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Cast: Antony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Robert Towne, Beach Dickerson, Robert Bean, Esther Sandoval, Sonia Noemí González
Running Time: 75 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

This early bit of "B"-movie fluff from Roger Corman and company is a hastily slapped-together melange of crime thriller and monster flick, laced with enough ham-fisted satire to make the entire mess enjoyable. The plot centers on a two-bit crook (Antony Carbone) who offers to transport a band of exiles from a war-torn Caribbean country -- along with a coffer of cash, which he intends to keep for himself. After killing his charges and dumping their bodies in the ocean, he blames their deaths on a sea monster told of in local legends -- a beast which eventually shows up for real. The lush tropical settings of this weekend wonder are the same lush tropical settings seen in Corman's Last Woman on Earth, which employed most of the same players as well. Corman protégé Monte Hellman served here as second unit director before embarking on his own low-budget film career.


  

Cast: Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Beverly Garland (as Beverly Campbell), Lynn Baggett, William Ching, Henry Hart, Neville Brand
Running Time: 83 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Directed by Rudolph Mate. Written by Russell Rouse and Clarence Green. Small-town accountant Frank Bigelow goes to San Francisco for a week's fun prior to settling down with fiancée Paula. After a night on the town, he wakes up with more than just a hangover; doctors tell him he's been given a "luminous toxin" with no antidote and has, at most, a week to live! Not knowing who did it or why, Bigelow embarks on a frantic odyssey to find his own murderer.


  

Cast: Patrick Magee, Karl Schanzer, Peter Reed, Luana Anders, William Campbell
Running Time: 75 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

The Most Terrifying Screen Experience Of Your Life! A Brand New Concept in Motion Picture Shock! A Thrilling New Creation of Terror Thru Sight and Sound, Filmed Entirely in the Shock-Packed Process of Dementia 13! A young Francis Coppola was given the job of directing this moody low-budget chiller after begging producer Roger Corman for the opportunity to reuse the sets for another film which Corman was shooting in Ireland. The plot: John Haloran has a fatal heart attack, but his wife Louise won't get any of the inheritance when Lady Haloran dies if John is dead. Louise forges a letter from John to convince the rest of his family he's been called to New York on important business, and goes to his Irish ancestral home, creepy Castle Haloran, to meet the family and look for a way to ensure a cut of the loot. Seven years earlier John's sister Kathleen was drowned in the pond, and the Halorans enact a morbid ritual in remembrance. Secrets shroud the sister's demise, and soon a falling axe causes the family and guests to experience an attrition problem.


  

Cast: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Tim Ryan
Running Time: 67 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Director Edgar Ulmer and screenwriter Martin Goldsmith filled this tawdry crime story with a cheap but expressive poetry (the cynical bite of Tom Neal's narration and Ann Savage's venomous dialogue tapped a well of bitterness rare even in film noir of the period), and Ulmer made the most of it, filling the film with an air of dread and weary hopelessness. Ulmer's bold compositional framings and effective use of visual shorthand gives a real and effective visual style, something few of the hacks at PRC could be bothered with (cameraman Ben Kline certainly helped), and if there's little subtlety in the performances of fatalistic Tom Neal and shrewish Ann Savage, they suit the tone of the screenplay and add to the film's blunt impact. Shot in a mere six days, one look at the shoddy, minimalist sets or the clumsy, in-the-camera optical effects makes clear that this movie wasn't meant to be anything more than another dingy time-filler from PRC Pictures. Detour is a darkly fascinating film that proves the right director could make something powerful and expressive even out of the most shoddy materials available.


  

Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Parker, Reginald Gardiner, Jean Del Val, James Finlayson, Charles Middleton
Running Time: 69 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Ollie is heartbroken when he discovers Georgette, the inkeeper's daughter he's fallen in love with, is already married to dashing Foreign Legion officer Francois. To forget her, he joins the Legion, taking Stanley with him. Their bumbling eventually gets them charged with desertion and sentenced to a firing squad. They manage to escape in a stolen airplane, but crash after a wild ride.


  

Cast: Harry Wilson, Sally Todd, Voltaire Perkins, Felix Locher, John Zaremba, John Ashley, Bill Coontz, Wolfe Barzell, Harold Lloyd, Jr.
Running Time: 85 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

It reaches from the grave to re-live the horror, the terror! More destructive! More terrifying! In the words of Bugs Bunny, "Monsters lead such interesting lives." That they do -- and when they're not drinking blood, rising from the dead or trashing Tokyo, they seem to be doing what comes naturally: getting hitched and having a crop of kids. In "Frankenstein's Daughter," the Doctor's grandson continues with his infamous grandad's experiments and creates a hideous she-monster, a cross between a sumo wrestler, a porterhouse steak and the "brain" of a blonde bimbo, complete with a permanent wave down to her toes. An exploitation movie milestone in the monster offspring subgenre, "Frankenstein's Daughter" is the third of four drive-in classics crafted by producer Marc Frederic and director Richard Cunha in their late-'50s moviemaking heyday.


  

Cast: Van Johnson, Gianna Maria Canale, Kane Nakano, George Miki, Akira Fukunaga, Ken K. Okamoto, Henry Oyasato, Warner Anderson, Harry Hamada, Henry Nakamura
Running Time: 91 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Robert Pirosh wrote and directed this little-known World War II drama from MGM that commemorates the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a combat unit composed of Japanese-Americans who fought valiantly during World War II, with many of the actual veterans of the combat unit appearing as actors in the film. For the most part, the film follows the standard Battleground plot line -- there is Sam (Lane Nakano), the wise sergeant; Chick (George Miki), a lazy private; the enervating Ohhara (Henry Oyasato); and Tommy (Henry Nakamura), a crack sharpshooter. Van Johnson plays Lt. Michael Grayson, a bigoted Texan assigned to shape these men into a fighting unit and who learns to respect their valor and bravery.


  

Cast: Gulliver, Gabby, Princess Glory, King Little, Prince David, King Bombo of Blefiscu, Sneak, Snoop, Snitch
Running Time: 72 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Dave Fleischer's classic animated tale -- Shipwrecked by a storm at sea, normal-sized Lemuel Gulliver washes up on the shore of Lilliput, where the citizens are no larger than Gulliver's thumb. Discovered by excitable town crier (and general fussbudget) Gabby, Gulliver is roped to the ground by Lilliputians, only to escape with ease upon waking up. While longing to head home to England, Gulliver becomes involved in a feud between Lilliput's King Little and Blefuscu's King Bombo. On the eve of the wedding between Little's daughter, Princess Glory, and Bombo's son, Prince David, the two monarchs have a falling-out over which national anthem will be played at the ceremony. Gulliver attempts to prevent war between Lilliput and equally minuscule rival Blefuscu, as well as smooth the way for the romance between David and Glory. In this, he is alternately aided and hampered by Gabby. After a series of misunderstandings and intrigues, Gulliver solves everyone's problems by suggesting that both anthems be played together, resulting in the song "Faithful Forever.


  

Cast: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Fabrizio Mioni, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici
Running Time: 104 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

In 1959, Steve Reeves became an international screen star with Hercules -- a box-office smash in the United States that set the standard for a decade of Italian-made muscle-man films that followed, all featuring professional bodybuilders as leads and all set in some era of Greek or Roman antiquity. Contrary to what the critics claim, this is not a bad movie. Reeves cuts a commanding figure as the legendary hero, and even people who didn't like his work conceded that he looked great; the rest of the cast, especially Silva Koscina as Iole and Ivo Garrani as Pelias, try very hard in portraying what are essentially mythical icons out of Greek antiquity; and the special effects work within the limitations of the budget. True, Ray Harryhausen in his sleep could have created a more convincing dragon (and later did just that, in Jason and the Argonauts), but within the confines of this film's available talent and money, the dragon awaiting Jason at the end of the quest for the Golden Fleece worked as well as it needed to. Moreover, the popularity of this movie inspired a generation of teenage and preteen baby-boomers to start studying Greek and Roman mythology with varying degrees of seriousness; it also may well have planted the pop culture seed through which Marvel Comics was able to spawn the Mighty Thor in comic books three years later, which eventually introduced Hercules as a semi-permanent character.


  

Cast: Steve Reeves, Sylvia Lopez, Sylva Koscina, Gabriele Antonini, Primo Carnera
Running Time: 96 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Steve Reeves' second (and last) film portrayal of Hercules is, in certain ways, better than his first -- The plot this time is drawn from the legends surrounding the royal house of Thebes, which are most familiar to audiences through the Theban plays of Sophocles. The movie opens with Hercules, his new bride Iole (ylva Koscina), and the young Ulysses (Gabriel Antonini) travelling to Thebes following the end of the quest for the Golden Fleece (depicted in the previous movie, Hercules). Their journey is interrupted when Hercules must do battle with the giant Anteus (Primo Carnera), whose strength seems to exceed his own until he realizes that Anteus is the son of the earth goddess and can't be defeated on land. On their arrival in Thebes, the trio discovers that the kingdom is in the midst of civil war -- Oedipus (esare Fantoni), the old king, is dying, and his two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, are contending for the throne and threatening to destroy each other and the populace. Hercules must leave Iole in the hands of one side in order to try and settle the dispute between the two would-be kings. While en route between the two armed camps, however, he is put under the spell of Omphale (Sylvia Lopez), the Queen of Lydia, who casts out his memory and takes him as a lover, with Ulysses in tow pretending to be his deaf-mute servant. Ulysses must figure out how to keep himself alive, restore Hercules' memory, get them both out of Omphale's grasp before she tires of Hercules and has him killed (as she has her previous lovers), and get them both back to Thebes before the kingdom is burned to the ground. His solution arrives in the form of his father, Laertes, and Hercules' companions from his voyage for the Golden Fleece. They all escape Omphale's clutches and arrive at Thebes as war has broken out between the two brothers and their armies. In a spectacular denouement, Hercules brings his chariot into the middle of the pitched battle, knocking down assault towers and sweeping cavalry before him to halt the battle. Peace is finally restored on a bittersweet note as the two brothers, Polynices and Eteocles, slay each other.

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