Monday, June 27, 2016

Plan9Crunch redux -- A look at Larry Buchanan and his films

By Steve D. Stones

Despite what film critics and historians may think of Texas filmmaker Larry Buchanan, he is not a terrible director who produces bottom of the barrel, trash entertainment. Like any Ed Wood film, Buchanan's films are laced with political and social commentary - if the viewer chooses to look hard enough.

Cult film writer Rob Craig has written an excellent book examining Buchanan's films and career. Craig makes a good case for the legitimacy and importance of Buchanan's work, and examines many of the recurring themes in his films. Themes such as the oppressive nature of patriarchy, the curse of fame, historial revision, the rebel outsider and government conspiracy are all addressed in many of Buchanan's films. Craig is detailed in pointing out how each of these themes are addressed in each Buchanan film.

Like any great low-budget, independent filmmaker, Buchanan worked in a number of genres in film - such as the western, exploitation, science-fiction, horror and the bio-pic. He created a series of TV movies for Azalea Pictures that were homages-remakes of 1950s horror and science fiction films.

The first in this homage-remake series for Azalea was The Eye Creatures (1965), which is based on Invasion of The Saucer Men (1957). Next up was Zontar, The Thing From Venus (1966) - based on Roger Corman's 1957 film - It Conquered The World. Another Corman remake Buchanan filmed was the 1967 film - In The Year 2889 - based on Corman's The Day The World Ended (1956). Creature of Destruction (1967) is Buchanan's remake of The She Creature (1957). Most of these films are direct scene-by-scene remakes of their original source with some changed dialog.

Buchanan addressed the media's obsession with fame and the curse that comes with it in a number of his films such as - The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (1964), The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde (1968), Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976), Hughes and Harlow: Angels In Hell (1977), Beyond The Doors (aka Down On Us - 1984) and Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn (1989).

The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald is a film that takes the stand-point of what would have happened if Jack Ruby had not shot and killed Oswald in a Dallas parking garage in 1963, and instead his case went to court. Shot in Dallas shortly after the assassination of JFK, many critics felt it was too early at the time to release a film addressing the accused killer of the president.

Both Goodbye, Norma Jean and Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn are about Hollywood sex icon - Marilyn Monroe - although one addresses her orphaned life before fame, and the other at the time of her death.
Perhaps Buchanan's most famous and loved film is Mars Needs Women (1967). The film is Buchanan's treatise on the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Three male martians come to earth to seek out young women for breeding purposes. One of the martians, played by teen idol Tommy Kirk, falls in love with a sexy, brainy brunette scientist.

For further reading by Rob Craig, see his book about grindhouse director Andy Milligan - Gutter Auteur: The Films of Andy Milligan and his interesting book about Ed Wood - Mad Genius: A Critical Study of The Films. Happy reading. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Conjuring 2 - A Roller Coaster Ride of Scares

Review by Steve D. Stones

The Conjuring 2 may not be the great classic of the original film, but as sequels go - it is a well-made, well-directed effort in the series that puts the viewer on a wild roller coaster ride of scares and chills. Prepare yourself to be even more jolted out of your seat than the first film.  This film comes in at 133 minutes.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as paranormal researchers Lorraine and Ed Warren. Early in the film, Lorraine expresses to Ed her desire to not get involved with any more paranormal investigations, at least not for a little while. Ed makes her a promise that they will lay off the investigations for a while.

This of course changes when the Warrens are approached by a priest of the Catholic church to look into a home possession in Northern England. Ed promises Lorraine that they will go to England only to observe. Lorraine fears that Ed will be killed in their next investigation based on dreams she has had.

Peggy Hodgson, played by Frances O'Connor, is a single mother of four children whose home in Enfield, England is plagued with spirits and strange paranormal activity. Her youngest daughter, Janet, played by Madison Wolfe, has become possessed by Bill Wilkins, the former owner of the home - a seventy-two year old man who died of a brain hemorrhage while sitting in his lounge chair watching TV. The Hodgson family kept Wilkins' chair and other possessions after the home was sold following his death.

