Friday, November 10, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK? - Edition 9: 11/10

Amazon Prime's streaming service has a ton of variety, which is just what you want when you're looking for a movie to watch. This week's selections are ample proof of that. We journey back to the year 1977 for a trio of films that include a King Kong knock-off, Shaw Brothers style; an early Anthony Hopkins film about reincarnation that polarized critics upon release; and a 1970s "animals gone mad" cult classic that pits Leslie Neilsen against a grizzly! Why struggle with the weak selection on Netflix when you can jump on Amazon Prime and have selection up the wazoo?

The Mighty Peking Man - aka Goliathon (for its US release). From the famed Shaw Brothers studio, known for their martial arts productions, comes this story that was clearly developed to take advantage of the hype surrounding the 1976 remake of King Kong. An expedition sets forth to the Himalayas to find the Peking Man, or a ginormous ape. Along the way, we meet a beautiful blonde jungle girl named Samantha who can communicate with the big lug. There are definitely plenty of funny moments in this film, as you can't help but not take it seriously. Eventually, the story moves from the jungle to Hong Kong, where the similarities to King Kong get even more blatant. The movie is terribly goofy and silly and the mileage you get out of it may vary depending on your own level of entertainment expectations. Note: There is a tremendously hilarious slow-mo romantic interlude (replete with a 70s-style love song) at the 35-minute mark that needs to be appreciated.

Audrey Rose - Based on the novel of the same name by Frank De Felitta, the plot deals with a young girl who is believed by a man to be the reincarnation of his dead daughter. Anthony Hopkins stars as Elliot Hoover, the father of Audrey Rose, whose sole he believes to be inside the young Ivy (Susan Swift). Marsha Mason and John Beck star as Ivy's parents, who have trouble coming to believe Elliot's story. The movie is more drama than horror, but there are a few terrifying moments, as we watch Ivy go through much conflict which may or may not be the pull of Audrey Rose's soul. However, there are many more moments of boredom as everything boils down to a courtroom drama. Not really for fans of the horror genre. It contains quite a bit of discussion about the idea of reincarnation, so it may appeal to those who have an interest in the metaphysical.

Day of the Animals - Earth's ozone layer has depleted, allowing dangerous UV rays to turn every mountain animal into batshit insane predators! This is the concept behind this 1977 sci-fi/horror starring Leslie Nielsen and the husband/wife duo of Christopher and Lynda Day George. A group of innocent humans are taking part in a hiking tour in the mountains, unaware of the change in every animal over 5,000 feet above sea level. Nielsen is a bastard in this film, a change of pace from his usual comedic roles. One of the movie's highlights is Nielsen going toe-to-toe with a grizzly! This saw it's release during the post-Jaws killer-animal mania of the late 1970s and tends to be overlooked for more outrageous fare like Grizzly and Orca. It's a movie with an environmental message, but it's also fun. The stuff that 70s cult movies are made of.

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