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RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND ; when the production of the film THE SHOOTING had wrapped, the production of this film began instantly with the same people at the helm (Monte Hellman, Jack Nicholson and their aid Roger Corman) and most of the same cast and crew would transfer on to this films production. Now much like THE SHOOTING, this film has only managed to gain a much wider cult audience today after both films past of terrible distribution and of near obscurity have made both films become largely forgotten by most modern and contemporary audiences . Now RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND (unlike THE SHOOTING) has a much more straight forward plotline and is no wear near in Art house levels unlike The Shooting. Whirlwind has its own special interest for most cult audiences (aside for the fact Roger Corman and Jack Nicholson were involved with this move production ) is due the simple fact this film was scripted by Jack Nicholson . But anyway in this review I will look at Nicholson's writing talents and answer my question in my review of THE SHOOTING which film do I like better, this or THE SHOOTING.
The Plotline: is much easier to come to terms with and is less mysterious than The Shooting. The plot involves a group of bandits attacking a stagecoach then fleeing for their hide out in a rugged canyon. So a group of three Cowhands that are on their way to a cattle drive are passing through the canyon where the bandits are. The names of the Cowhands are Wes (Nicholson), Vern (Cameron Mitchell) and Otis who then are allowed to camp on the grounds of the bandits hide out for the night. When a huge group of vigilantes attack the hide out the group get caught up in the cross fire when Otis gets killed Wes and Vern flee into the hills of the canyon to escape the vigilantes. The bandits are all killed and the survivors are then all hung, the posse then go after Wes and Vern who they believe are a pair of surviving bandits and are very determined to kill them.
The direction by Hellman is just as good as in THE SHOOTING but not quite as good. Speaking of that Jack Nicholson's performance is no wear near as special as in The Shooting, don't get me wrong he is good as always but it's more of an average performance in this film. Mille Perkins is extremely forgettable in her small role as the daughter of a farmer but the one performance I though was a bit better was Cameron Mitchell as Vern. I must admit a nice solid and kind of memorable performance on his part but other than that nothing much else is that memorable with this film. Now Nicholson writing is quite good considering to my knowledge I don't think he has wrote another screenplay for a film in his carrier to date. Nicholson did write a very straight down the line western with a simple case of mistaken identity for a minor twist. Don't get me wrong this is a very good western but it does feel much more like a B-western.
Now which do I find to be the better western out of THE SHOOTING or RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND?
Whirlwind is a lot simpler to follow and understand but in comparison with The Shooting, I agree with the critics Whirlwind is the weaker film. After seeing The Shooting, Ride in The Whirlwind is a step down, don't get me wrong I like both films but I just like The Shooting a bit more for its more its different approach to the western. But that been said for this film is a nice little B Western that happens to be made straight after THE SHOOTING and was scripted by Nicholson . This is another cult movie (much like The Shooting) I would strongly recommend. My rating for this film is an easy 70%.
Mill Creek's 50 Movie Pack: Chilling Classics Reviews
THE DEVIL'S HAND: One of countless , goofy B-Grade horror films from the 1950's to early 1960's to fall into the U.S.A's Public Domain; THE DEVIL'S HAND is defiantly a product of the bygone "innocent" era in Low Budget filmmaking. Sadly for this horror film a severed hand of the Devil isn't the source of horror. No, the source of Horror is a devil worshiping cult running out of the basement of a doll shop. Bet you didn't see that one coming.
THE PLOT: Sees an engaged man having trouble sleeping because his dreams are haunted by an attractive Bottle Blonde Woman. One day he comes across a doll shop with the image of the woman made into a doll. This discovery leads to the mystery woman, who just happens to be a member of the cult of Gamba& is very keen for the man to join the cult. So the logical thing to do is to join the cult, abandon his fiancée & then end up regretting it.
THOUGHTS: The ridiculous plot of an attractive blonde witch who is a member of a devil cult, just to go to the expense of making the engaged man join said cult is hilariously stupid. Decent acting, that silly plot and not much else make it worthy of a solid 50%. They don't make them like this anymore.................
Mill Creek's 50 Movie Pack: Chilling Classics Reviews
THE DEMON/ MIDNIGHT CALLER : coming in the wake of films like John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN ; this low budget stalker killer film try to be a slasher film. Shot in South Africa and headlined by the always likable Cameron Mitchell in the role of ESP gifted Private Investigator called Bill Carson (inset THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY reference here). The plot sees Carson trying to solve the mystery of the kidnapping of a young woman from her family. Meanwhile in the city the killer stalks two young women.
THOUGHTS: with a poster for THE AMITYVILLE HORROR  appearing in one scene & post- HALLOWEEN inspired scenes; this film hardly bathes in the long shadows of those two better films. With scenes ranging from decent (elevated by Mitchell's presence), to the dull and having an odd scene where someone goes to a place called "Boobs Disco" , this film is only good for a 40% rating from me.