There's lots of smashing glass, slamming doors, loud pounding sounds and furniture flying across the room, which continually jolts the viewer out of their seat.  Like the first Conjuring film, many of the scare tactics employed are from vague outlinings of a figure standing off in the distance of a dark room while a main actor stands or sits in front of the ominous figure.

One particularly scary sequence shows a strange painting Ed Warren has created of an evil nun he has seen in his dreams. Lorraine enters Ed's study to look at the painting as the shadow of the nun walks up to the painting and aligns her shadow with the shape of the figure in the painting. Creepy stuff indeed.

In a scene reminiscent of The Exorcist (1973), Ed Warren tries to communicate with the spirit of Bill Wilkins through the body of little Janet Hodgson. Janet sits in the old, worn-out chair of Wilkins while he communicates through Janet. Ed later reviews two tape recordings of Wilkins and discovers that Wilkins himself is possessed by the evil nun in his painting.

Most horror movie fans are in agreement that sequels to box office hits are often stinkers and not worthy of their predecessors. The Conjuring 2, however, will not disappoint. The scares in this film are ten times what was seen in the first film. Director James Wan always intensifies the scare level when he creates a new film in any of his series, such as the Saw and Insidious films

Strap yourselves in and hold on tight for one wild ride in The Conjuring 2. Happy viewing!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ed Wood and the Lost Lugosi Screenplays more Scripts From the Crypt reading

Review by Doug Gibson

The more devoted fans of Ed Wood's years with Bela Lugosi have long salivated for more information on scripts Wood wrote for Lugosi that he just couldn't get to the screen. The main reasons were money and clout; Wood had neither with even second-tier producers at Allied Artists or the then-new American International.

I count myself among those who long wished to read the scripts of "The Ghoul Goes West" and "The Vampire's Tomb." "Final Curtain" intrigued us for years, even if James "Duke" Moore played Lugosi's role, but we finally got to see that a few years after the one-man "Twilight Zone" wannabe pilot was re-discovered and restored.

In fact, "Final Curtain" joins "The Ghoul Goes West" and "The Vampire's Tomb" in the latest BearManorMedia's Scripts in the Crypt offering, "Ed Wood and the Lost Lugosi Screenplays," If you're a fan who loves the minutia presented in an easy-to-read style, get this book. It will satisfy your needs; the lion's share of the book is the three scripts, presented in the wonderfully nostalgic manner of copying Wood's own copies. It's kitschy but cool to see Wood's notes, misspellings, typos, scribbling, and even planned cast members' names for "Tomb", including Lyle Talbot, Loretta King, Dolores Fuller, the aforementioned Moore, etc.

Before we get to the scripts there are are several essays, all entertaining, informative, and at times poignant for genre fans. Lugosi biographer Gary D. Rhodes, in the most historically valuable essay, reviews the ultimately unsuccessful efforts to get "Ghoul" and "Tomb" produced. Besides Wood, his then-partner Alex Gordon was pitching the scripts. Originally, talk was for a three-picture deal, including a film called "Dr. Voodoo." Studio reps from Allied Artists and AIP would eventually kill these deals, asking for changes, an executive producer, fewer films, and script rewrites before ultimately saying no.

Rhodes has gathered an impressive history of press release puffs for "Ghoul" and "Tomb" that made it into trade pubs and newspapers. They would announce stars, then filming dates, and after that date passed the PR process would repeat itself. According to Rhodes' research, Boris Karloff was ready to do a single film with Lugosi. But Steve Broidy, Allied Artists' head, passed on everything. 

A real treat for readers is a reproduced review of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" from a San Diego newspaper. It's very interesting reading a viewpoint that didn't consider "Plan 9" one of the "all-time worst films." 

Tom Weaver does his usual great job in providing a synopsis of the films, with various comments on plot inconsistencies, a dose of snark, and pointing out other films that served as inspiration for the scripts' plots. (More on that later).


