What We’re Watching – Horror Edition #2
Adelaide Blair: On a recent fishing trip with my husband, we ended up staying in a cabin with no Internet or television reception. I brought some movies to keep us entertained, including the Chilling Classics 50 Movie Pack put out by Mill Creek Entertainment. As far as I can tell, it’s just a bunch of public domain (or else just super cheap to get) movies compiled around a similar theme. In addition to having some better known movies, such as Bad Taste, directed by Peter Jackson, Deep Red by Dario Argento, Ken Russell’s Gothic, Shock starring Vincent Price, and the classics I Bury the Living and Silent Night, Bloody Night, there are a lot of serious B-movies that are nowhere near as well known. Most of the ones I watched on this trip were pretty enjoyable.
Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory: At a school for wayward girls, a werewolf has been killing people. Coincidentally, the new teacher is a disgraced doctor who has been looking into a cure for werewolfism. Also, there is blackmail, murder, and WAYWARD GIRLS! (They aren’t really that interesting, turns out.) Who could the werewolf be? Is it the wife of the blackmailed, cheating husband? The headmaster? The headmaster’s lovely assistant? The new teacher? The blackmailed cheater? One of the wayward girls? Watch and find out!
The Devil’s Hand: Robert Alda plays Rick Turner, who has some kind of a job, but I can’t remember what it is. He also has a gir friend that dotes on him, but I can’t remember what her name is either. As they walk past a doll store, he spots one that looks exactly like the woman that has been haunting his dreams. He goes into the store and learns the woman’s name is Bianca Milan. Turns out she and the owner of the doll store are in an evil cult that worships the devil Gamba. Robert Alda seems to like evil, so it doesn’t take very much for them to convince him to turn bad. However, when they target his ex-girlfriend, he has second thoughts.
Horror Express: Christopher Lee is some kind of scientist guy working in China who thinks he has discovered the missing link between ape and man. He packs up his find and takes the first train out of town. Also on this train is rival scientist Peter Cushing. (It feels like a Hammer film, but it’s not.) Turns out, the fossil isn’t a fossil, and it’s killing people on the train and wiping all the memories from their brains. We know this because their brains become perfectly smooth after death. And the creature can take the physical form of the people he has brain-wiped. Also, Telly Savalas is in this movie as some sort of crazy Cossack or something. I’m not sure. It’s like some guy came in from another movie that has nothing to do with this one, and starts slapping people around. But, it spices things up a bit. This movie scared the crap out of me as a kid.
The Bloody Brood: This is sort of a beatnik version of the Leopold and Loeb story. (Also borrowed by Hitchcock for his movie Rope.) Drug-dealing philosopher Peter Falk convinces his director buddy to help him plot the ultimate experience of MURDER! They feed the poor telegram delivery kid a hamburger laced with glass, little knowing that his determined brother would soon be on their case. Did I mention it stars a very young Peter Falk? Have I ever mentioned how much I love Columbo? Well, I do. I think this was only his second movie, but you can see his Columbo genius shining through.
Brandi Sperry: So, why had no one ever told me about Waxwork before this past weekend? Really it’s amazing that there aren’t more horror films set inside wax museums; they are truly the creepiest thing society has ever come up with as a supposedly fun institution (close second: Cirque du Soleil). This 1988 gem stars Zach Galligan, a.k.a. Billy from Gremlins! His character’s name is Mark, but I just called him Billy the whole time anyway, because…he’s Billy. Seeing his face just makes me want to say “Byyye Billyyy” over and over in a bad Gizmo impression.
Anyway. The wax museum is run by a dude played by David Warner, which is obviously also awesome. (Seeing his face makes me want to say “There! Are! Four! Lights!” in a bad Captain Picard impression.) Inside, various wax scenes that honor classic horror tropes are also portals to real versions, meaning that it’s not long before one of our characters is being chased by a werewolf and another is dining with vampires. Later, things get crazy with one of the ladies and the Marquis de Sade. Young Deborah Foreman, you’re freaky!
Alternately cheesy and disturbing, I thought this movie was highly entertaining. It’s the kind of movie that just makes me want to watch more and more ’80s horror, because even when it’s ridiculous, it’s good, you know?
Allen Almachar: Obviously, I’ve been watching a glut of horror films this month, catching up on some big titles that I haven’t yet seen or seeing anything that seems to spark my interest. One in particular is Trick ‘r Treat (2007), written and directed by Michael Dougherty. The film centers on a number of intertwining stories in a small, no-name town on Halloween night. While the film isn’t going to be known as a masterpiece of horror cinema, I did have an enjoyable time watching it. I thought all of the stories were fairly entertaining, and the twists that came with each segment were fun. Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, and Brian Cox all stand out in their respective roles, all jumping i to their characters with bloody glee and humor. I think this would be a good title for anyone looking for something to put on their horror marathon list. Don’t expect the best movie ever made, but certainly a fun experience nonetheless.