Bad Movie of the Week

Number 46 of a series

This one came out in 1943, when the entire country was engaged in war industry. What is a wonder is that films were still being made, what with available workforce and materiel in desperate need. Jimmy Stewart was by this year flying missions over Europe, along with Clark Gable. Congressman Lyndon Johnson of Texas was flying missions in the Pacific. John Wayne was making movies. A thing that marks films of this era is the patriotic strain that runs through them. It’s A Stranger in Town, featuring Frank Morgan, better known as The Wizard of Oz. This is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia.

It’s an enjoyable movie, and what makes it a Bad Movie of the Week is its lame plot, almost cookie-cutter. We see Supreme Court Justice John Josephus Grant wrapping up a session of the Court and heading off for some vacation. He tells his sexy as all get-out secretary Lucy to not tell anybody where he has gone. She has just submitted her resignation, telling the judge she does not feel appreciated. He tears up the letter, telling her she has a load of legal talent, and she is getting great experience working for him.

And the judge goes duck hunting, which is the thing that gets the movie going. He has a license to hunt ducks in the state, but a game warden informs him he also needs a stamp for the town. The judge is prepared to pay for the tag on the spot, but then the conniving warden attempts to shake him down. There will be an extra convenience fee, which goes in the warden’s pocket.

Not telling anybody he is a Supreme, the judge declines the offer to bribe and is hauled into court. Here we see the judge carrying his double barrel into the court room, which astonished me to no end. I tend to think fire arms are not allowed in courts, because these are places where dangerous criminals hang out while being sentenced to the chair.

Anyhow, small-town lawyer Bill Adams is there, failing to defend his client. His client was late making a payment on some farm tools, and the shop is repossessing the complete lot. We begin to see this town is not a people-friendly place.

We see Bill at the barber shop getting a shave. We see the judge also getting a shave. We see the poor farmer having an encounter with the town mayor, who treats him like low-life scum. Fisticuffs result, with Bill throwing a punch.

The judge sees crooked business going on with the town government, and he sends a telegram (no email in those days) to Lucy. She arrives, and Bill is at the train station to give her a lift. He understands she is the judge’s secretary and nothing more.

Of course it is sex at first sight. Of course, this being a sort of comedy, he completely bungles the first impression. He grabs her valise and spills the contents on the train platform. A few minutes later, while driving her to her hotel in his open car, he runs over her cute hat. Yes, lifelong relationships start out this way.

Bill is running for mayor against the crooked Mayor Connison, and the mayor has a crowd of people in his pocket. One is apparently the hotel owner, who refuses a room to Lucy. We don’t allow women without luggage in our hotel. She is ordered out of the hotel. Fisticuffs ensue.

They both wind up in the county jail. Separate cells.

The judge springs them, and he sets Bill straight. Bill, expecting to be called into the Army at any time, is running for mayor in order to rid his town of the corruption. But he’s playing a loser’s game, and the judge gets him sorted out. They need to have a winning strategy.

They start with the hotel. Yard sticks are ordered brought up to the rooms. Phone calls between the rooms are exchanged. Of course the hotel switchboard operator listens in along with her boss. They know something is up, but they do not know what.

What is up is when the maid comes to turn down the judges sheets she remarks at how shamefully short they are. Using the yardsticks the conspirators have measured the sheets and the pillow cases. The hotel has literally been short-sheeting its guests. There is a state law against that, and the hotel owner is brought up on charges. The crooked judge cannot contravene the law, and the owner stands convicted.

And now precipitates what Judge Grant has been planning all along. Nothing is going to happen until the corrupt officials are goaded into actionable offenses. Bill’s crooked landlord evicts him from his office space on trumped up allegations of termites. Bill’s supporters and the mayor’s supporters confront each other, and a brawl results.

Now Bill and the judge have something to work with. They obtain confessions from the riot instigators. They deliberately brought on the conflict under the mayor’s direction. He is charged with conspiracy and is arrested at a campaign event.

At the arraignment hearing the mayor demands justification for his arrest, and the evidence is presented. The mayor stands indicted.

Judge Grant reveals his identity and gives a talk to the spectators in the court. This is the American way. Things don’t work unless citizens get involved and stay involved.

