Making a Monkey… (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, 1977)

Sinbad_Eye_PosterPrince Kassim has been transformed by his stepmother into a Baboon.  She wants her own son, Rafi, to inherit the throne. For help, his sister, the Princess Farah calls on her beloved Sinbad for help.  They go on a quest to save Kassim from his cruel fate.

After finding out that the only cure can be found in a magical region of the Arctic, Sinbad races against the evil Zenobia and Rafi, who use magic to try and sabotage Sinbad’s chances.

Harryhausen, as usual, delivers amazing and whimsical monsters, ranging from a giant walrus to a giant Troglydite. Margaret Whiting makes a deliciously over the top villain and Patrick Wayne is pretty good as the swashbuckling Sinbad.

This film, of course, suffers the same cultural problem of casting white people in non-white roles.  This was certainly treated as less of an issue as recently as the 70’s, but that simply does not make it less problematic.

In spite of this, I have always had fond memories of this film.  It is both exciting and whimsical.  It is worth noting that this film is written by Beverly Cross, who wrote Jason and the Argonauts and would go on to write the original Clash of the Titans.  Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is an enjoyable adventure in that same vein.

The Revenge of Blood Cult (Revenge, 1986)

revengeThis sequel picks up where we left off…the Sheriff’s daughter jumped off a roof…and apparently the Sheriff has lost his marbles.  How do I know?  The Deputy states this twice.

A reporter asks if this was a work of a Blood Cult.  Let me rephrase that… a really stupid reporter asks if this was a work of a Blood Cult.  I know she is stupid because she jumps into a car with the leader of the Blood Cult.  He was brushing her off until she asked about the Blood Cult, then he asked her if she wanted to join him in the car.   When does she catch on? After the leader hands her an amulet and asks leading questions about how much she knows?  No.  After he drives past her stop?  No.  After he makes a cryptic comment about her having trouble convincing her editor?  No.  After he drives down a Dark Alley?  No.  After a cop asks her to step out of the car?  No.  After said cop stabs her in the Dark Alley?  Yes.

Roll Credits!

The first thing I noticed?  This actually looks like it was filmed traditionally.  No video cameras.  It instantly seems classier.

The old couple with the headless dog from the last movie have a new dog.  A little cockapoo or something.  No one ones to behead one of those yapping little dogs.  Anyways, they hear noises in their sheds.  Then the Blood Cult kills them.  Apparently, the title Revenge refers to the Blood Cult is going to go after all the people who wronged them.  This leads to five minutes of aerial shots following a car driving to a cemetery.

This movie has John Carradine.  That does not necessarily mean anything.  But I thought it was noteworthy.  But this follows the same M.O. as the last one.  Killer chops people up.  They die of stab wounds and blood loss.  One memorable kill?  A guy on a motor cross bike takes out a pickup truck.  I think.  The scene just ends, and we go to the Sheriff, who lost his marbles, and the proof?  He speaks to invisible Senators taking a stand against dogs.

Best moment?  Government employees complaining about the Blood Cult’s screening policies.  That and they are running out of Monk Robes.

Dean Beatty:”I joined this cult for the advances and the advantages you promised me.  Not to be a party to some sort of Murder Incorporated!”

Senator:”Hell’s bells, Beatty…you think you’re the only one who wants to get ahead in this world?”

Then they kill the Dean for denying the god Caninus.  Then we learn that the guy on the motorbike did not actually kill the person in the truck, because she is safe at home…until she starts getting hang up calls.  The Motorbike guy shows up again at the farm and the old lady scares him away, because it really pisses her off when he starts to pop a wheelie on the lawn.

We then get fifteen minutes of teens necking in the hot tub before the boy pulls out a really big knife and stabs the girl to death.  This leads to a great scene where a guy discovers the body and calls in the murder with a fake french accent.

At the big Caninus meeting in the woods they prepare a sacrifice.  They are raising their leader from the dead to lead an army to destroy the unbelievers.  They went on to form Al Queda.  They create an evil warrior out of the sister of one of the heroes.  She is an unstoppable warrior, but she sure is not pretty.  The old lady shoots a log which causes a series of explosions that scares away most of the cult member and causes the indestructible warrior to…vanish.  This leaves the local Doctor by himself, until they shoot him and he ceases to exist.  But then we learn that one of the heroes is actually a member of the cult and he suckered the old lady into helping he and the Senator get rid of the Doctor .  But the Old Lady doesn’t give in to the Cult’s temptations and shoots the two final cult members dead…or DID she???

“Thanks for being such a classy sister.”  Yeah…the writing has not improved.  The acting is slightly better.  The film making is completely static.  We still get ten minute shots from one perspective.  Missing, however, is all that damn narration…this is mostly due to the fact that the Sheriff lost his marbles and is utterly useless as a narrator.  In the end?  This was a pretty pathetic offering.  Maybe it is a little better than the first one…but we call that damning with faint praise.

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