Tubi picks (week 7 — guest writer Dustin Fallon)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dustin Fallon is the man behind Horror and Sons as well as a regular guest on the Drive-In Asylum Double Feature. It’s exciting to see what films ge recommends to watch!

Howdy, film fiends! Below are a list of 10 films currently available to watch right now on Tubi. I chose not to use the word “recommendations” in this intro as I do not actually recommend watching all of them. Hell, I don’t even like a couple of them. Let’s get to it!

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) – D: Sidney Lanfield – LINK

This early adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous tale was not the first to grace the silver screen, and some might argue that it may not even be the best, but fans of both Doyle’s work and classic film mysteries would probably be doing themselves a disservice by not giving this version a watch.

Basil Rathbone stars as the legendary Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as his partner-in-crime (solving), Dr. Watson, who are hired to protect a young heir whose descendants have all met tragic ends, allegedly at the jaws of a mythical hound that stalks the moors surrounding the family’s Devonshire estate. Holmes plays something of a secondary role this time (with Rathbone also receiving second-billing on the film) as the sleuth disappears for a sizable portion of the tale. Also, look for a young John Carradine in a smaller role as the family’s suspicious servant.

2. One Body Too Many (1944) – D: Frank McDonald – LINK

The family and associates of a recently deceased millionaire, one with a strong interest in astronomy, gather at the man’s mansion for the reading of his will, but quickly learn that they will be forced to stay there until the completion of construction on a glass-domed vault which will serve as the man’s final resting place, at which time the will shall be opened and read. This proves to be a challenge as they all dislike each other almost as much as the deceased man disliked them. However, leaving the estate will be considered a forfeiture of their share of the inheritance, while any attempt to have the man buried will result in a reversal of the will, with those who would have originally received the smallest sum now receiving the largest, and vice versa.

Enter ill-timed life insurance agent Albert Tuttle (Jack Haley, best known as The Wizard of Oz‘s “Tin Man”) who finds himself somewhat unwillingly and unwittingly thrust into the increasingly bizarre and sinister events taking place at the mansion. Horror icon Bela Lugosi co-stars as the deceased man’s butler, who spends the entire film seemingly attempting to kill off all of the houseguests with poisoned coffee. Fay Helm of Universal’s The Wolf Man and Plan 9 from Outer Space‘s Lyle Talbot also appear.

This film tends to be one of the lesser-mentioned entries from Lugosi’s career, which is a shame as it’s a highly entertaining comedic “whodunit?” with enough murder and mayhem to keep it from ever becoming dull. Highly recommended.

3. Monster on the Campus (1958) – D: Jack Arnold – LINK

The director of science fiction classics such as Creature from the Black Lagoon and It Came From Outer Space returns with a tale of a professor (Arthur Franz – Flight to Mars, Invaders from Mars) who turns into a murderous Neanderthal-like creature after being exposed to the blood of a prehistoric fish that he has exposed to gamma radiation. While I do admit a bias in considering nearly all of Universal’s ’50s-era monster films to be among the best ever produced, what helps Monster stand out is the violent and brutal nature in which the creature dispatches his victims, including one unfortunate female associate of the professor’s who is ripped to shreds before being strung up in a tree by her hair!!

Black Lagoon‘s Whit Bissel and a young Troy Donahue co-star, as do a few other Universal regulars from that era. Prolific stuntman Eddie Parker steps in as the professor’s monstrous form.

4. Track of the Vampire (1966) – D: Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman – LINK

Roger Corman once co-produced a Yugoslavia “spy” thriller entitled “Operation: Titian”. It sucked so badly that Corman never released it. He later purchased a script for a horror film entitled Portrait in Terror, which he let Hill direct, but which also used quite a bit of footage from “Operation: Titian”. It also sucked and was unreleased. As Corman was determined to recoup some of his losses from both of these disasters, he brought in Rothman to shoot some additional scenes (changing the plot to now be about a vampire). The finished product was released to theaters in 1966 as Blood Bath and, my apologies to what fans the film may have, still sucked. At some later point in time, Corman added even more footage in order to make the film a suitable length for television distribution, where it aired under the new title of Track of the Vampire. Surprise… it still sucks.

Whatever you choose to call the film, it’s a discombobulated mish-mash of dissonant ideas and themes loosely held together by shoddy editing, massive gaps in continuation, and radically uneven performances. So, why did it make this list? Simply because Corman’s determination to make a buck by piling shit on top of shit on top of shit on top of shit is both undeniably admirable and unabashedly shameful at the same time.

As if things weren’t confusing enough, a re-edited “Operation: Titian” was distributed to television in 1968 as Portrait in Terror. God bless you, Roger!

5. Mysteries of the Gods (1977) – D: Harald Reinl, Charles Romine – LINK

Based on the works of author Erich von Däniken, this “documentary” explores the concepts of “ancient astronauts” and their alleged influence on the history of mankind. While the film attempts to present its ideas and concepts as proven facts, many of von Däniken’s theories have since been disproven or generally dismissed as total bullshit. All that said, the film and the propositions that it puts forth are still pretty fascinating and intriguing, although there is more focus on the evolution of the world’s many cultures and civilizations than there is on the modern-era phenomena of unidentified flying objects. While clearly not for all audiences, those interested in ufology may still want to give it a watch, even if what is presented should be taken with a grain of salt.

