Category Archives: Pre-80’s movies

The Shadow Strikes

The Shadow Strikes 1937

Even though a lot of people point to Superman and the Mole Men as the first theatrical superhero movie, there’s a few others that came before it that aren’t quite what we think of now as superhero movies, but share enough similarities and/or the main character in other materials would be considered more of a superhero. This movie is definitely not a superhero movie in its own right, but the Shadow is definitely a superhero in other incarnations. This movie and a few other Shadow movies have been sitting at the top of my list for many years now and I only just now decided to check them off. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. It’s not really that great, but it was a nice change of pace for me.

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The Adventures of Jane

The Adventures of Jane 1949

I’ve gotten another free month of Amazon Prime and I thought I’d put it to good use to watch a couple movies based on a serialized comic strip that I knew very little about. Really the only thing I knew about it was that it was serialized, and that the main character Jane often had her clothes ripped off of her body, leaving her in her underwear. It very rarely or only just once went fully nude, it was generally just slightly bawdy for that era and treated with a Benny Hill-esque sense that the nudity was intended more for comedy and embarrassment rather than eroticism. This was the first adaptation and it was apparently made quick and cheap and it really shows. There wasn’t a whole lot going on for this movie other than a couple cheap laughs and the bare minimum of a story to it.

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Santo y Blue Demon contra Doctor Frankestein

Santo y Blue Demon contra Doctor Frankestein 1974

It’s time to finish out Hispanic Heritage Month with the last Santo movie from my local library. Now I only have like 49 more of these movies to go if I ever want to completely finish them. It’s been an interesting trek, none of them are really that great. I’ve fallen asleep (albeit watching late at night) twice out of the four movies. But each one is different enough from the other to keep things interesting. The fights were interesting to a point and I’m glad to be taking a long break from the movies but each one had something interesting about it to make it different from the rest of the movies while still having the same Santo charm.

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Santo vs la Hija de Frankestein

Santo vs la Hija de Frankestein 1972

I’m still going through the four different Santo movies that I’ve found at my local library to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I’ve actually been quite surprised by the variations of the three titles I’ve watched so far despite the fact that I’m jumping around in chronology. Not that it matters as each movie is completely disconnected from the next as far as I can tell. There may be a connection to this one and the last Santo movie I have with him and Blue Demon vs Doctor Frankenstein, but I suppose I’ll have to wait to find out. This one was actually the most enjoyable of these movies so far with an interesting cast of villains and a nice little twist on the wrestling matches.

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Santo en la Venganza de la Momia

Santo en la Venganza de la Momia 1971

This is the third Santo movie that I’ve watched and the second one that I’m reviewing for Hispanic Heritage Month. They have been an interesting series of movies to showcase a popular Mexican luchador who transitioned to comics before starring in movies all while being popular for several decades. They all follow the same basic premise: Santo has a wrestling match and then he gets involved in some sort of mystery involving something supernatural. This one has a unique distinction of being more like Scooby Doo because of the ending, but it still follows the same overall structure. There’s more comic relief and a little bit of heart added to the narrative, but overall it was just more of the same.

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Santo y Blue Demon Contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo

Santo y Blue Demon Contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo 1973

A few weeks ago when I was at the library, I noticed that they had four of the classic Santo movies. And while there are 53 different Santo movies that came out between the 60’s and 80’s I’ve currently only watched the most famous one that was also featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. After I borrowed this title, I happened to notice that there’s a blogathon going on that coincides with this movie. It’s been a long time since I’ve joined in a blogathon so I thought this would be the perfect timing, especially as it’s Hispanic Heritage Month. If you’d like more information, head over to Once Upon a Screen to see more about the blogathon. I hope to cover at least one more of the films in the next two weeks, but we’ll see about that. As for the film itself, it was more or less what I expected based on my previous experience, though the production values were slightly higher as it came out ten years later. It wasn’t that deep, it was weird but not over the top campy, and I had fun with it for the most part.

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Legends of the Superheroes

Legends of the Superheroes 1979

Batman’s 80th anniversary just passed yesterday and in celebration I finally gave in and signed up for DC Universe’s new streaming app with their 80 cents for the first month sale. The main reason why I wanted to get the app was to watch this DC oddity that I had heard about but never got around to watching until now. It’s not quite a movie, not quite a miniseries, but it’s a two-part TV special that honestly feels like DC’s answer to the Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s ultra-low budget, it feels like a sketch comedy show with superheroes, and it’s difficult to tell what they really wanted to do with this property. It’s one of the very few Hanna Barbera live action properties and was tied into the Superfriends cartoon, but they couldn’t use Superman or Wonder Woman due to their rights being tied up in other places at the time. It’s pretty much one of those so-bad-it’s-good, but it did catch a couple genuine laughs out of me.

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #100: The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman

Your deep dive into the top 100 Superhero films of all time!

#100: The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
or
Don’t Be A Menace To South Gotham While Taking Your Pills On The Beach

So, here we are. We’re starting our (re)reviews of every film on the 100 Essential Superhero Movies – Ranked (up to 2017) with number 100. And that is The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman, otherwise billed as She Was A Hippy Vampire. There are a few things wrong with all that, but we’ll get to them. Firstly, let’s cover my overall impression of the “film”:

This film is weird. Really weird. I’ve seen many strange films in my life, especially given that part of my Film Studies degree involved watching French Avant-Garde cinema, yet this is probably in my top 3. I knew nothing about the making of the film before watching it (or even that it existed before agreeing to review it), and even after reading up on it I am still no closer to understanding it. It seemed to be about Batwoman, though the character in question is both NOTHING like the Batwoman from the comics and surprisingly absent from large parts of the film. In fact, if I had to pick a leading lady from the film, it would be the “Batgirl” who gets kidnapped and put in a cage. She’s in a large number of scenes (though usually dancing around silently) AND she does more to influence the ending than Batwoman. And speaking of the plot….

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It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman 1975

Now that I’ve finished watching every major comic book movie, it’s time for me to spread out once again to some of the lesser known films and I’m starting with the last couple DC movies that have nearly been buried to time. This was a made-for-TV musical production based on a Broadway show that was released near the same time that Batman premiered on TV in 1966. Even though this was just a few short years before Richard Donner’s version of Superman would start to take comic book superheroes more seriously, this musical is just as full of the camp and humor as Adam West’s Batman that came before it. It even includes fight scenes with visual onomatopoeias. It was a very low budget production and doesn’t even live up to an episode of Batman, but despite the awfulness or possibly because of it, the movie tickled me in just the right ways to have a ball while watching it. Except for the songs.
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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman 1974

Continuing my month of the more obscure and cult superhero films I’m taking a look at probably the least well known version of a popular superhero going back to the first TV pilot of the Wonder Woman TV show. Most people are familiar with the popular Lynda Carter show from the 70’s, but before they cast Carter they actually shot, filmed, and aired a very different version of the show with actress Cathy Lee Crosby as Diana Prince. And while I haven’t really seen any full episodes of the Carter version aside from a few clips, this felt very different than what I would imagine the later show went on to be. It had much more of a serious tone to it and felt more like a detective show rather than a superhero show. She barely wore the costume, there were no special effects to show off any super powers to speak of, and there was actually quite a bit of death and danger. It was quite fascinating to look back at this version of the character even though it barely resembled anything I knew about Wonder Woman aside from her name and the name of Steve Trevor.
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