Karloff brings a wit and a quiet air of command to the character, he is always moving steadily toward a solution to the crime at hand. He presents Wong as quite the most intelligent character in every film. The mysteries themselves are about average for the period. In most of the Wong films the clues are there for the audience if they care to look for them.
So instead, Mikels treats his low-life characters like refugees from a ’30s comedy short who drank their brains out and ended up in a Skid Row production of a ’40s gangster film as it might have been directed in the ’50s by Ed Wood trying to make a ’60s kids’ film – huh? All right, another way to say this is that Mikels is basically saying, “ok, we have no budget, only two more days to shoot the thing, and our audience won’t be paying attention anyway – so let’s have fun!” Of course, then, the only issue is, what would Mikels mean by having fun here? Most exploitation-horror films of the time (especially those coming out of Europe) took themselves way too serious. Even looking back to Ed Wood, one reason that “Plan 9” is so amusing is because Wood clearly thinks he is saying something important with it, even if he’s not sure what.There were important exceptions, of course – Corman’s “Little Shop” is overt comedy, and “The Undertaker and his Pals,” while providing the necessary gore and ‘suspense’ also throws in large dabs of comic bits and dialog. But “Corpse Grinders” avoids the obvious – there is no overt buffoonery, no sight gags or puns here.
Of course, the broadcast network owners knew better (they knew that TV audiences had a lower “lowest common denominator” than film, and that less money could be spent accordingly).AS a TV pilot, this is actually not so bad – cheap, quick with an interesting twist at the end. The actors are certainly trying their best, and – for television – it is more than competently made. For some reason this fine old Joseph Kuo feature disappeared for a while.
Also, one must remark the important part Grant Withers plays, as the earnest, tough, but slightly dimwitted police Captain Bill Street, and the occasional appearance by Marjorie Reynolds as the sassy reporter Bobbie Logan who dates Street off-hours, only to interfere when at work. They bring a pleasing air of continuing romantic interest as well as comic relief to the series. An embarrassing attempted ‘remake’ of a great piece of film making, by a cast and crew who evidently have no idea what the original was all about. Peckinpah’s original raised questions – you left the theater feeling awkward, self-conscious, asking the same question the lead character was asking himself – ‘how do I find my way home now? This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. The action you just performed triggered the security solution.
- We are free to interpret them as we please, and to read the domestic drama as mere back-story to their unpredictable attacks.
- Most exploitation-horror films of the time (especially those coming out of Europe) took themselves way too serious.
- But Pescatons is presented as narrated by the Doctor himself, and the voice of Tom Baker covers a multitude of sins.
- Everything is here – the homage to universal, the darker characterization of Doctor Frankenstein, the decision to place the series in a 19th century setting….
- Once Walston appears on screen, the film goes straight to hell.
But the images keep pulling me along.This is a great film, for two reasons. But so much of this is rich in construction and detail that I insist it remains a classic – unrecognized but undeniable. I am an admirer of many of Billy Wilder’s movies – Stalag 17, Days of Wine and Roses, Some Like it Hot – and other wonderful, trend-setting, sophisticated, stylish films. It opens well; the title sequence is basically a snapshot of Dean Martin’s Las Vegas act of the time, and his twisted turn playing someone who might be himself has an undeniable fascination.Unfortunately, he is not the male lead of this film – RAY WALSTON is!
The best review here so far has been Timothy Farrell’s from 2007, that remarked this film as the best-paced and most consistent from director Mikels. But most of the comments, both favorable and unfavorable, have been largely on the money – which in itself tells us we have a rather strange critter here. I.e., how can we say of a film that it is a camp classic in one comment, and that it is not a camp classic in another comment, and yet both comments be right? How can we mock such a film for its cheesiness and then admit that it wallows in that cheesiness, as if cheesiness were among its redeeming values? The answer of course is that Mikels made this film with tongue firmly in cheek. It is simply a mistake to take this film seriously – Mikels is rushing this product through to the drive-in circuit targeting a teen-age audience (hence the lack of nudity or really gory effects), giving them moments allowing them to exclaim “oh, gross!” or “wow, that’s weird” while they take a breather from necking in the back-seat.
But I expected more – a solid story taking advantage of the animated media. Karloff’s Wong compares quite favorably to the various screen interpretations https://www.gclub.co/slot999/ of Charlie Chan. He doesn’t play a stereotypical Chinese according to Hollywood formula (and neither does Keye Luke in a later film in the series).
And the film is really beautiful to look at, and filled with pleasantly eccentric characters, in situations highly evocative of the era in which they occur, the 1950s.Secondly, part of the problem with Zellweger’s performance may have to do with the character herself. Although she fancies herself a Deep-South Southern Belle, deserving of the better things in life, once we meet her sister we realize that she really comes from the mid-South commercial class, and that her attitude of entitlement is a self-delusion. She is thus out of touch with her own life, and in need of review of her identity.
Actually, it’s a joke.Here’s the tell-all moment about the budgeting of the film and the incompetence with which it is made – I think it half, but I remember the percentage higher, of the shots used to depict the effect of Miami’s freezing and the response of the population there are localized on a single hotel swimming pool. That’s right, a swimming pool, and a rather small one (low budget hotel for a low budget movie). But Once the film returns to Miami for the remainder, it sinks to a level of casual incompetence that only television allows for.Not even a decent time-waster; I stayed just to see how dumb it could get. Daphne Du Maurier’s work largely falls into he category of ‘gothic romance’ – not the kind that has glutted supermarkets since the ’50s, her best known books really hark back to the genre’s roots in the 19th century.
Not great, but certainly of its time.The animation of Infinite Quest is also of its time, not great either, although given over to impressive visual effects in the foreground and background. But the real difference between these two Doctor animated episodes has to do with something far more basic. Dreamland, whatever its visual weaknesses, tells a strong story with a discernible beginning – middle – end. Infinite Quest – does not.In fact the narratology of Infinite Quest is very similar to that of The Pescatons, jumping and skipping over essential details. But Pescatons is presented as narrated by the Doctor himself, and the voice of Tom Baker covers a multitude of sins. One can listen to Pescatons with the brain on hold and still have a fine time.Infinite Quest isn’t so lucky.
(And continued – the Walston part was intended for Peter Sellers, who Wilder couldn’t deal with, and Wilder himself suffered heart problems.) But the main problem is that Italian comedy is coming from a very different tradition than Wilder’s (so clearly related to Lubitsch), so it’s really impossible to guess why he tried what he was clearly unsuited for.Not much to add except the cinematography is good, and the music sucks. (Apparently based on material the Gershwin brothers decided needed reworking… maybe they were right?).Caused a minor scandal in its day – but it was easy to cause scandals back then. Nevermind; it is the first in the series of Hammer Frankenstein films that ran well into the ’70s. Everything is here – the homage to universal, the darker characterization of Doctor Frankenstein, the decision to place the series in a 19th century setting…. The ending of this short film would be rewritten as the end of “The Curse of Frankenstein.” Okay, it’s not really much more than a neat little B-movie short; but what else would one want from a Hammer horror film?