Movie Reviews - Atom Age Vampire, Atomic War Bride, Attack from Space, The Attic, Audition

Atom Age Vampire (B&W, 1960) AKA Seddok - L'Erede di Satana
Despite his assistant's wish to just stay home and listen to records, a mad scientist goes out and kills women for their glands so he can restore the scarred face of a skanky exotic dancer who was burned in a car wreck. There's some pretty good stop-motion as the scars disappear from her face... and it's used again in scenes where the creepy doctor turns into a crusty-looking ghoul, on account of some serum he injected himself with so he'd have the nerve to kill, and do it bestially enough so that everybody'll think an escaped gorilla is doing the butchery. Meanwhile, he becomes more and more possessive of the girl and tries to guilt her into liking him... even though her scar tissue keeps returning. The bad dubbing makes it all kind of silly, but this is still considered a minor classic. Maybe it's better at the uncut 105 minutes. Be forewarned that the versions currently on DVD (both on the Madacy double-feature DVD and the Alpha DVD) only run 68 minutes. The quality of the print's not that great, either, but I could handle that if it was uncut. I don't wanna watch the Reader's Digest condensed version, damnit, especially since they cut out almost every killing and a strip tease dance (and you can see parts of those on the trailer included in the double-feature disc, even though they don't show up in the movie!). Hopefully a better, uncut DVD will come out someday, but as it currently stands, you're better off catching this late night on TNT (their print runs somewhere in the 85-minute mark, I think). -zwolf

Atomic War Bride (B&W, 1960) AKA Rat, War
Bizarre Cold War relic from Yugoslavia. Right after his wedding a guy named John is shanghaied into the army. It's a pretty ridiculous army, though, considering that they spend a lot of their time practicing to look like sheep or shrubbery. His brother-in-law has a bad heart and drops dead during shrubbery practice. John hardly gets to see his wife until they're reunited in a bomb shelter, where they listen to propaganda and watch atomic bombs destroy cities on television. He decides to lead a protest against the war, since all the citizens are against it, but the army wants to execute him for it. Then the point becomes moot... Very strange, rather silly anti-war drama that seems to have some black comedy to it, but is funnier than it intends to be... yet remains grim, as well. -zwolf

Attack From Space (B&W, 1965)
An evil alien race called the Superians (who dress remarkably like communist/fascists) is attacking Earth, but first they need an engine for one of their spaceships, which - despite their superiority - they need to steal from an Earth scientist. To prove they're evil, they even throw Hitler salutes. Peace-loving aliens from the Emerald Planet equip a rather somber, dopey-looking guy with a silly leotard and a fancy watch gizmo and he becomes Starman. He flies through space and battles the bad guys with the most awkward, artless, weak-looking karate/wrestling ever captured on film. He kind of just flounces around touching them and they fall over, and then he stops every once in a while to assume a muscleman pose. They think they kill Starman with a missile and start terrorizing Earth by blowing up a Himalayan mountain and big buildings. A kidnapped professor and his children act as resistance fighters while Starman takes his own sweet time before showing up and pushing the bad guys around and shooting some cap guns, and doing more heroic poses. Occasionally the enemies wait patiently while he does a few cartwheels. He looks more like some high-school football team mascot than the savior of Earth, but hey. I still think Santo could (and probably should) kick his ass. Similar to a lot of other old Japanese sci-fi, but a bit funnier than usual. -zwolf

The Attic (C, 1979)
Carrie Snodgress is a sad, repressed librarian who slits her wrists while watching old home movies of her lost love. She's lonely (despite having a pet chimp) because she's haunted by the past and oppressed by her complete-and-utter-bastard father, Ray Milland, who is in a wheelchair and bosses her around unmercifully because he wants to keep her as his personal slave. She fantasizes about standing up to him, and even dreams of killing him... and she just might, once she finds the dark secret hidden in the attic... Very good, imaginative and atmospheric gothic horror that used to pop up on late-night TV, which is the optimum viewing time for this flick - save it for the wee hours just before dawn... -zwolf

Audition (C, 2000) AKA Oodishon
Really crazy, intense, unique Japanese art film from crazed director Takashi Miike, who, if he acknowledges that there are limits to anything at all, probably sees them as an enemy. He's declared war on them - and probably on you, too - here. You absolutely cannot prepare for this movie; it sets you up and takes you out. You're better off knowing as little as possible about it beforehand, but this is a review so I have to tell you something, so... a lonely widower decides he wants to remarry, but isn't sure how to find the right woman. A friend comes up with a plan to act like they're casting a movie, starring an actress who would fit the widower's criteria, and he could interview them and decide who he wants to try to romance. He's instantly taken with a strange, shy girl named Asami (played by fashion model Eihi Shiina), who isn't really as submissive as she seems. At home she keeps something tied in a sack, and no matter how terrible you think the sack-thing will end up being I swear to you, it's worse, and the widower is in more trouble than any description could do justice to. You'll just have to see it for yourself, if you can handle it... and don't be so sure you can, because some friends of mine who are well-versed in horror flicks had a really hard time with this one. It starts out as sort of a romantic comedy but becomes a surreal nightmare that will not stop... even when you think surely they won't keep going, they do. The fact that the whole movie is so incredibly well-made (the actors and script are great, and Miike's direction is classic-level) makes it even more of an assault. Disturbing horror that will catch you off guard even if you think you're prepared. See it - definitely, see it - but watch your step. -zwolf

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