The Spanish Moss Murders (Kolchak The Night Stalker episode December 6, 1974)

“Pepe?” inquires Kolchak of a street hustler. “Pepe Schmepe, my real name’s Maurice Shapiro…” comes the reply in a deadpan Bronx accent. Its that kind of earthy banter and bullshit that keeps me returning to this classic TV series. Kolchak bites off quite a wad with this bogeyman covered with Spainish Moss. The X FILES would get inspiration from this episode years later. Here, the Cajun Bogeyman is created by a University of Chicago student who is doing a sleep study to free his mind from childhood nightmares. Once again, Kolchak is trying to figure out the unthinkable. How do you kill the product of someone’s dreams? [Read more…]

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From Beyond The Grave (1974 Britain)

A four part story film with more resonance than its predecessors. The success of this Amicus portmanteau is the unusually strong and well-integrated story, with a Yorkshire – voiced Peter Cushing enjoying himself as the sinister proprietor of ‘Temptations Antiques.’ Situated between a cemetery and a nearby demolition contractor this is a most curious of curiosity shops. Cushing’s duffel coat and cloth cap appearance seems like just another part of the shop’s antiquated décor. But mind how you treat him if you want to buy some of his object d art. Even the one honest customer who goes in has to endure a highly unpleasant experience! [Read more…]

A Classic Recording

The Island At The Top Of The World (1974 USA)

A fun and forgettable family adventure film that passes the time amiably enough. There’s nothing here that’s controversial, just one old-fashioned adventure after another, and thankfully it’s not as twee as I’d feared given its Disney pedigree. This is one of the better-regarded of the Disney studio’s live-action efforts, particularly among those made following Walt’s death. It’s a fantasy adventure on Jules Verne lines; actually, the film coincided with the somewhat similar (and equally good) The Land That Time Forgot (1975). [Read more…]

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974 United Artists)

 

This is another 007 adventure which gets trashed by many critics. Perhaps because it’s subdued in tone, possibly abnormally so for a Bond movie. As if the film itself is depressed. Well, in 1974 the world was in a depressed state–because of the energy crisis, which M and Bond remind us of in one of their dialogue exchanges. The vibe surrounding here is the most peculiar of them all: it’s very Asiatic/kung-fu in tone, and very downbeat. It’s definitely no extravaganza like, say, The Living Daylights, but an attentive viewing of the Man With The Golden Gun should prove very rewarding. This is the last of the ‘old-fashioned’ Bond films. [Read more…]

CHINATOWN (1974 United States)

faye“You’ve seen it all years ago”, my ex-wife liked to say. “Why would you wanna see it again?” Like many of you, I feel like I have seen too much, but what the hell. If this blog is my second wife then I have to heed her call to “fill me up!” You, the voters, need something new to read, right? Never mind the spoilers, here’s the review… [Read more…]

THE BEAST MUST DIE (Britain 1974)

beast_must_die_poster_spanishI have a limited amount of internet access now so here’s another review. The Beast Must Die is an unusual film in more ways than one. The studio who made it – Amicus – were well-known almost solely for their portmanteau movies, i.e. a selection of short horror stories connected by a spooky framing narrative. The Beast Must Die is not one of those types of films, instead its story encompasses a full length feature. [Read more…]

THE RATS (James Herbert)

61TsFHNfdoL._SL300_I am a simple fool, so no wonder I like this book. And a plot rarely gets simpler than this. Mr Herbert’s first book follows an outbreak of mutated giant rats in London, with most of the (early) action focused around the Docklands. The novel is reasonably short at just under 200 pages and the action proceeds at a rapid pace. There isn’t time to get bored during this! [Read more…]

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