Profile for Robert S. Clay Jr. > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Robert S. Clay Jr.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 574,723
Helpful Votes: 24

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Robert S. Clay Jr. (St. Louis, MO., USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Thin Man, the
Thin Man, the
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "What is that man doing in my drawers?", Nov. 27 2001
This review is from: Thin Man, the (VHS Tape)
This classic detective film also qualifies as a classic comedy. The slick repartee between Nick and Nora Charles is the stuff of screen legend. A good example of the irreverent humor is the hilarious Christmas Eve party. The ribald revelry of the guests is a biting contrast to the heavy-duty sentiment of more traditional Christmas movies (e.g., "It's A Wonderful Life") that get misty-eyed over Christmas Eve, home and family, etc. As every true fan knows, the mystery story plot is a mere excuse for all the fun. Nick (William Powell) is witty and sophisticated, but stays in touch with his working class roots. He is an iron fist in a velvet glove. Nora (Myrna Loy) has the chutzpah to keep pace, and even exceed, Nick's grit and razor-sharp wit. Theirs is a true marriage of equals. One of the themes of the series is that marriage can be fun. Contrast that with the old ball-and-chain cliche and pass the traditional values, please. Nora has more snappy comebacks than Groucho and Chico. When the cops find an illegal gun in the Charles' hotel suite, they ask Nick if he has heard of the Sullivan Law. Nora pipes up and says, "Oh, its all right. We're married!" As a heavy-handed policeman goes through their dresser, she asks, "What is that man doing in my drawers?" By this point, the viewer has forgotten there is a genuine murder mystery in progress. The film is as fresh and vibrant today as it was 70 years ago. Multiple viewing only increases the enjoyment of rapier wit and suberb timing. ;-)

Tokyo Joe [Import]
Tokyo Joe [Import]
Offered by thomasvideo
Price: CDN$ 39.00
3 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Bogie meets Sessue Hayakawa., Nov. 14 2001
This review is from: Tokyo Joe [Import] (VHS Tape)
This second string Humphrey Bogart flick has its moments. The "Casablanca" wannabe story of love, intrigue, and suspense in post-war Japan starts well with Bogie returning to Tokyo to reclaim the woman he loves. To his dismay, she is married to another man, and has a daughter. As in "Casablanca," Bogie owns a cabaret that is operating under wartime difficulty. He has to sort this all out and deal with his emotions, especially after he discovers the little girl is his own daughter. After the first 30 minutes or so, the plot shifts gears to a crime drama of gangsters, smuggling, and Communist activity. One definite strength of the film is Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa as a gangster. Hayakawa's aristocratic demeanor and distinct accent as he speaks English is almost an oriental version of Bela Lugosi. At least some of the exteriors were filmed on location in Japan. Bogie dons the familiar hat and trenchcoat that were his trademark look in many films. There is an amusing segment early in the story where two stunt guys, pretending to be Bogie and his Japanese buddy, throw each other around the room in an impromptu judo match. This movie may not be top quality, but it's okay as an entertaining time-waster. ;-)

Son of Dracula [Import]
Son of Dracula [Import]
Offered by atlee7757
Price: CDN$ 24.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Count Alucard, I presume?, Nov. 13 2001
This review is from: Son of Dracula [Import] (VHS Tape)
This second string Universal horror flick is better than one might expect. The director mines the budget dollar for all it's worth and strikes, if not gold, at least silver. Posing as Count Alucard, a descendant of the original Dracula travels to America. Europe isn't satisfying his thirst, and he seeks victims among a younger, more vital race. His American slave is Kay Caldwell (Louise Albritton), a strange young woman obsessed with the occult and eternal existence. Dracula (Lon Chaney, Jr.) rises in an eerie mist from his coffin hidden beneath the water of the swampy slough, takes human form, and glides toward a transfixed Kay. This scene has a dreamlike quality that adds to its effectiveness. One wonders about the blood tests when Kay and Dracula ask the justice of the peace to marry them. Kay's jilted human suitor, Frank, encounters Dracula in the graveyard. The full moon shines from behind a passing cloud and illumines a cross-shaped headstone, temporarily casting Dracula into outer darkness. Keep your classic horror flicks straight. This time the full moon doesn't provoke the typical wolfish reaction in Lon. Chaney is too beefy to be convincing as a vampire, but he gives it his best shot. Lon played the other classic Universal monsters and the studio wasn't about to omit Dracula. The gloom of the crumbling plantation, the trees hung with Spanish moss, and the misty night adds to the atmosphere of the film. Dracula appears from a supernatural mist that transports him through walls and doors. This is a new twist to an old tale. Classic horror fans will enjoy this addition to their collection. The blood is the life! ;-)