Leo Eaton, a former writing colleague of Wood's when both were churning out adult fiction in the early 1970s, and Robert Cremer, author of "The Man Behind the Cape," an official Lugosi biography, provide two short but powerful reminisces of Wood when he was an impoverished alcoholic. Eaton's tells of his condescending relationship with the middle-aged Wood, who would disapprove of the writers at the porn house wasting time with games. Eaton admits he didn't take Wood's claims of working with Lugosi seriously. 

The short introduction shows that Wood, even in the twilight of his career, took his work seriously. Several years ago, a low-circulation press published a collection of Wood's later, adult fiction. It was more gory adult than sex; perhaps a re-publishing is merited? 

Cremer's essay is the more powerful. It recounts 36 hours of paid interviews he conducted with Wood in preparation for "The Man Behind the Cape." (I'd sure like to see the complete transcript.) There are surreal moments of Wood's ups and downs, how a wad of bills lifts his spirits and he becomes the man who can entertain and buy the booze, and the crashes, where the penniless man sitting in an empty apartment with a wife usually in bed, regrets doing the interviews because he is the one who knew Lugosi best, and should be writing the biography.

Wood's late-life personality is captured well, when he giggles about upsetting grave markers for a "Plan 9" shoot and stealing shots without permission. In the most interesting section of he essay, Wood invites Cremer to watch his copy of "Plan 9," which he filched from a university library, with several of the stars, including Vampira, Talbot, Criswell and Paul Marco. 

They view the film with proprietary love, frequently congratulating a beaming Wood on scenes, ignoring any inconsistencies. At one point, to Cremer's amazement, Marco is impressed with the realism of the air jet's cockpit. While watching the film, they talk eagerly of more films; the elephant in the room -- the money to do so -- is not mentioned. By the next morning, the once-high, now dissipated Wood is back in the blues.

I want to note that despite his personal and professional descent, Wood was prolific to the end. He never stopped writing. His last screenplay, "I Awoke Early the Day  Died," was produced only a generation ago. He was working on a Lugosi biography, which is apparently lost. Wood-scripted films keep popping up, the latest is "The Revenge of Dr. X" "Venus Fly Trap).  Frankly, I think a lot of Ed Wood scripts and films are yet to be discovered.

Wood never gave up. He wrote, even if it was porn. And he always harbored comeback dreams. According to Rudolph Grey's Wood oral biography "Nightmare of Ecstasy," the late John Reynolds claims Wood was submitting films, and seeing them rejected, to major studios. 

From what's in this book, it's clear we need a more comprehensive, traditional biography of Wood. We need to track his descent through the 1960s and 1970s, falling further off the Hollywood road despite the frantic writing of scores of books, thousands of short stories and many scripts.


Someone once said that there are only seven plots and books and films follow them in some variation. "The Ghoul Goes West" and "The Vampire's Tomb" are derivative of other films, but they are smart, even lean mystery programmers (I think "Tomb" might have gone less than an hour.) I enjoyed reading the scripts, particularly "Ghoul," although "Tomb" is the deeper read. 

I won't give the exact plots away, but as Weaver notes, there's a lot of "Bride on the Monster," in concept more than specifics, in "The Ghoul Goes West." But it's primarily a poverty-row "oater" western dressed up as a mystery/horror with Lugosi as mad scientist undertaker, Dr. Smoke, trying to create giants he can control. As Weaver notes, and I agree, that it's a western makes the dialogue a little more relaxed, even snappier. Wood was having fun, you can tell.

Much has been said that Gene Autry was supposed to star in "Ghoul" and backed out, killing the project. I have to say, if Autry had done the film, I don't think he'd have disgraced himself. It's a pleasant time-waster with some genuine twists. 

I wonder if Wood gave a rueful smile when the "Curse of the Undead" western/horror was released by Universal in 1959, or when Circle Films' horror oaters featuring Dracula and a Frankenstein monster were released in the mid 1960s.

