Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

History remembers 1953’s House of Wax as the first big studio film shot in 3-D during that gimmick’s earliest incarnation. History remembers this so well, in fact, that history tends to overlook that House of Wax has perhaps even more significant a claim to fame: it was more or less the movie that first linked […]

The word “gimmick” almost always comes with a certain sneering tone of superiority attached: the suggestion is inherent that a thing was less gimmicky, it would be improved as a result. This is not a hard-and-true relationship. There is, for example, the career of director & producer William Castle, whose film career could not be […]

The first thing worth noting is that Bond parodies and rip-offs were always more successful in Europe than in the United States – not for nothing is there an entire Eurospy subgenre far more robust and long-lived than anything that America or the United Kingdom was able to claim. And thus it was the case […]

I’ve been in a Vincent Price mood lately, and Turner Classic Movies just so happened to come along to scratch that particular itch for me last week, and that is why today and tomorrow are given over to a pair of “Why the hell not?” reviews – something I frankly don’t do enough of, and […]

Hi, my Jewish friends! You didn’t think I was going to leave y’all out of the vaguely-insulting fun, did you? Of course not, and here we are with a film that, by virtue of referencing in somewhat slapdash fashion the ten plagues of Egypt, is the closest thing the world has to a Passover-themed horror […]

The last of the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations Roger Corman directed for American International Pictures – though by no means the last one that AIP cranked out – The Tomb of Ligeia is the most polished and classy film of the entire cycle, and it is not uncommon to find people arguing, on those grounds, […]

The seventh of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for AIP, The Masque of the Red Death, opened four years and two days after the first, House of Usher, and that is a whole lot of Poe in not very much time no matter how you slice it (and let us pause to observe that […]

“The Haunted Palace” is a great little poem, one of Edgar Allan Poe’s all-time best pieces of verse. Emphasis on little. It’s all of six stanzas long, a total of 48 lines, and its single function is to describe the atmosphere clinging to a palace in a luxuriant valley that was once, generations ago, a […]

It’s a parlor game for 19th Century literature freaks and nothing but to speculate on such questions, but let us take a moment to muse upon the most famous short story written by Edgar Allan Poe – that is, name the first Poe story that comes to mind. Ask a dozen people, and I suspect […]

As I mentioned, the third of the AIP/Roger Corman Poe movies, Premature Burial, was something of a failure – not a flop, for it’s hard for a movie produced as cheaply as even the costliest AIP picture to “flop” – and for the fourth movie in the cycle, the second released in 1962, a course-correction […]

For their very next Edgar Allan Poe adaptation after the surprise hit House of Usher, Roger Corman and American International Pictures went all the way around to the other side – one of the reasons that “The Fall of the House of Usher” makes so much sense as a movie story (and the reason why […]

Prior to 1960, American Interntational Pictures – the legendary & notorious AIP -was known almost exclusively as the purveyor of quick, cheap cash-ins, movies that sought to grab the largest possible audience at the smallest possible expense, courtesy of lurid titles, even more lurid posters, and stories that rather more often than not could be […]