Sunday, 27 February 2011

Toho Terror From Japan ...

Attack Of The Mushroom People
(1963 / Japan)

Sixties studio Toho terror as a group of associates aboard a private yacht run into stormy seas. Battered and beaten by the elements the disabled boat is washed up near an uncharted island. The shaken up passengers and crew take to the beach, and go in search of fresh water and food. They soon discover that they are not the first to have strayed off course and been drawn to this place. They later pray that unlike their predecessors they actually get to leave its eerie embrace !.

This small band of people all have their own hang ups and all frailties, unpleasantness and selfish attributes soon come to the fore. Survival proves to be the most difficult thing of all, as trusting each other is essential, but the order of sensible command is tenuous at best. The men become insular and the women flirt to acquire position of importance in order to attain privilege. The baseness of man shows its true countenance.

A long derelict ship becomes their base, but aboard its deck and throughout its hold is a mysterious carpet of mould. This mould, however, is unlike anything regularly seen. Its density is irregular and the hue is different !?. The ship is identified as an oceanography craft, and those aboard were clearly experimenting with this growth, and also an unknown species of mushroom. An oversized mushroom contained within a wooden crate, marked Matango, is in situ within the scientific lab. The botanists had discovered this new species clearly indigenous to the island.

The two women in the party are the first to discover that curiously the ship has no mirrors. Where once they hung there is just an outlay marking of what once was. The remnants of the shattered mirrors are later discovered smashed up in the surrounding jungle. Tins of food and fresh water are uncovered, along with the ships log which deters the new arrivals from even considering using the mushrooms as a food supply. There is something about the mushrooms that holds the answer to what has happened to the former crew members, as no sign of their existence remains.

With an estimate of only one weeks supply of tinned food available the group must pull together and search for longer term supplies. They argue amongst themselves and the inherent human intolerances spill forth, causing discontent and worse within their ranks. Desperate acts leads to desperate measures, and soon some of the survivors turn to the mushrooms as sustenance. It is then that the truth behind what has gone before comes to be, and the presence of island inhabitation reveals itself.

A typically vibrant colourful horror / sci-fi social commentary strain of paranoia and class plays out in this Toho production. The islands kaleidoscopic hue is wondrously shown off in all its cinemascope splendour. The human hybrid creature costumes are so superior to the obvious CGI applications of today. There really is nothing to top a well made costumed monster, and the mushroom people are a great example of this. A very well made fantastical horror entry, replete with interesting, if flawed, characters and a creepy environment in the island itself.

When the Matango Mushroom monstrosities outnumber their human counterparts it pretty much falls upon one last credibly decent person to take flight, and finally attempt to escape from the clutches of the island. It’s an incredulous undertaking, but this lone survivor has had all the Shitake they can take !.

Attack Of The Mushroom People Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

Friday, 25 February 2011

Peter Lorre Defines Insane ...

Mad Love
aka The Hands Of Orlac

A brilliant surgeon, Doctor Gogol (Peter Lorre), is infatuated with a talented theatre actress, Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake), to the point of doing anything to make her his. Night after night Gogol watches her from his enclosed private box at the theatre, until the night she announces she is leaving to be with her husband as he pursues his career as a classical pianist. Fate, however, plays its cruel hand !.

Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive) is returning by train to Paris to meet with his wife on the eve of their new adventure together. Also on board the train is a murderer in the custodianship of two policemen. The killer is a famous circus knife thrower, known as Rollo the knife thrower, who’s skills were applied in murdering his wife. Tragedy strikes when the train derails. Amongst the wreckage lies Stephen Orlac, alive but both of his hands shattered in the accident. His future as a pianist in jeopardy !.

Having scorned Doctor Gogol’s advances Yvonne Orlac is forced to turn to him in order to try and save her husbands hands. The surgeon is only too happy to offer his skills, seizing the opportunity to ingratiate himself into the affections of the object of his desire. Instinctively he knows that he cannot repair the damage done to Stephen Orlac’s own hands, but within his genius mind he has a fantastical notion.

Gogol is the doctor called upon to bear witness as site physician to the execution of the convicted murderer Rollo. Put to the guillotine Rollo’s body and severed head are then dispatched to Doctor Gogol’s surgery to complete the necessary medical conformities pronouncing official death. Gogol’s insanely ingenious intent is to actually use the precision hands of the knife thrower to attach to the limbs of the great pianist Stephen Orlac. He amputates Orlac’s hands, and with great surgical skill attached those of Rollo to his patient. His act is kept secret from both his patient and Yvonne Orlac.