In the final scenes we see Judge Grant presiding over Bill’s and Lucy’s wedding. Throughout the movie we are reminded of the call to duty and a drive to sell war bonds.

Of course I spotted defects in continuity. Judge is hauled into court for hunting without a license, and the trial judge finishes with the luckless farmer. Then he calls the next case and names the defendant, who has just been brought in unannounced. Is he psychic or something?

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Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 59 of a series

This is Likely Lee Marvin’s last worthwhile role. From 1983 it’s Gorky Park, streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia.

This is based on the book of the same name by Martin Cruz Smith. If you don’t know, Maxim Gorky, otherwise known as Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, was a soviet-styled writer prior to World War II, so it would come as no surprise they named a park in Moscow after him. And that’s what they did, and that’s how the movie got its title.

It’s winter in Gorky Park, and you have to remember in Moscow winter lasts through April. Anyhow, the pond is still frozen solid, and skaters are enjoying the music boomed out at studio level. It sounds like Swan Lake, but eventually we hear chords of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. That will turn out to be significant.

Anyhow, somebody wanders off into the woods and discovers three bodies under the snow. Militia (police) officer Renko is on the scene to investigate when the KGB (since relabeled the GRU) shows up. Do you want the case? No, it’s all right. You can take the case. Then why was the KGB interested in three people dead for three months under the snow with their faces surgically removed, and their fingertips sliced off to prevent identification. Two men were shot center mass and then in the eye. The girl was shot in the head.

Renko is not on good terms with the KGB. He previously arrested a KGB for murder, and he was taken out of sight and beaten. Now he reports to his bosses and gives them the grim details. Chief Prosecutor Iamskoy wants Renko to stay on the case.

The murdered girl was wearing skates, but the name scratched on one blade is another person. Renko tracks her down. She is Irina Asanova, and she is working for a movie production company. She doesn’t know how somebody else got her skates. They were stolen. But she didn’t immediately report the theft.

Renko is invited to Iamskoy’s dacha, which if you are familiar, is a villa. In the Soviet Union some animals were more equal than others. There he meets American businessman Jack Osborne. And there is Irina. She came with Osborne, but she asks Renko to drive her home. In the car he tries to question her, but she objects and gets out of the car.

Renko retrieves the heads of the three victims and has a forensic anthropologist reconstruct them. The girl was a friend of Irina’s. One of the men was an American. The other was another friend of Irina’s

Renko notices somebody following him, and there is an encounter in the snow in a railway yard. Renko loses the fight, and the man gets away, but Renko is sure he is American. He tracks the man down and waits for him to leave his room at the Budapest Hotel. Then he lets himself into the man’s room and searches it. The Soviet Union had no Fourth Amendment.

But the man returns too soon. Meanwhile Renko has discovered a pistol that can be assembled from innocuous parts, and he puts it together and loads it in time to confront the man. He is American Police Detective William Kirwill. He is in the country to look for his brother, who came to Moscow months ago and was never heard from since. It will turn out Kirwill’s brother was one of the three murder victims.

Renko determines the three victims had taken the job of constructing a religious chest. He identifies a merchant involved in the construction. Renko has a partner on the force and he directs him to go look at the chest. The item is inside this door. But inside, also, is a gunman, who kills both of them.

Renko follows Irina, and sees she is being stalked. Through a window he sees somebody attempting to murder her with a lethal injection. He crashes through the window and deals with the assassin.

He helps her recover from the attack, and the two engage in passionate sex.

The KGB confiscates the reconstructed head of James Kirwill, brother of William Kirwill, and Renko and Kirwill follow them. They drive with the reconstructed head to Iamskoy’s dacha, and they watch from concealment as the head is methodically demolished with an ax.

Finally Renko is sure of what has been going on. Osborne is in the fur business, and he wants to smuggle six (three mating pairs) sables out of the country. He has been importing Russian sable, but he wants to break the Russian monopoly and breed his own.

Iamskoy is in on the deal, assisting Osborne in return for a bribe. But Iamskoy has kept Renko on the case to coerce Osborne into upping the ante. When Renko confronts Iamskoy at his spa there is a tussle over the gun, and Iamskoy falls backward over a railing into the pool, dead.

