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Live From Delta House – Belushi and Me

by Dennis Cozzalio

One of our favorite writers, Dennis Cozzalio, is with us again for today’s Saturday Matinee. Dennis, not coincidentally, presides over one of our favorite film blogs, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. The occasion is the premiere of Allan Arkush’s commentary for John Landis’ Animal House which will run this coming Monday. Dennis happened to be an extra on…

Witchfinder General

by Charlie Largent

The troubled young British director Michael Reeves was credited with only three films and then, just as his star was ascending, died at the age 25. But the James Dean comparison doesn’t end there; Reeves’ signature work, Witchfinder General (released in the US as The Conqueror Worm) is a cry for justice from an angry young rebel,…

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla

by Charlie Largent

Next week at TFH we’re featuring a modest tribute to Bela! … Lugosi, of course. The films include Invisible Ghost (helmed by Gun Crazy‘s Joseph H. Lewis), 1947’s Scared To Death, and the subject of today’s Saturday Matinee,  Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.   The sole reason for the existence of Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla…

Confessions of an Opium Eater

by Charlie Largent

Next week at TFH features a trio of trippy films gathered together under the banner “Just Say No”. They include Requiem for a Dream, The Trip, and the subject of today’s Saturday Matinee, Confessions of an Opium Eater.   Producer Albert Zugsmith was a consummate exploitationist, launching his career in 1952 with the berserk red-scare screed,…

By The Sword

by Brian Trenchard-Smith

Warning; this post is long… if you watch all the links, you’ll have an hour of entertainment. When I was 10, my school screened a 16 mm print of the The Mark of Zorro – 1940 version, starring the dashing Tyrone Power. The clash of steel, the dynamic yet graceful athleticism of the hero as he righted…

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

by Charlie Largent

A group of scientists in the Antarctic rig an atomic blast that releases a dinosaur from its icy hibernation. Only one of the explorers, Tom Nesbitt (Paul Christian, Ne, Paul Hubschmid) gets a good look at the beast and he spends thirty or so minutes of the film trying to convince everyone that he’s not…

Help!

by Charlie Largent

Help!, the 1965 musical comedy directed by Richard Lester, stars Leo McKern as the venal Clang, a deranged cult leader and Victor Spinetti as the underhanded Professor Foot, a mad scientist who’s both Clang’s soulmate and adversary. Each of these crooks subscribe to different credos but they’re after the same thing, power, and they can…

The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Charlie Largent

The current BBC production of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch is a lifetime away from director Terence Fisher’s take on the great detective, The Hound of the Baskervilles. But no matter how transformative is the new Sherlock, Fisher’s blood and thunder interpretation felt no less transgressive in 1958. By remaking the classic Universal monster films with Curse…

TFH Saturday Matinee – The Cyclops

by Charlie Largent

Even for such a low budget movie, Bert Gordon’s THE CYCLOPS has an unusually hungry appearance. With its undernourished special effects, desolate Bronson Canyon settings and lost-and-lonely title character, the movie practically begs for its supper, inviting our sympathy if not our charity. It does offer a stalwart cast of Hollywood stars, fallen though they…

TFH Saturday Matinee – Queen of Outer Space

by Charlie Largent

During a routine assignment in outer space, stalwart space jockey Neil Patterson (Eric Fleming) and his trusty crew crash land on the planet Venus where they’re waylaid by a mob of petulant space-babes decked out in mini-skirts and ray-guns. These comely Venusians are already enslaved by their own dictator, the deranged, man-hating Queen Illyana and…

TFH Saturday Matinee – The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

by Charlie Largent

In Mad Magazine’s 1954 send-up of Alice In Wonderland, Alice finds herself once again surrounded by the nightmare inhabitants of Lewis Carroll’s looking glass world and finally snaps, unleashing a terrified wail, “It may be quaint by you!… It may be delightful by you!… It may be Wonderland by you! By me it’s only one…

TFH Saturday Matinee – The Court Jester

by Charlie Largent

The Court Jester was a vanity project put together in 1956 by Danny Kaye’s own production company and, at nearly four million dollars (around thirty-five million in contemporary coin), the most expensive comedy produced to that date. Even with that formidable budget sitting on its shoulders, the movie never feels weighed down; with its palatial…