I decided it was time to start enlightening you again with one- or two-paragraph reviews of the movies I watch. Because if I don’t tell you how to think, who will? Aside from the entire rest of the internet?
Frankenstein’s Army (2013) — There’s not much new to be found in the “found footage” format itself, especially one which requires you to swallow the idea that a Russian squad in World War II had an “embedded” documentarian equipped with a movie camera, complete with a microphone. But this movie isn’t about the characters, the plot, or the pacing — it’s about the production design. Said Russians find the Nazi-financed grandson of Dr. Frankenstein making prototypes of dieselpunk soldier-cyborgs from convenient corpses, most of which would be impractical on the battlefield but all of which are Grade-A nightmare fuel (all designed by the director Richard Raaphorst, which shows precisely where the priorities were). (Alex turned to me while we were watching it and said, “Hey, Frankenstein’s just an assemblage artist like you, Dad!”)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) — This is the point in the franchise at which “Pink Panther” in the title ceased to have any relation to the Pink Panther diamond of the original movie (1963) and The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), and instead only signified that Peter Sellers was back as Inspector Clouseau, being a likeable and clueless stumblebum. (And you thought how “Frankenstein” got turned into the monster’s name in the Universal movies was bad!) This is the one where Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) goes all the way over the deep and and becomes a world-threatening madman just to get rid of Clouseau. Wonderful pratfalls with exquisite timing.
The Mole People (1956) — It only makes its 77-minute running time by a barely-related lecture on various hollow-earth concepts up front (though points for mentioning Koreshism!), copious use of stock footage from a couple of documentaries about mountain climbing, and padded footage of the actors repelling downward… repelling… still repelling… Archeologists led by the ubermanly John Agar discover a Sumerian-speaking (but that’s okay, we’re fluent) race of pseudo-albinos who (a) believe that there is no world than theirs, (b) keep the mole people as slaves and workhorses, and (c) live almost entirely off mushrooms. Explains a lot. You could edit this down to 30 minutes and have an adequate little Twilight Zone episode. All right, Outer Limits. (This is, no kidding, the first time I’ve watched a movie hosted by Svengoolie. It may also be the last. I really miss Joe Bob Briggs…)