IN THE SPOOKLIGHT: BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1971)

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blood_from_the_mummys_tomb_poster

One of the better parts of the awful reboot THE MUMMY (2017) starring Tom Cruise was that it featured a female mummy, but it wasn’t the first film to do this.

Hammer Films did it and did it better back in 1971 with BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB, a film based on the novel The Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker.

BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB is completely unlike the Hammer Mummy movies which came before it, and for that matter from the Universal Mummy movies as well. Gone is the lumbering monster wrapped in bandages.  In its place is a  beautiful woman whose otherworldly powers are just as deadly.

BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB is the story of a young woman named Margaret Fuchs (Valerie Leon), the daughter of famed archeologist Professor Julian Fuchs (Andrew Keir).  Margaret is troubled by nightmares in which she catches glimpses of an expedition led by her father which discovered a female mummy, Queen Tera, which strangely had not suffered any decomposition.  Even stranger, Queen Tera is a dead ringer for Margaret.  What’s a girl to do?

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Queen Tera (Valerie Leon), looking pretty good for a centuries old mummy.

Why, investigate, of course!  Which is exactly what Margaret does, with the help of her boyfriend Tod Browning (Mark Edwards).  No, not the guy who directed Bela Lugosi in DRACULA (1931), but obviously the use of the name here is a nod to the famous director, and it makes sense here, since Browning directed DRACULA, which was based on Bram Stoker’s famous novel, and of course this Mummy movie was based on Stoker’s less famous novel.

What Margaret and Tod find out is that Queen Tera is very much alive and intent on walking the earth again, but to do that, she must kill, kill, kill, which she does by using Margaret.

While I wouldn’t place BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB up there with Hammer’s best shockers, it does belong in the better-than-average category.  My favorite part is that it is so different.

Director Seth Holt— who would die from a heart attack before the film was released— uses a slow almost artistic style to tell this story.  The effect is quite mesmerizing.  While you won’t be jolted out of your seat from in-your-face scares, you will be captivated by a haunting tale that subtly gets under your skin.

The music score here by Tristram Cary is also quite effective, as it lends a sense of eeriness to the proceedings.

The screenplay by Christopher Wicking is a good one.  It tells an interesting story and creates some intriguing characters.  The plot also builds to a bloody climax in which survivors are hard to come by.

Valerie Leon is okay as Margaret Fuchs/Queen Tera.  It’s kind of a one note performance, as she doesn’t exhibit a lot of range.  I enjoyed Mark Edwards much better as her boyfriend Tod Browning.  I thought he came off like a real person, and he seemed quite natural inside this supernatural environment.

I’m a big fan of Andrew Keir, and he’s very good here as Professor Julian Fuchs, in a role that was originally intended for Peter Cushing, but Cushing had to drop out to care for his ailing wife.  My favorite Andrew Keir role in a Hammer Film is his performance as Father Sandor in DRACULA-PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966).  His role here as Professor Fuchs isn’t as significant, but Keir’s presence adds dignity and respectability to the story.

blood-from-the-mummys-tomb-valerie leon-andrew keir

Andrew Keir as Professor Julian Fuchs, trying to put an end to Queen Tera, the Mummy.

Also memorable is James Villiers as the mysterious Corbeck, a member of the Fuchs expedition which discovered the tomb of Queen Tera, who later contacts Margaret and Tod and has his own ideas as to what needs to be done regarding the mummy.

If there’s one thing I don’t like about BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB it’s that it lacks energy.  At first, its slow-paced eerie style works, but the film never builds on this, never becomes more suspenseful.  It does have a violent conclusion, but it’s not as powerful as you would expect.  And that’s why for me it’s not up there with Hammer’s best. It’s an atmospheric thriller and generally satisfying, but there’s just something rather passive about the whole thing.

Stoker’s novel The Jewel of the Seven Stars would be filmed again in 1980 under the title of THE AWAKENING starring Charlton Heston with similar if not lesser results.

So, really, female mummies haven’t fared all that well in the movies.  In fact, you could make the argument, that this above average thriller BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB is the best of the lot.

