T – “…28 Days Later” to “Twilight Zone: The Movie”


28 WEEKS LATER ( 2007 )

TEENAGE BAD GIRL aka My Teenage Daughter ( 1956 )


Jackie Wilson, Dion and the inimitable Jackie Wilson perform in cool looking color segments of this otherwise black and white teen movie. A dreamy Ritchie Rich-type crooner defies his uppity aunt (with the help of his reluctant bodyguard) and sneaks to get his album on the radio. His would-be girlfriend doesn’t know realize that the boy she digs is also her favorite new singer. The mediocre story has its charms but the musical numbers are the main attraction. **


This laughable 60s turd is worth a look for its sheer awfulness. Part suspense horror, part cop drama and part 50s juvie drag-race flick. There’s even a musical number in a soda shop (“Yipe Stripes” – niether the song nor the dance – ever really caught on.) The acting ranges from over-the-top community theater to, well, non-acting. The “high schoolers” are clearly about ten years older than the ages they play. There’s a nerdy little brother with the most grating voice in movie history. The film’s name leaves the nagging question: Is it a teenager who’s a strangler or a strangler who strangles teenagers? Weird, corny and inept. See it. ***

TEEN WOLF (1985)

TEEN WOLF TOO ( 1987 )

TERROR, THE ( 1965 )




THEY LIVE aka John Carpenter’s They Live! ( 1988 )
A clumsy political statement is dressed down in 50s-style sci-fi trappings in one of John Carpenter’s stranger efforts. (“Rowdy”) Roddy Piper stars (!) as a construction worker who’s stumbled upon the revelation that we’re surrounded by strange creatures disguised as humans who are brainwashing us via television and billboard ads. You need special sunglasses to tell the good guys from the bad guys and read the subliminal messages all around us demanding we “conform” and “stay asleep.” It’s 1984 meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but unfortunately the concept still seems half-baked. Keith David shows up in a memorably protracted fistfight with Piper. It’s good campy fun and contains one of the goofiest verbal threats in cinematic history (delivered by Piper): “I have come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” **

THING, THE aka John Carpenter’s The Thing ( 1982 )
Sporting some of the best practical effects of the early 80’s the Thing is most noteworthy for it’s shape-shifting namesake. Based on “Who Goes There?” — the same short story as Thing from Another World (1951), John Carpenter’s version is more retelling than remake. A young-looking Kurt Russel and a band of macho military scientists uncover the remains of a UFO craft near their outpost in the deep-freeze arctic. The creature absorbs other living things and then imitates them perfectly so that no one can be trusted. Not even Wilford “eat your oatmeal” Brimley. There are lots of solid scares and plenty of gross-out moments. The middle drags a bit but for the most part Carpenter has constructed a suspenseful story in a claustrophobic remote location. A strong cast certainly helps. Russel is an effective anti-hero. There is more than one moment cribbed from ALIEN (for further evidence check out the original trailer on the special edition DVD) but they’re some of the best moments. In snow, no one can hear you scream. Russel would team with Carpenter again for Big Trouble in Little China. ***

THING, THE aka Thing From Another World, The ( 1951 )
A classic sci-fi shocker that stands the test of time by retaining it’s suspense and thrill factor decades later. An arctic military outpost is terrorized by the alien creature they accidentally thaw free. The dialogue is smart, crisp and witty and almost gives the movie the who’s-next feel of an Agatha Christie story. The creature, though pretty silly-looking by modern standards, probably packed a hell of a punch when it was released. Good acting and breakneck pacing contribute to its success. A classic deserving of the title. ***

13 GHOSTS ( 1960 )
William Castle’s “Illusion-O” gimmick notwithstanding, 13 Ghosts packs its fair share of genuine chills. The Zorba family relocates to the mansion they’ve inherited from their crazy, ghost busting uncle who devised a way to contain ghosts before he died. (“…if they can be seen, they can be contained…” Well, okay.) Twelve once-detained spirits now run amok in the big scary house (that looks a little like the Munster’s home from the exterior shots) — but there’s always room for thirteen. The Wizard of Oz‘s Margaret Hamilton is on hand as the mansion’s mysterious retainer (lots of nudge-wink “witch” reference are made) and steals the whole second half of the movie. There’s a Ouija Board scene in which the entire family gathers around for the fun (using an actual commercial copy of the game) that’s good for laughs. The ghosts look like the type that dangle in your neighbor’s trees at Halloween and the way the “illusion-O” gimmick is written in (characters are given special glasses that allow them to see the horror around them) is pretty dumb, but it all adds to the charm. Castle wrings heartfelt performances from all of his leads and serves up what remains a nice little slice of the early-60s matinee spook show phenom. Robert Zemeckis produced a fun but unsuccessful remake in 2001 starring F. Murray Abraham, Tony Shalloub and Shannon Elizabeth. **1/2


