Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride

Scotland Yard investigates some occulty shenanigans in this vampire film that doesn't have many vampires in it. There's espionage, various dossiers, microfilm, spy watches, secret recorders, motorcycle chases, and petri dishes filled with a new strain of bubonic plague. There's a pentagrammy bit of sorcery involving a blonde naked chick and a chicken, and if you really like that sort of thing you'll see that exact scene repeated several times. What all that has to do with Dracula, I don't really know. About forty minutes later the vampires finally appear, and it's a scene comprised of a basement filled with chained vampire chicks and extremely brief lesbian subtext.

After that the movie switches gears and resembles a vampire movie as best it can, with Peter Cushing playing Van Helsing and Christopher Lee playing Dracula, but it's too little, too late.

Terror At London Bridge

The spirit of Jack The Ripper is resurrected from a stone from London Bridge in Lake Havasu, and David Hasselhoff does something about it in this shoulder pad-filled made-for-TV movie. Moving it stone by stone, Lake Havasu, Arizona reconstructed London Bridge during the early 1970s. Did you know that? Neither did I!

It's not very interesting.

Anyway, a woman cuts herself on some bleachers, and a drop of blood resurrects the spirit of Jack The Ripper (and his hat, cape, and knife), who was drowned after being pursued by cops and throwing one cop into another. This fictionalized account of the demise of Jack The Ripper is not historically accurate. He was never captured, and dozens of men were considered suspects.

Then David Hasselhoff and his plunging neckline boogies to some generic 80s jams. You're going to find this hard to believe, but live music rarely fades out like it does on records.

Anyway, a bunch of movie happens for a while, and I got up and had a big slice of chocolate cake. It was good, and vegan. Yes, you can actually make a delicious vegan chocolate cake. I'll give you the recipe sometime.

So, Terror At London Bridge is absolutely terrifying, and by "absolutely terrifying" I really mean this:

...and this:

...which really doesn't have a lot to do with Terror At London Bridge.

Messiah Of Evil

A woman searches for her missing artist father amidst voiceover narration in this freaked out horror film.

So yeah, that happens, and it happens during first minute of the movie, and it happens with a Judy Collins-type vocal accompaniment. Where did that girl get a straight razor, and who takes a straight razor to the pool in the middle of the night? 

Anyway, Elisha Cook, Jr. shows up and starts spouting gibberish, and that's exactly what needed to happen. He says, "Sometimes I make sounds that aren't quite human", "Children eating raw meat", and "You're not supposed to eat the finger". 

Quite a bit of movie happens for a while, and then someone is eaten alive in the canned goods aisle of the supermarket. To stretch for time, a chick goes to the movies and watches a western starring Sammy Davis, Jr., and nothing pads out the length of a film like inexplicable chunks of other films.

Messiah Of Evil is a creepy, surreal, apocalyptic, hippie zombie film, and it's recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

The Beast In The Cellar

There's a beast in the cellar, sort of, in this slow moving British horror film. People get shredded in extreme close up, then two spinsters bicker. That happens for a while. Actually, they should have called this film Two Spinsters Bicker, because that's pretty much all that happens. The spinsters are pretty good, and what they're bickering about is fairly interesting, so there's that. Unfortunately, they didn't call this film Two Spinsters Bicker, they called it The Beast In The Cellar. The beast in the cellar has long since escaped, and the spinsters are a little bit late on catching a clue that the beast they've got hidden in the cellar is running around shredding people in extreme close up as the camera shakes in an irritating fashion. Finally, one of the spinsters figures out they've got a shredding beast on the loose, and it certainly isn't this guy.

Anyway, she drags one of its victims through the woods but not before she accidentally pops its eyes from the socket, which is fairly cool. The Beast In The Cellar has a Cary Grant-less Arsenic And Old Lace sort of feel to it, and I probably wouldn't stop you from watching it.

Terror In The Crypt

I'm not burdened with the human emotion known as regret. However, if I was, I regret starting to watch Terror In The Crypt AKA Crypt Of The Vampire AKA The Castle Of The Living Dead because I nodded off right at the beginning. When I came to, a naked chick was face down on a painted five-pointed star in the middle of the floor. No, not in my penthouse, which wouldn't be entirely surprising, but on the screen. Then a horse-drawn carriage lost a wheel.


As you can see in this "trailer", the wagon seemed to have a wheel, and there's no naked chick. I don't recall Christopher Lee being in the film I watched, but there were plunging necklines, billowing curtains, creaking doors, dramatic, lingering looks, and mile-long sideburns. There was a pretty cool moment involving a dog and a bell, but now I'm not entirely certain that moment was in this film. I'm not certain what film I even watched. Whatever it was, it wasn't very good, and I'm not overly worried about it.

Devils Of Darkness

A vampire in search of a precious amulet terrorizes a village in this seemingly-cobbled-together horror film. Using a kitchen-sink approach by blending multiple monster movie tropes together, Devils Of Darkness doesn't have very many devils in it. There is an unconvincing vampire bat dangling from a string, a group of red-cowled, torch-wielding villagers, a swinging party filled with subtext, and at least one boom shadow.


I don't know about you, but I mistrust overly friendly people. What's their angle? They definitely have something up their sleeve. And chipper people, man, they're suspicious as well. And people who say "Darling" every fifteen seconds.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the filmmakers were confused about what vampires are, and just threw some vampire stuff in this movie to go along with the devil worshipping, but it still isn't very interesting.


