I’ve a bevy of horror today to cap off the season with a marathon.
I’ve arranged them into thematic pairs to help you in narrowing down your viewing pleasure should you not have twenty plus hours to watch them all….
TWO MOVIES ABOUT ALIEN INVASION:
WITHOUT WARNING (1980) :
I saw this movie on TV in the late 80s and, though it’s somewhat cheesy, I was very taken by it…even a little spooked. As far as I know that’s the only time it played on Detroit television during my entire childhood. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this weird mix of slasher and sci-fi and promptly forgot about it until years later when it started nagging me and I hunted it down. By then it had developed quite a cult following as a precursor, if not the actual inspiration, for PREDATOR. I like it better than PREDATOR. No Arnold in it…
THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (1964)
Great title, huh? Part of what makes a good zombie movie is the claustrophobia / invasion element done so well in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. That movie wasn’t the first, however, to feature several people trapped in a familiar place and fighting for their life against hordes. It was already a staple of sci-fi films and, of course, Westerns and War movies. Some of the best pre-NOTLD examples are three films by the great Hammer horror director Terence Fisher. I posted the other two in previous year (ISLAND OF TERROR and NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT). Both of those movies managed to create a sense of dread and panic with “monsters” that, in concept, are not the least bit frightening. THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING does the same. This time the invaders are, if I’m going to be honest, rather silly looking robots. This is of absolutely no consequence, however, as the filmmaking manages to transform these cheaply made B-movie automatons into a threat as menacing as any walking dead. Watch this as an example of how a truly talented director can turn lead into gold.
TWO GOTHIC CLASSICS:
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)
You’ve probably heard of it or seen scenes from it in documentaries about the history of horror movies, but have you actually watched it? Recently? The original is still the best: funny, spooky and stylish!
THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM (1969)
This movie begins like an Italian version of a Hammer horror film and, by the end, becomes a mad, expressionist vision of the AIP Edgar Allen Poe films as seen through the brush of a Surrealist painter. Colorful, entertaining, and weird!
TWO EROTIC HORROR FILMS:
SATAN’S BLOOD (1978)
This is a fantastically fun devil worship movie with perversity, wild editing, strange characters, wonderful music, and mucho soft core sex scenes that push right up to the limit… This is Eurohorror sexploitation at its most entertaining. It’s so good that the only streaming, free copy of it I could find is on a porno site…
LINNEA QUIGLEY’S HORROR WORKOUT (1990)
I’m glad I live in a world in which this exists…
I’ve been meaning to post this Canuxploitation gem for quite some time. A horror writer – very Stephen Kingish – slowly goes insane and has hallucinatory visions of gory murders from his stories while also dealing with family and work drama. Very Canadian, fun death (if you’re into that), and lots of brown and winter skies (it’s Canadian…what can I say?)
THE BOXER’S OMEN (1983)
This is a Shaw Brothers movie. No, that’s not the people who directed THE MATRIX. The Shaw Brothers is the film studio that made puking live eels a thing. They made the strangest, most violent, and most bizarre horror films of the seventies and early eighties. I don’t tend to gravitate toward Asian horror in general, but if I’m going to go that way…this is where I’d rest. It makes Lucio Fulci look like Looney Tunes in comparison. THE BOXER’S OMEN, specifically, is so bizarre that a summary is not even possible. It’s disgusting, but it’s also amazingly colorful and beautiful in a startling, psychedelic way. This copy of the movie is dubbed in two languages at once. To avoid the echoing if two audio tracks at once, change the audio settings on your TV so sound only comes from the right or left channel…
I had been looking for a copy of this movie for years, based on fond memories of having seen the film when young, and then it was re-released all cleaned up and beautiful by Code Red. I finally purchased it and watched it again only to discover that I had imagined half the plot and images. No matter. It’s still pretty good. Lots of snow and eery atmosphere in an abandoned hotel have prompted some to make comparisons to THE SHINING. I wouldn’t go that far (although I might have when I was misremembering half the movie), but it definitely has a feel to it that’s all its own. Kind of quintessential early 80s “snow horror”…
THE GHOST (1963)
So this takes me full circle with this year’s horror offerings!
THE GHOST is the next movie to be directed by Riccardo Freda after THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK, which was the FIRST movie I posted thirty days (?) ago in this year’s “30 Days Of Horror” weird and rare horror movie marathon. Some even refer to THE GHOST as a sequel to that movie because it uses the same actors and has a similar visual flare. Unfortunately this copy ain’t the best, but it is still watchable and gives a TASTE of the vibrant, weird and colorful world behind the faded print available to us now. Thanks for watching…I hope you enjoy!
Until next year…