"Tomb of the Vampire," as Weaver correctly notes, is a sort of remake of Browning's "London After Midnight" and "Mark of the Vampire." Weaver adds that there's a lot of "The Cat and the Canary" and I'd add "The Old Dark House and "The Monster Walks" as inspiration as well.

There's more of the Wood melodrama in "Tomb," with characters anguishing, scheming, regretting, and killing. Lugosi has a great part as "Dr. Acula," a sinister detective rather than a fake vampire. The fake vampire was to be played by an actress named "Devila." No one knows who Wood had in mind; we only know Vampira wasn't interested. 

Lugosi's Dr. Acula" is a crackerjack part. He has great lines and takes on a Van Helsing type of role. The conclusion allowed rooms for sequels with Dr. Acula and it would have been an intriguing TV series. 

I'll digress here to opine that Lugosi's stint in rehab and subsequent poor health may have also played a role in the inability of these films to get made. To me, it's debatable he had the strength in 1956 to play anything other than the mute Casimir in "The Black Sleep."


Reading these scripts shows that Wood, had he been born 10-plus years earlier, would have been perfectly capable of settling into a screenwriter on poverty row, maybe graduating to B major studio films and perhaps even becoming a director. Both "The Ghoul Goes West" and "The Vampire's Tomb" would have been very acceptable productions for Monogram or PRC before 1946 or so. 

Wood was writing films in the 1950s that were no longer popular. Maybe if Lugosi had been healthier, Wood's youthful enthusiasm and prolific writing talents might have gotten Lugosi roles, perhaps a studio would have budgeted "Ghoul" or "Tomb" without Wood as director. After Lugosi died, alcohol likely tightened its vise on Wood after "Plan 9." "Night of the Ghouls" would not be released in his lifetime. His last mainstream directing job was "The Sinister Urge."

I have meandered on long enough for this review. Buy the book; what's in it is worth the price. I'll mention that Lee Harris, an accomplished veteran of the entertainment industry who narrated "Flying Saucers Over Hollywood," one of the first "Plan 9" docs, has an interesting essay on the discovery of "Final Curtain." He points out that "Final Curtain" was earlier screened in 1981 at a film festival in Southern California.There's also the screenplay of the short, TV pilot included. 

Rhodes and Weaver do their excellent research and observations and Eaton and Cremer, as mentioned, provide more information on Wood's final years. I'd still love to see the transcripts of the 36 hours of interviews with Ed Wood, Mr. Cremer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Night of the Lepus ... hare-raising scares?

By Steve D. Stones

If I didn't know any better, I could have easily mistaken “Night of The Lepus” for a Bert I. Gordon movie. Gordon, aka “Mr. B.I.G.,” is known for low-budget 1950s and ’60s science-fiction films that explore the theme of gigantism — giant grasshoppers, ants, mice, spiders, teenagers, and even a giant 50-foot man in a diaper, which is “The Amazing Colossal Man” (1957)

But in 1972’s “Night of The Lepus,” Rory Calhoun stars as Cole Hillman, a rancher whose property in Arizona is being invaded by a herd of rabbits. Hillman calls on the help of two zoologists — Roy and Gerry Bennett, played by Janet Leigh and Stuart Whitman — to control the rabbit population.

Roy and Gerry suggest controlling the population of rabbits through hormone injections instead of poisoning the herds. Their daughter Amanda switches one of the hormone-injected rabbits with another rabbit. The hormone-injected rabbit gets free and grows to a giant size. The rabbit's offspring also grows to a giant size and takes over the Hillman ranch.

Animal rights activists should steer clear of this film. Many scenes show the impact of gunfire on rabbits when it hits their bodies, even though it is fake. An opening sequence shows stock footage of ranchers with shotguns chasing after and rounding up herds of rabbits.

“Night of The Lepus” was filmed in Arizona with domesticated rabbits set against miniature sets and actors dressed in rabbit costumes. The film fails to depict rabbits as scary or threatening in any way. The furry critters come across as cute and cuddly, just like the Easter Bunny.

You can watch “Night of the Lepus” on Amazon Prime for $2.99.