Either way, if you’re looking for a change of pace and want to watch a Mummy movie not about a slow-moving monster in bandages, one that features a female mummy in a story that is far better than the one told in the 2017 MUMMY, give BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB a try.

Its subtle style might be just the thing for a starry September evening.

—END—

 

 

 

 

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THE HORROR JAR: Music by Jerry Goldsmith, Part 1

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Welcome back to THE HORROR JAR, that column where we look at lists about movies, especially horror movies.  Today we look at genre movies scored by Jerry Goldsmith, and there are a lot of them.

Jerry-Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith

Looking back at Jerry Goldsmith’s career, it’s amazing to see just how many horror and science fiction films he wrote the music for, and how memorable these scores are.  There are so many, in fact, that I’ve divided this column into two parts.

Here’s a partial look at his prolific career, concentrating mostly on his genre credits:

BLACK PATCH (1957) –  Jerry  Goldsmith’s first film score, a western written by tough guy actor Leo Gordon.

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964) – provided the music for this taut nuclear war thriller directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March.  It’s DR. STRANGELOVE without the laughs.

THE SATAN BUG (1965)- Goldsmith’s first genre credit, the science fiction thriller about germ warfare

PLANET OF THE APES (1968) – This Jerry Goldsmith score remains one of my favorites.  The unusual music here really captures the feel of the Ape world and adds to the “madhouse!” emotions which Charlton Heston’s Taylor has to endure at the hands of his captors.  Classic.

THE ILLUSTRATED MAN (1969) – Science fiction film based on the short story collection of the same name by Ray Bradbury and starring Rod Steiger.

THE MEPHISTO WALTZ (1971) – Obscure horror film with Alan Alda as a pianist who finds his soul in the hands of a scheming satanist.

ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971)-  Goldsmith goes ape again as he scores the third film in the series, a creative flick in which apes Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and Zira (Kim Hunter) travel back in time to present day Los Angeles.

THE OTHER (1972) – classic 1970s horror movie scripted by Tom Tryon.

THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD – (1975) – 1970s horror flick starring Michael Sarrazin, Jennifer O’Neil, and Margot Kidder.

THE OMEN (1976)- the big one, probaly Goldsmith’s most powerful score, and the only one for which he won an Oscar.  Still a very scary movie today, and Goldsmith’s music is a major reason why.

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LOGAN’S RUN (1976) – classic science fiction film from the 1970s starring Michael York and Farrah Fawcett.

DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) – Much-hyped science fiction movie about survivors in a post-apocalyptic world starring George Peppard and Jan-Michael Vincent was a major flop upon its release, as it was completely overshadowed by another science fiction release that same year, a little film called STAR WARS (1977).

COMA (1978) – Horror thriller written and directed by Michael Crichton about sinister goings-on starring Genevieve Bujold and Michael Douglas.

CAPRICORN ONE (1978) – another major flop from the 1970s, this thriller about a fake space mission to Mars featured a strong cast which included Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson (remember when he was that likable former football star who went on to make movies?), Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, and Telly Savalas.

DAMIEN:  OMEN II (1978) – Goldsmith’s back at it again, composing yet another horrific score in this OMEN sequel that, while nowhere near as good as the original, remains highly entertaining today.  Starring William Holden and Lee Grant.

THE SWARM (1978)- One of the worst movies of the decade and certainly one of the worst “disaster” movies ever made.  This tale of a swarm of killer bees attacking the United States was directed by Irwin Allen who must have been punch drunk over the success of his previous hits THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) when he made this turkey.  With an “all-star” cast which included Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, and Richard Chamberlain, and many many unforturnate more.  It’s hard to believe that this storyline– deadly killer bees– used to be considered real and scary.  I can’t believe I actually saw this one at the movies!

THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL (1978) – Excellent thriller about a Nazi hunter (Laurence Olivier) on the trail of a fanatical Nazi (Gregory Peck) with plans to resurrect the Third Reich.

MAGIC (1978)- The Anthony Hopkins horror classic about a ventriliouost and his evil dummy.  1978 was a busy year for Jerry Goldsmith, as MAGIC was the sixth film he scored that year!

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1979) – Period piece fun with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland robbing a train in Victorian England.  An underrated gem by writer/director Michael Crichton.

ALIEN (1979)- Goldsmith just keeps on rolling here with his chillingly effective score for this science fiction classic which launched the career of Sigourney Weaver.

STAR TREK:  THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) – Goldsmith’s score for the first STAR TREK movie is my personal favorite.  Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and the rest of the Enterprise crew hit the big screen for the first time with mixed results.  It’s highbrow science fiction to be sure, but it’s all so slow paced.  This one continues to grow on me over the years, but I loved Goldsmith’s music from the get-go.  Sure, his iconic new theme went on to become the main theme for STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, but that’s not what I love about this score.  It’s all rather dark and ominous, a powerful score that remains the finest music score in the STAR TREK universe.

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THE FINAL CONFLICT (1981)- the final film in the OMEN trilogy, and by far the weakest, even with a young Sam Neill cast as the adult Damien.

OUTLAND (1981) – Interesting science fiction movie with Sean Connery playing a Marshall on a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon tangling with some baddies without help from its inhabitants.  It’s HIGH NOON (1951) in space.

POLTERGEIST (1982) – A big hit in 1982, I’ve never liked this horror vehicle by Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper.

FIRST BLOOD (1982) – provides the music for Sylvester Stallone’s first foray as Rambo.

PSYCHO II (1983) – provides yet another very effective music score in this long awaited sequel to the Alfred Hitchcock classic, once again starring Anthony Perkins as the twisted tormened Norman Bates.  It’s certainly not PSYCHO (1960) but this thriller by director Richard Franklin really isn’t all that bad.  Vera Miles also reprises her role from the original.

TWILIGHT ZONE:  THE MOVIE (1983) – Muddled big screen treatment of classic Rod Serling TV series, a real head-scratcher when you consider the talent involved – Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, and Steven Spielberg each directed a segment and yet this film still is a clunker.

And that’s all the time we have.  Tune in for Part 2 of THE HORROR JAR:  Jerry Goldsmith when we look at the second half of Goldsmith’s career.  Coming soon!

To be continued—.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER MOVIES – LIST SOME TV SHOWS HE SCORED

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (2014)

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exodus gods and kings posterHere’s my CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT review from last week on EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS (2014), the new Biblical epic by director Ridley Scott starring Christian Bale as Moses:

 

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:  EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS (2014)

Movie Review by Michael Arruda

(THE SCENE: In the middle of a great sea which has receded to make a walkable path, MICHAEL ARRUDA casually strolls along the rocky ground.)

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Welcome to this week’s CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT column.  Today I’m walking in the middle of the Red Sea, which as you can see has been conveniently parted by God so that Moses can lead the Hebrews to safety.  Of course, a horde of angry Egyptians are in hot pursuit, and—well, you know the story.

Anyway, they tell me that the sea will remain parted long enough for me to get through today’s review.  (Looks at the thick dark storm clouds and violent lightning strikes in the distance).  I hope so.

Today I’m reviewing EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS, the new Biblical epic by director Ridley Scott, which tells the story of Moses and his Pharaoh brother Ramses as they fight over the future of the Hebrew people.  I’m doing this review solo as my “brother” L.L. Soares is off on another assignment, but truth be told, I think he wasn’t too keen on doing a review in the middle of a parted ocean.  In fact, now that I think of it, he did seem awfully eager to send me here.  Hmm.  Oh well.  I have no intention of drowning today, so let’s get on with the review.

Unlike Cecile B. DeMille’s classic THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) starring Charlton Heston, which began with the birth of Moses, EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS opens with Moses (Christian Bale) already as an adult.

(Charlton Heston as MOSES scurries past MA)

HESTON:  Where the hell are my people going?  They’re supposed to wait for me!

MA: Er, they’re following another Moses, this one played by Christian Bale.

