Zombie Movies

The Cured (2017, Rated R)
In a world ravaged by a zombie disease, a cure is found. One cured young man is haunted by the wrongs he did while infected, and by the lasting prejudice society has for him.  dawn of the dead

Dawn of the Dead (1978, Rated R)
Human survivors of a zombie apocalypse find seemingly perfect shelter in an abandoned shopping mall. But how long will their safety last?

Dawn of the Dead (2004, Rated R)
After finding that her husband has succumbed to a zombie bite, a young woman joins up with a policeman and a number of others who are seeking shelter at the local mall.

The Dead Don’t Die (2019, Rated R)
The quirky inhabitants of a small, isolated American town are thrown for a loop when the dead rise from their graves.

Evil Dead (1981, Not Rated)
Five college students spending the night in a cabin in the woods awaken an evil force that, one by one, turns them all into monsters.

Evil Dead (2013, Rated R)
To kick-start her sobriety, a young woman and her friends retreat for the weekend to a cabin in the woods, only to discover that a supernatural evil awaits them there.

Evil Dead II (1987, Not Rated)
Ash, the one survivor of the first Evil Dead, returns to the cabin in the woods and once again unleashes the forces of the undead.

Night of the Living Dead (1968, Not Rated) night of the living dead
In a quiet house in the country, a group of strangers must lock themselves in and hold off hordes of undead monsters hungry for their flesh.

Overlord (2018, Rated R)
In World War II, a group of American soldiers are sent on a mission that will ensure the success of D-Day. But their target, a Nazi base, hosts a number of supernatural horrors and experiments.

Patient Zero (2018, Rated R)
The victim of a zombie bite realizes that she shows no symptoms of infection, but can communicate with infected zombies. With her newfound powers she sets out to find a cure.

Pet Sematary (1989, Rated R)
A family moves to rural Maine and is struck by an unexpected tragedy, but find that fate might be reversed in the burial ground just beyond their yard.

Pet Sematary (2019, Rated R)
When a man discovers a burial ground that can bring back the dead, he soon learns that the people he brings back come back… different.

Planet Terror (2007, Rated R)
Cherry Darling, a woman with a gun for a leg, and her old lover El Wray must defend their Texas town from flesh-eating zombies called “sickos.”

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016, Rated PG-13)
Jane Austen’s classic tale of regency-era relationships gets a ghoulish twist when Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy must find true love while battling the undead.

Rampant (2018, Not Rated) more like herbert BEST
In ancient Korea, zombies called Night Demons have overrun the land. A prince, newly returned from exile, must rally his people to defend their land from their evil forces.

Re-Animator (1985, Rated R) 
Herbert West, an eccentric scientist verging on mad, enlists medical student Dan to help him perfect a glowing green serum that can bring back the dead.

[Rec] (2007, Rated R)
A news reporter follows a group of firefighters into an apartment building, and soon they are all locked inside. As she continues to record, the finds that they are not the only ones trapped within the building…

The Returned (2012, Not Rated)
A group of strangers awaken in a strange place and, confused, try to return home. They soon discover though, that no one was expecting them back—since they all died several years ago.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015, Rated R)
Three Boy Scouts must save their town from a zombie invasion.

Shaun of the Dead (2004, Rated R)shaun of the dead
When zombies invade the outskirts of London, deadbeat Shaun and his friends must band together to protect themselves.

Train to Busan (2016, Not Rated)
While riding the KTX, a bullet train bound for Busan, a man and his daughter encounter an outbreak of violent zombies. They and the other passengers must survive long enough to reach their destination.

28 Days Later (2002, Rated R)
A coma patient awakens to find his entire city abandoned as a result of a disease that creates hyper-violent, aggressive zombies. He and a group of survivors must fight to stay alive in the wasteland.

Warm Bodies (2013, Rated PG-13)
When a zombie rescues a human girl from a zombie attack, they soon find that affection might be the cure to the zombie apocalypse.

World War Z (2013, Rated PG-13) world war z
When a global pandemic that turns humans into zombies endangers humanity, one man must journey to find a cure—before it’s too late.

Zombieland (2009, Rated R)
A group of mismatched outcasts must band together to find the one place around not overrun by zombies—an amusement park.

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019, Rated R)
The dysfunctional found-family from Zombieland faces off against a whole new crop of evolved zombies, and some new human enemies, too.

Staff Picks October 2020

STAFF Picks (1)

Emily’s Picks

DVD: The Old Dark House

old dark houseAn old-fashioned haunted house flick (directed by James Whale, who would go on to direct Universal’s horror classic Frankenstein) with creepy atmosphere and imagery. A group of strangers are stranded in an old mansion on a stormy night, and find that their hosts, the Femm Family, are not all that they seem to be. The plot is somewhat light on scares (except for some very tense action during the third act) and the tone is fun and campy, making this a great pick for a family scary movie night or a Halloween party.

CD: Little Shop of Horrors: The Motion Picture Soundtracklittle shop

This soundtrack has features all the upbeat, Motown inspired songs from the movie, performed by its stellar cast. You’ll want to sing along! Some standout numbers are “Skid Row,” “Dentist,” “Somewhere That’s Green,” and “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space.”

 

Jessie’s Picks

DVD: Supernatural

soup is naturalThis long-running show about demon-hunting brothers is one of the best horror TV shows of all time.  Will the brothers be able to save the world and each other?

