Tomorrow is October 1st and I will begin another month of 31 Days of Horror. During the month of October there will be no Sunday Matinees but they will begin again in November. As I’m on a bit of Guillermo del Toro kick today’s Sunday Matinee is El laberinto del fauno aka Pan’s Labyrinth.
Pan’s Labyrinth is set in the 1940s after the Spanish Civil War. Young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) arrives at a small town with her very pregnant mother. Her new step-father is Captain Vidal (Sergi López) who is tasked with hunting down and executing rebels for the Franco regime. Ofelia loves fairy tales and finds a ancient stone labyrinth nearby but is stopped from going in by the housekeeper. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Pan’s Labyrinth”
Last weekend was the Sask Expo, Saskatoon’s comic book convention and two of the media guests this year were Ron Perlman and Doug Jones who both starred in the 2004 movie Hellboy.
Visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro wrote and directed the adaptation of Mike Mignola’s excellent comic book series and I am a huge fan of the comics. Mignola’s comic has style, kind a dark gothic gritty look combined with a witty adventurous storytelling look at monstrous horror. Mignola tends to use old folk tales for the basis of his stories and the whole thing works beautifully. Del Toro tries to recapture a bit of that feeling but also incorporates his own take creating something that comes close to the source material. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Hellboy”
Burt Reynolds passed away at the age of 82 recently and his long career varied from stints of westerns, action films, good ole boy action comedies and bouts of serious drama. Reynolds was a better actor than the movies he would usually make.
Who Killed Teddy Bear is a 1965 thriller from director Joseph Cates (father of actress Phoebe Cates) and written by Arnold Drake who wrote the screenplay to the 1964 low budget horror movie The Flesh Eaters but is better known for his work in comic books such as creating the super hero team The Doom Patrol for DC Comics along with Deadman and Stanley and his Monster. At Marvel Comics Drake would co-create the original Guardians of the Galaxy – the original team was from the future not the team that everyone knows from the movies. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Who Killed Teddy Bear”
Marvel Comics hadn’t had a hit movie in actually theatres despite their popularity in the comic book world. DC Comics had Superman and Batman but by the late 1990s their films weren’t doing too well either. In 1997 DC released Batman and Robin and Steel. Both critical and box office duds. Strangely enough Marvel had sold several of their characters to different studios but New Line, a division of Warner was the first to make a Marvel character into a feature length movie.
20 years ago this week Blade hit theatres and become a hit for Marvel and New Line. It would change the landscape for superhero movies and paved the path for more Marvel movies forcing DC/Warner to relaunch the Batman franchise. Starring Wesley Snipes as Blade, a vampire hunter who is trying to kill all vampires, the movie was one of the first R-rated superhero movies. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Blade”
There are some movies that are just so dumb that they are entertaining. Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary is action/horror movie Deep Rising
On a luxury cruise ship, the Argonautica, something hits the ship and attacks the crew and the passengers. Meanwhile Treat Williams and his crew are taking a bunch of mercenaries out into the middle of the ocean to an undisclosed location. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Deep Rising”
The Mask of Zorro turned 20 last month. The Martin Campbell film starred Antonio Banderas as a young man trained by the original Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) to pick up the masked mantle and fight corruption. While I’ve always preferred the 1940 Mark of Zorro, The Mask of Zorro is a fun, solid action film and Banderas is excellent.
In 1821 during the Mexican War of Independence, Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), the corporate governor of Las Californias, is forced to flee back to Spain. Before he does though he goes to confront his archenemy Zorro who he finds out is really nobleman Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins). As they fight De la Vega’s wife Esperanza (Julieta Rosen) is killed and Zorro gives up, is arrested and imprisoned. Zorro’s infant daughter Elana is taken by Don Rafael and raised as his own. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Mask Of Zorro”
Today’s Sunday Matinee is the fun and terrible action movie Ninja III: The Domination.
The first two Ninja movies the first being Enter the Ninja, and the second being Revenge of the Ninja. The three movies are really stand alone movies and have nothing to do with each other. The only the really connection all three films is that all three star Sho Kosugi. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Ninja III: The Domination”
Getting released this week on Blu-ray from Arrow Films is this excellent but forgot 1988 New Zealand film from director Vincent Ward, The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey.
Set in the 14th century in a Cumbrian mountain village, the townsfolk are in a panic when they hear that the black plague is coming to them. Desperate to save themselves they listen to a young village boy who has visions, Griffin (Hamish McFarlane). His vision says that they must dig and travel to the farside of the world. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey”
Amicus Productions was a British film company that was around from the 1960s to the 1970s. They tried to compete with Hammmer Films and used several of the same actors.