HESTON:  Another Moses?  Like hell!  (Lifts his staff high in the air.) I’m not giving up this staff until they rip it from my cold dead hands!!! (Runs away in pursuit of the Hebrews.)

MA: So the movie begins with Moses, his brother Ramses (Joel Edgerton) and their father, the Pharaoh Seti (John Turturo) discussing their plan to attack their enemy.  Moses scoffs at the Pharaoh’s reliance on mystical omens to determine the outcome of the battle, as he doesn’t believe in all that religious stuff, only in a man’s ability to do the job himself.  Can someone say irony?

Of course, there is a prophecy that on the battlefield whoever saves a leader will himself become a leader, and it’s Moses who saves Ramses, which doesn’t sit well with the Egyptian prince, although truth be told, he’s not too broken up about it, since he and Moses share a strong friendship- they’re “brothers” after all.

However, when Moses is sent to visit the Hebrew slaves to gather information about their reported uprising, he meets with one of the Hebrew elders Nun (Ben Kingsley) who tells Moses the true story of his upbringing, how in response to a prophecy Pharaoh had ordered all the first-born Hebrew boys killed, and so Moses’ mother secretly sent him away, and he was raised by the Egyptians.  In short, Moses is Hebrew.  Moses nearly kills Nun over this story, and says he doesn’t believe it, but as he goes along it gnaws at him.

Furthermore, Moses had given the Viceroy (Ben Mendelsohn) a hard time for living too lavish a lifestyle and thinking he was a king, an admonishment that didn’t sit well with the Egyptian official, and so when he too learns the story of Moses’ secret, he quickly informs Ramses.

Ramses loves Moses, but he can’t afford to keep a possible leader of the Hebrews in his court, and so he banishes Moses to the desert.  There, Moses is taken in by some desert dwellers, where he marries and has a son.  Years later, alone on a mountainside, he gets caught in an avalanche, hits his head on a rock, and when he awakes sees the burning bush and experiences his vision of God, in this case, in the form of a young boy.

From this moment on, Moses believes in this God known as “I am,” and he leaves his family in order to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and out of Egypt.  Of course, Ramses won’t have any of this, and so it takes help from God, in the form of vicious deadly plagues, to help loosen Ramses’ grip on His chosen people.

EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS is a likable enough movie.  Like NOAH (2014) which came out earlier this year, it deemphasizes the religious elements and focuses more on the human elements of the story.

(Russell Crowe as Noah runs by leading a multitude of animals making their way through the parted sea two by two.)

MA:  I think we’re confusing our Bible stories here.  Noah, aren’t you supposed to have an ark?

NOAH:  Not in this crossover movie.

MA:  Crossover movie?

NOAH:  In the new movie NOAH MEETS MOSES, I discover a wormhole which leads me thousands of years into the future where I arrive with my animals just in time to help Moses with his Egyptian problem.  We’re on our way now to strike at the Egyptians from behind.  It’s all part of the new push to turn Biblical characters into action heroes.  Eventually we’re going to have our own AVENGERS-style movie.

MA:  Why not?  Everybody else is!  You’d better hurry.  This sea isn’t going to remain parted forever.

(NOAH and the animals race off in pursuit of the Egyptians.)

MA:  God is still present in EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS, and the relationship between Moses and God is still an integral part of the story, but it’s not the main part.  The driving relationship in EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS is the one between Moses and Ramses, and that’s the story which works best here.  They love each other like brothers, and yet they are thrown into this conflict which not only pits them against each other, but puts them on the opposite ends of brutal bloody events which make it impossible for them not to want to hurt the other.

Yet through most of the conflict you get the sense that Ramses still loves Moses and doesn’t want to harm him.  In fact, even after his own son is killed, even as Ramses asks Moses how he could worship a God that kills children, his anger is not aimed at Moses, but at God, and he even offers his sympathy to Moses and his child.  It’s not until Moses informs Ramses that no Hebrew children were killed that Ramses finally loses it and becomes an instrument of pure vengeance.  For Moses’ part, his answer to Ramses is that it’s not him that is doing these things, it’s God, and that regardless of what they do, God’s will is inevitable.

EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS also deemphasizes the epic feeling of this story, and this is not a bad thing.  The screenplay by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, and Steven Zallian makes a point of emphasizing the human elements rather than the supernatural.  Moses is not at all interested in gods and religion- he’s a man of common sense and action, and so when we witness his transformation later, it’s all the more interesting because we know that he was not someone who was looking for omens and religion- he wasn’t interested in the least.

Ramses may be the most clearly developed character in the movie.  You really come to understand his plight, that he in no way wants to harm Moses.  Joel Edgerton as Ramses does a nice job showing how this incredibly confident leader is increasingly overwhelmed by a force he doesn’t recognize or believe in; yet, it’s a relentless force that won’t leave his people alone.

The four writers here all have extensive credits, with Caine and Zallian with the more impressive ones.  So, it’s no surprise that the screenplay is a good one.  That being said, it doesn’t all work.  I thought some of the key moments were glossed over.  The conversation between Nun and Moses where Nun tells Moses the true story of his birth lacks drama and just sort of happens matter-of- factly.  “Your name is Moses?  By the way, even though I’ve just met you and have known you for all of two seconds, I know the true story of your birth.”  Yeah, right.  Get away from me you senile old man!

 

Likewise, as much as I believed in Moses’ conversion, it sort of just happens as well.  On the one hand, the lack of melodrama makes things more believable, but on the other, sometimes things come off just a little too low key.  I banged my head, had a vision, and now without question, I’m jumping into my new role as a religious liberator of an entire people.  Really?

And really, other than Moses and Ramses, no other character is developed to any degree of satisfaction.

But in this movie that’s okay because the two leads do an excellent job.  Christian Bale makes for a likable and heroic Moses.  Sure, it’s not as ambitious a performance as last year’s turn in AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013) nor is it as satisfying as his work in OUT OF THE FURNACE (2013), but he’s still very good here and I never grew tired of watching him.

Just as good as Bale is Joel Edgerton as Ramses.  Of course, Edgerton is helped by the script which does its best job defining the Ramses character, but even so, Edgerton is excellent.  I liked him as Tom Buchanan in THE GREAT GATSBY (2013) but he’s even better here as Ramses, where he rises above the cliché.  Edgerton makes Ramses a very human leader who is not interested in killing his brother or his people.  He just knows who he is- the Pharaoh- and as such he cannot allow a slave race or their “god” to dictate terms to him.

(Gatsby and Daisy, and Tom, Nick and Jordan Baker race by in two 1920s vehicles, nearly running MA over in the process.)

GATSBY:  Sorry about that, old sport!

MA: Hey, you need to watch where you’re going.  You’re going to run someone over if you keep driving like that.  Actually, you are going to run someone over, and it’s not going to be pretty.

Okay, back to EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS.

 

Both John Turturo as Seti, and Ben Kingsley as the Hebrew elder Nun make their mark in relatively brief roles, and Ben Mendelsohn makes for a very memorable Viceroy.  We’ve seen Mendelsohn in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012), KILLING THEM SOFTLY (2012) and KILLER ELITE (2011) but this is probably his best performance that I’ve seen.  He makes for a deliciously sly weasel.

The women don’t fare as well.  Maria Valverde is okay as Moses’ wife Zipporah, but she’s hardly memorable.  Then there’s Sigourney Weaver as Tuya who is in this one for all of a minute- blink and you’ll miss her.

(A bunch of the Aliens from ALIEN creep by.)

MA (to the Aliens):  If you’re looking for Sigourney Weaver, she’s playing an Egyptian in this movie, which means she’s back there in Egypt.  You need to turn around.

(The Aliens ignore him and keep going.)

MA:  Oka-ay.  I don’t know why I was talking to them anyway.  It’s not like they understand English.

(SIGOURNEY WEAVER suddenly appears in a low flying spaceship firing lasers at the Aliens.)