Audiobook: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle 

“First published in 1901, The Hound of the hound of the baskervillesBaskervilles tells the story of Sir Henry Baskerville, who arrives at Baskerville Hall to investigate the mysterious death of his uncle, Sir Charles. Charles’s strange and unexpected death resurrects long-ignored fears about a gigantic ghostly hound that is said to have haunted his family for generations. Sherlock Holmes, always calm and calculating, uses his keen powers of observation to discern the fine lines between good and evil, truth and fiction, and reason and superstition, even as the story’s events threaten to spiral out of control.”

 

John’s Picks

DVD: Community

This comedy series follows a group of unlikely friends navigate community communitycollege. It’s very reminiscent of a high school sitcom, but instead of teenagers, Community features grown adults trying to fit in, make friends, pass Spanish class, and of course, run a mafia-like operation around coveted chicken fingers. Random and hilarious, this series is genuinely entertaining!

CD: Rumours by Fleetwood Mac rumours

A recent viral video of a cool dude sipping on some cranberry juice jamming to the hit song “Dreams” made Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumors one of the most downloaded albums last month. A rock classic with some of the band’s most iconic songs, this album has some chill sounds and good vibes.

 

Kim’s Picks

DVD: Wolfen

When a captain of industry with political aspirations and his wife are found wolfengruesomely murdered in New York City’s Battery Park, Detective Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) uncovers a mind-boggling explanation involving Native Americans and an aeons-old race inhabiting the devastated South Bronx.  Is this key to the murder of the developer and homeless folk no one will miss?  Werewolf films enjoyed a renaissance in the early 80s and Roger Ebert gave Wolfen  3 ½ out of 4 stars, it but came and went without much fanfare, possibly subsumed by An American Werewolf in London and The Howling.

Libby eBook: The Age of the Ship of the Line:  The British and French Navies,age 1650-1815 by Jonathan R. Dull 

Highly detailed diplomatic and military tome focusing mostly but not exclusively on Britain and France.  Dull explains how the monstrous “ships of the line” were used in defined wars as well as in protecting commerce across the world’s oceans over almost two centuries. 

 

Mary’s Picks

DVD: Sleepy Hollow

sleepy hollowA clever twist on the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod is brought to modern day times and the comedy that comes from him trying to navigate the modern world is priceless

CD: The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack poto

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman at their best. Music from one of the best braodway shows of all time. The music can stand on its own even without viewing the show

 

Stephanie’s Picks

DVD: On the Basis of Sex

on the basis“The film tells an inspiring and spirited true story that follows young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she teams with her husband Marty to bring a groundbreaking case before the US Court of Appeals and overturn a century of gender discrimination. The feature will premiere in 2018 in line with Justice Ginsburg’s 25th anniversary on the Supreme Court.”

Audiobook: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik notorious

“A visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg’s refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation’s highest court, with the fierce dissents to match, get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far people can come with a little chutzpah.”

All quoted material from catalog.ccls.org.

New Releases

Movies The High Note
The High Note
Infamous
The Burnt Orange Heresy
The Wretched
Poetry In America Season 2
Ride Your Wave
Mickey And The Bear
A White, White Day
Lucky Grandma
Sonja: the white swan
How To Build A Girl
Archive
Inside The Rain
Crshd
Prevenge
Promised
Looks That Kill
Guest Of Honour
The Collini Case
Cane RiverHis Dark Materials
Sometimes Always Never
Toni
The Trip To Greece
The Tobacconist
Yes, God, Yes
In My Room
Swallow

TV Series
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan season 2
Dispatches From Elsewhere season 1
NCIS: Los Angeles season 11
The Good Doctor season 3
His Dark Materials season 1
Belgravia season 1
Playing for Keeps season 1
The Blacklist season 7
Gold Digger
NCIS: New Orleans season 6
S.W.A.T. season 3Folklore taylor swift
Blue Bloods season 10
Batwoman season 1
The Flash season 6
Seal Team season 3
Chicago Fire season 8
Dead Still season 1
Endeavour series 7
Strike Back season 7

Music
Now That's What I Call Music A Decade 2010's by various artists
Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was by Bright Eyes
Now That's What I Call Music! 75 by various artists
The Dirt And The Stars by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Ceelo Green Is Thomas Callaway by Ceelo Green
The Land That Time Forgot by Chuck Prophet
Folklore by Taylor Swift Mesa Para Dos Kany Garcia
A New Day Now by Joe Bonamassa
Dreamland by Glass Animals
Heart Theory by Lindsay Ell
In A Dream by Troye Sivan
Smile by Katy Perry
Here On Earth by Tim McGraw
Imploding The Mirage by The Killers
High Off Life by Future 
The Neon by Erasure
Mesa Para Dos by Kany Garcia
If It Wasn't For You by Caylee Hammack
S&M2 by Metallica & San Francisco Symphony
Everything Means Nothing by Blackbear
Chris Tomlin & Friends by Chris Tomlin
Country State Of Mind by Josh Turner
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum by Seether
Blackbirds by Bettye LaVette How To Be An Antiracist audiobook
Look For The Good by Jason Mraz
Out Of Body by NEEDTOBREATHE
The Wild Card by Ledisi
Spell My Name by Toni Braxton
Love Always Wins by Kem

Audiobooks
Royal by Danielle Steel
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen
Choppy Water by Stuart Woods
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald
Kind Of A Big Deal by Shannon Hale
A Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Midwife Murders by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo

Vampire (and Werewolf!) Movies

An American Werewolf in London (1981, Rated R)
A young man on holiday in England has an encounter on the moors that turns him into a killer wolf. werewolf in london

Blade (1998, Rated R)
A half-vampire, half-mortal man must fight evil vampires to protect mankind.

