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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)
Topic Started: Feb 11 2018, 11:30 AM (222 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959) Dir. Edward L. Cahn
Vogue Pictures, Inc.
70 min. / B&W / 1.85:1
Blu-ray: Scream! Factory

ITB Shock Theatre #220

200 years ago, a native village was wiped out by brigands but they accidentally left the witch doctor alive, a colossally foolhardy error, because he placed a curse on the descendants of Cap'n Drake, and now, all these years later, the Drake men are still hunted by Mad Doctor Henry Daniell and his living shrunken head sidekick Zutai.

I'm-a be honest with you, after 220 monster movies from the '20s-50s and well over a hundred and fifty sci-fi movies of the 1950s, maybe I'm gettin' burned out on these things, but I found this movie to be screechingly terrible way beyond what I'd normally be bothered by: dull acting, dull direction, an inane script (my description gives it WAY too much cohesion) and low-budget corners cut all over the place. That kind of thing always used to be part of the fun, but I really was disappointed by this thing. Some of the reasons:

-- Par for the course, they crammed in an unnecessary romance between the cop (stunningly unappealing Grant Richards, age 49) and Mr. Drake's daughter (incredibly beautiful Valerie French, age 30). If you'd have cast Wuthering Heights with Buddy Hackett and Elke Sommer you wouldn't have less chemistry than these two exhibit
-- The main set is a "jungle" next to the house, consisting of several plastic bushes and trees that go about a foot deep until you get to the clearly visible wall behind them
-- Daniell, an actor I've never much liked, reads his dialog as though it were written on a board off-camera, and it may well have been

I do kind of like the living shrunken head, a tall guy with Tiny Tim hair, his lips sewn shut, and a "fatal rubber knife" that wobbles like a slinky before he stabs anybody with it. But then, I would like stuff like that.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Detective Unappealing Guy, spotting a clue that indicates it's NOT in fact a 200-year-old ghost committing the murder: "You satisfied? Only HUMAN BEINGS wear sandals or shoes!"

Very nice Blu-ray considering the source materials was kinda iffy in spots; it includes the trailer but nothin' else. Man, could *I* have delivered commentary on THIS thing.

Also on the Program

For the kiddies, a trio of cartoons, including Mr. Magoo in The Grizzly Golfer, and you know me, I don't like to complain, but this - the seventh Magoo cartoon - is virtually a remake of the first Magoo, with nephew Waldo being replaced again by another bear; Hot and Cold Penguin, with Chilly Willy battling that dog again for possession of a warm stove (this time, the dog doesn't sound like Huckleberry Hound - in fact, he doesn't talk at all); and Super Mouse Rides Again, where - for the first time - we see a Super Mouse that comes from outer space rather than the supermarket. He still beats up cats, though.

Then it was "Blackhawk Tempts Fate," episode nine of Blackhawk (what else?), in which we renew our discovery that the two deadliest menaces in motion picture serials are either (a) sparks, or (b) steam.

Finally, a trailer for next week's million-dollar movie, Return of the Fly. You know: WOW!
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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The Batman
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Completely agree, dull as dishwater.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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