WEAVER (to the Aliens):  For the last time, I can’t get you cameos in the AVATAR movies!

(She fires more lasers at them and continues her pursuit.)

MA:  And lastly, there’s poor Aaron Paul from TV’s BREAKING BAD as Joshua.  Is he bad?  Not at all.  He’s just given absolutely nothing to do.  I kept thinking, after his work as Jesse on BREAKING BAD, this is all they’re giving him?  For the most part he gets to stand next to Christian Bale, and when he’s not staring off into space with an awe-struck expression he’s uttering one or two monosyllabic lines.  Seriously, the expression on his face made me think Bryan Cranston’s Walter White was standing next to him saying, “Jesse, what part of playing an Egyptian do you not understand?”

 

I’m not usually a fan of CGI effects, but I have to admit I was into them here.  I liked the look of this movie and thought ancient Egypt looked rather spectacular.  Visually, director Ridley Scott did a phenomenal job.  The plague scenes in particular were very well done, but the centerpiece of this movie and my favorite scene was the parting of the Red Sea.  Visually, it’s a tremendous scene and by far the most exciting sequence in the entire film.

I also liked how it was shown to resemble a Tsunami, which lent credibility to the idea that a sea would recede and then return with a vengeance.

This movie is available in a 3D version and probably looks great in 3D, but I chose not to pay the extra admission price, and so I saw it in 2D and liked it just fine.

I enjoyed EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS more than Ridley Scott’s previous film THE COUNSELOR (2013), and I even liked it better than his film before that, the overly ambitious science fiction ALIEN-prequel PROMETHEUS (2012).

Not everything works, but enough does so that its 150 minutes goes by rather quickly.  It helps to have Christian Bale in the lead role, and he does a nice job carrying this movie, with help from Joel Edgerton as Ramses.

While I liked the idea of having God appear to Moses as a child, I’m not sure it worked all that well.  Not that I wanted an over-dramatic Hollywood interpretation of God, but the young actor they chose to play God looked like he belonged in a re-imagining of THE BAD NEWS BEARS.

There are some battle scenes in this one, especially early on, and not that I have anything against battle scenes, but I see so many that they’re really not anything special anymore.  I mean, the scenes of battle in this movie were interchangeable with battle scenes I’ve seen in DRACULA UNTOLD (2014), HERCULES (2014) and any number of historical battlefield movies I’ve seen on the big screen in recent years.  The best thing I can say about the battle scenes in this one is that they don’t go on too long.

And since this one’s not called THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, those ten rules of God’s law are hardly in this one at all.

For what it was, a visual tale of one of the Old Testament’s more exciting stories, the tale of Moses leading his people out of Egypt, EXODUS:  GODS AND KINGS is an enjoyable movie that held my interest and kept me entertained for its long 150 minutes running time.

I give it three knives.

Okay, I made it, and the waters remained receded.  (Things suddenly grow dark, and MA turns around to see a massive tidal wave closing in on him.)  Uh-oh.  (Opens an umbrella.)

(The gigantic wave thunders down upon him and covers everything in its path with a massive flood of water.  Cut to a beach where we see MA walking out of the water still holding his umbrella.)

MA (examines his umbrella):  Hmm.  Waterproof.

(Exits onto beach past a group of sunbathers, and a volleyball game with Ramses’ Egyptians on one side of the net playing Moses’ Hebrews on the other.)

—END—

THE HORROR JAR: PLANET OF THE APES movies

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Roddy McDowall as Caesar in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973)

Roddy McDowall as Caesar in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973)

THE HORROR JAR: PLANET OF THE APES Movies By Michael Arruda

Welcome back to THE HORROR JAR, that column where we feature various lists of odds and ends pertaining to horror movies, or in today’s case, science fiction movies. Yep, we’re stretching the boundaries a bit today, venturing off into the world of science fiction as we look at the PLANET OF THE APES series.

The latest APES movie, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014), the second in the re-booted series, opens in theaters this weekend, June 11, 2014. Here’s a look at all the APES films so far:

PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

Screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle.

Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Make-up by John Chambers

Taylor: Charlton Heston

Cornelius: Roddy McDowall

Zira: Kim Hunter

Dr. Zaius: Maurice Evans

Nova: Linda Harrison

Academy Award Winner for John Chambers for Outstanding Make-up Achievement

Running Time: 112 minutes

Classic science fiction movie, one of the best science fiction films of all time. Superior script by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, with many memorable lines. Oscar-winning ape make-up by John Chambers. Famous twist ending is not in the novel by Pierre Boulle, which actually makes this film a rarity in that it’s better than its source material.

“Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

 

BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970)

Directed by Ted Post

Screenplay by Paul Dehn

Music by Leonard Rosenman

Make-up by John Chambers

Brent: James Franciscus

Zira: Kim Hunter

Dr. Zaius: Maurice Evans

Nova: Linda Harrison

Ursus: James Gregory

Taylor: Charlton Heston

Running Time: 95 minutes

First APES sequel is not as good as the original, but still makes for a highly entertaining movie. The only film in the original five film series not to star Roddy McDowall.

 

ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971)

Directed by Don Taylor

Screenplay by Paul Dehn

Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Make-up by John Chambers

Cornelius: Roddy McDowall

Zira: Kim Hunter

Dr. Lewis Dixon: Bradford Dillman

Dr. Stephanie Branton: Natalie Trundy

Dr. Otto Hasslein: Eric Braeden

Armando: Ricardo Montalban

Running Time: 98 minutes

Apes escape from the future using Charlton Heston’s spaceship from the original movie and travel back in time to 1973 and find themselves in the United States, where they’re treated like celebrities at first until they’re deemed a threat to humankind.

 

CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1972)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Screenplay by Paul Dehn

Music by Tom Scott

Make-up by John Chambers

Caesar: Roddy McDowall

Breck: Don Murray

Lisa: Natalie Trundy

MacDonald: Hari Rhodes

Kolp: Severn Darden

Armando: Ricardo Montalban

Running Time: 88 minutes

Baby Caesar is all grown up and leads the apes in a revolution against the slave-driving humans in the 1990s.

 

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Screenplay by John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington

Music by Leonard Rosenman

Make-up by John Chambers

Caesar: Roddy McDowall

General Aldo: Claude Akins

Lisa: Natalie Trundy

Governor Kolp: Severn Darden

Virgil: Paul Williams

MacDonald: Austin Stoker

Running Time: 93 minutes

Final film in the original APES series finds Caesar leading both apes and humans on a path towards peaceful co-existence, which is easier said than done because both militant gorillas and vengeful humans have other plans.

 

PLANET OF THE APES (2001)

Directed by Tim Burton

Screenplay by William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, and Mark Rosenthal

Music by Danny Elfman

Make-up by Rick Baker

Captain Leo Davidson: Mark Wahlberg

Thade: Tim Roth

Ari: Helena Bonham Carter

Running Time: 119 minutes

Awful, awful remake. Nuff said.

 

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver

Music by Patrick Doyle

Caesar: Andy Serkis

Will Rodman: James Franco

Charles Rodman: John Lithgow

John Landon: Brian Cox

Running Time: 105 minutes

Much better than the dreadful 2001 Tim Burton remake, but not as good as the original series. This film is more a remake of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES as it follows the story of Caesar as he leads the apes in a rebellion against humans. Andy Serkis, fresh off his turns as Gollum in the LORD OF THE RINGS series and as King Kong in Peter Jackson’s KING KONG (2005), makes for a memorable Caesar. Well done, but lacks the imaginative spirit of the original movies.

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)

Directed by Matt Reeves

Screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback

Music by Michael Giacchino

Caesar: Andy Serkis

Malcolm: Jason Clarke

Dreyfus: Gary Oldman

Running Time: 130 minutes

Directed by one of the most talented genre directors working today, Matt Reeves, the man who directed CLOVERFIELD (2008) and LET ME IN (2010). Andy Serkis returns as Caesar in another remarkable performance. Another exquisitely made poignant genre film by director Reeves. Excellent movie.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

Books by Michael Arruda:

TIME FRAME,  science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.  