Count Dracula (1977, Not Rated)
Johnathan Harker, tasked with moving a Transylvanian count to England, becomes trapped in the count’s castle and learns his true, sinister nature.

Countess Dracula (1970, Rated PG)
Countess Dracula’s thirst for the blood of virgins is discovered by her lover, throwing their relationship into turmoil.

Dark Shadows (2012, Rated PG-13)
Ancient vampire Barnabas Collins awakens from his sleep in the year 1972, to find his castle and the remains of his family in shambles. dracula 31

Dracula: The Legacy Collection (Not Rated)
This four-film collection includes the classic Dracula (1931), as well as its sequels Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Dracula (1943), and House of Dracula (1945).

Dracula: Untold (2014, Rated PG-13)
To protect his kingdom from an invading army, Prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster that will be known and feared throughout history.

Fright Night (2011, Rated R)
When a new neighbor moves in and his friends start disappearing, high school senior Charlie begins to suspect the charming newcomer might be a vampire.

From Dusk Til Dawn (1995, Rated R)
Two bank-robbing brothers on the run after their latest crime stop at a topless bar in Texas, only to discover that all the employees are vampires.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015, Not Rated)
A young girl rides through the streets of a run-down Iranian city on a girl walks homeskateboard. Unbeknownst to residents, she is a vampire, preying on men who disrespect women.

Horror of Dracula (1958, Not Rated)
Abraham Van Helsing journeys to Transylvania to find his friend Johnathan Harker, a librarian in the employ of Count Dracula who has mysteriously vanished.

House of Dark Shadows (1970, Rated PG)
Upon being unleashed from his grave, vampire Barnabas Collins meets a young woman who he believes to be the reincarnation of his former love, Josette.

The Howling (1981, Rated R)
A newscaster goes to a coastal retreat to recover from a traumatic encounter, only to discover that the locals are a band of murderous werewolves. hunger

The Hunger (1983, Rated R)
John is the latest in a long line of Miriam the vampire’s lovers, who give her blood and do not die until she tires of them, and it looks like his time is running out…

Interview with the Vampire (1994, Rated R)
A lone vampire, Louis, recounts the story of his life— and all its horror and tragedy – to an eager young reporter.

Let Me In (2010, Rated R)
Two young outcasts, Owen and Abby, meet and form a fast bond. But when a grisly string of murders begins, Owen must confront the horrible truth about his new friend.

Let the Right One In (2009, Rated R)
Fragile young Oscar finds a close friend in the strange young vampire Eli. But when her way of life forces her to leave town, Eli must choose between survival or staying with her friend. the lost boys

The Lost Boys (1987, Rated R)
A young boy must save his brother and a beautiful young woman from becoming thralls to a punk rock California vampire.

Nosferatu (1922, Not Rated)
The first-ever vampire movie, and a retelling of the Dracula story, which follows the sinister and frightening Count Orlok.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Rated R)
Vampire lovers, Adam and Eve, have their centuries-long relationship thrown into turmoil by a blood disease, a reckless young vampire, and the deterioration of the modern world.

Silver Bullet (1985, Rated R)
A thirteen-year-old boy must protect his town from werewolves.

Thirst (2009, Rated R)
A young priest who cherishes life receives a blood transfusion that turns him into a vampire.

Twilight (2008, Rated PG-13)
Lonely highschooler Bella moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets a young man, Edward, who is not what he seems.

Underworld (2003, Rated R)  underworld
In a world where vampires are in constant war with a werewolf clan called the Lycans, vampire assassin Selene is assigned to protect a mortal man from the Lycan ruler, Lucian.

The Vampire Lovers (1970, Rated R)
Carmilla, a vampire, roams the countryside looking for beautiful women to quench her thirst for blood.

Vampires: Los Muertos (2001, Rated R)
A vampire hunter and his band of fellow slayers hunt vampires in the heart of Mexico.

Vampyr (1932, Not Rated)
A traveler stops to rest at a remote castle, where it seems all of his nightmares are beginning to come true. wolfen

Wolfen (1981, Rated R)
A detective investigating a slew of grisly murders begins to suspect that the cause may be supernatural, the result of ancient creatures defending their territory from mankind.

The Wolfman Collection (Not Rated)
This collection features the classic Universal horror film The Wolfman (1941), along with a host of other spooky sequels and spinoffs.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014, Rated R)
This comedic mockumentary follows a group of vampire roommates as they navigate life, love, rivalry, and werewolves.  

A Brief Survey of Jungle Movies

The jungle has been a breeding ground for feature-length movies, serials (Jungle Menace, 1937, Jungle Girl, 1941, Jungle Queen, 1945) and TV series.  Telecast on TV in 52 episodes from 1952 to 1954 was Ramar of the Jungle, and from 1966 to 1969, Daktari (89 episodes).  Jon Hall was Ramar, which spelled backwards is…Ramar.  Curiously, in the exotic and campy 1944 release Cobra Woman, a pseudo-jungle film taking place on a remote (aren’t they all?) island, Hall had played Ramu!

