Revenge of the Zombies

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(4/10) A good black supporting cast led by comedian Mantan Moreland saves this 1943 film, directed by The Day of the Triffids director Steve Sekely. John Carradine sleepwalks through his second outing as a mad scientist, this time creating zombies out of his staff and even his own wife. The white heroes of the movie are really just killing time between Moreland’s comedy skits.

Revenge of the Zombies. 1943, USA. Directed by Steve Sekely. Written bt Edmond Kelso, Van Norcross. Starring: Robert Lowery, Mauritz Hugo, John Carradine, Mantan Moreland, Veda Ann Borg, Gale Storm, Bob Steele, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, James Baskett, Sybil Lewis, Barry McCollum. Produced by Lindsley Parsons for Monogram. IMDb score: 4.7

Sybil Lewis and Mantan Moreland are two of the good things about this 1943 zombie horror comedy.

Sybil Lewis and Mantan Moreland are two of the good things about this 1943 zombie horror comedy.

Just off one Monogram picture, the abysmally bad The Ape Man (1943, review), starring Bela Lugosi, I jump right on to the next B cheapo. This time the villain is played by Lugosi’s and Boris Karloff’s successor as something of mad scientist royalty (although the title was hotly contested for in 1943), John Carradine. This was his second outing as a mad scientist, the first being Captive Wild Woman (1943, review). Continue reading

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Undersea Kingdom

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(3/10) In a nutshell: Inspired by Flash Gordon and The Phantom Empire, the young Republic Studios launched their own sci-fi serial in 1936, and the result was an action-packed, but rather brainless concoction relying heavily on horse chases and pointless crowd battles. Occasional good design and an energetic Crash Corrigan, nice action scenes, or even some merited actors can’t save this awfully scripted and blandly acted Atlantis-themed hotchpotch.

Undersea Kingdom. 1936, USA. Serial. Directed by B. Reeves Eason & Joseph Kane. Written by John Rathmell, Maurice Geraghty, Oliver Drake, Tracy Knight. Starring: Ray ”Crash” Corrigan, Lois Wilde, Lee van Atta, C. Montague Shaw, Monte Blue, William Farnum, Smiley Burnette, Frankie Farnum, Lon Chaney Jr, Sinbad the parrot. Produced by Nat Levine for Republic. IMDb score: 4.7

Crash Corrigan fighting off two Black Robes in the Republic sci-fi serial Undersea Kingdom.

Crash Corrigan fighting off two Black Robes in the Republic sci-fi serial Undersea Kingdom.

I’ve stated numerous times that I normally don’t review serials. But I can’t seem to keep away, can I? Well, just to put my review of Flash Gordon (1936) in perspective, I’ve decided to write a few lines on Undersea Kingdom, released barely two months after Flash. The cheap ripoff showcases almost everything that Flash Gordon got right, by getting it all wrong. Nonetheless, for some peculiar reason, the serial seems to hold a very special place in the hearts of the friends of the Republic serials. Admittedly, it is not without its technical merits, and one does learn to enjoy the horrible acting the way one enjoys Plan 9 from Outer Space. Continue reading