Category Archives: Pre-80’s movies

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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June-ing the Cult: Silver Emulsion and 3 Dev Adam

3 Dev Adam aka 3 Giant Men 1973

We’re halfway through this trip across a handful of cult superhero movies thanks to several of my cult blogging friends. Throughout the month of June, I’ve asked several bloggers that I know who often tackle their own fair share of obscure and cult films and asked them to each choose a superhero movie for me to check out and review. Thanks to Will from Silver Emulsion for picking today’s movie, if you go visit his site make sure to check out his thoughts on every Superman movie made, including many foreign knock-offs, including Turkish Superman.

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June-ing the Cult: Tars Tarkas and the Golden Bat

Ôgon Batto aka The Golden Bat 1966

Throughout the month of June, I’m taking a look at some of the more obscure and foreign cult superhero films with the help of some of my favorite bloggers who have seen plenty of cult films of their own. I’m a day late but still here for this week’s June-ing the cult where I’m taking a look at one of the first Japanese superhero movies from a blogger who has seen quite a few older superhero films himself. And so here’s Tars Tarkas who chose the Golden Bat.

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June-ing the Cult: Trash Film Guru & Turkish Superman

Süpermen Dönüyor aka The Return of Superman 1979

Throughout the month of June I thought it would be a great time to catch up on some of the more obscure and cult superhero films out there. But instead of just randomly picking a few, I decided to reach out to some of my other blogger friends who blog on plenty of other cult films on their own and ask them for their recommendations. So starting off with this film today and over the next four weeks I’ll be tackling these cult superhero films. Some are older, all of them are foreign and it should be a lot of fun. And kicking it off out of the gate is Ryan C from Trash Film Guru with his choice best known as Turkish Superman.
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Danger Diabolik

Danger Diabolik 1968

There’s one genre of superhero movies that I don’t have very much experience in just yet and that is the 60’s era of Eurospy movies. There was a large number of these pseudo James Bond-esque spy movies that are all over the place. Some of them involve masked spies, some involved less heroic protagonists, some were based on European comics from the time, and then there’s this one that combines all three of those. Diobolik was an Italian comic created by Angela and Luciana Guissani in ’62 where it ran for several years before this film was optioned by noted producer Dino De Laurentiis (and many years afterwards). The film also has the recognition of being the last televised episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 excluding the recently Kickstartered reboot series. But knowing that, it was surprisingly much more entertaining and watchable than most movies featured on MST3K. It was incredibly bizarre at times, but the director Mario Bava had a great visual eye, and the film had a fun mix of comedy and innuendo befitting an Austin Powers movie without the overt winks to the audience.
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Friday Foster

Friday Foster 1975

As February nears its end, it’s time for me to wrap up my short lived celebration of Black History Month in superhero and comic book movies since this is absolutely the last one that I could find. It’s a mid-seventies Blacksploitation film starring the great Pam Grier along with a very impressive cast for the time and film company possibly most well known for their exploitation films like Blacula. The film itself was based on a serialized comic strip of the same name that ran for just four years and actually ended the year before the film was made. Considering I don’t have an extensive background at watching many exploitation films aside from the parody Black Dynamite I don’t have much to go off of, but this ended up being a rather fun watch. Even without the experience of those films to go off of, it was bogged down a bit by a rather nonsensical and drab plot as well as a lack of any notable action or nudity which I would have thought would be more present in one of these types of films.
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Barbarella

Barbarella 1968

I had heard a little bit about this film and always had in the back of my mind that it was based on a comic book but for some reason it hadn’t made it to my master list before now. But this month I was granted a new free trial of Netflix and went through all of their superhero and comic book offerings and came up with a list of eight films to try and watch during this month. For whatever reason, this was the first film that I decided to check out from that list, I guess I was in the mood for a cheesy sci-fi movie, and while I knew it was going to be somewhat of a sex romp, I was still a little surprised at how much nudity and sexuality came through in this film even though much of it was edited out during some theatrical releases of the film in the US. Barbarella originally started out as a comic strip in a French magazine before being collected in a series of graphic novels and eventually translated into English. It even ran in Heavy Metal magazine. As for the movie, it’s generally notable as it stars Jane Fonda but is basically a B-movie sci-fi film with a mix of sex and adventure.

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The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger 1956

The more I look into the history of the Lone Ranger, the more I question my decision to include the Lone Ranger in my list of comic book heroes but not Zorro. They’re both period heroes that hide their identity behind masks. Neither one have super powers, they only have their trained fighting abilities to help them out, they also have their calling cards, with Zorro’s slashed Z and the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Also, neither one were originally comic books; Zorro started out as a serialized pulp novel while the Lone Ranger began as a radio drama. The one thing I can fall back on is that while Zorro transitioned into films well before it made it into a full fledged comic book in the late 40’s, the Lone Ranger became a comic strip in the late 30’s which were collected into comic books in the 40’s and eventually included original stories all before its first feature length film in 1956. This came out near the end of the long running TV show and included the two main stars of the series. I’m not familiar with the show myself, but I would imagine that it follows a fairly similar format as this film does. For the most part, it was a fun enough film that didn’t have anything wrong with it per se, but neither did it ever stand out as a great film.
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Dr. Strange

Dr. Strange 1978

One thing that I find somewhat interesting when comparing this film to the Marvel animated film that came out almost 30 years later is that this film is almost always referred to by the abbreviation Dr. Strange. Meanwhile, the animated version and the upcoming live action film are both referred to in the long form Doctor Strange. I mainly reference this random fact because there is not really a whole lot to discuss when it comes to this failed pilot turned made-for-TV movie. It was produced a year after the successful Incredible Hulk pilot films which went to series and the limited series The Amazing Spider-Man. But when this pilot movie aired, it didn’t get nearly enough ratings for it to transition to a full series. Watching it now, the biggest problem seems like during the entire run time of the movie, nothing really happened. It’s extremely slow and very boring. I watched it over two sittings and found it hard to pay attention it was so dull, though I did happen to catch a little Easter egg where at one point Dr. Strange pulls out an Incredible Hulk comic. I would easily say that this is the worst movie based on a Marvel property that I’ve seen so far.
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