Unsurprisingly, jungle adventures have been set in Africa, India, Burma objective burma(especially World War II films like 1945’s Objective, Burma!, 1954‘s The Purple Plain, and 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai), Central and South America.  Because of the inherent exotic and often dangerous environment that is a jungle, moviemakers have been keen on exploiting the possibilities

Jungles are generally frightening.  The thick foliage masks what’s going on, who or what is behind a bush, whether the next step might be into a mass of army ants or quicksand, if a viper lies in wait under a log, or an extraterrestrial hunter lurks in the tree tops.  Maybe there’s a carnivorous dinosaur up ahead.  Are you equipped for survival with a machete, safari jacket, high boots, quinine, and perhaps a gigantic pith helmet such as that worn by Duncan Renaldo in Trader Horn (1931)?  Will you be required to cross a chasm via shaky rope bridge?

Early in the sound era jungles provided backdrop for exciting adventures.  Based on the true-life exploits of the eponymous “great white hunter” Alfred Aloysius Horn played by Harry Carey, Trader Horn (1931) was actually shot in Africa.  It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke, whose caravan of 200+ actors and crew covered 9,000 miles traversing Tanganyika, Uganda, Kenya, and the Congo to shoot 450,000 feet of film.  For decades and today for aficionados, Trader Horn is synonymous with adventure.

Another real-life adventurer who made some hay in the jungle cinema was Frank “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Buck.  Fang and Claw (1935) was one of his many books, and On Jungle Trails (1936) a reader for elementary school students.  The aforementioned Jungle Menace (1937) was a 15-part serial set in Asia, Buck’s prime stomping ground.

Prehistoric jungles received attention in the silent era, most notably in The Lost World (1925), a film version of the Arthur Conan Doyle novel in which Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) locates in South America a plateau inhabited by prehistoric beasts as well as a primitive human.  As with a forthcoming super famous movie of 1933, Willis O’Brien created the stop-motion effects and Challenger, like Carl Denham, brought one of the dinosaurs back to civilization.  A 1960 version was compromised by low-budget special effects, including so-called dinosaurs: a photographically and prosthetically-enhanced iguana, monitor lizard, and alligator.  Despite Cesar Romero in the lead, Lost Continent (1951) was a poor man’s Lost World.

Tropical islands have jungles too, and in 1932 and 1933 two movies, using most dangeroussome of the same sets, became classics.  First up was The Most Dangerous Game (1932), based on Richard Connell’s short story.  In the cinematic iteration, Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks) waits for shipwrecks so he can hunt survivors, the “most dangerous game,” in this instance a big game hunter played by Joel McCrea.  An added prize will be lovely Fay Wray.  Run for the Sun (1956) was a solid, semi-disguised version of Most Dangerous Game.  In South America, Richard Widmark and Jane Greer find themselves on the run from a Nazi sympathizer played by Trevor Howard, who like Count Zaroff commanded a cadre of vicious canines.  The jungle used in the film was located outside Acapulco, Mexico.

In 1933 Wray, who was making a career as a screamer (see 1932’s Doctor X and 1933’s Mystery of the Wax Museum), was back in the Most Dangerous Game jungle.  Yes, it was King Kong.  Hunter and showman Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) supplanted Professor Challenger and a giant ape the brontosaurus of The Lost World.

Kong lived in the interior jungle of Skull Island, separated from a native tribe by an immense, ages-old wall.  Denham and crew members of the Venture invaded Kong’s world not only to rescue Ann Darrow (Wray) but to capture Kong for display in New York City.  Max Steiner’s music is generally reckoned the first true instrumental score.  It certainly gets the jungle down pat.  Film Score Monthly ranked “The Return” one of the all-time best music cues because it underscores perfectly a jungle wherein you might be eaten by a dinosaur, fall into a chasm and become dinner for a giant spider, or sink into a mire.  As Film Score Monthly wrote, “Pensive harps, strings and woodwinds sum up the crew’s exhaustion and hopelessness.  That texture is shattered when Steiner launches into a full bore restatement of his ‘jungle march.’  The couple (Wray and Bruce Cabot) breathlessly emerges from the jungle, providing an exhilarating release to the tension and sweeping aside all feelings of restfulness.”  king kong

The 1930s ended with a semi-factual jungle film from MGM.  Stanley and Livingstone (1939) was a major production with Spencer Tracy as H. M. Stanley, explorer par excellence who “discovered” the famed missionary and anti-slavery proponent David Livingstone (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) on Lake Tanganyika in 1871.

Nineteen thirty-nine also featured Five Came Back, which told the story of the survivors of a plane crash in the Amazon rainforest, some of whom will fall prey to headhunters.  It was remade with little fanfare in 1956 as Back from Eternity.

In the new decade Dr. Cylops (1940) found Albert Dekker as Dr. Thorkel, sequestering himself in the Peruvian jungle where he uses radioactive pitchblende (now called urainite) to shrink animals and, eventually, visiting humans.  Their escape into the jungle is hazardous in the extreme.

Set in South America where adventurers sought Incan treasure, Green Hell (1940) was too talky for its own good.  White Cargo (1942) was another action- deficient film set in Africa.  It is chiefly memorable for the tropical-tanned Hedy Lamarr’s self-introduction:  “I am….Tondelayo.”

