Friday, June 3, 2022

Double Feature: Miami Golem & The Kindred


Miami Golem (aka Miami Horror)
Alberto De Martino

Craig Milford (David Warbeck) is a TV reporter who is caught up in a conspiracy after interviewing a scientist about cloning research. A wealthy businessman wants him dead and to make matters worse the cloned lifeform might be a potential threat to the universe.

Miami Golem is a middle of the road Italian action/SF film, but it happens to come during arguably the golden age of Italian genre cinema, so it is still very entertaining. Miami Golem keeps things fresh by jumping from detective mystery, action film, and science fiction story. In general, the story is lighter in tone and lacks the excessive gore that was often a hallmark of the Italian cinema of the time. This restraint is what really keeps this film from reaching a level of notoriety that films like Demons (1985) or The Beyond (1981).  Ultimately this strength is also the film’s undoing, as it loses focus by the climax and then wanders around for several minutes afterwards before finally concluding with a limp finale.


How I though babies were made as a child.

The best element of the entire film is catchy synthesizer score that gets plenty of play including an extended number over the opening credits. Some may say that it is repetitive and the synth sounds cheap, but I think that’s part of the charm. The cheapness of the music mirrors the cheapness of the special effects and if that sounds appealing to you, you should give Miami Golem a look.


The Kindred
Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter

John Hollins (David Allen Brooks) honors the dying request of his mother by heading to her remote cabin to destroy her research. She also happens to mention a brother that he knew nothing about. John meets a woman (Amanda Pays) who claims to be a fan of his mother’s work. John, Melissa, and some friends travel to the cabin. Here they find something horrible that will make you side-eye every watermelon you see.

I have distinct memories of seeing the poster for The Kindred when I was younger and it giving me a little chill. The movie doesn’t live up to the effectiveness of the poster, but if you’re a horror fan you should be used to that at this point. The Kindred is never bad per se but it rarely rises above passable. The plot is listless where it should be a creeping dread the continues to rise until the appearance of ‘Anthony’.


Me thinking about how babies were made as a child.

Anthony is the monster, and it is pretty obvious this where all the energy of the film went. There are number of fun gooey rubber monster scenes and other inventive sequences, the most notorious being a scene of Anthony hitching a ride in a watermelon. All of this isn’t nearly enough to right the film, but it is enough to make the slog of the actual plot bearable. I think with a stronger story The Kindred could have fallen into the pantheon of beloved 1980s horror films, as it stands, it is a curious footnote.

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