The thing that struck me the most when I popped Cowboys and Aliens in my Blu-Ray player was the menu which had more stuff going on it than CNN’s screen during a snow storm and terrorist attack.
Scrolls pop up actually congratulating you on picking the movie and prompt you to get online to access the zillion things you can do while the movie is playing. Personally, I got a Blu-Ray player to enjoy the films more fully (even the pain)- not because I have incurable ADD.
As I watched the film, it became clear that all the bells and whistles were meant to distract me away from the film. Cowboys and Aliens is probably the highest budgeted drive-in flick I’ve ever seen. A goofy sci-fi and western cliché sandwich served by expensive actors on a high production value background. The result is surprisingly generic.
What did I expect? Hollywood’s been cranking out Roger Corman movies for decades now- the only difference is they need $100+ million and months of location shooting to tell a movie Roger would commit to celluloid over a ten day period.
Well, I, for one expected to feel the weird sense that something is not quite right. I wanted the goofyness that a title like Cowboys and Aliens promises. But the capable actors delivering their lines in a totally believable way couple with the “realistic” style kind of robbed me of that.
I’ll admit it. I wanted Shockorama!
Shockorama! was the final double feature by William “One Shot” Beaudine coupling Billy The Kid vs Dracula with Jesse James meets Frankenstein’s Daughter.
Beaudine was a remarkably prolific director of over 500 features. Legend has it he was instructed to “pick up the pace” in his early days during the silent era. His response was “You mean to tell me someone’s in a hurry to see this crap?” and he began to shoot without retakes until something really major jeopardized the shot. As far as “One Shot” was concerned, “If you can see it and hear it- it’s good!”
Here’s the first feature Billy the Kid vs Dracula, starring John Carradine who also acted in more films than anyone and holds the record for most appearances onscreen as Dracula.
The link is to part one but you can follow the links to the rest of the film there.
Then comes Jessie James meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, which really amps up the weird.
Aaaaaaaah. I feel better already. The itch I had when I decided to watch Cowboys and Aliens has finally been scratched.
For years, Jessie james meets Frankenstein’s Daughter has been available through various public domain labels. But for some unfathomable reason, Billy the Kid vs Dracula was hard to find. One would expect the two films to remain paired as they were meant to be.
I’m now happy to announce the full Shockorama! is now finally available on DVD from Cheezy Flicks.
Cowboys and Aliens
Pain Level: 2/10
Quality of pain: Dull and generic
Painjoyment Index: Almost nil.
Billy the Kid vs Dracula
Pain Level: 8/10
Quality of Pain: A real pain in the neck
Painjoyment Index: Dude! I’m watching this one nekkid in mah cowboy boots. Nuff said!
Jessie James meets Frankestein’s Daughter
Pain Level: 9/10
Quality of Pain: Katie, bar the door!
Painjoyment Index: I’m workin’ them spurs. Yaahoooooo!