Now, Renko is in deep shit, having killed the chief prosecutor. He works a deal with the KGB. Osborne has fled to Sweden with the sables. He has taken Irina with him. She had been deceived into believing Osborne successfully assisted her two friends along with James Kirwill into escaping the USSR. Now Renko has convinced her the three are dead.

The plan is for Renko to kill Osborne in Sweden along with the six sables. But Renko is sure the KGB will kill him once the deed is done, and he arranges for Kirwill to travel to Sweden to back him up.

But when Renko and the KGB agents arrive at the meeting place, Osborne’s breeding farm outside Stockholm, they discover Osborne is ahead of them in the game. They find Kirwill’s eviscerated corpse roped to a tree.

Osborne is there with Irina. He has a rifle, and he picks off the KGB agents, even the ones hiding out in the woods to finish off Renko. Then it’s down to Renko and Osborne, but Renko has only a pistol.

Irina comes forward, and Osborne threatens to shoot her unless Renko comes out from hiding. Renko comes out, and there is a shot. But Irina fired the shot, and we see Osborne saying to himself, “You shot me. You really shot me.” Next Osborne absorbs multiple hits and expires in the snow.

Irina will continue her escape from the Soviet Union, but Renko will go back to Moscow and report the six sables are dead. He will not mention that Osborne actually smuggled out twelve sables, and Renko sets the remaining six free to romp in the Swedish snow and to reproduce in the wild.

A minor plot flaw is the sable monopoly. Sables breed in the wild all over northern Europe and Asia. The best are in northern Russia, but there was never any problem snagging a few mating pairs and turning them loose near the Finish border, breaking the monopoly.

The first Lee Marvin film I saw was The Caine Mutiny, where he played a sailor called “Meatball.”

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Bad Movie of the Week

Number 45 of a series

When I think Amazon Prime Video has reached the bottom, they give it their all, and they dig deeper. Another time, another year I might have told you, “This is it. We can’t go any lower.” I no longer have that confidence. This movie has destroyed my arrogance. From 1957 this is The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy. Remember, I watch these so you won’t have to. Details are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Look, I’m not going to waste time with the plot details. You can watch this for free on YouTube. I’m placing the link below.

This one is from Mexico with the original title La Momia Azteca contra el Robot Humano. Just to give the Aztec setting, the opening sequence shows some archaeology. We are told this is a tale based on fact and some fiction. Sworn witnesses, attested by notarized statements give assurance the story is true.

Dr. Almada and his lovely wife Sepulveda welcome guests into their home. The guests are colleagues, and Dr. Almada recounts what went before. He previously presented a paper at a conference detailing his exploration of history using past life regression. His presentation was derided by those at the conference, and he left, embittered. Imagine that. They didn’t believe in past life regression.

Now they have to believe him. He hypnotized his wife, an Aztec descendant, and she recounted the death of Princess Xochitl. The princess had prepared her life, remaining sexually pure so she could be sacrificed as a virgin. But biology intervened. She developed a romantic longing for an Aztec warrior.

Before the pairing could be consummated, the two were found out, and her warrior lover was executed by being buried alive. She was placed on the alter, and her pure heart was cut out.

Now we get to the matter of the gold breast plate what was placed on her body, along with a golden bracelet. Using Sepulveda’s memories of her past life, Dr. Almada and his colleagues penetrate the Aztec tomb and locate the golden artifacts.

We see Sepulveda subsequently taken back and placed on the alter, where the mummified warrior comes to her rescue.

We see the evil Dr. Krupp, his eye on getting the artifacts for himself. He takes hostages and forces (I’m guessing) Dr. Almada to decipher a hieroglyphics to reveal the location of the gold. That done, Dr. Krupp orders his gunnies to dispense with the hostages.

Just then the Aztec warrior bursts in and defeats the gunmen. Their bullets can’t kill him.

Sepulveda is asleep when Krupp commands her telepathically to leave the house and lead them to the treasure. At the tomb site they encounter the grounds keeper.

Later Sepulveda returns to her bed, unaware of what has happened. The next day Dr. Almada figures something is afoot. He nightgown and her house slippers have mud on them. Besides, one of her children attests she was not in her bed all night. They have her lead them back to the tomb. There the grounds keeper affirms strangers were there.