This review was previously published at the Standard-Examiner website.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Weakness, a rarely seen film with Harry Langdon

By Doug Gibson

I emptied a small part of my bucket list today. As readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of Harry Langdon, and I've long wanted to see one of his films that is generally off limits to the general public. "My Weakness," a 1933 Fox film that's heavily influenced by "Pygmalion" -- in which Harry plays "Dan Cupid," and serves to narrate and both fronts and bookends the film's tale -- is an almost lost film, preserved by UCLA's film archive, and sometimes shown at festivals, but not Turner Classic Movies. (I know, I've kept a close eye hoping it'd show on the schedule.)

With the Gibson family in Southern California this week, I contacted UCLA several weeks ago, asking for a chance to see "My Weakness." I was surprised at how easy it was, after a couple of emails, I had reserved a two week window to see the film.

Today, I went to the Powell library to the film section, presented my "credentials," and I was ushered into a small viewing room with a DVD remote. The film came on the screen on its own, I was able to start, stop, rewind, and so on. My smart phone was not allowed, so no still shots in this review are from me.

Because the film is not available for easy-access viewing, this review will contain a synopsis of sorts, along with my observations, most at the end. First, "My Weakness" is a sexy, pre-code comedy/romance musical, with several scenes that include attractive women in their underclothes (see still below this paragraph), scenes that would be forbidden in just a couple of years. It's one of the Berkeley-like romps where all the characters are generally harmless and despite the travails, one never doubts that things will work out in the end. Witty repartee mingles with romantic triangles and intrigue, and rhymes and songs join in.

Harry Langdon starts the film off as Cupid, walking out from the clouds, playing his harp and speaking in rhymes. With the familiar white makeup, he looks as young as the Little Elf of the Sennett years. He introduces a tale of love that required a lot of work.

We enter into the domain of Ellery Gregory (Henry Travers), owner of a bra company. Ellery, who proves later to be a bit of a randy old man, is telling his nephew, Ronnie Gregory (Lew Ayres, a star of "All Quiet On The Western Front") that he's cut him off money-wise, and by the way, he's engaged to Ronnie's old squeeze, Jane Holman (Irene Bentley). Ronnie is a playboy, you see, always with what Ellery calls a "harem."

With both is a spunky but rather bedraggled maid named Looloo Blake (Lilian Harvey) who tells them almost fiercely that she wants "to get up in the world" and marry a rich man. Ellery, amused by the maid, tells Ronnie he'll put him back on the payroll if he can turn Looloo into a high-society woman and get her married to a rich man.

Initially, Ronnie isn't too impressed with Looloo, who complains about her taxi-driving boyfriend Maxie, (Sid Silvers). In fact, Ronnie brushes her off after a quick observation of her trying to attract men.

We go back to Harry Langdon as Cupid, who observing the affairs, says "I kind of feel something for this gal." Harry is also eating what looks like a candy bar.

Meanwhile, Ronnie goes to his frumpy, humorless cousin Gerald (Charles Butterworth) to plead his case and gets a firm "No. No. No." from Gerald whose passions are stamp collecting and carrots. Langdon's Cupid has already informed us that he's given up on Gerald. Later, while Ronnie is relating his money problems with a group of beautiful women friends (one is played by Irene Ware, of "The Raven), he gets the idea to take up Ellery's challenge. He'll try to match Looloo with his drab cousin Gerald. They think it will be a great joke on Ellery.

Looloo is walking with Maxie, in the rain, with Maxie only keeping himself dry under the umbrella. Looloo tells him she wants the cream of life. He replies, "Don't forget, the cream of today is the cheese of tomorrow."

Looloo goes back to Ronnie and pleads her case for him to help her. "OK, you win, come here," Ronnie says. He takes her to his girlfriends, who cluck over how dowdy she looks but agree that there are possibilities for her. What's interesting about this scene as it unfolds is that Ronnie and the girls talk in rhyme. Oftentimes in the film characters, including Langdon, speak in couplets. It reminds of the Langdon film "Hallelujah I'm a Bum."