While the American theatrical release of the film featured William Shatner as a host and narrator, his presence is nowhere to be found in the version featured on Tubi… even if their listing for the film does credit him as appearing.

6. Funland (1987) – D: Michael A. Simpson – LINK

When a mob family kills a theme park owner and takes over operations, the mentally unhinged clown mascot, Bruce Burger (David L. Lander, Laverne & Shirley‘s “Squiggy”), seeks revenge, also taking aim at his replacement (Lane Davies, “Mason Capwell” of TV’s Santa Barbara) in the process. While this may sound like the premise for a psychological thriller, Funland is actually a seriously deranged black humored comedy from writers Bonnie and Terry Turner. If those names sound familiar, that’s because the married duo would go on to write for Saturday Night Live, penning the screenplays for Tommy Boy, 1993’s Coneheads film, and both Wayne’s World films. The duo would also go on to create highly successful sitcoms 3rd Rock From The Sun and That ’70s Show.

There’s much more going on in this film than what I alluded to in the previous paragraph, but trying to mention even half of it would increase the size of this article tri-fold. Released directly to video, I can’t help but feel that this film would be considered more of a “cult classic” had it been released just a few years later. Instead, it’s a generally forgotten “gem” with some whacked-out, occasionally offensive moments (in particular, one racially based sight gag that would never float in a modern-day film) that deserves a second chance at life. To Kill A Mockingbird‘s William Windom, Police Academy‘s Bruce Mahler (who horror fans will remember from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), and the late Jan Hooks (SNL, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) co-star, as do a few other faces you may recognize.

7. Project: Metalbeast (1995) – D: Alessandro De Gaetano – LINK

If, back in 1990, you would have told 13/14-year-old me about a movie that featured Kane Hodder as a metallic werewolf, I most assuredly would have spent every weekend at my local video stores, hounding them repeatedly to ensure that they brought in a VHS copy so that I could rent it the second it arrived. Unfortunately, Project: Metalbeast was not released until 1995, and by that point my 18/19 year-old-self was much more preoccupied with other interests… namely sex and weed.

The film undoubtedly does not live up to my pre-pubescent expectations (or my modern-day ones, for that matter), featuring far too much dialog and not enough monster carnage. While the opening sequence sets things off on the right foot and showcases some decent creature design, the final manifestation of our creature doesn’t appear until late in the film and looks more like a chromed-out Sonic the Hedgehog that took more HGH than Mark McGwire than it does a werewolf. That said, the film is far from what I would call “awful” and features a rather fun, hammy performance from Barry Bostwick as the corrupt Colonel in charge of the project.

8. The Dead Hate the Living (2000) – D: Dave Parker – LINK

The cast and crew of a low-budget horror film find what appears to be a highly ornate coffin in the boiler room of the abandoned hospital in which they are filming and decide to make it part of their film. You know, even if there is a fairly fresh corpse inside of it. Little do they know that the dead man is actually a necromancer and the coffin a doorway to a world of evil dead (or undead) humanoids.

This production from Charles Band’s Full Moon Features came a few years after the company lost its distribution deal with Paramount, which (as long time and/or former fans will readily tell you) was when the budgets and quality of their films started taking a steady nosedive into the crapper. While the company still has a few fans of the generally puppet-rampant shit that they have released over the last 2+ decades, The Dead Hate the Living may be the last Full Moon film with any “heart” (although I do admit to enjoying The GingerDead Man II)… and I don’t mean the kind ripped from someone’s chest.

The film does feature occasionally hokey special effects and more than a couple uneven performances, but still serves as a sincere tribute to horror fandom. There are quite a few references to other horror films and directors that hardcore genre fans should appreciate, and I’m not talking about the mainstream-friendly “nods” that one might find in the Scream franchise. The late Matt McGrory (House of 1,000 Corpses) and Sharknado series director, Anthony C. Ferrante, appear in smaller roles.

9. Alien Implant (2017) – D: Daniel Falicki – LINK

The traumatized survivor of an alien abduction takes to a reclusive life in the wilderness, where she begins luring out and hunting down the aliens that experimented on her. This ultra low-budget science fiction flick features some truly unimpressive alien costumes, but stands out from the pack of similar themed films due to a surprisingly strong performance from its lead actress (in a film with minimal cast), as well as a fairly unique approach to its topic.

I covered this film on my own site in late 2021, and while I can’t say that it doesn’t have its share of flaws, it definitely made an impression on me with its individuality. Like most of the films that I’ve included on this list, it’s clearly not one that will win over or impress all audiences, but if you are interested in learning more, here’s the link to my site’s review. Alien Implant (2017) – Movie Review

10. Amityville Island (2020) – D: Mark Polonia – LINK

Truth be told, I didn’t even watch this movie. I watched the trailer and decided that I had seen more than enough. In fact, I wouldn’t dare recommend that others watch it either. So, why did a film that looks this wretched make this list? To teach a somewhat motivational lesson to those who dream of making their own film one day. That lesson? You might not be able to make a great film, or even a good one… but ANYONE can make an Amityville flick. Hell, it doesn’t even have to relate to the original Amityville Horror tale in the slightest, so long as you use the word “Amityville” somewhere in the script.

Fun fact: Another 12 low-budget Amityville films have been released in the time it took me to write this entry.

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