The operation is a great success but the process of rehabilitation is long and expensive. Yvonne Orlac is forced to sell personal possessions in order to pay rent and put food upon the table for both her husband and herself. Stephen Orlac feels detached from his hands and is convinced they are not his own !. As time passes, and his frustrations at not being able to properly play the piano grow, his hands seem to take on a mind of their own. He himself turns to his step father for financial assistance, but when spurned the step father later is discovered murdered, by a knife !.

All the whilst that the Orlac’s are trying to piece their lives back together, Doctor Gogol is slipping into a madness all of his own. His obsession for the unrequited love of Yvonne Orlac pushes him deeper and deeper into a regressive state of self imposed anguish. He cannot fathom how with such brilliance he cannot acquire his desire. Such is his state of mind that in order to simulate his desires he purchases a life like wax statuette of Yvonne from the theatre, after her last performance as the character. He places it in his home, for personal show in the private of his own domicile.

The defining moment of the film is one of startling context, ahead of its time and doubtlessly terrifying for audiences at the time. Stephen Orlac is surreptitiously pushed to the edge of his own sanity by the manipulative Doctor Gogol. Himself pushed to the brink of insanity, Gogol meets with a frantic Orlac in the movies most abstract scene. Gogol posses as the resurrected murderer Rollo, to inform Orlac that the hands he now has were once his. Sat facing each other across a small table, in the dingy depths of a Paris cellar, Rollo reveals his shining surgical steel limb attachments, and harnessed neck brace keeping his reattached head in place !. A truly incredible revelation and visual shocker, amplified by the chilling utterances from Peter Lorre’s character as he strains out a whispered pitch that sends shivers down the spine. Reminiscent of later day Italian Director Dario Argento’s murderous antagonists from his Giallo pictures, quite likely inspired by this very pivotal moment in screen horror history. An incredible scene, eerie in its inception and truly startling in its delivery. A genuine moment of originality, forever unforgettable once witnessed. A truly exceptional movie that has maintained its original awe to this day, and is still as fresh and rewarding a first time viewing experience as it surely was back upon its first release. Peter Lorre is perfectly cast as the iconoclastic genius Gogol.

The movie spirals to its cataclysmic conclusion, neatly unravelling the very fabric of sanity from both Stephen Orlac and Doctor Gogol. Two men on the literal knife edge of sanity and insanity. The price for genius is ever costly, and none more so than is witnessed within the madness of this, Mad Love.

Mad Love Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Unshackle Hammer Film Productions ...

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell

Hammer Film Productions last foray into the deviancies of Doctor Frankenstein. Hiding away under the guise of Dr. Carl Victor (Peter Cushing) in a mental asylum, afforded the position of resident physician by the asylum director, due to having him compromised, Baron Frankenstein helps the inmates, but in turn helps himself at their ultimate expense !.

A young surgeon pursues the works of Dr. Frankenstein, inspired by his desire to bring about new life, Dr. Simon Helder (Shane Bryant) engages in similar nefarious ways to go about his active research. Employing a grave robber to exhume the recent dead, one such night of unholy act brings the police to Helder’s small abode. The discovery of body parts and the stolen body are more than enough for the local court to pronounce the young surgeon insane. He is carted off to the mental asylum and is soon taken under the protective wing of Dr. Carl Victor.

Dr. Victor is both a calming and feared figure by not only the asylum director and his staff, but also the inmates themselves. One special inmate is afforded preferential position alongside Dr. Victor. An attractive young mute girl named Sarah (Madeline Smith), given the duties of assisting in a nursing capacity. Sarah it is later unveiled is the link that affords Dr. Victor the privilege and position he has within the asylum, and the hold over the asylum director.

The new arrival, Dr. Simon Helder, immediately ingratiates himself with Dr. Victor and becomes very familiar with his surroundings, and the practices of his benefactor. He too is afforded the trust of Dr. Victor and assists him with his medical rounds within the asylum. Helder more than suspects that Dr. Victor is in fact none other than Baron Victor Frankenstein !.