Invisible Ray [Import]
Invisible Ray [Import]
3 used & new from CDN$ 23.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Boris Karloff glows and sizzles., Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Invisible Ray [Import] (VHS Tape)
Universal Studios took time off from Frankenstein flicks and vampires long enough to produce this early sci-fi thriller. Dr. Janos Rukh (Karloff) theorizes that a meteor of the nebula Andromeda crashed into the Earth eons ago. After finding the meteor in Africa, Rukh suffers a fiendish transformation caused by contact with Radium X, a powerful element from outer space. His body glowing with eerie special effects, and his mind frazzled by chemical poisons, Rukh sets out to destroy his enemies. His very touch is deadly. He is a grim angel of death in a slouch hat and a dark coat. He leaves day-glow handprints on his victims. He uses his ray gun (powered by Radium X) to melt a statue at a nearby church after each murder. The complicated plot goes off in all directions, but holds the interest. Karloff and Lugosi collaborated on many films, and this is one of their best. Bela's three-dimensional portrayal of a brilliant but ambitious scientist blends the light and dark of the human soul. He develops a counter-active drug for Rukh but warns him it is not a cure, only a temporary measure to ease the symptoms. He warns that failure to administer the drug carefully will cause Rukh to crumble to ash. Lugosi's slicked-back hair and pointed goatee makes him appear especially demonic, even as he heals children. Viewers that recall Bela starring in an endless string of low-budget turkeys, looking old and tired, will appreciate him in his prime. Karloff's frizzy hair symbolizes the scrambled brains of his character. His trademark scowl hi-lighted by his tortured eyes effectively round out his portrayal. Classic horror fun for kids of all ages. ;-)

Dracula's Daughter [Import]
Dracula's Daughter [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars "I never drink...wine.", Oct. 12 2001
With this familiar cryptic line, Countess Zaleska (Gloria Holden) establishes her credentials as Dracula's slave. Although a sequel, this film stakes out its own turf. The exorcism scene, as Zaleska consigns Dracula's body to the flames in the mist-enshrouded woods, is one of the all-time great moments of Universal's classic horror flicks. Despite her legacy, Zaleska despises her blood lust, and seeks a cure. With Sandor, her peculiar henchman, Zaleska reluctantly searches for victims. When evil is ascendant, she attacks both men and women with equal fervor. The otherworldly segment of the impoverished street girl, Lily, is another outstanding virtue of this movie, from the encounter on the foggy bridge to the grim result. Lily's suffering projects a tenderness that is unusual in a horror flick. Under hypnosis, she articulates her ordeal, but the shock is too much. Holden is beautiful in a cold and aristocratic way that suits the vampire persona. Edward Van Sloan again appears as Van Helsing. Irving Pichel adds a central European refinement to his mysterious menace as Sandor. While Zaleska despises her eternal existence, Sandor lusts after power. Otto Kruger is unsympathetic as Dr. Garth, and Marguerite Churchill's repartee is a lame attempt at sophisticated wit. The hilarious Whitby police constables are more effective comic relief as they guard the coffin containing the defunct Dracula. Abbott and Costello with a British accent. All serious collectors of classic horror flicks need this one for their movie shelf. ;-)