Ebook version:  $2.99. Available at http://www.neconebooks.com. Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.

InTheSpooklight_NewText

 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.neconebooks.com.  Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.  

For The Love Of Horror cover

Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.neconebooks.com. Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.  

MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES: PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

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planet_apes+1968MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES:  PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

By

Michael Arruda

 

Today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES we look at memorable lines of dialogue from the original PLANET OF THE APES (1968) starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, one of my all-time favorite movies.

There are a lot of notable lines in this one, most of them spoken by Charlton Heston.  The screenplay for PLANET OF THE APES was written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle.  Of course, everyone knows Rod Serling and the talent he brought to the table, thanks to THE TWILIGHT ZONE TV series, but Michael Wilson was an award winning screenwriter in his own right, the winner of two Academy Awards for Best Screenplay for A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) and THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957).  He also co-wrote the screenplay for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962).

It’s no wonder PLANET OF THE APES has so many outstanding lines!

We’ll get two of my favorite lines from the movie out of the way immediately.  My all-time favorite line from PLANET OF THE APES comes from Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor, when he reaches his breaking point at the hands of the apes, and he shouts in anguish:

TAYLOR:  It’s a madhouse!  A madhouse!

There have been quite a few times in my life when things have gotten very low, and I’ve heard Heston’s voice in my head shouting these very same words.

Next up is probably the most famous quote from the movie, and it’s the scene where Taylor finally regains his voice, after having lost his ability to speak due to a bullet wound to the throat.  In a world where apes speak and humans don’t, it was the first words spoken by a human that the apes had ever heard.  The apes had just been chasing Taylor through the city, and when they capture him, he shouts:

TAYLOR:  Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

To relieve a lot of the tension in this riveting science fiction thriller, there’s a good amount of humor in the movie.  For example, this line from one of the apes:

JULIUS: You know the saying, “Human see, human do.”

A bunch of very memorable lines come during the final sequence in the film, where Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and Zira (Kim Hunter) take Taylor and Nova (Linda Harrison) to the Forbidden Zone, where they play to escape from Ape City.  However, Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) and his gorilla soldiers are in hot pursuit.

For example, this exchange after Taylor overpowers Zaius and ties him up.

ZIRA: Taylor! Don’t treat him that way!

TAYLOR:  Why not?

ZIRA:  It’s humiliating!

TAYLOR:  The way you humiliated me? All of you?  You led me around on a leash!

CORNELIUS:  That was different. We thought you were inferior.

TAYLOR:  Now you know better.

When Cornelius reads from the sacred scrolls, it’s a memorable passage, so much so it was repeated in the opening of the movie’s sequel, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970).

CORNELIUS (reading from scroll):  Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.

Then there’s this exchange moments later between Taylor and Dr. Zaius:

TAYLOR:  A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer.

DR. ZAIUS:  Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.

And when Taylor and Nova are finally ready to ride off into the unknown, Taylor decides he’d like to kiss Zira goodbye, to which Zira gives this memorable response:

TAYLOR:  Doctor, I’d like to kiss you goodbye.

ZIRA:  All right, but you’re so damned ugly!

And we finish with Dr. Zaius’ prophetic comment about what Taylor will find on his voyage into the Forbidden Zone.

ZIRA:  What will he find out there, doctor?

DR. ZAIUS:  His destiny.

Great lines, great movie, great fun.

Thanks for joining me today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, and I hope you enjoyed these lines from PLANET OF THE APES.

I’ll see you again next time with memorable quotes from another classic movie.

—Michael

Books by Michael Arruda:

TIME FRAME,  science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.  

Ebook version:  $2.99. Available at http://www.neconebooks.com. Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.

InTheSpooklight_NewText

 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.neconebooks.com.  Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.  

For The Love Of Horror cover

Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at http://www.neconebooks.com. Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to mjarruda33@gmail.com. Also available at Amazon.com.