Archive for marshall thompson

CULT OF THE COBRA (1955) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by goregirl

My Eisenhower and the Horror Movies feature is almost over. I will probably only get another two reviews posted by months end at this point. I am going to miss watching and reviewing the films from this period. I am really digging these black and white films! They are just so pleasant to look at. Even the crummier films look a little less crappy in black and white. It is also a nice treat to get some character development in a horror film. Not to mention characters you actually root for. Even in the 1950’s there was a certain amount of regurgitation with adaptations of the likes of Dracula and Frankenstein but the pool in which to dip was considerably shallower. Originality was abundant; one more reason to visit this particular era of horror filmmaking. What more can I say to convince you that classic horror rocks?

A group of American G.I.’s are looking for the ultimate tourist attraction as they end a tour in Asia. A snake charmer offers to sneak the men into a ritual of the Cult of the Cobra for a small fee. The outsiders are apprehended when one of the men can not resist snapping a picture. They manage to escape the angry cult members but not before a curse is placed on them. One of the men is bitten by a snake and is taken to a hospital where he quickly recovers; but mysteriously dies the next day. Fortunately the uneasy G.I.’s are travelling home to the U.S.A.; but you can not run from the deadly curse of the Cult of the Cobra!

Once back home in the U.S.A., a love triangle kick starts our story. Paul and Tom are both in love with Julia. On their return from duty Julia decides that Paul is the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. It is a little weird that Paul and Tom are best friends and roommates but I chose to just ignore that. No hard feelings right buddy? One evening a woman’s scream sends Tom running to the apartment across the hall. The woman behind the scream is Lisa Moya. Lisa is new to the city and Tom who is smitten with her instantly offers to give her a tour.

I never heard of Faith Domergue before this feature. I have now seen two films starring the intriguing Ms. Domergue. In Cult of the Cobra she plays Lisa Moya and in It Came from Beneath the Sea she plays Professor Lesley Joyce. I rented It Came from Beneath the Sea from the library and it was in rough shape. A small section of the DVD would not play and it got stuck a couple times in other places which really messed up the flow. Damn shame really, because it features a giant Octopus and the effects were done by the great Ray Harryhausen! Between the DVD not functioning too well and the volume of giant monster flicks I’ve already covered, I decided not to write a review for it. One of these days I will rewatch It Came from Beneath the Sea and give it a proper review. Perhaps an entire Harryhausen feature? So back to Faith Domergue who plays strong central characters in both films. She is an interesting woman to look at. She has sultriness about her and the confidence to sell it. She is quite icy as Lisa Moya in Cult of the Cobra. Considering her true nature it makes perfectly good sense that she would lack appropriate social skills. It is not a spoiler to tell you that Lisa has the ability to transform into a snake. We see much of the film through her perspective. It is the film’s characters that must solve the mystery. I quite enjoyed Domergue and her cold demeanor and by the end of the film I even had empathy for her.

The acting is decent across the board. The G.I.’s have a good chemistry and the casual conversation felt natural. Cult of the Cobra has an intriguing opening and not too much downtime before the action begins. The film looks good and they include a particularly neat pov shot through a snake’s eye. What looked less than stellar was the snake transformation. You never actually see a transformation only the shadow of a snake on the wall. It was a cool and inexpensive way to execute but it looked like someone had their hand in a sock. Otherwise the death scenes are all lively and well done; each one is unique. I did have a wee issue with a detail in the finale but it is a spoiler so I will only say it was forgivable. They add some nifty touches like Tom’s dog being afraid of Lisa and barking when she is near. Minor flaws aside Cult of the Cobra is a damn good watch.

Cult of the Cobra is a creature feature with an intriguing story, strong performances, solid atmosphere and creative death scenes. Recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Francis D. Lyon

Starring: Faith Domergue, Richard Long, Marshall Thompson, Kathleen Hughes, William Reynolds, Jack Kelly, Myrna Hansen, David Janssen, Leonard Strong, James Dobson, Olan Soule

Brainstorming! – FIEND WITHOUT A FACE – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , on May 8, 2009 by goregirl

fiend without a face“New Horrors! Mad Science Spawns Evil Fiends! …Taking form before your horrified eyes!”

When I was a kid I couldn’t get enough of Sunday afternoon television. I loved the old creature feature’s from the 50’s and 60’s they showed all day long. I was at the library, and there it was with that fabulous retro cover screaming at me to rent it. The copy we rented was from Criterion and was excellent; crisp and clear. There were some really fun extras on this disc including some great 1950’s movie trailers, newspaper ads etc.

The story takes place on an American military base in Manitoba, Canada. In actuality it was filmed in London England. The base is not popular with the locals. They are concerned about radiation and the jets fly far too low to the ground and frighten the livestock. When some of the locals are found dead their first instinct is to point fingers at the military. When a major is assigned to investigate he quickly discovers that a scientist living in the area may know more about the incidents then he let’s on.

It really offers you everything you could want in a Sci-Fi horror from the period. There is a hero, a lovely gal and a monster that sucks out peoples brain and spinal cord. The “fiends” in fact are gelatanis brains that push themselves along via their spinal cord. There is even some gore when the brains get shot. They were definitely the films main source of entertainment. In the extras they talk about some of the ways they promoted the film back then. In New York they actually
had a “fiend” in a glass box on the sidewalk in front of the theatre. They hooked it up to some wires and the spine would move randomly. It garnered such huge crowds that the police asked them to remove it, citing it as a public nuisance. The cheesy dialogue is delivered with conviction by the actors. Sometimes to the point of hilarity. The scene where the scientist explains how it is that the fiends came to be is not to be missed! One of the last lines of the film comes from the sergeant
who slyly says to the major “Call me when you have the situation well under hand” with a wink wink and a nod nod towards the gal at his side. This is just good, campy, clean fun! It’s not going to rock your world by any means but it sure as hell will entertain you. Absolutely worth a viewing!

Dungeon Review: 3.5/5

Directed By: Arthur Crabtree

Starring: Marshall Thompson, Terry Kilburn, Michael Balfour, Gil Winfield, Shane Cordell, Stanley Maxted, James Dyrenforth,
Kim Parker, E. Kerrigan Prescott, Kynaston Reeves, Peter Madden, Meadows White and Lala Lloyd