Krull

The opening shot of the huge evil mountain spaceship making a slow pass across the screen on it’s way to conquering the planet of Krull seemed quite promising, it was quite impressive. But, as it would turn out it was also the best thing about the whole film.

This adventure fantasy film was made in 1983, the same year Return of the Jedi came out. It was also the most expensive film of the year with a budget of 47 big ones, compared to 42 big ones for Jedi. It was a flop though, and it is not hard to see why.

The main problem was the story which was very dull, even the action sequences were tedious and lacking. Some things happened on screen without explanation, and scenes which would have required actors to act surprised, shocked, or otherwise were just met with looks of boredom or not knowing what is going on. One such scene is where we are introduced to the comedy relief, a magician who suddenly appears by flying into the scene as a fireball, landing into a pond. The two main characters who were taking a rest next to the pond just looked on as if they were waiting for a bus, not even any dialogue such as “What the flippin’ heck was that?!”, or “Bajeezas!”.

The acting was adequate and included fine actors such as a young Liam Neeson and equally young Robbie Coltrane. All of the cast were British in fact, except for the hero dude who was an American, of course. The lead female (one of only two women in the film) was British but the producers decided her voice should be completely dubbed over with an American voice…sheesh! Robbie Coltrane’s voice was also dubbed, but by a fellow Brit actor for some reason.

“Time to save the day!”. “Careful dear, you might cut yourself!”.

It would appear that most of that 47 million went towards the elaborate sets and the filming locations (Italy mostly). The set in the photo below in particular was quite impressive, but was only used for a very brief part of the film.

Made on the 007 sound stage at Pinewood studios.

The interior sets too were pretty fancy. Twenty-three sets were made in all.

The director was Peter Yates who also directed Bullitt.

This is now considered a cult classic, but I really can’t see why. I wouldn’t say this is a disaster, but it should have been a whole lot better.

Date watched: November 30th
Score: 4/10
Film count 2018: 78

Killers From Space

It was the title that got me on this one, it sounded thrilling, but it was anything but. Not even Peter Graves could help this one.

The story starts off with a nuclear test in the desert, complete with soldiers, scientists, and top brass observing it from a distance with dark goggles. Also observing is scientist Peter Graves who is flying in a jet fighter around the site to take measurements. He and the pilot spot a bright light coming from the ground near where the bomb went off, so they fly in to investigate. The plane controls though freeze and it crashes, killing the pilot, and Peter Graves is found to be missing. Later, Peter Graves turns up at base with not a scratch except for a scar over his heart…he had been operated on!

Peter Graves and the chief bug-eye.

He is taken in for testing and after he acts pretty weird for a while the doctor decides to give him a truth serum. Under the serum he blurts out the truth of what happened. He explains he was taken underground by alien men with buggy eyes after the crash. He was dead, but they revived him by working on his heart and he was then as good as new. After waking up he found out that the aliens were from a planet where the sun was dying. The aliens had to adapt to less sunlight by growing buggy eyes so they could see better. They decided to find other planets to colonise so a bunch of them went to Earth and set up base underground in the nuke test area. There, they started to breed giant lizards, bugs, and other nasties which they would use to wipe out humanity. Peter Graves, being a scientist, figured out that they were getting power from a local power station to run their operation, and that if they lost that power things would overload. The chief bug-eye cottoned onto him so had the big chief alien up in the orbiting space station mesmerise Peter Graves via a television screen, then he was sent on his way to get info about the next nuclear test, which would be the last test they needed before world domination.

The truth serum didn’t convince the military brass, they thought Peter Graves was looney, so Peter Graves busted out of hospital, went to the power station and after a tense stand-off while holding an engineer at gunpoint, had the power turned off for ten seconds, which caused an almighty explosion in the bug-eyes underground lair, a huge nuclear mushroom cloud of an explosion…they were all toast. The end dialogue was: “Just as he said!”, “He blew them to pieces!”. Smiles all round then end titles.

The film was made in 1953 which was a busy year for nuke testing, 11 tests in all, and all above ground in Nevada. One test was even performed by firing a nuke from an artillery gun…scary stuff. The filmmakers did not seem to be making an anti-nuke film, they were just using it as a plot device.

The alien abduction, operation scar on Peter Graves chest, and brainwashing was interesting. Stories of actual people claiming alien abduction did not start until a year later.

As entertainment it was not much, there was a lot of talking but very little action, and no killing at all on the alien side of things. They just looked silly with their ping-pong ball eyes which must have been very uncomfortable to wear. It was good to see a 28 year old Peter Graves though, a fave actor of mine because of his role in the Airplane films, as well as the Mission Impossible TV series. It was a B-grade film though, so not much can be expected from it.

I have decided Peter must go into the MBMS Page of Fame, a most worthy actor.

It is time to watch a more modern film. I feel like an eighties film next.

Date watched: November 23rd
Score: 4/10
Film count 2018: 76

The Man From Planet X

This is a 1951 independent science fiction film, and overall rather mediocre.