Frankenstein/Be Destroyed
Frankenstein/Be Destroyed
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 14.95

3.0 out of 5 stars The grim face of madness., Oct. 5 2001
The mad scientist carries on his dark science. Peter Cushing typically appears in Hammer flicks as a benevolent professor type. Dr. Frankenstein is portrayed frequently as well intentioned, but misunderstood. This time, the doctor pursues his research with relentless malice. Brutal murder, blackmail, and even rape befall those in his way. Cushing's cold-blooded and vicious portrayal is really a change of pace. To those who picture the old Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein's monster, this version of the story goes off in yet another direction. Instead of a hulking creature with neck bolts terrorizing torch-bearing villagers, we have the hapless victim of a brain transplant. Dr. Brandt, an associate of Frankenstein's, is the unfortunate person whose brain is now in another body. Not happy with this development, he decides to foil Frankenstein. The large cranial scar is grotesque, but he is otherwise human. The script and director blend pathos with shock appeal. The subplot of the young couple who is forced to assist Frankenstein serves as an excuse for most of the subterfuge of the story. Expect a lot of running around and hiding from the police. Simon Ward and the delectable Veronica Carlson make it endurable. Carlson's appearance in a diaphanous nightgown drives Frankenstein from research to rape and beyond. Thorley Walters provides timely comic relief as a pompous police official. The usual Hammer production values of rich color photography and 19th century European settings are present. Genre fans and collectors should be pleased. It's a change of pace from the mad-slasher type horror flick. ;-)

Brain That Wouldnt Die
Brain That Wouldnt Die
VHS
Offered by vidsale
Price: CDN$ 21.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 6.81

3.0 out of 5 stars "...horror has its ultimate...", Sept. 26 2001
This review is from: Brain That Wouldnt Die (VHS Tape)
This legendary turkey rivals the worst of the worst. Regardless, fans of schlock cinema can rejoice and enjoy its lowbrow aura. The girlfriend of Dr. Bill Cortner, a radical experimental surgeon, suffers decapitation in an auto accident. Using his dark science, Dr. Bill keeps her head alive, propped up in a pan and connected to tubes and IVs. The raspy-voiced Head laments its fate with the bleat, "Let me die!" Dr. Bill eventually covers the yakking mouth with surgical tape to silence the whining, a great moment in our little story. Across the room, the monstrous product of a previous failed experiment pounds on the heavy door of its cell, and plots revenge with The Head. They both want, er, a piece of Dr. Bill. Dr. Bill goes out looking for a perfect female body, upon which to implant The Head. This is an excuse for leering scenes of strippers, poverty-row beauty contestants, and a briefly clad model posing for photographers. '50s soft-core titillation. (Note: the flick is variously dated as 1959, 1960, and 1962. Who knows?). The mood music is a sleazy jazz piece with an edge called "The Web" that helps the viewer endure the skid row sideshow. Various edited versions of the film exist, but the one with the wrestling middle-aged hookers, fighting for Dr. Bill's attention, is the funniest. If the women only knew what he really wanted! The Head cogently summarizes the entire flick by pontificating, "Like all quantities, horror has its ultimate, and I am that!" We couldn't agree more. There is a risk of overusing the phrase, "so bad, it's good." At times, it can't be helped. Good party tape. ;-)

