Sunday Matinee: Forbidden Planet

sunday-matineeIt’s the 23rd Century and the crew of Starship C-57D have reached the planet Altair IV to check on an expedition that landed there 20 years ago. They are contacted by Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) who tells them everything is fine and go away. Naturally Commander John Adams (Leslie Nielsen) ignores Dr. Morbius and lands anyway to complete his mission.

When they land the crew is met by a robot named Robby who takes them to see Morbius. They meet Morbius’ lovely daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) and then the good doctor himself. Morbius informs Commander Adams that the entire expedition party except for Morbius and his daughter have been killed by a mysterious force but they themselves are fine but Adams should leave the planet as soon as possible. That night something sabotages the C-57D.
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Sunday Matinee: Planet Of The Apes

sunday-matineeThe other big sci-fi movie that opened on the same day as 2001: A Space Odyssey back in April of 1968 was a little film called Planet of the Apes.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, The Boys from Brazil) and based on French novelist Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes. Boulle also wrote the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai which was also turned into a movie.
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Sunday Matinee: 2001: A Space Odyssey

sunday-matineeAnd we’re back after a month long break for 31 Days of Horror. I’m still feeling the space theme and I kind of wanted to include this but it’s not a horror movie – it’s much much more. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.

There are a few films that have influenced movies over the years and as we enter an era where there is less emphasis on creating art than there is on creating mass entertainment there seems to be less and less auteurs. They still exist but it feels like the days where a studio would just finance the work of someone like Stanley Kubrick seem to be over. And while you can see the influence a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey has on someone like Christopher Nolan and his Interstellar it’s hard to imagine a studio financing a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey today.
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REVIEW: Doctor Strange’s Cold Medicine

Crusader, meet cape.
Crusader, meet cape.

After conquering with relative ease the earthly and interstellar realms, it’s time for Marvel to get mystical. The most obvious way to enter the most otherworldly of planes is through Doctor Strange, the only character of the ethereal branch to break into the popular subconscious (with the possible exception of Ghost Rider).

At first sight, Doctor Strange appears to be a risky bet for Marvel. The film is loaded with comic book arcana and introduces -quite literally- a whole new universe with its own rules and characters. Furthermore, Strange’s ties to the Avengers and their baggage are very limited, at least at this stage.

It is, however, a calculated risk. Strange follows the Marvel formula to a tee (Strange’s likeness to Tony Stark is particularly on the nose), and for safety’s sake, nearly every plot point but one has been leaked to the public. There are so few surprises in Doctor Strange, it feels like a rerun. Continue reading “REVIEW: Doctor Strange’s Cold Medicine”

31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – Alien

space the spooky frontierSo ends another year of 31 Days of Horror. Next year in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary I’ll be focuses on Canadian horror movies. To end this year’s theme I leave with the classic that kick started a franchise that’s still going today and spawned a hundred rip-offs like Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, Xtro, Horror Planet, Creature, Alien 2: On Earth, Parasite and many many more.

The spaceship the Nostromo is returning home to Earth when the crew is awakened to a distress call. The call is coming from nearby planet that’s devoid of life. The crew go down to the planet and find a giant alien spaceship that has crashed on the planet. Inside is a large fossilized alien that seems to have died from something bursting out of it’s chest. Kane (John Hurt) finds a bunch of eggs that covered by a sort of mist. He looks into one of the eggs and something attaches itself to his face.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – The Thing

space the spooky frontierIn the Antarctic life in an isolated American research station is disrupted when a Norwegian helicopter appears chasing a dog. The Norwegians seem intent on killing the animal. One of the men has a rifle is shooting at the dog.

The helicopter lands just outside the American base and the pilot grabs a thermite charge but ends up dropping it blowing himself and the helicopter up. The dog runs up to the Americans who have gathered to see what all the commotion is about and the man with the gun ends up shooting one of the Americans. Garry (Donald Moffat) shots back and kills the Norwegian.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

space the spooky frontierDr. Miles J. Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) arrives home in the small town of Santa Mira from a conference to find that he has a ton of patients waiting to see him. When he gets to his office he finds that most of the patients have left but the ones who remain all seem to claim the same thing. A close loved one is suddenly an imposter.

Dr. Bennell runs into ex-girlfriend Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) who has just recently returned from abroad. Becky’s cousin has the same concern about Becky’s Uncle. Becky gets Dr. Bennell to take a look and Bennell decides it’s psychological and sends Becky’s cousin to a psychiatrist. Later Dr. Bennell talks to psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kauffman who says there seems to be an outbreak of mass hysteria of people thinking that other people have been replaced.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – They Live

space the spooky frontierA drifter (Roddy Piper) finds construction work in L.A. He befriends fellow worker Frank (Keith David). Frank takes to a shanty town that Frank lives in.

While there Piper notices some strange activity at the local church. When he goes into the church he finds it empty. A tape recorder is playing a choir and the place is filled with equipment and hidden boxes of sunglasses. Later police raid the shanty town and the church. Piper escapes and returns to the church to find it empty but finds the boxes of sunglasses are still there. He takes the box and hides it and takes one of the sunglasses. When he puts it on his world is changed forever.
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – Planet Of The Vampires

space the spooky frontierInterplanetary ships the Galliott and the Argos receive a distress call on an uncharted planet. Both ships decide to land and investigate but as the crew of the Argos passes through the planet’s foggy atmosphere they suddenly become possessed with a murderous lust and try to kill each other. Fortunately Captain Mark Markary (Barry Sullivan) has the awesome will to resist and manages to snap his crew out of their bloodlust and land the ship safely.

Unfortunately they’ve lost contact with the Galliott. When they find the Galliott, the crew is all dead having murdered each other. When the Argos crew go to get supplies to open the Galliott’s bridge they find all the dead bodies missing. Soon members of the Argos are getting killed and dead seem to be walking around!
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31 Days Of Space: The Spooky Frontier – The Blob

space the spooky frontierOk, this is the last meteor crashing on Earth movie for this 31 Days of Horror. If focusing on Space: The Spooky Frontier has taught me anything is that Earth needs to come up with some sort meteor destroying defense system and fast! Nothing good comes from meteors hitting the Earth just ask the dinosaurs and the vast majority of B-movie victims from sci-fi horror movies.

Anyway in this 1958 classic young Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend, Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut), are making out in lover’s lane when they see a meteor crash near by. They go and investigate and find that an old man (Olin Howland) has beaten them to it and has gone and poked that meteor with a stick causing a weird gelatinous blob to crawl out of the meteor, up the stick and attached it self over the old man’s hand. Steve and Jane take the old man to a doctor.
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