King Solomon’s Mines (1950) featured H. Rider Haggard’s iconic fictional king solomonadventurer Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger) who guides Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr) into the African interior in a search of a fabulous treasure.  Unfortunately, action other than a wild animal stampede was at a premium and the treasure unaccountably minuscule.  In some respects it heralded the Indiana Jones series.  Watusi (1959) with George Montgomery was a slightly low grade sequel to Mines.

In the next decade Mogambo (1953) was a disguised remake of the romantic melodrama Red Dust (1932).  Both starred Clark Gable.  Red was set in Indochina, Mogambo in Africa.

Duel in the Jungle (1954) was an African adventure and a crime film.  Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain starred.  It was not well received.

Small but exceptionally strong menaces roamed The Naked Jungle (1954).  Based on the famous Carl Stephenson short story Leiningen Versus the Ants, it starred Charlton Heston as the owner of a South American cocoa plantation who takes on a surly mail-order bride (Eleanor Parker).  Their domestic conflict is as nothing compared to the existential threat provided by an onrushing horde of army ants.  The term “marabunta!” sent chills down the spine of all who heard it.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) introduced the Gill-Man, a humanoid creaturefrom the Devonian Age, i.e., 416 to 358 million years ago.  The jungle was provided by Universal’s backlot as well as Floridian springs.  They looked suitably daunting.  As Lucas, Nestor Paiva warned, “I can tell you something about this place.  My boys call it the Black Lagoon, a paradise.  Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.  Heh, heh, heh.”

Odongo (1956) was a child on a big game hunter’s African preserve.

A decent 1957 B movie with dinosaurs and a jungle was The Land Unknown.  Jock Mahoney (soon to be a Tarzan) led an airborne expedition into Antarctica  and discovered the half crazed survivor of another expedition, Dr. Charles Hunter (Henry Brandon).  To his rescuers he warned of the antediluvian hazards of being “eaten alive or die of starvation.  Wait till the Antarctic night comes and for nine months the black air hangs ‘round you like a rotten rag, and your eyes are blinded from the dark and from your own sweat, and you lose each other, and you’re alone!  Alone, do ya hear me?  Always alone.”

The Roots of Heaven (1958) was a major film starring Errol Flynn and Trevor Howard, whose mission in life was to save elephants from ivory poachers.

No survey of jungle films would be complete without referencing the “King of the Jungle,” namely Tarzan, aka Lord Greystoke.  Tarzan has a long cinematic pedigree.  The incredibly popular jungle man who sprang from the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs had debuted on film in 1918 with Elmo Lincoln essaying the title character in Tarzan of the Apes.

Tarzan and His Mate (1934) followed Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), re-teamingtarzan ape man Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane.  This is the best of their six collaborations.  It has it all:  unscrupulous white hunters, the savage Gabonis (Paul Cavanaugh:  “Oh, it’s nothing.  A Gaboni arrow.”) who tie prisoners to bent saplings to split them in half, the Motira Escarpment where Tarzan rules, and battles with various wild animals, including lions versus elephants in the rip-roaring finale.  That year the Production Code was instituted and such shenanigans as a risqué swim scene would be banned from future Tarzan movies.  Loincloths were lengthened.

Johnny Sheffield had played Tarzan’s son in the Weissmuller movies.  Post-Tarzan he became Bomba the Jungle Boy (1949).

Concurrently with the Weissmuller films was The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935), a serial converted into a feature.  Herman Brix (later known as Bruce Bennett), championship shot putter, played a Tarzan more in keeping with Burroughs’ character.  Much was filmed in Guatamala.

Tarzan has remained a jungle film staple.  Post-Weissmuller, the best—and more literate—ape-man was played by Gordon Scott, whose Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959) and Tarzan the Magnificent (1960) are highly magnificentregarded. (Note that Sean Connery, pre-James Bond, was one of his enemies in Adventure.)  In Magnificent, Scott’s Tarzan complained about those who would not stand up to evil:  “I can’t understand a man who would rather live in fear than fight it!  No matter what the cost.”  Not so favored had been Tarzan’s Fight for Life (1958) in which the native chief played by James Edwards cried, “The curse of Mongu on you, Tarzan!”  Curiously, former stuntman Jock Mahoney was Tarzan’s nemesis in Tarzan the Magnificent and played Tarzan himself in Tarzan Goes to India (1962) and Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963).

In the 1968 book Tarzan of the Movies, author Gabe Esso rated Gordon Scott’s jungle hero and Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure and Tarzan the Magnificent the best.  On location shooting had become de rigeur.  Jane was out so female audiences would be more attracted to the hero.  “With her went the safaris and the cornshuck scripts that were not written so much as grunted.”

Greystoke:  The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) with Christopher Lambert gained some acclaim as a more artistic iteration.

A similarly erudite ape-man (Alexander Skarsgard) appeared in The Legend of Tarzan (2016).  It was too big for its own good as evidenced by the massive wildebeest stampede, use of a Maxim gun, and the explosions so necessary in every action film no matter what the era or venue.

The Naked Prey (1965) featured 40s matinee idol Cornel Wilde turned writer and director.  This was probably his best film wearing multiple hats.  Guiding nasty white hunters who antagonized an African tribe and were tortured  to death, he was given a head start before being chased by a select squad that included Ken Gampu (Dingaka, 1964).

Papillon (1973) starred Steve McQueen as burglar Henri Charriere, lost arcsentenced to life imprisonment in French Guiana.  He focused his attention on escape no matter what the cost.   An inhospitable jungle was his chief adversary.

 The 1980s began with a bang as far as jungle movies went.  In Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) the soon-to-be iconic archaeology professor Indiana Jones sought a golden idol in the wilds of South America.

A treasure map to locate a special emerald is at the heart of Romancing the Stone (1984) with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner scurrying around the interior of Colombia.  It was partly filmed in Mexican jungles.

The Emerald Forest (1985) was director John Boorman’s take on indigenous Amazonian people pushed from their land by modern civilization.  A bridge engineer (Powers Boothe) searches for his young son ostensibly kidnapped by a tribe and must come to grips with the dichotomy between civilization and simple nature.

Predator (1987) was one of the scariest of jungle films.  While attempting to rescue a kidnapped diplomat in a Central American jungle, Major “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team find themselves tracked and killed by a sophisticated humanoid alien who has mastered the ability to become virtually invisible.

Jurassic Park (1993) was director Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster taking lost worldplace on an island off the coast of Costa Rica.  Genetically-engineered dinosaurs roam the savannah and jungle—and escape to pursue various humans here and in The Lost World:  Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World:  Fallen Kingdom.

Anaconda (1997) featured Jennifer Lopez and some giant snakes.  It seems to have become something of a guilty pleasure.

In the new century, several adventure films have kept jungly movies alive.   Apocalypto (2006), filmed in the Yucatan and Guatamala, told the story of a Mayan captured by a warring tribe who escapes and leads his pursuers on a deadly journey.

Although many sources use “forest world” to describe Pandora, the distant planet on which the action of Avatar (2009) takes place, the dense vegetation, huge trees, and warm climate make it for all intents and purposes a jungle movie. Compare to Prospect (2018), which also takes place on a far-off world full of deadly allergens.

The Jungle Book (2016) was Disney’s live-action remake of the well-liked 1967 animated movie.  Back in 1942 Sabu starred in an opulent live-action color version titled Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

The Lost City of Z (2016) was based on David Grann’s 2007 account of British explorer Percy Fawcett’s obsession with locating an ancient city in the lost city of zAmazon.  He may have done so but he disappeared in 1925.

In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), four people are sucked into the video game Jumanji and must defeat a curse.

In the fact-based Jungle (2017), giving too much credence to the self-promoting guide Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), Yossi (Daniel Radcliffe) hikes into the Amazonian rainforest only to find himself abandoned and lost.  A harrowing adventure awaits.

Some lesser jungle-set productions that won’t make the Library of Congress or American Film Institute “best of” lists include 1949’s Amazon Quest (“The days withdrew like sand in an hourglass.  Civilization blacked out.”), 1951’s Bride of the Gorilla (Raymond Burr reveals, “I even hear the snakes.”), 1956’s Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (bogus monster), 1958’s Monster from Green Hell (giant wasps), 1964’s The Mighty Jungle (The Congo standing in for South America!), 1981’s Tarzan, The Ape Man (Bo Derek, a Miles O’Keefe snake fight, and an over-the-top Richard Harris:  “I revel in me!”), and 1984’s Sheena:  Queen of the Jungle (Tanya Roberts from TV’s Charlie’s Angels).

By Kim

References

Essso, Gabe.  Tarzan of the Movies.  1968.

Kaplan, Jon and Al.  “Magnificent Movie Music Moments.”  Film Score Monthly (March 2003).

Lemmo, David.  Tarzan, Jungle King of Popular Culture.  2017.

Wilson, Victoria.  A Life of Barbara Stanwyck:  Steel-True, 1907-1940.  2013.

Monster Movies and Creature Features

Attack the Block (2011, Rated R)
A gang of tough inner-city kids from South London try to defend their apartment building against an invasion of horrific alien creatures.

The Babadook (2014, Rated R)
When a disturbing storybook turns up at newly-widowed Amelia’s house, she is forced to battle with her son’s deep seated fear of the monster foundbabadook in its pages, The Babadook.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, Not Rated)
An atom bomb test deep awakens a creature encased in ice for over 100 million years, who then leaves its arctic home to wreak havoc on New York City.

Cloverfield (2008, Rated PG-13)
The arrival of a colossal creature in New York City disrupts a going-away party held by a group of young friends, who record the destruction of the city as it unfolds.

Crawl (2019, Rated R)
A hurricane floods a small town, leaving a young woman and her father stranded with a clutch of killer alligators.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Rated G)
A group of scientists discovers an amphibious creature living in the Amazon, and must confront it face to face when it kidnaps a member of their team.

Deep Blue Sea (1999, Rated R)
Researchers in an underwater lab must battle the result of their own genetic experiments—a school of super-intelligent killer sharks.

The Fly (1986, Rated R)
When his matter-transporter experiment goes unexpectedly wrong, Doctor the flySeth Brundle finds himself slowly transforming into a horrible insectoid monster.

Frankenstein: the Legacy Collection (Not Rated)
This collection includes all five of the original, classic films from the Frankenstein series, including Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939), and more.

Godzilla (1954, Not Rated)
The very first appearance of the iconic monster, a giant radioactive lizard who terrorizes a post-WWII Japan.

Godzilla (2014, Rated PG-13)
Godzilla returns to battle new creatures called MUTOs, and humanity is caught in the crossfire of their violence.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019, Rated PG-13)
An eco-terrorist organization accidentally unleashes destruction when they awaken monsters such as Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and the mighty Godzilla.

Gremlins (1984, Rated PG)
Disarmingly cute and cuddly Mogwai transform into reptilian Gremlins when fed, and cause chaos in a sleepy suburban town at Christmastime.

It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955, Not Rated)
A naval officer and team of scientists must work together to defeat a giant, from beneath the searadioactive octopus that’s attacking the city of San Francisco.

Jaws (1975, Rated PG)
“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” When a man-eating shark terrorizes a town on the Long Island coast, three men must hunt it down on the open sea.

Jurassic Park (1993, Rated PG-13)
In a would-be theme park on a tropical island, dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA break loose and hunt the paleontologists hired to appraise the park.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994, Rated R)
A dark and atmospheric retelling of the classic tale of terror. A young Victor Frankenstein creates a monster who haunts and hunts him for the rest of his life.

The Meg (2018, Rated PG-13)
When a 70-foot shark attacks and sinks a deep-sea submersible, a rescue diver must face his fears to save the trapped crew.

The Mummy (1999, Rated PG-13)
A rugged adventurer and two Egyptologists accidentally awaken the spirit the mummyof an ancient, evil mummy, and must defeat him to save the world.

Pacific Rim (2013, Rated PG-13)
Alien creatures known as Kaiju arise from the sea to destroy Earth, and can only be stopped by Jaegers, giant robots piloted by two humans with a connection called the Drift.

Pacific Rim Uprising (2018, Rated PG-13)
A new team of Jaeger pilots team up to fight bigger, smarter, and more dangerous Kaiju.

Piranha (2010, Rated R)
An underwater tremor on Lake Victoria sets free a school of man-eating fish, and leaves the spring breakers on vacation there vulnerable to its attacks.

A Quiet Place (2018, Rated PG-13)
Alien monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing have invaded Earth, and a family must live in silence to evade and defeat them.

Shin Godzilla (2016, Not Rated)
A team of volunteers must work fast to discover Godzilla’s weakness before the monster destroys their city, and the world.

Swamp Thing (1981, Rated PG)
A scientist is doused in a plant-based potion and transformed into the swamp thingSwamp Thing by criminals looking to steal his experiments.

The Thing (1982, Rated R)
Scientists living in an Antarctic research station are embroiled in suspicion and suspense when they find a killer, shape-shifting alien is living among them.

Tremors (1989, Rated PG-13)
The residents of an isolated desert town must fight for their lives against a horde of subterranean killer worms.

 

Roku Roundup: See What’s New for Streaming in October!

October is here, and with Halloween just around the corner, streaming services are releasing some of their most bone-chilling content. Horror fans can look forward to a whole host of terrifying new tales on Netflix and Hulu. And for those of us who could do without any ghosts and goblins, rest assured, there’s still plenty of new content to enjoy!

On October 9th Netflix will release one of the most anticipated TV series of the year, The Haunting of Bly Manor. This follow-up to 2018’s runaway horror hit The Haunting of Hill House will be a loose adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, but will incorporate a number of other ghosts from the author’s horror library as well. If the second season of the Haunting anthology is anywhere near as chilling as the first, viewers are in for a real treat. Another adaptation of a beloved gothic novel will come to Netflix on October 24th with the release of Rebecca. The film, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, follows a naïve young woman as she navigates a marriage to a mysterious man haunted by the shadow of his late first wife. And Oscar buzz is already surrounding the October 16th release, Trial of the Chicago 7, a star-studded courtroom thriller set against the backdrop of real-life political protests in the late 1960s. These three are just a sample of all the great content Netflix has in store this month, and if you’re looking for more you can also check out thriller miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, high-school drama series Grand Army, the series premiere of romantic comedy Emily in Paris, and an all-new season of Unsolved Mysteries.

Hulu, meanwhile, is releasing new horror content all month long, starting with the premiere of Monsterland, an anthology series based on Nathan Ballingrud’s book North American Lake Monsters, on October 2nd. In it a host of broken people encounter monsters that mirror their own troubles, including mermaids, fallen angels, and other beasts. Then on October 7th comes Books of Blood, a three-part miniseries that puts a new and chilling spin on the works of horror master Clive Barker. Comic book fans with a taste for the macabre should tune in October 16th for the debut of Helstrom, a drama based on a Marvel comic of the same name. In it Daimon and Ana, twin siblings whose father was a notorious serial killer, work together to hunt the worst of humanity. Finally, just before Halloween Hulu will release Bad Hair, a horror satire from the writer/producer of Dear White People about a woman whose weave seems to have a mind and a will of its own.

These titles are exclusive to their streaming services, and can’t be seen anywhere else. But with Roku Express+ devices you can watch all the shows and movies Netflix and Hulu have to offer, as well as a huge selection of films from our VUDU library. Reserve your Roku today and enjoy some spooky streaming!

Staff Picks September 2020

Emily’s Picks

DVD: Song of the Sea

A bittersweet movie, beautifully animated, from the Oscar-nominated team behind The Breadwinner. A young boy named Ben disocvers his mute younger sister is a selkie (a seal-like mermaid from Irish folklore) whose song can set the spirits of all the fair folk free. Together they must defeat the Owl Witch Maccha and free the fair folk before they are all turned to stone. Great for lovers of fairy tales and Irish culture!

CD: Pony by Orville Peck

If you’re looking for a country album that shrugs off the “pop country” sound, Pony might be for you. Orville Peck has the deep, sad, soulful voice of an old-fashioned cowboy and the subversive spirit of a punk-rocker. Standout tracks include “Queen of the Rodeo” and “Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)”.

Jessie’s Picks

DVD: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This Best Animated Feature Film Oscar winner has humor, heart, and great characters.  Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man and teams up with Peter B. Parker, Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Gwen to train and save the day!

Audiobook: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This moving debut novel follows two half-sisters in 1700s Ghana and their descendants in Ghana and America.  One sister is married to an Englishman living in Ghana, and the other is sold and becomes a slave in America.  Narrator Dominic Hoffman brings the characters to life in this Audie Award winning saga.

John’s Picks

DVD: Everest

Based on real events, Everest is an adventure film that follows a group of climbers on their mission to summit the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest. You are quickly introduced to the different members of this team, and you learn each of their unique personalities as well as their personal motives for risking such an adventurous climb. Things take a dramatic turn for the worse when a blizzard unexpectedly foils the original plan. These climbers must test their physical and mental toughness if they want to survive Everest.

Audiobook: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

History is all about perspective, and the lens through which we interpret the past has real consequences on our contemporary values, beliefs, and politics. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States challenges the traditional narrative of American history and offers a unique, bottom-up perspective that amplifies the voices of marginalized groups like indigenous peoples, enslaved persons, workers, women, and immigrants. Zinn’s book is perhaps the most consequential history book written in the last 50 years, and it is a must read (or listen) for anyone interested in history or anyone simply looking to build empathy and understand a new perspective on the past.

Kim’s Picks

DVD: Jojo Rabbit

Director Taika Waititi follows Thor:  Ragnarok with this black comedy set in the waning days of World War II in Germany.  Despite his mother’s (Scarlett Johansson) distinctly anti-Nazi sympathies, young Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis) joins a proto-Hitler Youth organization only to be ostracized when he won’t kill a rabbit.  He takes solace in his imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler.  At least one scene will make you gasp.   

CD: Danse Macabre

Kent Nagano conducts the Orchestre Smphonique de Montreal in five famous pieces suitable for Halloween:  Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Dvorak’s “The Noonday Witch,” “Mussorgsky’s “A Night on Bare Mountain,” Balakirev’s “Tamara,” “Saint-Saens’ “Danse macabre.”

Mary’s Picks

DVD: The Hundred-Foot Journey

A feel good movie that’s great for foodies and travelers. This cozy movie inspires you to eat, cook and travel.

Audiobook: Everything is FigureOutable by Marie Forleo

Motivational and can be applied to any aspect of life. This book helps you break things down a bit when looking at something big and daunting in front of you. Read by the author which is always a plus. 

Stephanie’s Picks

DVD: Quills

“History’s most infamous sexual adventurer lives in a madhouse, where a beautiful laundry maid helps him smuggle his erotic stories to the printer.”

CD: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse

After topping the charts with hits off the album Good News for People Who Love Bad News, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank brings more of a mainstream vibe without losing any authenticity.

All quoted summaries are from catalog.ccls.org.

2020 Emmy Award Winners

The Emmy Awards aired this past Sunday, September 20th, and despite its new, socially-distant format (featuring winners accepting their awards from home, via Zoom call) it still managed to deliver a satisfying show full of satisfying wins, some fan-favorites and some sweet surprises. Here is a list of this year’s winners. All linked titles are currently available in our collection.

Outstanding Drama Series: Succession

Outstanding Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Limited Series: Watchmen

Outstanding Television Movie: Bad Education

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Zendaya, Euphoria*

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jeremy Strong, Succession

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series of Television Movie: Regina King, Watchmen

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie: Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much is True

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Julia Garner, Ozark*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Billy Crudup, The Morning Show

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie: Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Cherry Jones, Succession

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Ron Cephas Jones, This is Us

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Eddie Murphy, Saturday Night Live

**This title is available on Netflix or Hulu through Roku Express+. Click here to learn more!

Classic 1940s Film Noir

The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bogart as Sam Spade in generally regarded first Hollywood noir; “The, ah, stuff that dreams are made of.”

Laura (1944)
Detective Dana Andrews obsesses over portrait of presumably dead beauty (Gene Tierney)

Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Crooner Dick Powell changes image, becomes gumshoe Philip Marlowe

Gilda (1946)
An Argentinian gambling house, a man on the make (Glenn Ford), and a temptress stirring the pot (Rita Hayworth)

The Big Sleep (1946)
Bogart as Marlowe, Bacall as alluring femme

The Killers (1946)
Burt Lancaster’s first film is based on  a Hemingway story

Kiss of Death (1947)
Richard Widmark’s Tommy Udo, redolent of postwar savagery

Nightmare Alley (1947)
Tyrone Power’s Stan Carlisle becomes a big shot before carnival geek-dom stares him in the face

Out of the Past (1947)
Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer in most-oft praised noir; bright sunshine contrasts with noir’s night and shadows

T-Men (1947)
Treasury Department agents go undercover to bust a counterfeiting ring; director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton bring their inimitable style to this noir with Dennis O’Keefe as the lead and Charles McGraw as, who else, “Moxie”

Raw Deal (1948)
Escaped convict Joe Sullivan (Dennis O’Keefe) wants his money; crime boss Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr) is loathe to pay up in Anthony Mann-directed noir with typical evocative cinematography by John Alton

The Street with No Name (1948)
FBI agent (Mark Stevens) goes undercover to bust crime ring; Richard Widmark is back and almost as mean as in Kiss of Death