Krupp has a devious plan. He has spent years without letup developing a humanoid robot.

The robot will defeat the Aztec mummy.

But, no. The Aztec is not to be defeated, and Krupp’s plan fails.

And that is the end of The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy.

Here, watch it on YouTube. Running time is 65 minutes.

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Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 58 of a series

Outer crust Steve Martin, this movie skewers the faith healing industry and America’s mindless underbelly in one. From those glory days of 1992 it’s Leap of Faith, and it’s down and dirty. These were the days when James Randi and ABC News reporter Dianne Sawyer ripped open Robert Tilton’s sordid milking of the faithful. Although set in rural Kansas, production appropriately took place closer to home in towns like Tulia and Groom plus Plainview, all in the Texas Panhandle. Full disclosure: I have relatives in Plainview.

In March this streamed on Amazon Prime Video, and I captured the screen shots before it disappeared in April. Details are from Wikipedia.

Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant, and Kenneth Copeland  all had “ministries” in the Dallas area during the time. Tilton’s Word of Faith Family Church was alongside I-35E in Carrollton, and further north along the interstate was a grain elevator of sorts with “Jesus is Lord” painted in bold across three silos. My brother once met the woman who did the artwork. Grant’s Eagle’s Nest Family Church was a palatial edifice visible to the west as I drove along Highway 208 to my brother’s house. I never saw Copeland’s complex, but I understand it was east of Dallas, out near Rockwall.

Jonas Nightengale has none of these. His church rolls wheels in a caravan that crisscrosses the American heartland, diving for dollars. We see the playful troop of professional grifters as things are about to unravel in Rustwater, Kansas. Hint, there is no such town.

A crucial truck throws a clutch, and the caravan grinds to a halt. It will take several days before the local shop can get in the part, so they all pile out and file into the town’s main diner.

Jonas Nightengale (not his real name) takes immediate fancy to the main waitress. He is Elmer Gantry reborn and prepared to ram the spirit of the Lord into any and every compliant wench. Marva is not all that compliant, life having dealt her a rough hand to the tune up her resistance. Jonas feels rebuffed, which only fuels his determination.

Since they will be in Rustwater for a few days, Jonas figures to make the most of it. They will set up shop and milk a few dollars from the gullible locals. But first they need a permit, and Sheriff Braverman is obstinate, knowing full well what the scam is and feeling the need to protect the impoverished yokels. The place is on hard times. The economy is farm-based, and there has been no rain since Mother Teresa pulled her last miracle. Farm foreclosures are staggering, and unemployment is north of 20%. He has no legal reason to deny the permit, but the sheriff becomes determined to thwart the scam.

Yes, here it is, the idol to salvation since 2000 years when the Romans used it to torture people to death. It may not be pink and pleasant, but it does glow in the dark.

And the people come, and Jonas is in rare form. And Martin is in supreme form as he moves the multitude to jubilation. They are well and thoroughly taken. The money pours in, but it’s a trickle compared to other venues.

Jonas’ partner in crime is Jane Larson, and she takes a shine to the sheriff, a straight shooting guy with a gentle side to charm her. The attraction is mutual. Something develops.

Jonas continues to move on Marva, but we see the source of her reserve. Her brother Boyd was crippled in an automobile accident, after which faith healers drained the family fortune.

At a tabernacle meeting the sheriff unveils the results of his research. Jonas is not his real name, and he has a sordid past. He has been a conman and a swindler all his life.

But, as we knew he would, Jonas turns all this around. He acknowledges his past and exemplifies it as the heights to which a person can climb through faith in the Lord. Then things begin to break.

Although the tent was guarded all night, with the coming of a new day the eyes of Jesus on the cross, previously closed, are now open. The faithful flock to his meetings.

But Boyd is the sand in the gears. He comes forward, begging to be healed. What has he got to lose, Jonas finally decides. He invokes the power of the Lord, and, behold, Boyd shucks his crutches and walks. Hallelujah! The power of the Lord is manifest. The road ahead will be paved with gold.

But it’s enough for Jonas. Jane quits the show and hooks up with the sheriff. Before dawn breaks for what will surely be a Fort Knox day, Jonas catches a ride at the truck stop and tells the driver he has no idea where he will be going, but he will always find something. And it starts to rain, really hard. Praise the Lord!

