Sunday Matinee: Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters

I have watched a lot of Godzilla movies, just about all of them. With the exception of one or two I have seen most of the 35 films featuring Godzilla.

A couple of years ago Toho Studios decided to make an animated movie trilogy. These films are more futuristic sci-fi films than the previous Godzilla movies. Set in a world where humans have been chased off of Earth by Godzilla they have been travelling through space with two alien races, the Exif and the Bilusaludo. The aliens helped what was left of humans to escape and they have been traveling to a new planet for 20 years.
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Sunday Matinee: Sisters

Director Brian De Palma had been making movies for several years, mostly dramas before he shifted gears and focusing on thriller/horror movies starting with 1972’s Sisters.

Sisters stars a young Margot Kidder as a French-Canadian model/actress who is trying to make it in New York City. She stars in a peeping tom talk show and goes out for supper with the other actor Phillip Woode (Lisle Wilson) who won dinner for two for his participation in the show. A creepy man shows up at the restaurant and demands that Kidder come home. Kidder claims the man is her ex-husband. The man, Dr. Emil Breton (William Finley) claims that he is her husband. He’s escorted out of the restaurant. Afterwards Philip and Kidder go to Kidder’s apartment where they spend the night.
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Sunday Matinee: The Baby

Social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) has a new case. The Wadsworth family. Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman) has two grown daughters Germaine Wadsworth (Marianna Hill) and Alba Wadsworth (Suzanne Zenor) who live with her and her mentally disabled son Baby (David Mooney).

Baby is a grown man in his 20s but lives and is treated as an infant ever since his father left after he was born. The Wadsworth all live off of Baby’s disability cheques and none of them work. Ann seems to be obsessed with the case and constantly is checking in on the household and how Mrs. Wadsworth and her daughters treat Baby.
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Sunday Matinee: The Satanic Rites Of Dracula

I have watched a lot of Hammer horror films over the years and in particular I have watched a lot of their Dracula films. Hammer made nine Dracula films in total and Christopher Lee only starred in seven of them.

The five that Lee starred in weren’t too bad. Some of them were better than others but overall the Dracula films weren’t as good as Hammer’s Frankenstein films. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Lee’s last Dracula film, 1973’s The Satanic Rites of Dracula.

All the Hammer Dracula movies were gothic period pictures until the 1970s when they foolishly decided to update the series with Dracula A.D. 1972. Peter Cushing returned as Van Helsing for the first time since the second film The Brides of Dracula which didn’t have Dracula in it at all. Dracula A.D. 1972 starts off with Dracula and Van Helsing fighting to the death on carriage which crashes and kills them both. A servant of Dracula buries some of his ashes near Van Helsing’s grave. 100 years later Van Helsing’s descendant and his granddaughter (Stephanie Beacham) are living in London. Van Helsing’s daughter hangs out with a group hippies, one who is Dracula’s servant’s descendant and they have a Satanic ritual that resurrects the Count into the 1970’s. Dracula makes some vampires. The police get involved and we find out that vampires can’t take a shower. Clean flowing water kills them. Yup. Vampires have to take baths. Eventually Van Helsing stakes Dracula in a final battle…again.

That leads us to The Satanic Rites of Dracula which takes place two years after Dracula A.D. 1972. MI5 has been spying on a Satanic cult that has several powerful members of Parliament. Their agent has been captured and tortured but he escapes and informs his superiors just before he dies. MI5 finds out that their boss is involved with the cult and decide to investigate off the books using Scotland Yard. Inspector Murray (Michael Coles) returns (he was the cop Dracula A.D. 1972) and suggests bringing in Van Helsing and his daughter (now played by Joanna Lumley). Van Helsing goes to talk to one of the members of the cult that he knows to be a prominent and Noble Prize wining scientist (Freddie Jones). The scientist has created a new super version of the bubonic plague. Van Helsing figures out that Dracula is back and running an evil corporation and the cult and intends to destroy the world.

The final fight is pretty weak and while Cushing would return one more time as Van Helsing, Lee was done with Dracula with this film. It’s not as terrible as the previous film, at times it’s pretty entertaining and Warner Archive has just released the movie on blu-ray.