Helder pushes Dr. Victor to divulge more information and enlighten him to his true purpose for continuing to remain at the asylum, when at any time he could just leave. The introduction to a sub section of dangerous asylum inmates opens up the truth, and when directly asked as to his true identity Dr. Victor does not hide the fact that he is indeed, Baron Frankenstein !.

With the gargantuan bulk of a near Neanderthal inmate, interred due to his pathological urge to kill people with broken glass, used as the main frame for his latest experiment, Dr. Victor Frankenstein is very much alive and well !. The hulking killer, along with a mathematical genius and an accomplished hand sculpture, form the basis of a superior being. All meet with suspiciously induced demises at their own implementation. Dr. Simon Helder knows only too well that Baron Frankenstein is responsible, yet the scientist within him craves the same desire to create life from death, and bring about a super being.

Suitably bloody transplants and bodily attachments are made, along with a brain removal and replacement, all undertaken by the bonded doctors in the dingy depths of the asylum. Dr. Frankenstein has a new laboratory but the same old stage to enact his grisly experimentations !.

Things inevitably don’t quite work out and the monstrous creature that is brought to life, looking like a deformed reject from The Planet Of The Apes (1968), with a bad face make over by Betty Davis, from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (1962), soon reverts to type and the mind of the killer comes to the fore. The creature strikes out with shards of broken glass and when face to face with its own human body, laying dead in a shallow grave, out back of the asylum, it triggers a rage within.

The monster goes on a rampage through the asylum only to meet with his most unexpected, yet insanely apt, demise at the hands of those who understand his torment above all others. A gory rendering perhaps purposefully drawn upon by the shocking final resolution to the startling evocation of Tod Browning’s 1932 shocker, Freaks.
An above average late entry from the house of Hammer, and although certainly not the best of the Frankenstein movies, one that proves to be a memorable addition to the great name of Hammer Films during their heyday.

Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Lon Chaney Jr. Once Resident At ...

13 Demon Street
(1959/60 TV Show)
Episode: The Vine Of Death

Swedish and American production from 1959 saw seasoned horror legend Lon Chaney Jr. appear in, and headline as the host of televisions thirteen episode show, 13 Demon Street.

Lon Chaney Jr’s. character has been condemned at the premises of 13 Demon Street by hell itself, for all eternity. A punishment for sin that has been deemed as no greater outrage committed by any other mortal !. His earthly condemnation to find a crime more heinous and his terrible punishment will end.

Each episode starts with a suitably creepy intro, shot in applicable black and white, with a night time setting. A strong wind blows as thunder and lightning make their presence known. The camera pans in on a heavy wooden front door, its number, 13. The door opens and the camera glides in on through to be greeted by the resident of the premises, and host of the show, Lon Chaney Jr.

A short exchange from Lon Chaney Jr. with the viewing audience leads into the episode entitled, The Vine Of Death.

Frank is a mild mannered doctor who does research and works at the Natural History Museum. He and his wife live in a reasonably comfortable apartment block in Copenhagen. Friend and neighbour Wally is a handy man who helps them out with the odd job, but is lecherous towards Frank’s wife behind his back.

Frank has been preparing his internal green house by digging out a small plot to plant more of his samples that he is studying from the plant life world. Research at the Natural History Museum has given him the opportunity to study first hand a very rare, and long since petrified Malayan bulb some three to four thousand years old.

When Frank returns home unexpectedly one day from the museum, eager to plant the rare vine bulb from Malaya, he discovers Wally is sexually harassing his wife. Frank walks in on them as his wife pulls a knife on Wally. Frank tussles with Wally only to be inadvertently stabbed with the blade. Frank is killed by its incision !. Implicated in his death together, Wally and Frank’s wife decide to bury the body in the recently prepared greenhouse soil plot.

Frank’s disappearance for a few days is investigated by the police when he fails to turn up at the museum. Upon speaking to Frank’s wife at the apartment his disappearance is explained as him having walked out on her with no forwarding address. That evening the wife packs her belongings in order to get away. Wally is still pestering her and the same evening is in a drunken stupor. His inebriated state proves costly as he stumbles around in the hot house environment of Frank’s apartment and collapses unconscious atop of the site that Frank has been buried.

When Frank’s body was buried beneath the soil upon his person was the bulb of the museum categorised ‘Death Vine’. A plant that is attracted to heat, particularly that of living body heat !. During its period of plantation beneath the warm soil it has also benefited from the residual heath of the inert human body. The proximity of Wally’s body now produces even more body heat for it to draw upon. During the course of the evening the vine takes full advantage of its conductor and entangles its flourishing vines around Wally’s body. Wally is strangled to death !.

The following morning Frank’s wife is awoken by the police paying her another visit and together they discover Wally’s dead body. Further investigation unravels the truth behind Frank’s disappearance as his body too is uncovered beneath the soil.

A strange tale of love, lechery, betrayal and death. It just goes to prove that not all in life and love is ‘vine’ !.

13 Demon Street Details IMDB

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Euro Horror At Its Finest ...

The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism
aka Castle Of The Walking Dead

A grand guignol of Euro horror, circumspect cinema forlorn of the shackles of censorship of the time, resplendent in the kaleidoscopic cornucopia of vibrant colour, giving life to each wondrous frame. Without doubt this is a neglected classic of the horror genre.

Christopher Lee is perfectly cast in the role of a necromancer and murderer. He plays the role of Count Regula, a man of position, title and power over those around him. It is a time where noblemen rule the lands, but the poor are kindly and content. Count Regula usurps his position for self attainment in the belief of a life beyond death. In the dungeon chamber of his castle he murders twelve young virgin women, their blood vital to his insane lust for eternal life. In order to complete his nefarious plan he must however take the lives of thirteen. It is in the act of grooming the noble lady of the land that he comes undone.

Count Regula is ordered by the chief prosecutor to be drawn and quartered for his despicable acts. His face impaled by a steel spike lined mask of death the Count is marched to his place of execution. Placed in the town centre, with a crowd baying for his blood, he is strung out by all four limbs, tethered to four work horses, and torn apart !.

One generation on and the Count seeks vengeance upon the descendants of the two most responsible for his demise. The daughter of the noble lady, Baroness Lilian von Brabant (Karin Dor), and Roger von Marienberg (Lex Barker), the son of the prosecutor who ordered the death of Count Regula, both receive invitations to the castle of Regula. Their parental heritage is unknown to both, kept from them in order to protect from the heinous history that befell their family names. Both seek to unravel the mystery surrounding their pasts so travel the cursed road to Count Regula’s castle.

Baroness Lilian von Brabant has her maid Babette as a travelling companion. Roger von Marienberg has the companionship on the journey of a priest, who later turns out to be nothing more than a likeable rogue, garbed in the attire of a man of God in order to blag his way into the castle, believing that rich pickings may be had. The castle is far from giving up its trove however, as all soon come to learn !.

The entire film is lusciously shot, with glorious outdoor settings and applicably gothic interiors. Amongst the refineries of the finely bedecked film are many scenes deliciously reminiscent of an eerie pictorial rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s. The sequence where both descendants travel in their separate horse and carriage, along the bumpy route to the castle, is the stuff of a nightmarish painting of Salvador Dali come to life. Haunting imagery of twisted trees, enshrouded by mist, their trunks and branches dressed with the lifeless forms of human bodies, their limbs separated and layered as if trinkets upon a Christmas tree. Panicked horse carriage driver whipping his steeds as the nigh time envelopes them, ever carrying them on towards the castle. Truly a stunning visual. Extenuated by shots of bodies being ridden over along the trail, believed to be just bumps in the road by its travellers, and heightened by the appearance of horse riders bedecked in all black robes, with hoods to hide their features, in flight to abduct the baroness. The finest example of Euro cinema in harmony with the very best that the period had to offer cinema goers, from the likes of master Italian movie auteur Mario Bava himself.

The four travellers all come together, albeit in different manner, at the castle of Count Regula. Greeted by Regula’s henchman and servant into a cornucopia of twisted regalia and malevolent draping. The catacombs of the castle are a hideous haven for rodents, spiders and scorpions, side by side with carcass masticating vultures. All the trappings of a twisted and torturous host under one roof, and its invited guests now entwined within its wicked walls.

Count Regula’s henchman has cunningly plotted the coming together of the descendants of his masters authors to his demise. He has followed his masters given orders for thirty five years to resurrect him at this time. Laying dormant within a see through coffin, his head and torso still separated from his limbs, laid out uniformly in readiness to become whole once again. The rising up of Count Regula is very well done, and similarly done in the best traditions of Count Dracula resurrecting, perhaps highly appropriate considering the presence of Christopher Lee in this role also.

With the writing of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit And The Pendulum as its pivotal theme of torture, the introduction of a mighty swinging blade, swooping down upon a later shackled Lex Barker, comes as no surprise, but is without doubt perhaps the finest showing of the lethal contraption taken from the descriptive page of the classic author.Other devilish devices and cruel contraptions are ladled out rapaciously, and the vision of the Count’s near naked victims bodies strewn over his devices of death is grisly indeed.

Former Tarzan lead hero Lex Barker must swing into action to stop Count Regula from attaining his goal, and save the beautiful maiden in the process. Superb stuff for certain then from a cast of meaningful characters, visuals to kiss the corneas of all viewing, and a cracking good gothic horror movie all round. Seek out The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism at the earliest possible moment.

The Torture Garden Of Dr. Sadism Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

New Horror X Factor ...

SKY Living HD Channel UK

Spirits of the troubled dead, and malignant manifestations, linger within the construct of a former mental hospital. Renovated into a modern apartment block, poignantly named Bedlam Heights. Ghostly apparitions reside rent free, but there is a price to pay for the occupants, as the former institution gives up its ghosts !.

Kate shares a flat in Bedlam Heights with her two friends Ryan and Molly. Kate is an on site sales representative to sell the flats for her father, who owns the entire premises. Ryan is played by UK original Pop Idol winner Will Young. Bedlam is Will Young’s first introduction to the world of acting. His character is ambiguous in so far as his flat mate Molly has a bit of a crush on him but fellow flat mate Kate suspects that he is gay. Kate instigates her own plan of action by pushing herself upon Ryan after a drinking session, much to the annoyance and disappointment of Molly. During the evening of drink and foreplay strange and evocatively supernatural occurrences play out unnoticed by the trio.

Time to introduce another character, perhaps the strongest and certainly most interesting, Jed. Labelled with a history of mental illness Jed in fact is able to communicate with the other side. He sees ghosts and interacts with them, sometimes as an intermediary between this life and the next. Jed receives messages from beyond that his cousin Kate is in danger. The loner heads with haste to Bedlam Heights to aid his oblivious relative. A vengeful spirit is seeking to lay claim to a trinket that Kate has been given from the former institution, believing that she is linked to previous ills put upon the spirits family.

A suitably eerie opening episode to this initial six episode programme. Promising stuff with a good cast, and a lead character in Jed that is multi layered. The central focus of Bedlam Heights is applicably creepy, and the closing shot at the end of episode one lets the audience know that Jed is going to need to stick around. Bedlam has a horrifying history, and there are a multitude of wraiths and tortured souls unable to lay the past to rest !.

Bedlam Trailer

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Mexican Monsters Mighty Vampire Returns ...

El ataúd del Vampiro

Count Karol De Lavud returns, resurrected from his dormant state, to bear fangs once more and to seek out his true vampire bride. The gothic ghoul is back to pursue Marta Gonzalez (Ariadna Welter) and his nemesis Doctor Enrique Saldívar (Abel Salazar), both reprising their roles from El Vampiro (1957). The calm and aristocratic count, with a lust for blood, also returns in the original form of Germán Robles. It lays once again upon the broad shoulders of Doctor Enrique Saldívar to protect his love interest, Marta Gonzalez, from succumbing to the hypnotic lure of Count Karol De Lavud. For all concerned there is a great deal at ‘stake’ !.

A cracking start to the movie sees two men breaking into the crypt at the residence of the hacienda from the first movie. The estate is still watched over by Marta’s aunt María Teresa, but she is overcome by the invaders. The men have come in search of the vampire Count Karol De Lavud, and equipped to break into his tomb. Fantastically shot night sequence and suitably eerie mood, with evening wind and creaking wooden joists. Successfully opening up the sealed tomb the grave robbers skulk away into the dark of the night, replete with the vampires casket and contents !. 

A colleague of Doctor Saldívar is responsible for taking it upon himself to seek out the truth about the fantastical story that Enrique Saldívar has confided to him. He intends to scientifically uncover the myth of vampirism. His hired help in this foolhardy enterprise of body snatching is Baraza, a watchman at the local town wax museum. Together they bring the casket back to the town medical facility where Doctor Saldívar is one of the resident physicians. Baraza takes payment but insists upon extra to keep his silence, and upon seeing the contents of the coffin. Therein lays Count Karol De Lavud, a stake embedded into his dormant heart.

The anxious doctor sees Baraza out, but before making his exit the hulking watchman has taken a fancy to the opulent pendant around the neck of the count. He surreptitiously returns to the room, gaining entry via a window, to claim the object of his desire. The retrieval of the resplendent neck piece is hindered by the large wooden stake in the chest of the dormant body. With rash ignorance Baraza pulls out the stake to make easy the capture of his desire. Before the would be thief is able to make haste, and leave via the same way he entered, Count Karol De Lavud has awakened from his dormant state of the un-dead. Reward for Baraza’s self gratification is induced hypnotic control over his very being, and enslavement under the ward ship of his new master, Count Karol De Lavud. The vampire has risen once more from the grave !.

A very short period of time has elapsed between El Vampiro and this sequel, so Marta Gonzalez is still with the Doctor Enrique Saldívar, staying at the same medical facility until she moves back to her stage troop. All being once again under the same roof it is not long at all before the Count Lavud realises the object of his desire is within his grasp.

In a more contemporary setting of a town environment the creepy and claustrophobic stature of the first film is lost, but redefined in other equally as satisfying ways. There are several extremely well realised moments where the visuals are exceptional. A scene where the count stalks a woman in the back streets of the town, making full use of heels on stone cobbled underfoot, and giant cast shadows of the preying vampire, are reminiscent of the classic silent feature Nosferatu (1922). The application to its full extent of a lethal Iron Maiden device is suitably macabre, set amongst the dystopia of the dimly lit chamber of horrors within the wax museum.

Count Karol De Lavud’s pursuance of Marta, and his squaring off against Enrique Saldívar, is the real cut and thrust of the story. The vampires enslaved servant Baraza adds muscle to the terror from the tomb, and the spirited María Teresa is as close to a female version of a Professor Van Helsing as they come.

El ataúd del Vampiro aka The Vampire’s Coffin, is a reasonably accomplished sequel for its time, but perhaps shows up more of its budgetary restraints when viewed today than its forbearer. Viewing the count transform from vampire to vampire bat is quirky, but rather more obviously silly is the all too apparent wire that the flying creature transverses along. Ultimately overlook able of course, as if anything the marvellous job that Casa Negra have done in delivering a crisp, clear print to the digital format is ironically also responsible for such devices to now be seen. Where once there was grain and dimly lit frames, now shines out a resplendent plenitude of vibrant frames to revel in.

A highly enjoyable and nostalgic journey back to a time of creativity, and a golden era for Mexican film making, particularly for the horror movies. Viewed back to back in one sitting, El Vampiro and El ataúd del Vampiro make for a rewarding and refreshingly indelible experience.

El ataúd del Vampiro Movie Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The New Kind Of Cops ...

Hawaii Five-O
(2010 TV Series)

Updated and upgraded Hawaii Five-O hits the TV screen with all the action force of a mighty new wave hitting the beach. What a refreshing contemporary take on a genuine classic show, and all in glorious high definition. Grab your surf boards and enjoy the ride ahead !.

Commander Steve McGarrett is hunting down terrorist Victor Hesse (James Marsters). In the mix is the factor that McGarrett has Hesse’s brother in custody, Hesse however has McGarrett’s father held hostage. There is no trade off as both men held are killed. The difference in the two is that McGarrett shoots the brother in self defence, whereas Hesse retaliates in cold blooded murder !.

Returning home to Oahu in Hawaii Steve McGarrett buries his father, and focuses on tracking down Hesse. With news of Hesse running a human trafficking operation in Hawaii, ex navy seal McGarrett is approached by the governor of the island to head up a new task force to fight crime. Offering him the freedom to select his own team, and run the force without any interference from upon high. To do the job his way !.

It’s pretty much an adrenaline rush from the get go with a very cool cast to enhance the electricity between the main characters. Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) first teaming up with Danny Williams (Scott Caan) is superb testosterone overload, with the high spirited individuals not holding back on cutting home truths, and exchanging both verbal and physical blows at each other. The future development of these two characters playing off each other, earning mutual respect and watching each others backs is buddy cop brilliance in the making.

Daniel Dae Kim, most recognisable from his long stint in the massive hit series Lost, plays Chin Ho Kelly. A man trusted by Steve McGarrett’s police detective father, and so a natural inclusion into his new squad. Rounding off the team in all the right places is the stunning Grace Park as the rookie cop Kono KalaKaua, with a fast track potential that qualifies her for McGarrett’s elite task force. This beauty with brains is a surfing babe with a lean and lithe figure, not to mention kick ass moves out of the water.

With the team in place Steve McGarrett sets about tackling the immediate issue of human trafficking, and a second opportunity to take down Victor Hesse. Its infectious rejuvenation of the tried and tested TV cop show formula is so refreshing, with snappy dialogue, quirky dry humour, and smart character interaction at its driving heart.

A highly entertaining opening show stopper, and a superb sign of things to come from this top quality produced show. Respectful of the original pioneering heritage its appeal to both old school fans, and modern day action loving audiences, on the back of this, should prove highly beneficial to the longevity of, ‘the new kind of cops’. What a rush and tingle down the back of the neck sensation when that classic theme music kicks in, and Steve McGarrett first utters the immortal phrase ‘book him Danno’. Brilliant. Expect great things from this new version of Hawaii Five-O. Be sure to... catch the wave.

Hawaii Five-O Trailer

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dare You Unveil ...

The Mask Of Fu Manchu

Foul fiend Dr. Fu Manchu seeks to assert his desired dominion over the world populace by attaining the eternal symbol of tyrannical terror, the sword and mask taken to his death tomb by Asia’s mightiest scourge, Genghis Khan. Possession of which Fu Manchu chillingly foretells shall afford him an even greater all conquering dominance than that of Genghis Khan himself, the historically despicable Mongolian self appointed universal king !.

Horror legend Boris Karloff is perfectly cast in the fiendishly furtive role of Dr. Fu Manchu. Notably this being his first actual big screen talking role. The application of facial make up, to attain the dastardly dark pantomime baddy look of evil incarnate, is masterfully achieved. Enhanced to perfection by the acting skills of Karloff himself.

The British government send a team to unearth the tomb of Genghis Khan and gain possession of the highly vaunted sword and mask, in an attempt to acquire before Fu Manchu does. Sir. Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard is also on the case and proves to be a useful man to have around once Fu Manchu’s minions do indeed appear on the scene.

Expedition leader Sir Lionel Barton is taken captive by Fu Manchu and subjected to the heinous torture of continuous bell ringing. Nothing quite like being tolled off when you don’t do what is asked of you. Sir Lionel is expected to divulge the whereabouts of the Genghis Khan treasures but stubbornly refuses. His daughter Sheila (Karen Morley), and her handsome beau Terrence Granville (Charles Starrett), are desperate to get Sir Lionel back from the clutches of the diabolical Fu Manchu.

Terrence Granville goes to Fu Manchu with the mask and sword of Genghis Khan in exchange for the return of Sir Lionel. Unbeknownst to the young well intentioned philanthropist, the guile of Nayland Smith to outwit his devilish nemesis, puts him in danger as the artefacts are mere crafted copies of the originals. For such insolence Granville is handed over to Fu Manchu’s daughter Fa Lo See (Myrna Loy), to express her predilection for pain upon others. Not content with physical infliction Fu Manchu himself imbues the young would be hero with a cocktail of poisons. Proficiently extracted from lizard, spider and snake, in his typically wonderfully realised mad scientist laboratory, Fu Manchu injects the mind controlling serum into Granville.

Not in control of his own faculties Terrence Granville entangles both Sheila Barton and Nayland Smith up in Fu Manchu’s web of wickedness. Shackled to a sand weighted contraption, set above a horde of hungry alligators waiting to be fed below, Nayland Smith is caught up in a fabulous old school serialised cliff hanger situation. There are other maniacal devices of torture on display in the confines of Fu Manchu’s lair, along with a formidable weapon that harnesses the power of electricity, crackling out its bolts of destruction.

High camp classic horror cinema, reinstated of its deemed racist outbursts and scenes of cruelty, The Mask Of Fu Manchu remains a strong evocation of masterly evil incarnate. A great production, with very well rendered cinematography, fabulously iniquitous sets, and a deliciously diabolical delivery of malevolence as Dr. Fu Manchu from the in his prime Boris Karloff.

The Mask Of Fu Manchu Trailer

Movie Details IMDB