The Prime Time Live exposé dented Tilton’s scam severely, but not fatally. Fate poured it on, however. Tilton was renting a house in nearby Irving, Texas, but the house was owned by a drug lord. The feds busted the landlord, and they confiscated. the house. Now the United States government was Tilton’s landlord, and his rent became public knowledge. It was $6000 a month. That may not sound like much these days, but 30 years ago it was more than most of us made in a whole day. And his wife divorced him. The Word of Faith building in Carrollton went vacant, and the lettering on the silos came off. Read the item on Wikipedia. Robert Tilton is proof there is life after death.

I like to lay a bunch of this foolishness on rural America, but the truth is you can dive deep into any large, metropolitan center and find the same mentality. P.T. Barnum, eat your heart out.

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Bad Movie of the Week

Number 44 of a series

Quarantined at home, I have lots of time to watch old movies. Just like last year. This one is Beyond the Time Barrier from 1960 and streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Wikipedia has the details.

Yeah, I don’t recognize any of those names, either. I was spending a lot of time at sea the year this came out, and this is my first time watching it. The acting is mediocre, and the science is bad. Other than that it’s an all right movie.

We see Major Allison check in at the Air Force base and meet up with Colonel Martin. They have planned a special flight in a modified F-102, only they never call it that in the movie. Martin outlines the test profile. Allison is to push the throttle to the wall and climb to 75,000 feet. There he will engage a rocket engine and go into suborbital flight at 500,000 feet, almost 100 miles up. He will become a spaceman.

Allison is suited up and ready to go.

Everything goes as planned, and gunning along at 10,000 mph the plane experiences a shift in space-time.

When Allison lands back at the base it is deserted and rundown. Nobody has been there in years. He hikes along the road, looking for civilization.

It’s one of those “Where is everybody?” moments. In fact, that is what he shouts.

He comes to a futuristic edifice, and as he approaches he is being tracked by people at the controls of a paralyzer device. They bring him down to depths of an underground community. After they decontaminate him he gets to meet his captors. One of them is Princess Trirene. Nobody speaks, and nobody can hear. This at first confuses him, but Trirene has the ability to read people’s minds, and she knows what he is thinking.

He is brought before the royal court, one of which is Trirene’s grandfather, known as The Supreme.

They figure he is a spy for the unmutated. They throw him into a jail for captured mutants. Notice everything is in triangles. They have forgotten to make rectangular doors, even.

But Trirene can read his mind, and she knows he is not a spy. She has him sprung, and she has reasons. Only The Supreme and The Captain can hear and speak. Everybody in the colony is sterile, except perhaps Trirene, and there are plans to exploit the Major to increase the population.

But there are other captives, as well. They convince him it is no longer 1960. It is 2024. Remember, readers, this is what the world will look like in four years. The three other captives are scientists of sorts, and Captain Markova has a scheme.

Without a lot of elaboration, the other three captives hatch a plan. They will help the major escape. He will travel back in time and will warn the world to avoid the radioactive disaster that has led to the current crisis.

The major plans to take Trirene back with him, but Markova figures to be the one to go back with him. She knifes a guard and sets free the mutant prisoners.

There is a wild melee, with mutants and most of the guards killing each other.

When Markova attempts to assert her scheme, one of the others shoots her. There are additional exchanges as counter plots among the remaining scientists emerge. A stray shot kills Trirene, and the major carriers her body back to her grandfather. The Supreme gives the major Trirene’s ring, and he escapes, making it back to his plane.

He returns to 1960 and to his home base, but as he prepares to land he radios he has an emergency and needs help. He is taken to the hospital, and here we get to see his current condition. He has aged the 64-year difference.

His obvious change, plus his information about the two scientists he has met and also Trirene’s ring all converge to convince authorities this is real, and something must be done to save the world.

And I am guessing the world gets saved. We never see anymore after this.

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Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 57 of a series

This is one I have been hoping to catch. I feel sure I saw it once when it came out about 57 years ago, and I have not seen it since. It’s Hud from 1963, based on Larry McMurtry’s first novel, Horsemen, Pass By. It features Paul Newman in the title role, as one of the most worthless of the species in film, and the movie is painfully grim. It opens on a down note and descends from there. I’m catching it now, streaming on Hulu, although Amazon Prime Video is also featuring it. Details are from Wikipedia.

