Dracula vs. Frankenstein: 1971 Bad-Acting Award-Winning Film…

As I was downstairs this morning toasting a sourdough English muffin, I was flipping through the channels on the TV. I noticed a “film” on the MGMHD channel called “Dracula vs. Frankenstein,” from 1971, starring Lon Cheney, Jr, with this horrible description:

Count Dracula forces fun-park operator Dr. Frankenstein to revive his infamous monster.

Oh, yeah. That sounds like a recipe for box-office gold! Given that I had ten minutes or so before my breakfast was ready, and seeing as there was nothing else on, I decided to check it out. I hoped to learn how Dr. Frankenstein had come to such a low station as a “fun-park operator,” and perhaps what his qualifications were for such a position. I also hoped to learn how Count Dracula, who was vanquished in the 1800s was still around to wreak his particular brand of havoc. Alas, I didn’t get answers to either of my questions. Here’s what I did see.

The scene I came into was two hippies, a man and a woman, talking about the kind of crap that movie hippies normally talk about. The hippie man rolls a tire down the alleyway and tells the hippie girl, “Go get it!” as if she were a dog. She scampers down the alley, and stops dead in her tracks. Coming toward her, very slowly, is the local violent biker gang. All three of them. They kind of reminded me of the Black Window gang from Every Which Way But Loose, if you remember them. Anyway, the leader says to the girl, something like, “So… where have… you… been?” in his most menacing-ish voice, and with appropriate pauses for high-school-quality effect. She dreamily replies that “I’ve pulled myself… out… of the… gutter! Why don’t you all… cut out!” The boy hippie sashays to the girl’s side and dramatically intones, “Are you… OK?” She doesn’t reply. Biker gang henchman #1 says, “I don’t think she likes us very much,” or something like that. The leader continues, “Nobody leaves us. I need a new girl… today. So why don’t you… climb on the back of this… bike… and we’ll… cut out…” Oooh, throwing her own words back at her! Such moxie! Such acting chops!

The two henchmen dismount and walk to the hippie man, menacingly, and at this precise moment, a savior arrives! A police car comes slowly down the alley. The henchmen saddle up, smirking menacingly-ish, and the gang then cuts out. Slowly, and with feeling.

The police car passenger door opens, and Sgt. Martin gets out. Hey! It’s Jock Ewing, from Dallas! (Is Miss Ellie in the backseat? No? OK.) Hippie girl #2, who has just arrived, gets up in his face and accuses him of not doing enough to protect the city. He replies that this is “my part of town” and that after so long there, one “learns the games people play” and from this knowledge knows when to “break it up” and when to “walk away.” Kenny Rogers could not have said it any better. He turns to get back in the squad car, then turns and says, very dramatically, “Stay away from the beaches! There’s a maniac on the loose!” He gets back in the car, and I turned off the TV. I did consider recording the rest of it, but then I decided I had much better things to do, regardless of the fact that I didn’t get my questions answered. Ah, well.

Now, perhaps the movie improved as it went on. And perhaps a preposterous-sounding plot was actually well-thought-out and developed. And perhaps the acting in the rest of the film was much better. Yeah, probably not. The things one sees on early morning TV.

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I Am Legend Sucks

I just saw I Am Legend and I seriously want my money back. The only two things it shared with the novella were the title and the main character’s name. My friend Tim suggested they should have included a disclaimer in the credits saying “Any similarity to a story of the same name by Richard Matheson is purely coincidental.” I agree.

You can hear my 30-second review of the movie, recorded as I drove home, using the widget below.

“The Departed” Won Best Picture? What’s Up With That?

I got The Departed from NetFlix over the weekend. We started watching it Saturday afternoon, but turned it off after about 30 minutes of incredibly foul language and boring setup. After reading several glowing reviews yesterday, I decided to finish watching it. What a waste of time. I just don’t get what everyone thinks is so great about this movie.

If you want a really good mob film, go with The Godfather (of course) or Donnie Brasco.

Cars – Excellent Film

Thomas and I just got back from seeing Cars. What a great movie. I haven’t laughed so hard since… well.. since I saw Over the Hedge but that’s not important right now. Cars is great. There are times when you really can’t tell that it’s an animated film; it just looks so real. It’s funny and touching with a great story and stunning graphics. I give it 2 Fenders Up!

The Amazing Has Happened

The amazing has happened. It really has. I mean it. What am I talking about? I’ve seen a film, a remake, that I actually thought was better than the original. What movie am I talking about?? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We went to see it because our son really wanted to, and I was curious what Tim Burton did with it. What he did is make a much mo’ better movie. While I do love the original, I think the new incarnation is a much better film. It’s funny and very Burton-esque, and it’s surprisingly not as “dark” as the original. I was in stitches through most of it.

This makes, I believe, only the second time I’ve found a remake better than the original. It doesn’t happen very often.

Go See “Robots.” Now.

We went to see Robots last night. What an excellent film. Robin Williams, who I haven’t really liked since Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Morning, Vietnam was absolutely brilliant! I really enjoyed his voicing of the robot called Fender. The movie is a non-stop laugh-fest; it’s funny and touching at times, though slightly scary for young kids at one point. There were a few lines and sight gags that were not really appropriate for a family film; they go over the heads of the kids and the adults get them, but I would prefer them not be there. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is no profanity, which was nice to see.

Grab your family and head to the theater, today, to see this great movie.

Hey Hollywood! Come Up With Some New Ideas!

Is every single screenwriter in Hollywood completely out of ideas for new films? It would appear so. After the absurd remake of the classic Flight of the Phoenix, I now hear that Wolfgang Petersen is remaking the absolute classic The Poseidon Adventure. Noooooooo!!! The original was great. A true classic. It doesn’t need to be remade.

In fact, I am against remakes in general. I have never seen a remake of a film that I liked, or thought was better than the original, or even thought was somehow worth making. The sole exception to this is when Hitchcock took his 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much and remade it in 1956 with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. That was a great remake, and I applaud Hitchcock for doing it. Every other remake I’ve seen, like Planet of the Apes, Psycho and The Manchurian Candidate all sucked compared to the original.