Sunday Matinee: The Cheap Detective

After the success of Murder By Death writer Neil Simon and director Robert Moore would reteam for another comedy spoof this time focusing on the gritting film noir crime films starring Humphrey Bogart. Peter Falk would return playing a Sam Spade like character this time caught up trying to solve his partner’s murder while getting entangled in a Maltese Falcon like caper.
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Sunday Matinee: Murder By Death

An old mansion in the country is getting ready for some guests for a special night. What makes the night so special is that there is going to be a murder and the guests are the greatest detectives in the world.

Written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore this comedy pokes fun at the classic detective mystery. From the opening credits drawn by Charles Addams (whose art is also the movie poster) the film has a macabre but fun sense of humour. The blind butler Alec Guinness tries to get things ready for the guests while dealing with a deaf mute cook, Nancy Walker. Soon the guests start to arrive.
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Sunday Matinee: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Spider-Man has a long history of being an animated cartoon starting from 1967. He reappeared in a 1981 cartoon series called Spider-Man and at the same in another series called Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Spidey would then have a long running series in the 1990s called Spider-Man followed by a short lived series called Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2003 which followed the continuity of the 2002 live action film.

In 2008 The Spectacular Spider-Man aired which was replaced with Ultimate Spider-Man in 2012. The current animated series, just called Spider-Man started 2017 and is still on the air. Phew that’s a lot of Spider-Man.

Which leads to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This is a fantastic movie. It’s amazingly animated, the story is full of heart and humour and it’s the best Spider-Man movie.
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Sunday Matinee: Spider-Man

Everyone’s favourite neighbourhood webslinger is back in theatres this week with an animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Marvel Comics has been dominating movie screens for almost two decades now but considering that Marvel has been around for 79 years or so it has taken a very long time for Marvel to get their superheroes to the big screen. Spider-Man, who debuted in the comics in 1962, made it on to TV in the form of a cartoon in 1967. The shows theme song is still remembered today and while the animation was extremely limited the show is entertaining.
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Sunday Matinee: 2001: A Space Odyssey

I have previously covered 2001: A Space Odyssey for Sunday Matinee but with movie opening at the Kramer IMAX theatre for the month and having watched it there I had to revisit it.

The movie is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and what a way to celebrate the movie. I love this movie. It’s brilliant and amazing and it has to be seen on the big screen. Shot in Super Panavision 70 the movie was made to be seen on the big screen. And it looks phenomenal.
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Sunday Matinee: Performance

Nicolas Roeg passed away this weekend at the age of 90. I’ve covered a couple of his films over the years like Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Bad Timing. Today I’m looking at his first film 1970’s Performance.

Roeg worked as a cinematographer for most of the 1960s and he was brought on to Performance again for his cinematography skills. First time director Donald Cammell was Roeg’s co-director. Cammell would go on to direct Demon Seed while Roeg would go to direct some brilliant movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
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Sunday Matinee: Stan Lee

Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95 on November 12. Stan Lee for many was the man who created Marvel Comics – which he did with a lot of help from co-creators Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto (who also sadly passed away earlier this year).

When superhero comics first appeared in the late 1930s they took the world by storm but by the 1950s the genre was almost dead – only DC Comics were keeping the genre alive. Stan Lee started working for Timely Comics in 1939 for owner Martin Goodman as an office assistant. He would soon start writing back up stories for comics, he took the pen Stan Lee (his real name was Stanley Lieber) because he wanted to be a real writer and comics were looked down on.
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Sunday Matinee: Trilogy Of Terror

Original aired on the ABC channel in 1975 as the Movie of the Week, this little horror anthology from director Dan Curtis (Night Stalker) features three stories all from acclaimed writer Richard Matheson (I am Legend).

Unlike other anthology films there is nothing connecting the individual stories other than Karen Black stars in all of them as the various lead characters.
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Sunday Matinee: 10 Years of Fear Wrap Up

Another 31 Days of Horror has come and gone and while I was doing a best of / my favourite list – I missed so many more films that I wanted to mention.

In fact I didn’t really list anything from more recent years or some of the bigger classics. There is just too many awesome movies from last 100 years of cinema to squeeze into a mere 31 days. Anyway here is a few more movies that are awesome too!
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Sunday Matinee: Pan’s Labyrinth

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.
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Sunday Matinee: Hellboy

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.
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Sunday Matinee: Who Killed Teddy Bear

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.
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Sunday Matinee: Blade

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.
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Sunday Matinee: Deep Rising

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.
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