At this point the film delves into pre-code as Looloo undresses for the girls while Ronnie discreetly has his back turned.

Two months have passed, and Looloo has been transformed into a stunning beauty. She's also carrying a torch for Ronnie. She often talks to his picture, and in a scene that's quite funny and poignant, she takes every opportunity to learn to kiss, using Ronnie to learn. Ronnie, however, is oblivious to the romantic signs Looloo is giving. All he can think about is making sure Looloo appeals to Gerald so he'll be back in good financial graces with uncle. About as far as his emotion will go is to say, "Hello Looloo, the girls tell me you've been making great headway."

Before the kissing scene, Harry Langdon's Cupid appears again in a well-shot scene, I think when the girls are making over Looloo, where he flies (with wings) into a room and leads a chorus of singing figurines, human and animals, flasks, salt shakers, figures of frogs, etc., even Rodin's The Thinker, all are singing, even photos of stars, including Will Rogers and Clara Bow.

The group goes to a fashion show, where Looloo will hopefully successfully woo Gerald. As Looloo, looking beautiful, moves down the stairway, she stumbles and falls. When she asks Ronnie if anyone noticed, he says "only 300 or 400."

Ronnie preps Looloo to woo Gerald. "If he asks you anything you don't understand, just say, 'what do you think.'"  There is a song and then a procession of fashion models. Looloo is introduced to Gerald, and later goes outside with him. She tries to get him attracted to her but he is uninterested in her until she tells him she loves carrots at midnight. So does Gerald, and he falls madly in love with Looloo.

Harry Langdon's Cupid occasionally comes in to offer commentary with lines such as "Didn't I tell you he was a tough guy" and "Now let's look at the old softie." As the plot continues, Looloo gets a marriage proposal from Gerald she really doesn't want.

After being brushed off by Ronnie, who is still unaware of her feelings, a hurt and angry Looloo swears off all men, causing both Gerald and Maxie to go off and cry together as men who love Looloo in vain. In an amusing scene, Gerald asks Maxie advice on suicide, but it only results in Gerald getting slugged and falling on Maxie.

Eventually old man Ellery also falls in love with Looloo, (He doesn't know she's the maid who sparked his challenge to Ronnie, although he learns it later.) Ellery, drunk on a highball, even proposes to Looloo. Ronnie starts to feel regret as to how he brushed off Looloo, and tells the old man he's now ready to take a job. I'm condensing a lot here but it all ends in a rather witty fashion with Ronnie, now in love, using advice he once gave Looloo to win her heart.( This includes pulling up his pant leg and telling her he has a rip in his stocking. ...)

In the penultimate scene, Ronnie and Looloo share a long kiss of requited love and in the final scene, Harry, framed in a heart, tells the audience, "Well, I put it over, didn't I," and promises to do it again, and again, and again.

I had 12 pages of synopsis notes and left out most of the latter pages but for a more complete plot outline, go to the Langdon biography, Little Elf: A Celebration of Harry Langdon. Langdon, fourth billed, is very good in a relatively small role. This was in an era where Harry was testing the waters as an actor in large-budget films. He was in "A Soldier's Plaything," "Hallelujah I'm a Bum," and "See America Thirst" besides "My Weakness." Harry was already working in comedy shorts with Educational, and eventually he'd move out of bigger-budgets, doing shorts for Columbia as well as roles, starring and otherwise, in a succession of B films, with the exception of A-picture "Zenobia" with Oliver Hardy.

Although I have no complaints with Harry as Cupid, it might have been intriguing to see him as the bland brother Gerald. It would have been interesting to see that character as the "elf," guided by situations and developments with little outward emotion except small gestures. However, the elf would have had to end with some woman, if not Looloo, at least one of Ronnie's harem. Gerald, of course, gets no girl in this film.

British-born Lilian Harvey was being groomed for stardom by Fox. It never occurred. She has screen presence and is very beautiful, and sings well, but her speaking voice seems a tad weak. However, I was watching a poor quality DVD of "My Weakness" with at times fuzzy resolution and jumps in the film, so she might have been better on the big screen. Her screen career ended about 1940. She was a contract player with Germany's UFA and World War II made her a foe of the Nazis.

Lew Ayres was made a star in "All Quiet On the Western Front" and does fine as the romantic lead, although he's no competition for Clark Gable. Ayres had a remarkably long career, working until a couple of years of his death, in roles so diverse as guest spots on "The Love Boat" and a "Hart to Hart" TV movie.

Another good role was Adrian Rosley as Baptiste, a valet or manservant who provides moral support for the leads. And Bentley as Jane Holman is tartly good too. The film was directed by David Butler, who also directed Shirley Temple movies, as well as "The Road to Morocco" with Hope and Crosby and did a lot of TV directing, including "Leave It to Beaver."

This is a nice movie with a choice role for Langdon as Cupid. It deserves to have easier access for fans of pre-code musical comedies and Harry Langdon. I urge readers to keep placing it on a request list on TCM website and maybe we'll get a high-quality, cleaned up print on TCM in the near future.

Below is a song, "Gather Lip Rouge While You May," which was sung in "My Weakness."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Revenge of Dr. X - An Ed Wood Scripted Film

By Steve D. Stones

Ed Wood may not have directed "The Revenge of Dr. X" (1970) but his fingerprints are all over the film. Bad acting, strange dialogue, boring camera angles and mismatched stock footage from other films are all characteristics found in this film and any Wood film. Wood is said to have written the script.

To confuse the viewer, the opening credits indicate that John Ashley and Angelique Petty-John stars in the film, and it was produced and directed by Eddie Romero.  This would lead the viewer to believe that it is going to be one of Romero's Philippines Island films from the late 60s and 70s. It is not. The film has nothing to do with the Philippines, director Romero and actor John Ashley. Why then does the opening credits indicate this? I'm not sure anyone can answer this question, other than to say that Romero had made a film with the same title.

Dr. Braggen, played by actor James Craig, spends the first five minutes of the film yelling at other actors and pretending to have a nervous breakdown. Braggen works as a NASA scientist and hangs out in greenhouses in his spare time dabbling in botany. He flies to Japan for some rest and relaxation. There he is greeted by a pretty Japanese woman half his age. The two become partners in greenhouse experiments and eventually fall in love.

Perhaps the only exciting aspect of this film is a scene of topless Asian scuba divers about forty-seven minutes into the film. Up to that point, the film is a complete yawn fest and fails to hold the viewer's attention.  Even a land slide of boulders falling across the road as Braggen drives to a Japanese greenhouse cannot inject any excitement into the film.

Braggen cuts free a strange plant life in the ocean while diving with the topless Asian scuba divers. He takes the plant back to his greenhouse laboratory and conducts experiments on it. In a reference or homage to "Frankenstein" (1931), Braggen places the plant on an experiment table and raises him to the top of the greenhouse to jolt it with a strike of lightning.

The plant grows to a gigantic size after the lightning jolt and develops an appearance similar to the creature in "She Creature" (1956), minus the giant breasts.  It is here that the plot starts to look similar to "Day of The Triffids" (1963) and "Little Shop of Horrors" (1960). To stay alive, the creature hunts for human flesh and blood.

The most annoying aspect of "The Revenge of Dr. X" is actor Craig's constant yelling at other actors in many scenes. Why the beautiful Japanese woman assistant would fall in love with this cantankerous numb-skull is anyone's guess.  Their attraction for each other is not very convincing because of Craig's constant yelling and selfish quest for conducting his nefarious experiments.

If you're a fan of Ed Wood, this film may be of interest to you. Any other viewer may find it boring and difficult to sit through. However, the giant Venus fly trap creature is quite interesting, like so many other low-budget creatures. If you're in the mood for giant plants, watch the more superior "Day of The Triffids" and "Little Shop of Horrors." Happy viewing.  Watch the entire film below: