Third week started rough, real rough, but turned around real good. Lets now explore the 70s in the fourth week of October.
Oct. 21st-A Bay of Blood from 1971 (Director: Mario Bava, Writers: Mario Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello and Filippo Ottoni, Stars: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli and Laura Betti, Runtime: 84 mins)
This Mario Bava directed Proto-slasher is just a straight up slasher without the cool villain. Basically people are getting killed and its all related to who owns the local bay. The kills are pretty gruesome even by today’s standards. Thats pretty much the only thing about this film-violence. The performances are whatever, there is some nudity, and the direction is alright. However of the four Mario Bava films I’ve seen, this is the least interesting to look at. Black Sunday and Kill Baby Kill had slick gothic look while Planet of the Vampires had a stylish, if campy, look to it. This film is considered an influence on Friday the 13th-specifically part 2. If you want to watch a dumb slasher-this is it. Props for the surprise ending which corrects one of my issues with this film.
Oct. 22nd-Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb from 1971 (Director: Seth Holt with Michael Carreras, Writer: Christopher Wicking and Loosely based on The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, Stars: Andrew Keir, Valerie Leon, and James Villiers, Runtime: 94 mins)
So… Ugh… A woman was given a gift by her father from a mummy. Bad idea. Also, this woman was born the exact moment the mummy’s name was uttered. Bad sign. This film was so fucking dull. Not bad, just fucking boring. The performances were serviceable and it looks… okay. Valerie Leon was very pretty. Just going to move on.
Oct. 23rd-The Last House on the Left from 1972 (Writer/Director: Wes Craven, Stars: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David A. Hess, Fred Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, and Marc Sheffler, Runtime: 84 mins)
One of the most infamous horror flicks, this thriller is about a sadistic group of assholes who victimize two women. Then they find themselves at the home of the parents to one of their victims. You know, for film I heard a lot about this was… it sailed under expectations. Wes Craven’s first film looks cheap but its not necessarily bad looking. His editing of scenes is weird, it feels disjointed. The music cues is weird to me, but I guess its suppose to be sinister in its timing and its styling. Contrasting with the violent feel. The bumbling cops were not as bad as The Town That Dreaded Sundown but were still a distraction. Performances were, at best, okay. Though the attacks on the two young women were rough. This was… fine?
Oct. 24th-The Exorcist from 1973 (Director: William Friedkin, Writer: William Peter Blatty Based on his novel, Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller Runtime: 122 mins)
I originally planed this on Thursday but my service (TV, net, phones) went down. I know you may not care but I was trying this in release order and I was annoyed.
Okay, the title is the movie and you should know it. I didn’t like the editing. That was really the main flaw coming out of the film. I thought it was good, though the opening ten or so minutes threw me and felt unimportant until the last part of the film. I thought the performances were pretty good though at times I felt bored by Father (Dr.) Harris story and really only cared about Regan and her mom. The whole evaluation of her was fascinating and I thought it was interesting psychologists suggested an exorcist. My mind was elsewhere for part of this film so I may not have been as absorbed as I should’ve been. That said, probably the best film I’ve watched this week. Also, Max von Sydow has always been old, hasn’t he? God bless him.
Oct. 25th-Belladonna of Sadness from 1973 (Director: Eiichi Yamamoto, Writers: Yoshiyuki Fukuda and Eiichi Yamamoto and Based on Satanism and Witchcraft by Jules Michelet, Runtime: 86 mins)
This anime is a psychedelic trip with limited animation, mostly relying on beautiful watercolor pieces, music and narration. The story of Jean and Jeanne, a couple who’s meeting with the local lord (and his friends) results in the sexual assault of Jean. She slowly gets seduced by the devil and becomes a witch. This is a strange, weird, and pretty cool film. How cool depends on how you can stomach the approach as well as the subject matter. The rape scene is a twisted piece of animation, with jean looking like she is ripped and half and then almost reverses the animation so she’s complete and then does it again. Plus some other bits and pieces to to showcase the horror of it. The watercolors are beautiful, the music is great including the opening number. This whole film however is quite the fucking downer. This film was made in 73 but only in the last few years has it blossomed into a cult classic thanks to a major restoration. This is a fascinating but tough film.
Oct. 26th-The Beast Must Die from 1974 (Director: Paul Annett, Writers: Short story by James Blish and Screenplay by Michael Winder, Stars: Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Marlene Clark, Michael Gambon, Charles Gray, Anton Diffring, Ciaran Madden, and Tom Chadbon, Runtime: 92 mins)
There is a werewolf and you have to figure it out! That’s the hook, really. They tell you at the start and pause before the reveal to remind you. Which I completely forgotten before they reminded me and by then I was bored. This film is excruciatingly boring. Not actively bad, but just a dull. The performances were… I don’t even remember why the lead guy invited those people to his house or how he knew that one was a werewolf. I am writing this the day after seeing it and having hard time recalling a nice thing to say. Skip this.
Oct. 27th-Madhouse from 1974 (Director: Jim Clark, Writers: Ken Levison and Greg Morrison and Based on Devilday by Angus Hall, Stars: Vincent Price, Natasha Pyne, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri and Linda Hayden, Runtime: 91 mins)
Vincent Price plays Paul Toombes, the actor behind the popular Dr. Death. The actor is now being followed by death-starting with his fiance and then other as he embarks years later on a TV series. This film is… I don’t know. Vincent Price is great in it. He transitions from joy, to anger, to sorrow. He is great through out its just that the material doesn’t quite match up. The murder mystery is not that well executed. The kills, for the most part, have no impact. The rest of the cast is fine-specifically Peter Cushing. This is a film with some strong ideas that don’t land. But Price is great! And it sticks the landing, with an effective and creepy finish which elevate it for me.
Very mixed week. A couple really good films, a few films that were basically just okay, and two clunkers. Four more films to go!
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Night of the Living Dead
Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Spiral Staircase
The House of Usher
Belladonna of Sadness
Island of Lost Souls
Kill, Baby, Kill
Bay of Blood
Last House on the Left
Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb
The Beast Must Die
The Horrible Dr. Hichcock