Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE NIGHT VISITOR (1971)

THE NIGHT VISITOR opens with a nighttime shot of a old frozen seaside fort(?) that's now being used as a insane asylum.  Suddenly a figure comes running across the rocky, snow covered coast.  He's wearing nothing but his underwear and a pair of boots.  It's Max von Sydow and he looks totally miserable.  Half-frozen and bluer than Papa Smurf's penis he scampers through the woods and to an isolated farmhouse.  He breaks in and spies on the residents...then it's time for a little murder and a return trip to the insane asylum wear he breaks back in.  What could the point of all this be?

The first act of THE NIGHT VISITOR was great, filled with mystery and tension, but then you get into the police investigation part (lead by Trevor Howard) and it all falls apart.  The cops have two suspects in the murders: Max and a local doctor (played by Per Oscarsson).  All they have to do is hide a guard outside of Max's cell door and another outside the doctor's house and the case would be solved, but no they just let the murders continue and only react afterwards.

They story might've had holes all through it, but the cast was a real treat.  I've long considered Liv Ullmann to be one of my absolute favorite actresses and Max von Sydow to be one of my absolute favorite actors, so them plus Trevor Howard and Per Oscarsson...well I was about as happy as a movie lover could be, even with the overly complicated story.

BACK TO THE BEACH (1987)

Frankie and Annette finally got married, but after Frankie had a horrendous surfing accident they moved to Ohio.  Now many years later they come back to LA to visit their daughter who lives on their old stomping grounds.  Naturally this brings back all kinds of old memories.

I was really excited to see an updated Beach Party movie, but while watching it I was very confused as to why there was none of the old characters or familiar faces.  Turns out that this film was made by Paramount and Orion owned the rights to the original AIP Beach films, so Paramount ended up bringing in 17 writers (at the cost of 2 million dollars!!!) to make a parody of beach movies.  That's totally mind-boggling.

As it is though, BACK TO THE BEACH is a fun film filled with goofy laughs and silly characters.  At the beginning of the film Frankie is a uptight square, but once he meets a old flame (Connie Stevens) he gets all fired up and starts singing.  Naturally, this pisses off Annette so she has a pajama party.  Stuff happens and in the end Frankie has to win a surf competition.

Quick pace, lots of hot chicks in the background, great songs (the highlight being Pee-Wee Herman singing "Surfin' Bird"), Lori Loughlin looking hot as fook, various familiar faces including Dick Dale, Gilligan, the Skipper, that psychotic newspaper kid from BETTER OFF DEAD.  If you enjoyed the older Beach movies then you'll definitely get a kick out of BTTB.  I just wish they had done something special during the closing credits...bloopers or maybe more dancing.

This is totally unrelated to BACK TO THE BEACH but just look at the movie selection you had if you went to the theater while BTTB was playing: THE MONSTER SQUAD, DIRTY DANCING, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, FULL METAL JACKET, CAN'T BUY ME LOVE, BORN IN EAST L.A., ROBOCOP, THE LOST BOYS, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, LA BAMBA, SUMMER SCHOOL...SUMMER SCHOOL!!! I think I'm going to go watch SUMMER SCHOOL right now!

Part 1 - Beach Party
Part 2 - Muscle Beach Party
Part 3 - Bikini Beach
Part 4 - Pajama Party
Part 5 - Beach Blanket Bingo
Part 6 - How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
Part 7 - The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini