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The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
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The Devil's Hand (aka "The Devil's Doll" and "The Naked Goddess")
Starring: Robert Alda, Linda Christian, Neil Hamilton, and Ariadna Welter
Director: William Hole, Jr.
Good-guy Rick Turner (Alda) is lured into a Satanic cult by telepathic temptress Bianca (Christian). When he discovers the cult is responsible for his fiance's heart-trouble via a voodoo curse, Rick must choose between the cult and true love. But the voodoo-doll making cult leader, Frank (Hamilton), has ways he believes will keep Rick with the devil worshippers.
"The Devil's Hand" has some interesting aspects, and some potentially interesting plot developments (the journalist who has infiltrated the cult, the cult's ability to infitrate hospital staff, the true sorcery involved--even if Frank uses stage magician tricks to have the demon god "pass judgement" during ceremonies), but none of these are really explored.
For the most part, this is a woodenly acted melodrama where the charcters are motivated to take actions for no reason other than the script says they must... except for the black cultists; the one beating the voodoo drum and the one who simply HAS to dance whenever the beat is on. Clearly, they're motivated by natural rythm. (And even taking into account this film dates from 1961, the racist stereotype was grating here, particularly since the cult is established to be worldwide, what with Bianca encountering it in Tibet).
I say just let your fingers walk right by "The Devil's Hand".
A honeymooning couple (Gunn and Rice) travel to a country farmhouse together with their driver/manservant (McDaniel). Here, what was to be a quiet honeymoon turns into wild craziness when a coffin is delivered to the house... a coffin from within which the corpse vanishes!
"The Ghost and the Guest" is a screwball comedy crossed with a mystery movie. Despite some excellent comedic acting by the three leads (Gunn, Florence, and McDaniel) and passable performances by the rest, the film never quite gels as a comedy or a mystery. It never manages to rise beyond a point just below mediocre.
It's not for lack of jokes and action and energy that the film doesn't amount to much. From the moment Gunn and McDaniel appear on screen, the film is a steady stream of patter and gags, and the characters are constantly in some sort of motion or turmoil. Unfortunately, all the activity on screen is undirected; it is chaos that never builds to a crecendo, but remains at the same steady, swirling din trhoughout the film, with situations coming and going with barely a sense of connection between them.
James Gunn (who comes across like a low-rent Jack Benny) and Sam McDaniel (who plays a particularly sharp-tongued black servant for a movie of that day and age) are both excellent in this film, and their performances make it almost worth your time to sit through this movie. McDaniel in particular is fun to watch.
(By the way, if you decide to see this movie, be careful who might be around. With all the hysteria currently in the air about nooses, you might find yourself accused of committing a hate crime or attempting to intimidate more sensitive neighbors or flatmates. There is a particularly annoying character, a retired hangman, who wants to test his nooses on the visitors to the country house, including the black driver. So... watch out where you watch this film, or you may find Al Sharpton picketing your house!)
The Ghost and the Guest
Starring: James Gunn, Florence Rice, Sam McDaniel, Robert Dudley, Robert Bice, Jim Toney, and Anthony Warde
Director: William Nigh
Fanatic (aka "The Last Horror Film")
Starring: Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro
Director: David Winters
A delusional would-be filmmaker, Vinnie, (Spinell) follows his favorite horror movie star, Jana Bates (Munro), to the Cannes Film Festival where he proceeds to stalk her and her collegues while making the ultimate, true-to-life slasher-movie.
There was great potential in this movie, but it fails to reach it because of excessive padding and bad scripting. The story only functions because its characters behave stupidly--Jana is being stalked by a crazed killer who has gone after her twice, and yet she doesn't even hire any bodyguards, and gets no police protection?--and because the killer manages to pull off the impossible--such as making a corpse and all the blood vanish in a matter of moments, gets his hands on a police uniform in a city he doesn't know, and gets in and out of a backstage area during an ongoing production without being seen by anyone. The twist ending helps explain some of these plot problems (and twist-on-the-twist helps further), but these also feel like cop-outs on the part of the filmmakerrs who must have known their script had problems and were trying to do an easy fix.
"Fanatic" was a movie I really wanted to like, but it was just too flawed to be good. Maybe with about ten minutes shaved from the running time, and a little more care taken with the plotting and the twist-endings, this would have been an excellent little flick. It's one that could do with a remake. (In the 2008 version, Vinnie would be updating his Rotten Tomatoes blog on a thrice-daily basis. :D )
(Amusing trivia: The movie that Jana Bates is in Cannes to promote is "Scream", which eventually became a real-life self-referential horror movie directed by Wes Craven.)
The Castle of Fu Manchu
Starring: Richard Greene and Christopher Lee
Director: Jess Franco
The immortal Dr. Fu Manchu (Lee) launches yet another nefarious scheme--this one involving a weapon that will freeze the world's oceans--and only Sir Dennis Nayland-Smith (Greene) can stop him. But will Sir Dennis save the audience from dying of boredom?
There's about 20 minutes worth of plot in this movie, with over 60 minutes of dull filler garbage. What's worse, the fight and actions scenes are so lame and cheap that the filmmakers didn't even bother adding sound effects in post production--so all we get are actors swinging at each other, falling over logs, and rolling around on the ground.
My first encounter with Fu Manchu and Nayland-Smith was when they appeared as supporting characters in Marvel's "Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu." I think I'm going to have to dig out those old comics so I can scour the awfulness of this movie from my brain.
I think "The Castle of Fu Manchu" has got to be one of the absolutely worst movies ever released. Next time someone starts ranting about how Uwe Boll is the worst director of all time, I'll have to ask, "What about Jess Franco?"
Tarzan (Brix) and his friends struggle to be the first to loot a Guatamalan idol from the natives of the Dead City, so the secret of ancient Mayan explosives don't fall into the wrong hands.
"Tarzan and the Green Goddess" is a condensed version of the second half of a serial titled "The New Adventures of Tarzan", and subsequently is a sequal to the condensed version of the serial's first half.
And it shows. Based on references characters make (along the lines of "let's hope the monsters of the Dead City aren't chasing us!") give the impression that a far more exciting adventure led up to the drab and boring events of this one.
This is perhaps the dullest Tarzan tale I've ever seen. Some excitement creeps in during the film's final third--when characters return to the Dead City and once again deal with the goofy cultists who live there--but it's too little, too late. A movie about the "gay gypsy party" that Lord Greystoke hosts to celebrate his return from Central America would probably have been more interesting.
The only positive thing I can find to say about this film is that Brix bears a close resemblence to one of my favorite Tarzan depictions in art--that from the pen of the great Russ Manning. He's also an okay actor, but he manages to ruin the performance by delivering a Tarzan "victory cry" that sounds like he's if he's taking part in a hog calling contest.
I think even the biggest fans of Tarzan can safely take a pass on this sorry effort.
Tarzan and the Green Goddess
Starring: Herman Brix, Ula Holt, Frank Baker, Lew Sargent, and Ashton Dearholt
Director: Edward Kull