October Horrorshow: Fangs of the Living Dead, aka Malenka

The first line in Anita Ekberg’s obituary lauds her as the star of Felinni’s La Dolce Vita. One would be hard-pressed, however, to find an obit that mentions her star turn nine years later, in 1969, in the anonymous faux-gothic vampire flick Fangs of the Living Dead (originally released with the less descriptive, and less fun, title, Malenka).

A Spanish/Italian co-production, Fangs is a cheapie horror flick from writer/director Amando de Ossorio. I refer to it as faux-gothic because, while it has all the trappings of a gothic horror flick – a remote village, a castle, a suave vampire, etc. – the story takes place in contemporary times. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Fangs of the Living Dead, aka Malenka”

October Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle

Glen Cannon (Gene Otis Shane) is a lucky man. He has a decent career as a photographer, is about to marry and start a family with a model, