Beyond The Fog is the title of the first movie we watched tonight. It's a 1972 British Horror movie in the Hammer tradition. There's some murder and nudity in this story of family loyalty and madness. Mostly of the nudity is in the first third, the murder just keeps on and on like the Energizer Bunny. Stab stab stab. Some fishermen land on a desolate island with a run down lighthouse. They find some dead naked people and one live naked girl. American teens on holiday. The naked girl stabs the older fisherman. Ow ow ow. Then the second fisherman knocks her out. We meet a cop and the doctor who's taking care of naked girl. She's gotten dressed but slipped into a catatonic state from the Horror of Snape Island. That's one of the other alternate titles for the movie along with Tower of Evil. There's a pretty nice model of the island with it's rocks and towering lighthouse. The set of the building is pretty good too. The rocks are oddly shaped. You can see some pics and a synopsis here and the trailer on YouTube. They pack a lot of movie in a short 89 minutes. One sad or crazy thing unfolds every few minutes. I was hoping for more nudity but there's plenty of weird story that pops up to keep your interest engaged, at least for me. Hardly anyone survives the charnal house of Snape Island. The filming is pretty good and often there's a cool shot or something neat to look at. The dialog isn't the best but it's often wonderful. The characters are a mixed lot. It's easy to dislike some of them. I couldn't count the times I was thinkin', "That guy needs a stabbin'." The gore effects were mixed. The make up wasn't much better. The makeup job on the murderer was pretty sad. Still they burned that guy up pretty solid. That's the movie, a pretty solid piece of entertainment for the horror crowd. Nice to see TCM is running the odd little gem like this. Saves me buying a copy.
Ever imagined Jackie Chan and Jet Li in a movie together. Now you don't have to waste your precious gray matter on that, there is one. I picked up a copy of The Forbidden Kingdom and brought that. I sure enjoyed it, but I've got a big man crush on Jackie. The story is a re-telling of the very popular Chinese Monkey King story. The evil guy traps the Monkey King and turns him into stone. He's remains a statue until someone returns the fancy staff to him. It's in San Francisco 500 years in the future. That's like last year for me and you. Michael Angarano plays a kid who's fascinated with Kung Fu movies. He buys bootleg Kung Fu movies from an old Chinese guy in Chinatown. I didn't recognize Jackie for several minutes. He has the staff in the back of his shop. Michael is tossed back into the past and his new adventure as a chosen one kind of guy. There are the traditional training scenes and now Jackie is the drunken master. It's all come full circle. I think that's some Zen shit right there. There's lots of fighting and plenty of good kung fu. There's a pretty young girl who travels with the good guys. There's a pretty young girl with long white hair who's with the bad guys. There are several references to other Chinese movies. There's some comedy and lots of tragedy. It's an entertaining movie with a happy ending. I always like those. Rob Minkoff is the director and he's got a short but interesting filmography. Two Roger Rabbit animed shorts, Tummy Trouble and Roller Coaster Rabbit. Follow that with The Lion King, Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2, then The Haunted Mansion. The last movie was in 2003, this was his first movie since. TFK is a pretty big step up from THM, which maybe his weakest. I thought it was entertaining, but the combination of Jackie and Jet, coupled with the wonderful Chinese country side, man, that's some major entertainment. So what if the treak through the desert was sort of slow. It's the Gobi Desert. It's cool to look at. And really, what is the best way to experience the desert? ON TV. Hard to get a heat stroke on Sperhauk's couch in the middle of the Minnesota winter.