Monday, May 19, 2014

House Of The Long Shadows

A writer makes a $20,000 bet he can write another 'Withering' Heights in 24 hours by staying the night in a spooky Welsh manor in this dimly lit horror comedy. Desi Arnaz, Jr. mispronounces Wuthering Heights, then journeys to an unpronounceable Welsh town. He gets lost, and someone tells him to 'take a right at the Crossroads, and the manor would find him in good time'. Having been at the Crossroads many times in order to haggle with someone about a guitar, I can tell you for sure that nothing good will come of that. So then Desi Arnaz wanders around in a dark manor for about ten minutes before he finds a candle. Much like an episode of X-Files, someone needs to find either a working flashlight or flip a light switch, because The House Of The Long Shadows is murky. Suddenly, John Carradine appears, and much like haggling at the Crossroads about a guitar, nothing good will come of that. Suddenly, Peter Cushing and a forced speech impediment appears, and much like when John Carradine appears, nothing good will come of that. Suddenly, Vincent Price appears, and he says, 'Don't interrupt me when I soliloquize', which is fine. Then everyone drinks punch. Desi Arnaz is pretty annoyed because he can't write his novel or eat his tin foil wrapped club sandwich, and I would be pretty annoyed by that as well. Suddenly Christopher Lee appears, and much like the mayonnaise on a tin foil wrapped club sandwich, nothing good will come of that. Then someone sings a song.

So, there's secret passages, candelabras, furniture covered in sheets, thunderstorms, and murder. Borrowing liberally from The Old Dark House, The House Of The Long Shadows is a fun little horror comedy, that is, until the ending is totally Fantasy Island-ed and everyone learns a valuable lesson.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The dead-horse exploits of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team are flogged in this over-long, disappointing sequel. Stilted, forced, and nearly laugh-free; Anchorman 2 struggles and flails about desperately trying to recapture the magic of Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. Absurd antics reminiscent of the first film are still in abundance, but they all have the air of ideas left in a notepad in the ten years since the first movie was in theaters. Sure, there's a bottle-fed shark, and some ice dancing to jazz flute, but there's also cringeworthy racial humor that falls flat. Kristen Wiig, Meagan Good, and Christina Applegate are wasted, and child actor Judah Nelson continuously looks offscreen for direction. Two hours is too much, and the "epic" cameo-filled battle near the end of the film is a CGI-filled pile of meh that couldn't come soon enough. Anchorman 2 is an unfocused mess.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Vampire And The Ballerina

A milkmaid gets attacked in the woods where known vampires lurk, and the villagers who sort of help her have a distinct lack of urgency about the whole situation. A doctor gives his diagnosis while girls in lingerie look on, and it's the old "scratched by thorns" bit. Then everyone does an unconvincingly improvised dance routine which doesn't seem to have an awful lot to do with ballet. Someone gets buried alive, then some of the cast decided to take refuge from an unconvincing storm in a place called The Castle Of The Damned. I'm not exactly familiar with the geography of Italy, but if I was ever lost in some Italian woods a short distance from my village while a downpour threatens I certainly wouldn't default to a never-before-mentioned-but-necessary-to-the-plot bit of real estate called The Castle Of The Damned which just happens to be around the corner from a picnic spot. I've seen too many lost-in-the-woods horror movies to fall for that. Now, I might wait out a cloudburst in The Bakery Of The Damned, or The Doughnut Shop Of The Damned, but I certainly wouldn't drink some suspect tea or rummage through the closets of The Castle Of The Damned.

The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake

A family is cursed to be buried headless, I guess, in this atmospheric but slow-moving horror film. There's some shrunken heads, a fog enshrouded cemetery, a headless corpse in a casket, several people with their lips sewn shut, a head in a basket, and a bubbling cauldron. There's also a skull removal procedure, a Dutch oven with a shrunken head in it, a crypt cabinet full of skulls, and a crypt equipped with electric illumination. I really have to give props to the crypt designer from the 1800s who thought ahead (Ha! See what I did there?) to install a light switch for the one time in the future when someone needed to check out the skull cabinet in the dark because it was in the script. Can you imagine the light bill after having that thing on for two hundred years? Wow. I don't know an awful lot about the energy efficiency of leaving a light bulb on from the 1800s or the building codes for installing an electric light switch for the undead, but I would have to assume that it would probably be a little more cost effective in the long run to just leave a flashlight in there in case someone needed to inventory the skulls in the crypt skull cabinet. You can get a three-pack of those little plastic hooks for about $2.99, and a cheap flashlight runs about the same. If you're concerned about quality, you could invest in one of those LED flashlights and still make out like a bandit cost-wise. Sure, you'll have to change the batteries a few times in two hundred years, but it's got to be better than hoping someone turns out the light after they're done making sure someone hasn't slipped a new skull in the crypt skull cabinet when no one is looking.

Anyway, there are multiple floating disembodied skulls, some dispassionate bongo playing, an unconvincing rubber knife, and some unfortunate racism from an undead head transplant. You're probably thinking to yourself, "Hey Stabford, I like floating disembodied skulls and undead head transplants. Should I watch this film?", and the answer is, "Probably not."

Cry Of The Banshee

Vincent Price hunts witches in this nearly-banshee-free horror film. An alleged witch is branded and then whipped through the streets being dragged by a chicken-filled cart, then she's pelted with eggs. A hound bays ominously while another supposed witch is forced to dance on a table while someone plays a panpipe. Several people are stabbed, and that's why you shouldn't attend a dinner party thrown by Vincent Price. Then a guy with a mystical amulet charms a rabid dog. No one seems to bat an eye at this magical turn of events, and it's as though people in the 16th century didn't understand witchcraft or dinner parties very well. Some time later after various rapes, Vincent Price throws another dinner party featuring a rabid dog's head on a stick as a party favor. If you put an N in Price, you get Prince, and that guy knows how to party. He even wrote a song about it.


Anyway, after about a million years of movie the banshee finally shows up. It's not very interesting.