Friday, September 15, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK??: Edition 1: 9/15

I have been the proud owner of a Roku since 2010. Yes, kids, I owned a Roku before it was cool to own a Roku. Back then, it was essentially a device that Netflix paired up with to bring its streaming service to your television. Of course, back then, Netflix also had content for miles. Not like now, where its just a bunch of television shows and original content. *YAWN*. I have since cancelled my Netflix subscription because, let's face it, they no longer care to cater to cinephiles like you and I. They just want consumers to binge, so here is a bunch of episodic fare for your brain to sponge. Gimme a break.

But I digress. Since 2010, I have purchased two more Roku devices: the Roku 2 and the Roku 3. Mainly because there is no longer any support for the original device, rendering it almost useless for newer channels. In that time, I have come to add the Amazon Prime Video channel. If you sign up for Amazon Prime shipping, their streaming video service is a nice addition. Like any movie maniac, I have searched this thing up and down for movies and you would be surprised at the number of available films they have. They are to movie streaming now what Netflix was back in 2010 in the early days of Roku.

So consider this a new addition to Retro Movie Nerd; a piece that I call "What's Am I Watching This Week". Catchy, no? I am not paid by Amazon to do this. I just feel that they now have the superior library in comparison to Netflix. Amazon still cares to supply customers with movies. Netflix doesn't. Simple as that. I just want to share with my readers the various films available for viewing.

Let's start with a trio of films from the great year of 1973, shall we?







Rumble in Hong Kong (1973) - also known as "Police Woman". This is marketed as a Jackie Chan film, but Jackie is not the star. He also plays a villain, but not even the big boss. More like a henchman. This was retitled Rumble in Hong Kong after Jackie took off in the mid-1990s here in North America following Rumble in the Bronx. The story is about a woman fleeing from a gang, hiding evidence of some mobster misdeeds inside a cab and then dying....from something. The cab driver is constantly chased, beaten and harassed by Jackie and the gang, until the dead girl's sister, who happens to be a cop, intercedes to help the cab driver. This is a short 70 minutes, but there is very poor editing contained within, leading one to believe that it was once longer. You'll get your usual poor English dubbing, which is expected for an early 70s martial arts films. The missing purse with the secret info is really a McGuffin throughout the film, as this is about the fight scenes, which are average at best. Not a wholehearted recommendation here for sure, but if you're a Jackie Chan completist, check out this early nugget with him as a bad guy for a change. Just don't stare at the giant mole on his face for too long.

Messiah of Evil (1973) - This is an atmospheric and slightly chilling horror film from the husband/wife team of Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who brought us such reknowned films as American Graffiti, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and....Howard the Duck. Okay, so they weren't all winners. But this movie is definitely a bit different. It tells the story of a young woman (Marianna Hill) who arrives in the small beach-side community of Point Dune searching for her missing artist father. Along the way, she meets the aristocratic Thom (Michael Greer) and his arm candy, Laura (Anitra Ford) and Toni (Joy Bang). Thom "collects legends" and sees something eerily interesting about the story behind Point Dune. Apparently, at night, the strange residents of the town gather on the beach for bonfires and moon-staring. There is a great scene inside the local grocery store and an even better one in the movie theatre that takes the story to a creepier level, after a sort-of dull and slow build. Then the ending is a bit anticlimactic, but the tone and atmosphere sell this. A flawed film, for sure, but one any discerning horror fan should have on their radar. Note: Anitra Ford was moonlighting as one of the original models on The Price is Right while filming this movie. So there is that piece of pop culture, as well.

Graveyard Tramps (1973) - Better known as Invasion of the Bee Girls, it was retitled Graveyard Tramps (although the title card for the film just says Graveyard Tramp) for a re-issue for reasons that escape me. It's a campy sci-fi film where the premise is that of a beautiful female scientist has created an army of beautiful women who seduce the local men and kill them with.....MORE SEX THAN THEY CAN HANDLE!! Is there such a thing? Enter Neil Agar (William Smith) to investigate the matter on behalf of the government. One of the funnier scenes in this gem has the town leaders urging the population to practice abstinence in order to save their lives. You can imagine how this goes down. This was written by Nicholas Meyer, the same guy who directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We all have to start somewhere. All things considered, this is not a horrible film. Sure, it's exploitative. Sure it's silly. It is competently filmed, albeit you have to go in knowing that you're about to see movie camp at its most campiest. Also of note is that Anitra Ford is in this movie also, so she was kept pretty busy in 1973 between The Price is Right and shooting B-movies. Or should I say....BEE-movies. LOLOLOLOLOLOL.....*ahem* I'll show myself out.



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