Monday, December 31, 2012

Death Cruise

"Death Cruise" (1974) is a TV movie that aired as an ABC Movie of the Week.  It starred Richard Long, Polly Bergen, Kate Jackson, Celeste Holm, Tom Bosley, Michael Constantine and Edward Albert.

Three couples win a three week vacation on a cruise from an unknown company.  Jerry and Sylvia Carter have a troubled marriage because Jerry likes to sleep around.  James and Mary Radney are young and enjoy life but Mary wants to have children and James doesn't.  Elizabeth and David Mason have grown children and are trying to remember how to be a couple and not just parents.  Each couple has issues they are working through.  Dr. Burke is temporarily filling in a ship's doctor.

During the first evening at dinner, the couples start talking and discover they all won the trip.  Jerry says he thinks the others look familiar, from 1970 Atlanta but he can't remember why.  None of the others remember having met.

One of the characters disappears and it appears he could have fallen overboard.  Then the others from that group start showing up dead and it definitely isn't accidental.  Dr. Burke tries to find out what they all have in common and tries to solve the mystery.

This is a fun murder mystery at sea.  It's almost like a modern day And Then There Were None. Watch this anti love boat and set a course for murder!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

"The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" (1989) starring Stephanie Beacham, Mel Smith, Aleks Darowska and Emily Hudson a movie based on the children's stories The Wolves Chronicles.

The movie takes place in the in an alternate 19th century England that is overrun with wild, dangerous wolves which has altered the way of life for everyone there.  The Lord and Lady Willoughby live in a huge manor called Willoughby Chase.  They are about to leave their daughter Bonnie in the care of a newly arrived governess and distant cousin, Letitia Slighcarp (Beacham), while they go on a holiday to warmer climates for the mother's health.  Bonnie's young cousin Sylvia has also just arrived and will stay to keep Bonnie company while her parents are away.

Bonnie and Sylvia become fast friends and play games, explore the estate and mansion, find secret passages and discover something is up with Miss Slighcarp who they quickly discover is not so very nice.  Miss Slighcarp has plans on taking over the estate and she treats the girls horribly.  She even sends them to live in a home for orphans because the plan is that the Lord and Lady will meet an untimely end.

While this movie is not technically a horror movie, it is filled with a wonderfully evil governess, dark passageways and scary wolves trying to attack at every occasion.  This is a fun movie for kids and adults alike who like to see two girls working together to triumph over the evil that has fallen upon them. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Night Slaves

"Night Slaves" aired on TV in 1970 as an ABC Movie of the Week.  It starred  James Franciscus, Lee Grant, Scott Marlowe, and Leslie Nielsen. 

After a horrible car accident, Clay and Margorie Howard take a vacation for some rest and relaxation.  They decide to spend the night in a sleepy little town in California.  The town is literally sleepy as everyone we meet is just getting up from a nap!  Clay wakes in the middle of the night to find his wife missing.  He looks out the window and sees what appears all the townsfolk walking like zombies and getting into trucks.  His wife is one of them! He is unable to get her to respond and then suddenly wakes the next morning and everything appears to be fine.  He is almost convinced it was a dream. 

The next night the same thing happens and Clay is visited by a woman who slowly discloses what is going on.  Someone in town is controlling everyone and Clay is immune because of the metal plate in his head.  Clay tries to convince the sheriff (Nielsen) that something is going on but nobody believes him.

This is an OK movie that tries to be like an extended episode of the Twilight Zone. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home for the Holidays

"Home for the Holidays" is an ABC Movie of the Week that first aired in 1972.  It starred: Jessica Walter, Sally Field, Julie Harris, Eleanor Parker, Jill Haworth and Walter Brennan.

Benjamin Morgan (Walter Brennan) calls all four of his daughters home on Christmas Eve after a nine year estrangement.  He gets them home claiming his current wife is trying to poison him.  The four daughters, Frederica, Christine, Joanna and Alex arrive and try to make sense of what is happening.  Elizabeth, his wife, greets them and over dinner tells them how she had been accused of killing her first husband but was found innocent.

A very young Sally Field stars as the youngest daughter, Christine who tries to keep peace in the family. Soon the sisters start dying off and you have to guess who the killer is that wears the yellow rain slicker and red boots.