Its iconic scene is one etched in cinematography for all time. Everything in the movie either leads to it or falls from it. Here’s how it goes.

Lonnie Bannon hitches a ride into town to fetch his uncle Hud Bannon. He looks for Hud’s pink Cadillac, and he follows a trail of moral destruction to find the Cadillac parked in front of a married woman’s house. Hud is leaving, putting on his boots, but the two don’t get away before the woman’s husband drives up, back from a business trip. The husband demands an answer, and Hud gallantly lays the blame on his nephew. This kind of loyalty is Hud’s brightest trait.

Hud is needed at the Bannon ranch. A heifer has died of unknown causes, and his father Homer Bannon wants to take an opinion from the son. We wonder why. If there is a cause for alarm, Hud wants to avoid the truth. The government agent will be called in to make an evaluation. Hud and Lonnie are to stand by the animal’s corpse until relieved. After Homer and the two ranch hands depart, Hud unloads the responsibility on Lonnie and heads into town to pursue some loose pussy.

We see the remaining Bannon household, including housekeeper Alma Brown.

The government agent suggests the problem might be foot and mouth disease, which would be devastating to the ranch. All clove-hoof stock would need to be killed and buried. Hud will have no part of such a suggestion. He resents government interference, and he suggests a quick sale of the stock before buyers get wind of their situation.

Homer Bannon has no use for his younger son. Lonnie’s father was the older one, and we learn later he was killed in an automobile accident while Hud was driving, drunk. While Homer and Lonnie are dining in town Hud comes in with one of his married women, but Homer will not agree to have the two join them at the table.

We see Hud getting his nephew into drunken brawls. Hud is the worst example in the world, but Lonnie is strangely fascinated. Meanwhile the ranch sits under a cloud, being forced into quarantine.

There is no hope for selling the stock now, and Hud wants to open the ranch to oil exploration. This is West Texas. Homer will have none of that. He is the ultimate sentimentalists. Nothing is worth having that is not created by human sweat.

We see life in a small Texas town. A bunch of this recalls  my own childhood. Here grown men are engaged in a contest to catch a squealing pig and drag the animal to the finish line.

Drink is Hud’s first enterprise, right before women who don’t belong to him. Drunk and out of sorts one evening he breaks down Alma’s door and assaults her. Lonnie saves her, and Hud is remorseful, possibly.

The cattle have foot and mouth disease, and here comes the scene for which the movie is famous. The bulldozers start up their engines and begin to carve out a trench for the doomed livestock.

Shooters working for the government stand by as the cattle are herded in.

Then the shooting starts, and in a minute or so it’s all over. The bulldozers complete their work, and the ranch is dead.

The two ranch hands are fired. Alma packs her things and catches the bus out of town. Hud stops to say goodbye.

Hud and Lonnie drive to the ranch, Hud in the Cadillac and Lonnie in the truck. They come across Homer lying in the ranch road. His horse has thrown him. He dies as they tend him.

Lonnie attends the funeral, but he leaves before the grave service. When Hud gets to the ranch Lonnie has packed a bag and is leaving. He never looks back.

The cattle slaughter scene lives on in history of American cinema. Bill Cosby featured in a famous monologue.

I watched a film/movie called Hud, which was a great picture. No plot, no nothing to it, just a guy who’s chasing all the women in town, you know.
And the high point in the picture to me was really when they shot all the cows, because the cows had hoof and mouth. And they dug a hole, and they led the cows into it, and the guys were all dressed up in rubber suits and everything, and they have to shoot the cows [makes gunfire sounds]. And it’s very important to wear the rubber, because if the foam gets on you they have to shoot you. “This is fun shooting cows, ain’t it?” “Yeah, and it looks like you got a little foam on you.” [makes the sound of a gunshot]
So I was thinking like, uh, how do the cows feel about this whole thing? Really, you have to think about it, because cows must think about something.
And one cow talks to the other. [some deleted]
Hey! Where’re we going?
We’re going to get shot.
Say what?
I said we’re going to get shot.
What for?
Because we’ve got hoof and mouth.
Hoof and mouth? What’s that?
See that foam around your mouth?
That’s hoof and mouth.
They’re gonna shoot us?
Any way I can get out of it?
What’s that?
Wipe that foam from around your mouth.