Wow now this film is a right stinker, the fifth and final entry TOWER OF LONDON STUDIOS Fu Manchu series starring Christopher Lee as Dr Fu Manchu fails miserably at being anything more than a mix of a bad and campy film mixed with a few racial stereotypes. For the ones not familiar with the Fu Manchu saga, at the start of the 20th century a series of novel were published by English author Sax Rohmer in which an evil Chinese criminal mastermind called Dr Fu Manchu tries to conquer the world but is always foiled by English Interpol agent Dr Nayland Smith. However the Fu Manchu Book series has been criticised for its racial stereotypes of Chinese people, in fact Fu Manchu has become associated with racial stereotypes of Chinese people. Anyway fast-forward to the 1960s were Towers of London studios produces a film series of Fu Manchu movies (from 1965-1969) with Christopher lee as the title role. The films were a hit with audiences but like all film series each new film stared to get worse and with this Fu Manchu Movie its defiantly one of the worst , Hell the movie even featured on the cult T.V series MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000.
The plot of this film involves Fu Manchu once again trying to conquer the world by capturing a scientist that knows how to convert sea water into ice. Fu Manchu with help from opium dealers manages to seize a castle in Istanbul were his evil plot can take place, but his arch enemy Dr Nayland Smith is hot on his trail.
WHAT MAKES THIS MOVIE BAD?
Well if the brilliant Christopher Lee is dressed in stereotypical Chinese outfit and is portraying a Chinese person arent bad enough, terrible stereotypes of Turkish and Chinese people, god awful camera work, a weak script and Dr Nayland Smiths aid shouting his lines half the time makes this one campy cinematic fuck up. No wonder it was a box office bomb when it was realised and with the fact it was made fun off on MST3K, THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU is one silly, bad taste and campy movie. The only minor positive with this film is Christopher lees decent performance even though he is wearing the most stereotypical clothing imaginable.
40% out of 100%
Mill Creek's 50 Movie Pack: Chilling Classics Reviews; the Final Review
DRIVE- IN MASSACRE : From the appearance of the first theatre in the state of New Jersey in 1932, to the boom as a popular form of entertainment amongst teenagers & families throughout the 1950's, to the change of programming to mainly extreme exploitation film from 1963 then throughout the rest of the 1960's and throughout the 1970's, and then to the total demise of such theatres in the 1980's via the home media boom spearheaded via VHS; The Drive- In movie theatre was extremely popular in The USA from 1932 until the early 1980's.
The novelty of viewing a feature film in ones car meant that couples could engage in "romantic" encounters while not really paying much attention to what was exactly playing. So it shouldn't come as a surprise during the slow evolution of the slasher subgenre and the slow demise of the Drive-In theatre that a movie like DRIVE- IN MASSACRE would exist. The concept of a crazed killer preying on lustful couples while stuck in an enclosed theatre was a simple stroke of a so- dumb-but-brilliant- idea.
PLOT: In a "typical" sleazy LA Drive-In Theatre while playing a run of the mill western, a bizarre series of killings takes place. The patrons of the said theatre are being hacked by an unknown killer. So it's up to the LAPD to stop the insane killer from killing more lustful patrons of the theatre in question.
THOUGHTS: With a gimmicky end title card that reads "The senseless bloodbath that gripped a California Drive-In has spread to other theatres throughout the country. Authorities say there are no clues to the killers' identity and no end to the horror insight. The killer could be strike again. ANYWHERE.......ANYTIME.......WHO WILL BE NEXT?" And then a fake manager's announcement which appears to come over the PA system which warns that the killer is loose in the theatre and that the police are on the way seals the deal.
DRIVE- IN MASSACRE is a product of its time and only meant for its time with the end gimmick (which doesn't work if you view it on your TV/ Computer). However the film it's self is an odd slice of the long gone movie viewing experience. With two dull cops, a sleazy as hell manager, and a run of the mill Drive-In which with its playground for children, snack bar, car parks, and yes the big outdoor screen itself is the true star of this film. However despite being a long forgotten relic of a by-gone era, DRIVE- IN MASSACRE is a prototypical Slasher film long before the explosion of popularity at the end of the 1970's. With an unknown killer preying and killing on "sexually active" couples, this film works well as a pre-slasher film. Trashy, tacky, greasy and a whole heap of mindless entertainment; my rating is a solid 50% for this film.
PLEASE NOTE; that the following films were not included in this review series I BURY THE LIVING , A BUCKET OF BLOOD , WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS DORMITORY  & LADY FRANKENSTEIN  for the simple reason I have previously reviewed those titles.