Adding to the atmosphere of the movie is the never ending storm outside.  Thunder and lightning fill the night sky and wind and rain during the day.  This storm seems to last for several days and the phones go out and the road to town washes away, effectively stranding the Morgan sisters.  I enjoyed this movie very much and will remember it when in the mood for a not so traditional holiday film.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


"Snowbeast" (1977) starring  Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux and Robert Logan is a made for TV movie which originally aired on CBS.

Gar (Svenson) & Ellen (Mimieux) Seberg arrive at the Rill Ski Resort in Colorado just in time for the Winter Jubilee and also just in time to be there for a bigfoot-like monster to go on a killing spree.  The Rill Ski Resort is run by grandma Carrie Rill (Sylvia Sidney) and grandson Tony Rill (Logan).  When one of their guests goes missing and Tony believes he sees the snowbeast, Carrie doesn't want him to report it right away to avoid a panic and an end to their annual winter carnival.  They restrict the part of the mountain where it was last seen but the beast of course doesn't stay in that area and is soon attacking people in town!

 The sheriff, Tony, Gar and Ellen set out to try to kill the beast and keep the town safe - all while bringing Gar and Ellen together again!

This is a pretty good monster movie.  A lot of scenes we experience from the beast's point of view with the camera seeing what it sees as it stalks its victims through the mountain and woods.  For a large part of the movie you don't even see the beast, just its hand and giant claws.  The eerie roar of the beast in the mountains is also a good and scary effect along with the wonderfully intense music.  So sit back and enjoy this fun winter horror movie and don't go skiing alone in the mountains!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale


"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" (2010) starring Jorma Tommila, Peeter Jakobi and Onni Tommila is a film in Finnish with English subtitles and some English parts.  

In the northern mountains on the border of Finland and Russia, a company is excavating a mountain and have found the original Santa Claus entombed in ice.  Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his dad Rauno (Jorma Tommila) are raindeer herders who live nearby and Pietari discovers what's going on.  He does some research and discovered that the Santa Claus that we know today is nothing like the real Santa from long ago. That Santa was rather sinister and would punish bad children and even cook them up in his cauldron.  He had a bunch of creepy helpers ("the elves") who did his bidding.  Well the local Sami indigenous people of the area had enough of him and lured him into the icy tomb.

Now that he is out, Christmas Eve is not the same for Pietari, his Dad and local friends.  They all band together to make Christmas safe again for all the boys and girls.  This movie was surprisingly good.  The boy that plays Pietari does an exceptional job playing this character.  You'll never look at Santa the same again after seeing this movie!

Christmas Evil

"Christmas Evil" (1980) starring Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn and Dianne Hull is a strange Christmas themed horror movie.

Harry Stadling (Maggart) had a traumatic incident during his childhood involving his mom and his dad masquerading as Santa.  He has had a weird obsession with Christmas ever since and as an adult his works in a toy factory.  He also keeps tabs on neighborhood children and writes down in his naughty and nice book whether they are good or bad.

Harry is a lonely man living alone with some connection to his brother and his family.  This Christmas though, he has descended full on into madness and becomes a demented Santa Claus once and for all.  He actually does some good deeds as Santa but some terrible ones too.

The movie has a few bloody scenes but not too gory. It is mainly a story of a man who becomes a very creepy and sinister Santa!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Gorgon

"The Gorgon" (1964) starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Barbara Shelley and Richard Pasco is another classic Hammer Productions films.  In the small town of Vandorf, Germany during the early 1900s, townspeople keep being found turned to stone.  Legend is that one of the Gorgon sisters from Greek mythology has ended up living in the decrepit old castle that looms over the town.  Unsuspecting villagers who go out into the woods at night may encounter her and if they look at her, they will be turned to stone in fear!

There is a general cover up in the town from officials not wanting to admit that it could be something supernatural.  The local Dr. Namaroff (Cushing) is also covering it up but for different reasons than the local authorities.  Carla Hoffman, played by the very delightful Barbara Shelley, is the doctor's assistant that wants the truth to come out.  When Paul Heitz (Pasco) arrives to investigate the deaths of his brother and father, Carla wants to help him find the truth.  Prof. Karl Meister (Lee) also comes to town to help solve the mystery.

This is a very atmospheric horror movie.  There's the spooky old abandoned castle that looms over the town and is where the Gorgon apparently lives.  Walks through the woods filled with unseen horrors.  The Gorgon's haunting, melodic song filling the night air luring potential victims to her clutches!  I very much enjoyed this movie and will definitely watch it again for years to come!