Larry McMurtry is the author of other Texas-based classics, including The last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, and Lonesome Dove.

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Bad Movie of the Week

Number 43 of a series

Sometimes you can read the title and figure this is going to be a bad movie. Amazon Prime Video again. From 1958 this is She Demons, featuring actors you never heard of. Details are from Wikipedia.

Forget about the story line. I will give you an overview of the plot and let you decide whether you want to watch it.

The opening scene is news video of a hurricane. The announcer concludes with the announcement that a boat has gone missing with a wealthy heiress and the crew.

And here they are. Cast up on an uncharted island. By now you are getting that reality doesn’t figure in. This is the Caribbean or the western Atlantic, and there are still uncharted islands. Jerrie Turner finds all this most inconvenient, and we can see she is a spoiled playgirl.

But things go from bad to worse. Sammy gets the radio working, but it will only receive. And what it receives is that another boat has been found, and everybody thinks they were lost somewhere else. Nobody will come looking here.

More bad news. Sammy hears radio communications among members of a flight of fighter/bombers which zooms overhead. They will commence soon to use the island for target practice. Wait! This is an island nobody knows about, but the armed forces know about it?

More bad news. There are footprints in the sand. Human female prints, but with claws.  Not looking good. Bert, who seems to be from the region, recognizes evil, and he performs a ritual to mitigate the evil.

Of course they set off to explore the jungle. They leave Bert to watch the camp on the beach, and they slog through dense forest. Nothing happens during this time, except Jerrie is menaced by a large snake. And they hear drums.

When they return to the camp Burt has been murdered, pierced by spears. On the beach they find a woman’s body. When they turn it over they see this.

The three survivors probe deeper into the jungle, following the sound of the drums. They come upon a group of beautiful women performing an exotic dance routine.

This is the point in the movie where the Nazis show up. Oh, great! All this movie needs now is a biker gang to make it complete. The Nazis lead the dancers away. Obviously they are in charge of everything that goes on.

The three adventurers follow and come to the Nazi camp, where they witness a Nazi torture master punishing one of the women with a whip. After he departs Fred cuts her bindings, but she is dead.

The torture master returns and finds the dead woman free from her bonds, and he figures there are strangers loose on the island.

By now the three have penetrated into the heart of the Nazi hideout, and they explore a strange laboratory. The torture master returns, and he captures Jerrie. Fred takes him on, and there is a fitful fight. The three escape.

The TM catches up with them out by the women’s cage, and this time he is shoved into the cage, where the women take their revenge on him.

But they are captured again. Colonel Karl Osler is in charge of the Nazi enclave. These are war criminals who have escaped after the defeat of 1945 and have been hiding out on this island. Yes, the island nobody knows anything about. He has been doing hideous experiments on the captured women dancers in an attempt to renew his wife’s face, ruined in an accident years before.

Now he has Jerrie, and his lech turns in her direction. He dresses her in one of his wife’s outfits, and romances her with offers of champagne. She rebuffs him.

So now Jerrie must submit to Osler’s evil experiment while Fred and Sammy look on from their barred enclosure. The wife, Mona, watches through her face bandages. She knows her husband had previously put the move on Jerrie. Her loyalties have been bent by this.

The bombing starts. The lab is wrecked, and the three adventurers, along with Mona, escape. Mona has a pistol, and she shoots a Nazi guard who menaces them. She remains to die with her husband.

The bombing has triggered the volcano on the island, and the place starts to come apart at the seams. Besides that, the remaining Nazis engage Fred in a shootout. Fred kills two of them with the Nazi pistol Mona gave him, and a rock slide finishes off the remaining Nazi.

They come to the top of a ridge and look down at the beach where Mona told them there would be a boat. Fred and Jerrie have formed a romantic attachment, and they look forward to making babies.

The paddle off the island, confident the erupting volcano will bring a fleet of ships to rescue them. I mean, what else can go wrong?

As you may have guessed. I found this one also on YouTube.


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