Island of the Fishmen

(1979 – Italy – aka Screamers) dir: Sergio Martino; w/ Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson, (cameo for Joseph Cotten). No skin; no gore (gore content apparently varies with cut).

Some shipwrecked sailors find themselves on an island ruled by the usual sneering megalomaniac and some murderous fish-fiends, with a vague scent of Dr. Moreau over the whole thing. Despite some promise, it really turns out to be a rather dull tale, just barely fit for a lazy Sunday matinee. It’s rather a shame, since the fish-man costumes were actually quite good.

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Bottom Feeder

(2007 – Canada) writ & dir: Randy Daudlin; w/ Tom Sizemore, Wendy Anderson, Richard Fitzpatrick, Philip Akin. No skin; a bit o’ gore.

Hapless maintenance workers, deadly criminals, abandoned tunnels, and a medical experiment that got real hungry. Yup, it’s the ‘tunnels & toothy maw’ motif again. There is actually some quality work here, especially from the cast & the fx people. However, despite an attempt at a twist ending, this one delivers everything you would expect and nothing you might hope for. While not an embarrassment, it’s not really worth the plastic it’s printed on, either.

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The Vampire

(1957 – Mexico) dir: Fernando Mendez; w/ Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter, Carmen Montejo, German Robles. No skin; no gore.

A young lady, an undead aunt, an undercover doctor, and a box full of dirt. And the plot never really gets much deeper than that. It’s a modestly entertaining and entirely typical little vampire flick that seems aimed at the younger audience. There is some very nice lighting and B&W cinematography here, but not much else, really.

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Breaking News

(2004 – Hong Kong) dir: Johnnie To; w/ Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung. No skin; no gore.

Stung by a televised embarrassment, the Hong Kong police turn the capture of the suspects into a media extravaganza – now add in the extra criminals who get caught up in it, the hard-nosed cop who just wants to do his job, the comic relief, and assorted kitchen sinks. It has some good shoot-em-up moments and is kind of fun to watch, but is weighed down by an undisciplined sort of script that tries to shoehorn in too many ideas, too many gimmicks. They all just get in each others’ way and we end up with a stew of vague entertainment. Much of the potential is wasted and it just barely manages to avoid being a waste of time.

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