Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blackenstein (1973)

Blackenstein is God-awful, but that may well be part of its charm.  I only pray that the director of this film was in on the joke.  Take a bit of 1930’s Universal Horror, add a helping of 1950’s Sci-Fi, season with a pinch of Rocky Horror Picture Show and put the whole mess through the filter of 1970’s Black-sploitation films and you get Blackenstien. 

The “so bad it’s good” category is hard to get just right.  Unfortunately, this film takes itself way too seriously.  It simply doesn’t work as a horror film, but it could work as a comedy with a few changes.  Where is Pam Greer and a few “honkeys” when you need them?

In terms of filmmaking, Blackenstien is amateurish and not very well put together.  There are more inconsistencies than I care to mention [like a clear blue sky with the sound of thunder in the background or a nearly constant windstorm in your ears with no movement of trees!].  You’re either gonna love this or hate this, depending upon what you think is funny.  If you’re a fan of serious horror, skip this one altogether.  If you need a movie to watch with friends, a case of beer and shot of tequila, then this might fit the bill quite nicely!

RATING: Bad

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)

DTAD is one of Lucio Fulci’s best films as he takes on the touchy topic of the serial killing of children in a remote Italian town.  Needless to say, this movie is not for the faint of heart.  I’m sure it caused quite a stir in 1972.

While Fulci is known for his use of graphic violence, he chose a lighter touch with DTAD.  This is a wise decision because the subject matter is intense enough without filling in all the horrific details.

The acting in DTAD is solid in every scene, although it does slip into a few moments of Italian melodrama which is to be expected.  His characters, for the most part, feel real and well thought out.  Unlike some of his other films where the audience doesn’t sympathize with the characters, DTAD sucks you in from moment one and draws you into its powerful story.

As a final note, the ending scene of this film is pure brilliance.  It has both shock value and artistic merit which is a hard thing to accomplish.  It’s a slice of cinema I’m unlikely to forget for any time in the foreseeable future.  While I can hardly call DTAD “entertaining” it is most certainly an unforgettable and well-made film.

RATING: Very Good.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sodoma's Ghost (1988)

Boobs, blood and Nazi ghosts!  I kid you not!  This pretty much sums up Lucio Fulci’s Sodoma’s Ghost.  Part over the top orgy, part dark haunting, this film is Italy’s answer to the “Dead Teenager Movie.”  How does it stack up against similar films of the 1980’s?  Not very well.  There are a few holes in the script in terms of the time frame of what’s happening on screen.  For example, the kids eat breakfast in a deserted house.  Then they jump into the van.  A few minutes later, they’re saying “It’s getting late.”  Really?  It’s just morning!

The acting is fine, especially the main Nazi ghost who has a creepy presence on screen.  Furthermore, Fulci’s direction is O.K. but nothing special.  Sodoma’s Ghost simply lacks the artistic spark of some of Fulci’s other films such as Zombi 2.  It desperately needs less porn and more scare factor.  Sodoma has potential.  It just doesn’t reach far enough.

As a final note, what’s with the girl that freaks out hysterically several times in the film?  One of the guys then proceeds to slap her across the face in order to settle her down.  Does that ever happen in real life?  It’s too melodramatic for my tastes.

You can skip this one, even if you like Fulci’s work.

RATING: Fair.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.