Once A Marshal
Once A Marshal
by Peter Brandvold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars "A savage place...As e'er beneath a waning moon...", Sept. 25 2001
Any Western novel that uses a quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the beginning is worth a look. One of the challenges of writing good Western fiction is making the familiar elements seem fresh and exciting. In addition, avoiding the bland plot formulas of TV and many paperback Western stories is necessary. Peter Brandvold's story of aging lawman Ben Stillman, although a variation of the "riding the vengeance trail" stories, meets these expectations. His characters appear true to life. Ben Stillman is hardly an indestructible superhero. He bruises and bleeds, as anyone. He also tenaciously stays on the killers' trail. The villains are more one-dimensional in their lust, greed, and violence. Donovan Hobbs diminishes to a caricature. Weed Cole is a good portrait of a real Western badman. There is violence and sex in this story. Branvold avoids the gratuitous of both as they emanate from logical plot and character development. This is a '90s Western. The women are tough and independent, but also lusty and desirable. Fay Hobbs holds the reader's attention, and does more than wait around for rescue. The setting up north on the Hi-Line is a welcome change from Arizona sagebrush and dusty Texas spreads. The plot takes a little time to get moving. Beyond this minor quibble, it gathers steam as a locomotive in motion that roars to a thunderous destination. This book is a promising first novel that captures the flavor of the old West without the standard "mixture as before" pitfalls. The epilogue demonstrates this nicely. Good, lightweight reading. ;-)

White Zombies
White Zombies
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars "For you, my friend, they are the angels of death!", Sept. 24 2001
This review is from: White Zombies (VHS Tape)
In remote Haiti, a voodoo-master spins webs of hypnotic power and revenge. He transforms his enemies into a nightmarish bodyguard of zombies, and rules mind-numbed slaves by terror. Bela Lugosi makes this film a success. After Dracula, this is perhaps the most effective performance of Bela's horror flicks from the early '30s. The independent production suffers from creaky technical qualities and archaiac dialogue. For its age, however, the film has some impressive visuals of the Haitian night and a spooky Gothic castle perched on a craggy cliff above the thundering breakers. Lugosi does well creating an air of mystery as the voodoo-master, sometimes called Legendre. His distinctive manner of expression, devilish whiskers, and glaring eyes combine into a satanic effect. The rest of the cast is undistinguished. The hero, Neil Parker, is an ineffectual wimp played by an unknown actor. Madeline (Madge Bellamy), the inevitable woman in the story, is the love interest of several men. Why she is the object of so much desire is puzzling, but it moves the plot along. Legendre can't wait to put her under his spell. Mesmerized, she looks like a combination of a flapper and a kewpie doll. Her bobbed hair and pursed little mouth blend with her large eyes into a vacuous trance. The zombie gang, similarly undemonstrative, is nevertheless more exciting. As they gang up to kill Parker, he rather irrelevantly shouts, "Who are they?" Bela's reply is one of the best lines in old horror flicks, "For you, my friend, they are the angels of death!" This old movie is not for everybody. Regardless, fans of Bela Lugosi and collectors of classic horror flicks need this movie for their collection. ;-)

Dracula Has Risen from the
Dracula Has Risen from the
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Sex and the Vampire., Sept. 18 2001
Christopher Lee's third appearance as the sanquinary Count Dracula. The virtuous niece of a stern monsignor falls under the spell of the resurrected vampire. Her pristine demeanor notwithstanding, she is defiled by evil lusts. As Dracula approaches, she eagerly unbuttons the high collar of her otherwise diaphanous gown and yearns for the kiss of the vampire. As time went on, the implied sex of these Hammer films was more conspicuous. Of course, the penetration is of the fangs-in-the-neck variety, but the sexual symbolism is there. A willing young barmaid with desire in her eyes, her mind clouded by the vampire's mesmerizing mist, gazes with longing on the Prince of Darkness, and rushes to his embrace. Lee's personification of Dracula is by now classic. His towering, menacing presence, draped in the trademark flowing black cape is one of the attractions of the film. Cool and seductive, he also rages with fangs showing and bloodshot eyes glaring. Villagers tremble behind barred doors when evil is ascendant. The director emphasized visual presentation over heart-pounding suspense, but there are enough thrills and chills to satisfy. The typical Hammer traits of great color photography, prominent bosoms, and a 19th century European setting are present. Even if the local villagers of Central Europe do speak with a British accent, so what? Peter Cushing as Van Helsing is absent from this scenario, but viewers won't be disappointed. As a suspense flick, it is a good change of pace from insane killers stalking teenagers. Recommended viewing for horror fans. ;-)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20