Amicus Productions main type of horror film was the anthology which they found some success with. They made seven anthology films, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), Vault of Horror (1973) and From Beyond the Grave (1974). Today we’re looking at the recently released on bluray The House That Dripped Blood. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The House That Dripped Blood”
Sergio Leone is known for making awesome westerns. A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. He didn’t direct a lot of movies but his last few are consider to be classics. Leone’s first full credited feature film though (he had co-directed a couple things) was this sword and sandals epic The Colossus of Rhodes.
Set in 280 BC on the island of Rhodes where the kingdom has just finished building a giant statue, a colossal statue if you will to Apollo in the harbour to help protect against invasions. A Greek military soldier named Darios (Rory Calhoun) is visiting his uncle on the island and gets caught up in several plots.
It seems there are rebels on the island are planning on overthrowing the king Serse (Roberto Camardiel). The king’s second in command Thar (Conrado San Martín) is planning on overthrowing the king too but with the help of the Phoenicians. He’s smuggled an army onto the island and is trying to have men reading to take over the statue in order to let a large Phoenician fleet of ships in.
Meanwhile Darios is helping the rebels and the they plan on attack the statue to free the prisoners who are kept in a dungeon below the statue. Lots of fighting and getting captured ensue. The movie is pretty good for a swords and sandals flick. It isn’t classic Leone but it gave him a big break and let go on to direct A Fistful of Dollars.
In 1958 Ray Harryhausen helped make The 7th Voyage of Sinbad which became a big hit with audiences. A rival film producer named Edward Small decided that he wanted to cash in on The 7th Voyage of Sinbad‘s success. He made Jack the Giant Killer which got released in 1962.
Small hired director Nathan Juran who directed The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and along with Sinbad actors Kerwin Mathews who played Sinbad and now plays the hero Jack and Torin Thatcher who played an evil wizard in Sinbad and in Jack plays an evil wizard called Pendragon. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Jack The Giant Killer”
In 1965 Sherlock Holmes found himself facing off against a mysterious and notorious killer for the first time. Jack the Ripper.
Three prostitutes have murdered in gruesome fashion with no clues to the killer other than the press call him Jack the Ripper. Soon after a mysterious package arrives for Sherlock Holmes (John Neville). It’s a case of surgical tools with scalpel missing. With the help of Dr. Watson (Donald Houston) Holmes starts looking into the case. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: A Study In Terror”
Shout Factory has just released Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive trilogy on blu-ray and it looks fantastic.
I’ve written before about the first It’s Alive about a horribly deformed monster baby being born and then going on a rampage to get home to Mom and Dad. Cohen was a master of low budget horror movies. God Told me To and Q were both fantastic and the original It’s Alive is highly entertaining. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive”
Quentin Tarantino’s homage to grindhouse action, samurai, martial art movies was also a showcase for actress Uma Thurman.
Thurman stars as The Bride, a woman who was once a part of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. On her wedding day, while pregnant, her former squad members stormed the wedding killing everyone. The leader of the group Bill (David Carradine), The Bride’s former lover and father of her child shots her in the head. The Bride survives but is in a coma for four years. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Kill Bill”
After the 1970s there were several big movies that featured bad ass woman action lead roles. 1979’s Alien with Sigourney Weaver which needs no introduction and 1980’s Gloria with Gena Rowlands as a woman trying to save a kid from the mob. There was also a lot of bad action movies. She, Sheena and Red Sonja just to name a couple.
A woman gives birth to a baby girl while in prison in the late 1800 Japan. The woman dies after the birth but before she dies she wants her daughter Yuki to continue her plan of vengeance.
Yuki (Meiko Kaji) grows up learning how to fight and kill. She needs to kill three more people. Before she was born her mother and her mother’s husband were attacked by a group of four people. The husband was killed and the mother was raped. The mother tracked down one of the four and murdered him which is why she was in prison. While in prison she purposely got pregnant by one of the guards so she could have a child to finish seeking vengeance. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Lady Snowblood”
Pam Grier had co-starred in several women in prison movies and a few blaxploitation films before getting the lead role of 1973’s Coffy.
Blaxploitation films had exploded in popularity and American International Pictures had lost the rights to make Cleopatra Jones – which Warner Bros. made and released in the same year. American International Pictures being American International Pictures quickly raced and made Coffy to beat Cleopatra Jones in theatres. Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Coffy”