Once again, Mill Creek brings us another multi-film pack with some gems and some public domain padding. Sometimes these sets can really surprise you, and sometimes they are exactly what you expect. Let’s dive in and see what Mill Creek has brought us this time.
Creature From the Haunted Sea
Spoiler alert: The monster looks like Chewbacca made from seaweed with great googly eyes.
Jesus, this movie is a clusterf**k. With narration over self explanatory scenes and really piss-poor acting, Creature From the Haunted Sea is just painful to watch. As if it weren’t bad enough already, the print is muddy and full of scratches.
This is a typical public domain print: Horrible, but perfectly watchable – unlike the movie itself.
The Creeping Terror
Although it is blurry on the far left edge and there is a bit of a brightness issue, this print is actually not bad. It’s too bad the film is terrible, but at least it is terrible in all the right ways.
The acting is stilted, the writing is nearly non-existent, and the characters are menaced by what appears to be a conglomeration of animal skins with several people writhing beneath it. The movie looks pitiful, but it was also gut-wrenchingly hilarious.
There is a reason why this is one of the better Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes.
Deathrow Gameshow is a forgotten gem.
This is poorly executed black comedy included hilariously awkward characters, strange music and a ridiculous plot; thankfully, these are all things that make a great cult film.
Deathrow Gameshow never got the recognition it deserves. Crown International Pictures was fantastic at churning out these cheaply made, ridiculous movies that are full of charm.
Ghosts on the Loose
Wikipedia tells me this is the fourteenth film in the East Side Kids series. Fourteen films! To think that people complain about seven movies in a series! This film is twice as many sequels deep. It’s also a pile of crap.
Let’s see, how does this go again? something, something, next door is a haunted house, sold to one of the gang and now they all go there. Yeah, this is a vague plot summary because the film fell out of my head faster than it went in. It’s probably great fun for fans of this series.
Little Shop of Horrors
This is the same miserable public domain transfer that you can find on almost every cheap movie collection. The print is washed out, the contrast is borked, and yet none of that diminishes this classic film. With great performances from some notable actors, this movie was shot in an unbelievable 2 days for the low price of $30,000. Roger Corman knew how to make a great cheap movie.
For those of you who may have missed the Little Shop boat, the film is about a guy who breeds a meat eating plant and then has to feed it human flesh – in the form of the horrible people in his life. It’s quite a trip and worth the travel.
Manos: The Hands of Fate
Manos: The Hands of Fate is a classic bad movie, and was featured in what is considered one of the best episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The interesting thing about this stinker is that the original 16mm print was found in a Florida storage locker in 2011 and had a successful Kickstarter to fund the restoration of the film.
A family stumbles upon an old house, tended by the satyr-ish Torgo. At some point they stumble into “The Master” – complete with wives in see-through gowns. The family escapes into the desert. Yeah… nothing really happens; it’s all awful, it’s all painful and then it is over. Meh.
My Mom’s a Werewolf
Spoiler alert: The werewolves are truly awful in this film.
That being said, the transfer is decent and is the same one that appears on the far superior set from Mill Creek called Rare Cult Cinema, which contains 11 Crown International Pictures gems.
A frustrated housewife gets bitten by a werewolf. Why? the plot, that’s why. What follows is an oft-awkward, but always entertaining film. The werewolves look like dog crap because THEY ARE JUST AN AWFUL MASK, which is the only major drawback. The rest of the film is typical Crown International Pictures schlock.
One Body Too Many
This is one of the worst transfers I have ever seen. Murky, dark, muddy and other similar words would be used to describe this awful print. This is probably the worst looking film of the set.
An insurance salesman visits a millionaire and tries to sell him insurance. That’s it. Welcome to the movie.
Okay, not really. The millionaire has died and the salesman is mistaken for a detective as the house is overrun by relatives that all want his money. Yay.
A Bucket of Blood
This is the first of the three “comedy horror” films made by Roger Corman and Charles B. Griffith (the other two are reviewed above: Little Shop of Horrors & Creature From the Haunted Sea).
So… a busboy hears a poet perform and wants to become an artist himself. He decides to become a sculptor, but through some crazy antics ends up accidentally killing his landlady’s cat. He uses the clay he has to cover the cat and presents it as a sculpture the next day. Things eventually get out of hand and people start dying.
The transfer is bad and the sound is worse. Of the three Corman comedy horror films on this set, this is the worst in terms of audio and visual quality. I can’t really say too much more about it.
So… A wealthy man is threatened by a killer known simply as “The Gorilla.” At the same time, there is a real gorilla in the same mansion. Hilarity ensues.
Genuine laughs are had at the expense of the characters. Thanks to some classic gags and some truly funny moments, The Gorilla is actually a very fun movie. Unfortunately, the transfer is a pile of crap.
King of the Zombies
A plane crashes on a Caribbean island during World War II; the passenger, his manservant and the pilot end up in a mansion, witnessing some voodoo and zombies. Chaos and hilarity ensue – or it would if this were a good movie.
Treasure of Fear
The image is horribly washed out and is almost unwatchable in its current state. I honestly couldn’t watch it and turned it off after 30 minutes. The film seemed okay, but the print was just too awful.
Spooks Run Wild
Wikipedia tells me that this is the seventh East Side Kids film. I wonder if there is a complete East Side Kids set? The film is muddy, dark, etc, etc. It’s just as unwatchable as some of these other films due to poor quality, but the film itself is decent.
Bela Lugosi plays the caped figure of Nardo with his dwarf assistant Luigi. Nardo moves into the Billings House, which has been abandoned for years. The East Side Kids end up in a cemetary… and then the Billings House… you can figure out what happens next. It’s decent fun but nothing to write home about.
The films are packed onto three discs, with 4 films on two discs and five films on the last one. All three discs are stacked on one hub and thus could end up being scratched. As long as you take care and make sure your discs are clean before putting them back on the hub, you should be fine.
I would only recommend this set to people who don’t already have one of the larger Mill Creek movie collections, but would not recommend it for those of us who are collectors and already have a great deal of Mill Creek releases.
If you want a taste of Crown International Pictures, then this set will give you a sample of the cheesy goodness, but the CIP films contained on this set are available elsewhere (As mentioned before).
You can pick up the set here or at many other major retailers in the United States.