Horror on the Lens: Tormented (dir by Bert I. Gordon)


Halloween is the perfect time for a good ghost story and, with that in mind, here is today’s movie.

Released in 1960 and directed by Bert I. Gordon, Tormented tells the sad story of Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson).  Now, Tom might look like a pretty regular guy but we know that he’s a little bit crazy because he’s a jazz pianist and you know how dangerous those beatnik-types are.  Tom is happily engaged to Meg but one day, his ex-girlfriend Vi shows up.  Vi is obsessed with Tom and swear that she’s going to end his engagement.

So, naturally enough, Tom throws her off of a lighthouse.

Problem solved, right?

Not quite.  Vi may be dead but she’s not out of Tom’s life.  Instead, her disembodied head tends to pop up at random moments and taunt Tom.  Meanwhile, Tom is having to deal with Meg’s suspicious sister and a beatnik (Joe Turkel, who years later played Lloyd the Bartender in The Shining) who is determined to collect the $5 that he claims Vi owes him.

Between the beatniks and the raging ocean and the disembodied head popping up whenever it’s least convenient, Tormented is a lot of fun and the perfect film for some retro Halloween fun.

4 Shots From 4 Nature-Run-Amok Films: Frogs, Grizzly, The Day of the Animals, Empire of the Ants


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Nature takes it revenge in these 4 shots from 4 films!

4 Shots From 4 Nature-Run-Amok Films

Frogs (1972, dir by George McGowan)

Grizzly (1976, dir by William Girdler)

Day of the Animals (1977, dir by William Girdler)

Empire of the Ants (1977, dir by Bert I. Gordon)

A Movie A Day #267: Satan’s Princess (1990, directed by Bert I. Gordon)


Lou Cherney (Robert Forster) was a top police detective until a perp with a shotgun shattered his leg.  Now, Lou’s a private investigator with a limp, a girlfriend (Caren Kaye), and a learning disabled son named Joey (Philip Glasser).  When Lou is hired to track down a missing girl, he discovers that she is now the lover of Nicole St. James (Lydie Denier), the head of a modeling agency.  Nicole seduces Lou within minutes of meeting him but, when Lou attempts to return the missing girl to her family, Nicole reveals that she is actually an ancient demon and she possesses Joey.  Soon, Joey is carrying an ice pick and throwing people out of windows.

An example of the type of movies that Robert Forster was stuck making before Quentin Tarantino engineered his comeback with Jackie Brown, Satan’s Princess is also noteworthy for having been directed by Bert I. Gordon.  Gordon is best known for making cheesy giant monster movies, like The Amazing Colossal Man, Beginning of the End, and Empire the Ants.  There are not any giant monsters in Satan’s Princess, which instead emphasizes lesbian sex scenes, possessed children, and Robert Forster using a blowtorch to take on a demon.  Satan’s Princess also features the spectacle of a demon fleeing the scene of a crime by stealing a car.  Why a demon who can possess people and do almost anything would need to steal car in order to make escape is a question that Satan’s Princess never answers.

Satan’s Princess is even dumber than it sounds but Robert Forster delivers.  There is no real reason for Lou to be crippled so I like to think that, one day, Forster announced that if he was not allowed to carry a cane in all of his scenes, he wouldn’t do the movie.  Watching Forster give a good performance in even a piece of dreck like Satan’s Princess makes me all the more grateful that Tarantino cast him in Jackie Brown and allowed Forster the chance to once again appear in movie worthy of his talents.

Bert I. Gordon’s career as a filmmaker began in 1954.  Satan’s Princess was his 23rd movie and, for over 20 years, it was also his last.  In 2014, Gordon finally returned to directing with Secrets of a Psychopath.

My Living Doll: ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE (AIP 1958)


cracked rear viewer

attack1

Oh boy. TCM is running a salute to AIP every Thursday this month. Now I’ll never get that DVR cleaned out! American International Pictures released some of my favorite films of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, and TCM’s showing everything from Vincent Price/Roger Corman/Edgar Allan Poe horrors to outlaw biker flicks to Beach Party teen shenanigans. Expect to see lots of AIP posts in the near future, starting right now with 1958’s ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE.

One of my earliest movie memories is watching this on the local “Four O’ Clock Movie Matinee” when I was about five years old. For some strange reason, it resonated with me. I haven’t seen it in years, and my recent re-viewing had me wondering just why it did. Maybe I was a strange kid! Anyway, ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE was the brainchild of Mr. B.I.G. himself, producer/director/effects wizard Bert I. Gordon. Well, maybe…

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Horror on the Lens: War of the Colossal Beast (dir by Bert I. Gordon)


Remember Glenn Manning, the unfortunate “hero” of The Amazing Colossal Man?

The previous film may have ended with Glenn plunging to his apparent death from the Hoover Dam but, believe it or not, he survived!  Unfortunately, he didn’t survive well.  Now, he’s even bigger and he’s even angrier.  Plus, he’s massively disfigured.  The once articulate, if cranky, Amazing Colossal Man is gone.  Now, he’s a Colossal Beast!

That’s the story behind the 1958 film, War of the Colossal Beast!  In this sequel, Glenn is back and the army once again has to find a way to control him.  Needless to say, it all leads to a final confrontation near Los Angeles’s Griffin Observatory, which means that War of the Colossal Beast is not only a sequel to Amazing Colossal Man but it’s also a bit of companion piece to Rebel Without A Cause!

(Speaking of companion pieces, am I the only one who associated the end of Colossal Man with those commercials that MSNBC used to show of Rachel Maddow going on and on about how only a nation could build the Hoover Dam?  Never say “Lean forward” while you’re standing on top of a dam.)

Anyway, War of the Colossal Beast has a totally different cast from Colossal Man and a somewhat different feel.  That said, the Colossal Beast makeup — that eye socket freaks me out! — is memorable and, like the previous film, it’s fun in a 1950s B-movie sort of way.

Horror on the Lens: The Amazing Colossal Man (dir by Bert I. Gordon)


For today’s horror on the lens, we present the 1957 film, The Amazing Colossal Man!

Directed by Bert I. Gordon, The Amazing Colossal Man tells the story of what happens when Lt. Col. Glenn Manning (Glen Langan) is exposed to an atomic blast, the force of which not only burns off his clothes but leaves him bald as well!  At first, everyone is convinced that there’s no way Glenn Manning will survive but, to everyone’s surprise, he does survive.

And he starts to get bigger!

That’s right — radiation does the craziest things!

Soon, Glenn’s a giant and he’s not very happy about it.  As the government tries to keep both the accident and the mutation a secret, Glenn grows more and more bitter and angry.  And it certainly doesn’t help matters when the scientists decide they want to inject him with a giant syringe.

Seriously, you’ve got to see this syringe!

Anyway, The Amazing Colossal Man is one of those fun sci-fi films that elitist critics love to criticize.  But you know what?  If you’re watching a movie like this because you want to nitpick every little detail, you’re missing the point.  The Amazing Colossal Man is a 1950s B-movie and, when taken on those terms, it’s a lot of fun.

Add to that, Glen Langan really throws himself into the title role!

Enjoy The Amazing Colossal Man!

Horror On The Lens: Tormented (dir by Bert I. Gordon)


Tormented

Halloween is the perfect time for a good ghost story and, with that in mind, here is today’s movie.

Released in 1960 and directed by Bert I. Gordon, Tormented tells the sad story of Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson).  Now, Tom might look like a pretty regular guy but we know that he’s a little bit crazy because he’s a jazz pianist and you know how dangerous those beatnik-types are.  Tom is happily engaged to Meg but one day, his ex-girlfriend Vi shows up.  Vi is obsessed with Tom and swear that she’s going to end his engagement.

So, naturally enough, Tom throws her off of a lighthouse.

Problem solved, right?

Not quite.  Vi may be dead but she’s not out of Tom’s life.  Instead, her disembodied head tends to pop up at random moments and taunt Tom.  Meanwhile, Tom is having to deal with Meg’s suspicious sister and a beatnik (Joe Turkel, who years later played Lloyd the Bartender in The Shining) who is determined to collect the $5 that he claims Vi owes him.

Between the beatniks and the raging ocean and the disembodied head popping up whenever it’s least convenient, Tormented is a lot of fun and the perfect film for some retro Halloween fun.