The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or
higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for
limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Michael Reeves is one of the great, tragically lost figures in the history of cinema -- a prodigious talent undone by personal demons and also, perhaps, the times in which he lived. Variously described by the people who knew and worked with him as a potential rival to Steven Spielberg, an Orson Welles in the making, Reeves only completed three full-length movies in his career. Born in 1943 to the poor side of a wealthy British name, Reeves was raised by his mother. He grew up spellbound by cinema, and was especially drawn to American movies of all genres: westerns, thrillers, horror, and science fiction. As early as age eight, he declared his dream to become a film director. Reeves made his first fully plotted movie -- a 20-minute thriller called Carrie, about a disabled girl being stalked -- when he was 15. He learned to mimick the movements of the camera as he'd seen in Hollywood movies using his mother's tea-trolley; from watching movies closely, he also knew where to place his camera in order to get the kinds of shots he wanted. Reeves wrote, produced, directed, and starred in Carrie, playing the hero. While planning the production for this film, he was introduced to another teenager, aspiring actor (and future film star) Ian Ogilvy, who portrayed the villain and became Reeves' his lifelong friend. The movie wasn't a significant piece, except as a first credit to Ogilvy's name and as a sample of Reeves' potential. The same year he made Carrie, Reeves' personal situation changed radically when his mother suddenly came into the family's money, and he found himself free to pursue any goal he chose. He ran off to Hollywood in 1961 at age 17, in search of his favorite filmmaker, Don Siegel. So the story goes -- he got Siegel's address, rang his bell one morning, and introduced himself to the bewildered director as having come all the way from England to meet him. Siegel then hired Reeves as a gopher and junior production assistant, at first, and it was while working for the veteran director that he began honing his own skills and instincts as a filmmaker. Reeves became an assistant director and was hired to work on The Long Ships (1963), an adventure film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, on which he spent a month doing pre-production and another month on production. The movie's producer, Paul Maslansky, was so impressed with Reeves that he got him a job directing the second unit material on Castle of the Living Dead (1963). Reeves didn't last long on the set of that movie, however, leaving the production sooner than anticipated because of a new opportunity: he had been given the funding, the cast, and the opportunity to make Revenge of the Blood Beast (1966) (U.S. title, The She-Beast), starring Ian Ogilvy and John Karlsen. The sheer audacity of this 19-year-old convinced Maslansky to follow Reeves into the movie as its producer. Maslansky was also responsible for getting Barbara Steele into the film. Shot in Italy and Yugoslavia, Revenge of the Blood Beast offered a strange mix of horror, gore, and comedy that managed to put it onto the horror circuit. Suddenly, Reeves not only had his first directorial credit, but the beginning of a cult following, similar to what Roger Corman began achieving at the other end of the '60s with his Edgar Allen Poe adaptations. Revenge of the Blood Beast was enough of a success to get Reeves a better budget his next time out with The Sorcerers (1967), a mix of swinging London ambience and science fiction horror. The Sorcerers was a cyber horror analogue to Antonioni's Blow-Up, and anticipated aspects of Douglas Trumbull's ill-fated Brainstorm, among others. It benefited heavily from the presence of Boris Karloff as one of the leads (along with Ogilvy and Catherine Lacey) and from its visceral connection to its setting, the London clubs, where many of its key scenes took place. This connection could only have been achieved by a filmmaker of Reeves' youth