November 15th, 2009

BLOOD OF DRACULA (1957) ***

This really should’ve been called I Was a Teenage Vampire. Unfortunately, the folks at AIP chickened out. It’s the third in the series, and while it isn’t quite in the same league as I Was a Teenage Werewolf or I Was a Teenage Frankenstein; it still has it’s moments.


The film is essentially a remake of I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Instead of Michael Landon getting hypnotized by a deranged doctor into becoming a werewolf, we get a mousy chick (Sandra Harrison) getting hypnotized by a deranged doctor (Louise Lewis) into becoming a vampire. Other than that, it’s the same damn thing. There’s even a funny rock song (called “Puppy Love”) in there for no good reason whatsoever.


The first act is great. I particularly liked the scenes with the bitchy sorority girls hazing our heroine and saying shit like, “Cool it, Old Horse Face is on a warpath!” The problem is that it takes her forever to turn into the vampire. Sure, the goofy ass make-up is hilarious, but
Harrison’s transformation doesn’t occur until the movie is more than halfway over.


Also, the evil doctor’s plan doesn’t make a lick of damn sense. I mean she is trying to unleash a power within her that’s “greater than the atom bomb”. I had no idea that vampires with teased hair, oversized Halloween fangs, and extremely bushy eyebrows were more powerful than an A-Bomb.


Still, Blood of Dracula is plenty of fun. It’s got a silly looking monster, cheesy transformation scenes, and dumb rock songs. Plus, the running time is barely over an hour long. What more can you ask for in a 50’s horror flick?


AKA: Blood is My Heritage. AKA: Blood of the Demon.

ZOTZ! (1962) **

Tom (Newhart) Poston plays a college professor who obtains a magical coin that gives him the power to hurt people whenever he points at them. It also allows him to slow down time when he says “Zotz”! And when he points at someone AND says “Zotz”, they die. Since this is a family friendly movie, he doesn’t do that. (Although he does wantonly murder a lizard to prove that he can do it.) Naturally, some Russian spies learn of his power and try to get their hands on the coin for their own devious purposes.


Even though this flick was directed by horror movie gimmick guru William (House on Haunted Hill) Castle, Zotz! is more of a comedy with some fantastical elements thrown in. (It’s basically like a slightly better version of one of those Flubber movies.) While Castle was the master when it came to movie gimmicks, the gimmick for Zotz! was kinda weak (patrons were given Zotz coins). Likewise, the movie itself is not up to the usual Castle standards.


Things get started off on the right foot as the flick has a couple laughs early on. The spy subplot is quite pathetic and involves a lot of dumb shit where bumbling Russkies have to pretend to run in slow motion whenever Poston says "Zotz". I did like the part when the spy fired a pistol at Poston and he slowed down the bullet by yelling the title. This guy was dodging bullets in slow motion long before Keanu Reeves made it hip.


Poston is likeable and makes for a goofy lead. His charm can only carry the flick so far though. The great supporting cast, which includes Jim Backus and Margaret Dumont certainly helps.


Castle’s next was 13 Frightened Girls!

BOOGEYMAN 3 (2009) * ½

The daughter of the Boogeyman obsessed doctor from Part 2 finds daddy’s diaries and when she reads from the book, it reawakens the Boogeyman.  The spectral beastie comes out of the closet (no pun intended) and kills her and then makes it look like a suicide.  Her psychology major roommate also reads the book and pretty soon, the Boogeyman murders her friends one by one before finally setting his sights on our heroine.

 

The first Boogeyman was a terrible PG-13 horror movie.  Part 2 was OK, but at least it was smart enough to chuck the supernatural shenanigans and give us a gory slasher flick.  This one unfortunately is more in line with the first film because it revives the ghostly murderer (although it’s mostly a guy wearing white make-up and greasy long hair rather than the CGI turd monster from the original).  On the bright side, the kills are juicy (my favorite was when the stoner gets impaled on his bong), we get to see a few titties, and the ending is marginally clever. 

 

Other than that, Boogeyman 3 is just another interchangeable crappy Direct to DVD horror sequel.  Gary (Mosquito) Jones directs the film with little style, which doesn’t do the flick any favors and the script suffers from way too much padding.  It also takes FOREVER to get going.  Ultimately, the flick actually feels more like a Grudge rip-off (the ghost attacks people who live in the same room over a period of time) than a Boogeyman movie.  It’s a smidgeon better than the original but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.   

LOOKIN’ TO GET OUT (1982) *

Jon Voight co-wrote and stars in this sloppy, stillborn, and unfocused mess of a movie.  He plays an annoying gambler who along with his buddy (Burt Young) head to Las Vegas to avoid some angry loan sharks.  Once there, they scheme and connive to make some quick cash and Voight ends up re-connecting with an old flame (Ann-Margaret) who bore him a child (Angelina Jolie in her film debut).

 

Lookin’ to Get Out was a big dud in it’s time and never got a proper release.  I can see why.  Voight’s performance is thoroughly irritating and since he’s such a lout; it’s hard to really give a shit about him.  Also, the movie has a lot of long, boring stretches where next to nothing happens.  Because of that, all we can concentrate on is how grating Voight is.  And let me tell ya; it’s not a heck of a lot of fun.

 

The thing that really pissed me off about this movie was the ending, where Voight and Young get away Scot free.  Are we supposed to believe that the bumbling duo would be allowed to fleece the casino and the owner would let them walk out the door?  And what about the security guards?  They were about as competent as the Keystone Kops.  The day you let the tubby Burt Young get the best of you is the day you turn in your Rent-A-Cop diploma.

 

The film was directed by Hal Ashby, a guy that’s used to directing good movies like Being There and Harold and Maude.  I don’t really blame him though.  This was Voight’s baby all the way.  He was responsible for the listless script and his overindulgent performance is hard to take.  I guess we do have to give him some props for putting his daughter, Angelina Jolie in the movie.