The story is about a roaming planet which astronomers named “Planet X” that was on a course for Earth. A news reporter following the story went to Scotland where the planet was supposed to be nearest to when it arrives. He meets an astronomer there, and his pretty daughter, and soon meets “The Man from Planet X”. At first the alien is friendly, but when a greedy scientist attacks the alien for his secrets things turn sour and the alien starts turning villagers into mindless zombies using a zombiefier, and prepares for the invasion of Earth by his fellow aliens who need a new planet to live on.

Most of the film was done on a set in Hollywood, and parts of the set were used in Ingrid Bergman’s “Joan of Arc”. It was shot in six days. Most of the film was just a lot of talk and very little alien action. The alien had a kind of ray gun, but we didn’t get to see him blast anyone with it, I presume the low budget for this film (US$41,000 or US$387,000 in today’s money) couldn’t allow for that. For a budget film though the acting was not bad. The Scottish actors had very thick accents, some of them were hard to understand at times.

The alien was a very bizarre looking dude. His face never changed and he made a kind of musical humming noise as communication, but we never found out what he was trying to say. His voice was the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” for the alien spaceship sounds.

Planet X man gets bushwhacked

The guy in the alien suit was bit of a mystery himself. From Wikipedia:
Actor Pat Goldin and dwarf actor Billy Curtis have both been rumored to be the unknown actor who played the role of the alien space visitor in the film. However, Robert Clarke, who is frequently named as the source of the Pat Goldin rumor, never actually knew the name of the actor who played the role of the alien, nor did the other cast members, including Margaret Field and William Schallert. Furthermore, the unknown actor who played the alien role was noticeably taller than Billy Curtis. Cast member Robert Clarke recalls only that he was of Jewish origin, stood about five feet tall, and was once part of an acrobatic vaudeville act. Margaret Field and producer Jack Pollexfen later recalled only that he had complained about his uncomfortable costume and his low pay, while William Schallert remembered him only as a very small, interesting-looking middle-aged man who wasn’t much of an actor.

The pretty daughter was played by Margaret Field, mother of Sally Field who was five years old when this film was made. Margaret made only this and another film, but had many television roles.

William Schallert played the evil scientist.

Quite forgettable except for the weird-looking alien.

Date watched: November 17th
Score: 4/10
Film count 2018: 73

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

After watching the terrible Sharknado 4 I did not want to watch any more of these films. But I thought maybe the third film wouldn’t be as bad as the fourth, and I also just had to complete the whole series (so far), so I watched this last night.

The first and second films were just plain bad fun, bonkers fun. But, this film and the fourth one were a joke that was taken too far.

The addition of The Hoff helped slightly (Bo Derek had a role also). And there were cameos from Michael Winslow, Ne-Yo, Lou Ferringo, Jackie Collins, Jerry Springer, George R.R. Martin, and a whole lot more. It almost seemed as if this film did not have extras, rather it had cameos. But the rest of the film was tedious even though it got more and more wacky (sharks in space).

Sharknado 5 was released this year, I guess I will end up watching it when it is available.

Date watched: November 22nd
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 131

I Giorni Dell’ira

This is a 1967 spaghetti western starring Lee Van Cleef and an Italian actor by the name of Giuliano Gemma, and is called “Day of Anger” in English (I prefer the Italian title).

It is though, on the whole, a sub-standard spaghetti western as the story is nothing new and is a bit muddled at times. There are a few good scenes here and there, and Lee Van Cleef is always brillo to watch, but it is mostly quite forgettable.

I will have to watch “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” again some day, that is an ace film.

Date watched: November 18th
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 127

Lone Survivor

Yet another ‘true ‘story’ film where not a lot of what you see on screen actually happened. Some Navy Seals go into Afghanistan (this is filmed in Mexico) to take out a Taliban leader. But the Seals get found out and pinned down in a bloody battle with 30-40 Taliban soldiers, cur war porn of the highest order. Slow motion deaths, bullets flying, blood spurting. One of my favourite bands (Explosions in the Sky) does the music, so that was nice to hear. But overall, the film was pretty crappy to watch.

Mark Mark stars, with Peter Berg directing, they both made the much better Deepwater Horizon.

Date watched: 6th October
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 54

Here’s the opening scene with real Navy Seals doing some training, they go at a bit hard:

Escape Plan

This did take a few nights to get through, which is normal in my house these days, can only grab a few minutes here and there to watch movies, but who doesn’t want to see Stallone and the big Austrian together? If only this had happened 20 years ago, might have been ace. But times have changed, and action movies have changed, this one has not, still has the punch up scene, still has the bad guys getting killed easily (even had man Vinnie Jones dies easily! Vinnie!) S & S look pretty old of course, Arnold is holding up a bit better than Sly, who still looks weird with his top heavy body. Anyway, I watched the whole thing, only to see what the escape plan would be. Sam Neill yawns his way through a couple of scenes, never seen him look so bored.

Date watched: 10th October
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 53

I’m not sure whats going on here: