Sunday, November 30, 2008

November's Monster Movie of the Month - The Time Travelers (1964)

Scientists inadvertently step into future, find that future sucks

The Review

I couldn't find hardly anything to make fun of here. Well... of COURSE there WERE things to make fun of - I could find fault with a stump if I put my back into it. But this little movie has a way of making you just sit back and enjoy watching it, warts and all.

The story goes like this: three scientists and an electrician (read "electrician" as: "comic relief guy") are sitting around the lab one day, working on their window-into-the-future machine. I'm not sure what the big draw is for a window-into-the-future machine; seems like a full-on Time Machine would be cooler and more useful. Maybe these particular scientists have seen enough time travel movies to know you can really screw the pooch messing around with that stuff, so they thought they'd just Look but not Touch.

Anyway, Dr. Conners (Handsome Scientist Man, played by Philip Carey)

gets all worked up during the machine's test run and turns the dinkety-hoo-hah dial up ALL THE WAY, causing things to start smoking and sparking. All of a sudden, the time viewer screen goes all wonkey and then settles into an image of this barren, rocky landscape (looking eerily like the 20th century outskirts of Barstow, California where the movie was filmed).

So. While everybody's running around putting out fires and punching buttons, Danny (Comedy Relief Electrician Man, played by Steve Franken)

walks up to the time viewer and sticks his arm right *through* it, discovering it's no longer JUST a viewer. It's become an actual portal to wherever/whenever is on the other side. So he decides to hop on through and go exploring. (Not the brightest bulb; guess that's why he's only an electrician.)

So the other three jump in after him to get him back before the machine totally fries, but then it fries before any of them can get back through. So now they're stuck in... ( ? )

Well, ( ? ) turns out to be about a hundred years into the future and mankind has pretty much toasted the earth with nuclear warfare. Earth has become uninhabitable (except for all the poor saps who were above ground when the big one hit and have all since turned into big scary ugly mutants).

There's a couple of hundred regular folk living underground, putting their time and energy into building a spaceship to get the hell out of Dodge before those mutants bust in and tear them all to pieces. But time is short, as we can see by these super-gee-whiz electronic time displays that are all over the place:

And even though these folks have to live in caves they've got some pretty cool stuff to play with, including their very own Android Factory, a Tanning Salon and Spa, and a LOVE MACHINE that lights up and plays music and doesn't really do anything else.

yon androids are always ready to help
time traveler has pink bits tanned at spa
the LOVE MACHINE in use

Well, even with the no-budget special effects and some cheesy dialogue, it's actually a pretty good story, with some interesting twists and a totally unexpected ending, so I won't spoil it. (Sigh.)

But if YOU watch it you can find out if the regular folk really get away in their rocket.

And if the time travelers really get back to their own time.

And if the mutants and the regular folk all put down their weapons and decide to make LOVE MACHINE, not war.

So, yeah. This one's worth the price of admission.


The Trailer

The Details

Preston Foster: Dr. Erik von Steiner
Philip Carey: Dr. Steve Connors
Merry Anders: Carol White
John Hoyt: Dr. Varno
Dennis Patrick: Councilman Willard
Joan Woodbury: Gadra
Delores Wells: Reena
Steve Franken: Danny McKee, the Electrician
Berry Kroeger: Preston
Gloria Leslie: Councilwoman
Mollie Glessing: Android
Peter Strudwick: The Mutant
J. Edward McKinley: Raymond
Margaret Seldeen: Miss Hollister
Forrest J Ackerman: Square-frame technician
Wayne Anderson: Android

Ib Melchior

MPAA Rating
Not Rated (but probably a "G")

82 minutes

Step Through "The Time Portal" beyond the crack in Space and Time where the fantastic world of the Future will freeze your blood with its weird horrors!

SEE women who use the Love Machine to allay the male shortage!

You are in the Future before it happens!


The Time Travelers at IMDB
The Time Travelers at Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kekko Kamen (2004)

Masked Vigilante bares all, Keeps Students' dreams Alive

The Review

Okay, I'll just say it like it is:

This movie is about a Naked Female Ninja (Kekko Kamen) who protects students at an all-girls school from their lecherous teachers. She wears a red mask, boots, gloves and a long scarf (that dutifully hides her pink bits).

As near as I can tell, "Kekko Kamen" translates to "Wonderful Mask". (Kamen is a word that refers to any Japanese masked hero, and Kekko, meaning Wonderful, refers not to her mask but to her... body. Indeed. Her deal is that she stuns her opponents with the beauty of her body, and then, POW! (Right in the kisser!)

Oh, and she has magical powers. And rides a red scooter through the school's hallways. And she can really bust a move with her nunchaku.

Um, I'd go on to expand upon the film's finer points... but that's really about it.

I was offered this movie by my good buddy Automated-Netflix-Man, "based on [my] interest in Films from Japan". And - let's face it - after reading the synopsis I wasn't gonna NOT give it a try.

This particular film fits somewhere in the midst of a long string of movies (and cartoons), all with more or less the same plot and all based on a Japanese comic book series (also all with more or less the same plot) by a guy named Go Nagai.

(What?? A character like this, written by a man??)

I know.

So anyway, it turns out the movie was... HIL-AR-I-OUS.

...In an over the top we-know-we're-being-sexist-but-we're-just-having-fun sort of way, it was just funnier than a wailing banshee. I mean, we've got dialogue-gems like

(Miss Keiko, who needs to "change" into her Kekko Kamen persona, to a student)
"You'd better leave now, for your own safety and to further the plot."


(Kekko Kamen to a villain, whose costume and mask consist of stolen women's underwear stitched together)
"Panties are sacred to a woman. Putting them on your head is unspeakable!"

How could you not stifle a grin?

So. Yeah. There really isn't anything else to say about this one. Oh, except Kekko Kamen usually K.O.s her enemies by putting their necks in a leg scissor lock until they pass out. It's called the "muffocation" attack. You know, like "suffocation" but with an "m". As in being suffocated by her m....

True story.


The Trailer

The Details

Shino Saito (Keiko Natsuwata / Kekko Kamen)
Juri Inahara (Mayumi Takahashi)
Moa Arimoto (Wakana Nakai)
Ren Suzuki (Kyoichi Furusawa)
Nao Yuasa (Jun Takenochi)
Hiromi Nagayama (Akira Oshima)
Hiromitsu Suzuki
Kenjiro Ishimaru
Hideo Sako (Kajiro Suto)
Satoshi Wada (Shatai Osuo)
Nao Eguchi
Fang Suzuki
Keiko Kubo (Mizuho Sakuragi)
Go Nagai (as himself)

Takafumi Nagamine

MPAA Rating
Unrated (but would be a mild R, I think.)

70 minutes

Nobody knows her face... but everybody knows her body!

Japanese with English Subtitles

Kekko Kamen at IMDB
Kekko Kamen at Wikipedia