In what was a doomed project from the moment the deal was inked, Bill Paxton plays the patriarch of the Tracey clan. The Traceys are familiar to 60s TV-babies as International Rescue, aka the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds avert disaster wherever they’re needed with monstrous high-tech machines that fly, swim and rocket into outer space. Once a high-concept, amazingly engaging action show starring marionettes, The Thunderbirds didn’t make much sense as a live-action movie. Its greatest selling point had always been that it made incredible use of puppets and miniature sets, where the movie relies almost exclusively on CGI. It’s greatest accomplishment is its ability to faithfully adapt the source material while keeping the spirit and goody-goody tone intact. Ben Kingsley is a long way from Gandhi as Hood, the politically incorrect brown-faced villain who wants to steal the Thunderbirds’ secrets. The gadgets look good and the movie’s whole day-glo aesthetic make for great eye candy. Clearly aimed at 11-year-old boys, Thunderbirds is also worth a look for fans of the show, if for no other reason than to dissect the adaptation. Wrongfully maligned and almost universally overlooked, Thunderbirds manages to be sweet and spirited even if it is completely unnecessary. **

TIPTOES ( 2003 )
If you’ve seen director Matthew Bright’s earlier films – Freeway and Ted Bundy – you might have expectations that this film cannot meet. Though comic moments abound this is not the dark comedy I expected and it took me about a half hour to realize everything was being played straight. It’s heartfelt, warm and extremely well acted, particularly by Beckinsale and McConaughey who make a convincing couple. Despite plenty of “dramatic realizations” there’s no real story to speak of. Things just…happen. The cast is forced to earn their money bringing life to some pretty ridiculous dialogue. Oldman makes a convincing dwarf. I would love to know more about the history of this movie. I do know that Bright disowned it at film festivals and none of the cast supported its release. The editing is sloppy and some things simply don’t work (Is that baby really a 2-liter wrapped in a blanket?). The absurdity of its very existence makes for a somewhat mesmerizing experience. Does it work? Nope. But it is sweet, fascinating and well acted. * ½


TORMENTED! ( 1960 )
When Richard Carlson’s mistress threatens to bust up his engagement he lets her fall to her death from the top of a lighthouse (!) It’s oddly upsetting to see Carlson, the hero in Creature of the Black Lagoon, playing a heel. Before the picture’s over he contemplates killing a child (!!) But there’s a price to pay for this kind of nastiness. The mistress’s disembodied head starts popping up everywhere to throw some torment at her evil ex-boyfriend. She’s on walls, atop coffee tables and superimposed as what looks like a Colorform on a Polaroid snapshot. There’s a “twist ending” that’s telegraphed from about the first ten minutes in. The young girl who plays Carlson’s would-be stepdaughter is impressively engaging and generally better than the adults around her in this scare-free but funny turkey. **



TREMORS (1990)




If you can forget about the horrifying accident that claimed the life of Vic Morrow and two child actors during the filming of the John Landis segment of this collection of twist-ending tales, you may find a handful of reasons to justify a rental. There are three updated stories from the original show and a new story written for the movie and directed by Steven Spielberg. That segment, “Kick the Can,” is a saccharine gag-fest about nursing home seniors (Scatman Cruthers and Jack Gilford among them) who get one night of childhood frolicking. In the Landis segment Morrow is a racist whose twilight experience plops him into various historical minority hardships – chased by the clan, pursued in the swamps of Vietnam and finally loaded on to a crowded train to Auschwitz. Cheery stuff. George Miller’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” is a re-imagining of the episode with John Lithgow in the William Shatner role as a nervous passenger who thinks he sees “a man on the wing of this plane!” The best segment, “It’s a Good Life” is a legitimately scary adaptation of an episode in which Lost in Space’s Billy Munie is a boy with the magical ability to make all of his wishes materialize around him. This version’s boy is cartoon obsessed, making for some colorful nightmare imagery. Dante regular, Kevin McCarthy as well as fellow Daytonian and voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright, are featured. The funny opening bumper featuring Dan Akroyd and Albert Brooks was also directed by Landis. Burgess Meredith narrates. **

2 Responses to “T – “…28 Days Later” to “Twilight Zone: The Movie””

  1. И как автору не жалко столько времени на написание статей тратить, мы конечно Вам очень благодарны, но вот я лично на такой альтруизм не способен 🙂

  2. Вот поэтому и иногда не хочется двигаться вперёд!

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