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Lightning Raiders

USA 1945
produced by
Sigmund Neufeld for PRC
directed by Sam Newfield
starring Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Steve Darrell, Mady Lawrence, Henry Hall, I.Stanford Jolley, Karl Hackett, Roy Brent, Marin Sais, Al Ferguson, Budd Buster, Frank Ellis, John L.Cason
written by Elmer Clifton, music by Lee Zahler

Fuzzy, Billy Carson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A small town, somewhere out West ... rather an insignificant spot, actually, so a stagecoach delivering the mail, only stops by twice a month. Of late though, the stagecoach is regularly robbed, but the robbers are not out to get their hands on the gold shipment, but want the actual letters to the locals. Now this is bad, because most of the locals expect cheques, assayer's letters, land deeds and the like that will help them carry on, since they are all indebted to the local bank. The local banker Hayden (Steve Darrell) is a generous man however and is quick to extend the locals' leases - but he is in every position to be generous, because he seems to own half the town anyways, and it's only a question of time (and not even all that much time) until he'll own all of it. Of course, it's soon revealed he's in cahoots with the mail robbers, but only to the audience ...

One of the locals, Fuzzy (Al St.John), has called in his good friend Billy Carson (Buster Crabbe) to help investigating the mailrobberies, and Billy and Fuzzy soon stumble upon a stolen mailbags, with all the letters still in there but the cheques and deeds and whatnot gone. They find another clue when one local (Roy Brent) is shot dead after accusing Hayden of blackmail, but there are too many witnesses claiming the killing was just self defense to pin anything on Hayden. But it puts Billy and Fuzzy on the right trail.

Eventually, Billy and Fuzzy try to lure Hayden out into the open by leaving him some letters from their found mailbag every now and again, just to let them know someone's onto him ... but then Fuzzy pretty much spoils the plan when he lets his romantic side take over and hand a loveletter from her boyfriend to a local girl (Mady Lawrence), and before you know it, he's arrested as a mailrobber, but he manages to make an escape.

Billy figures the stolen cheques, deeds and whatnot have to be in Hayden's safe, so Fuzzy creates a distraction by challenging Hayden to a duel of marksmanship, which Fuzzy loses by a landslide ... but it helps Billy to open the safe undisturbed and convince the sheriff (Budd Buster) that Hayden's the baddie of the piece with what he's found. Hayden and company are promptly arrested ...


Rather routine B Western rather obviously shot on the cheap and based on a rather unimaginative script - but once again, Buster Crabbe and Al St.John prove themselves to be one of the best cowboy-sidekick duos or their time, basically because Crabbe actually can act and St.John is not only the moron doing funny stuff but actually does his share to move the story along.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD