically alive at the head so she cannot go anywhere and is not crazy about her fate.  I don't think much else needs to be said on this one, this could be added to the riff night with my previous two selections.  Like LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and EVIL DEAD, this has also been made into a stage musical, just not as known.  This can be a lot of fun if not taken too seriously.

The Girl in the Crawlspace (2018):  This was a movie that was partly shot in a town near me called Farmland which even features people that I know from the theater world including my friend Tom Cherry who gets top billing in this movie.  John Oak Dalton wrote and directed this horror movie which stars Erin R. Ryan as Jill who has been held prisoner in a crawlspace and escaped from there in trying to deal with it while also finding the killer.  This also features my friends Clifford Lowe, Joe Skeen, Jeff Shull and Jeff Rapkin.  It was really cool to see this get presented on Amazon Prime and to see Tom get top billing.  This is as low budget as it gets but is still enjoyable to watch and get some pretty good nerd discussions going.

Kansas City Confidential (1952):  This is my film noir for the week which was directed by Phil Karlson.  John Payne stars as Joe Rolfe who is framed for a bank robbery by a man named Tim Foster, played by Preston Foster, the getaway vehicle matches Rolfe's vehicle.  He sets out to find the men who set him up leading him to Mexico that include Foster, Neville Brand, Jack Elam, and Lee Van Cleef who were also in on the robbery.  Colleen Gray, Dona Drake, Mario Siletti, Howard Negley, Carleton Young, and many others co-star in this film-noir.  This is a very stylish and gritty film noir about a frame-up and revenge.  Quentin Tarantino has cited this movie as an inspiration for his gangster classic RESERVOIR DOGS and it shows.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Murder By the Book (1971):  This is technically an tv episode of the long-running tv series COLUMBO but as I always say, it's my blog and I make the rules.  Also, you will understand next week.  Steven Spielberg directed this episode of the show which was before he became a film icon.  Peter Falk stars as the iconic title detective and investigates the murder of one half a a famous detective writing author duo played by Jack Cassidy and Martin Milner.  Rosemary Forsyth, Barbara Colby, Bernie Kuby, and many others co-star in this episode.  This was the first aired episode of this tv series.  Cassidy makes quite the villain as the less talented half of his writing duo.  I find with most of what I have watched in this series that we know who commits the crime in the beginning but the entertainment is Columbo's persistence in the investigation.  This one is no different.  This is available to watch on imdb tv as well as the rest of the series so you'll see a link as soon as you bring it up on

Igor (2008):  I end the week with this animated selection which was directed by Tony Leondis.  This takes place in the world of mad scientists and hunchbacks.  The hunchbacks are automatically referred to as "Igors" and are the assistant to mad scientists.  One Igor, voiced by John Cusack, has already concocted to of his own inventions like his friends Brain, voiced by Sean Hayes, and Scamper, voiced by Steve Buscemi, and dreams of being a mad scientist himself.  Molly Shannon, John Cleese, Myleene Klass, Eddie Izzard, Jennifer Coolidge, Jay Leno, Jess Harnell, Arsenio Hall, Christian Slater, and many others provide their voice in this animated film.  This is a really good for this time of year and pays good homage to a lot of pop culture, most notably horror.  The biggest homage is obviously to FRANKENSTEIN.  This is a pretty fun watch, especially during this holiday month and is one for the family.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which includes Ewan McGregor, Amanda Seyfried, Cate Blanchett, Alfred Hitchcock, Robin Wright, Bob Hope, Bette Midler, and many others.

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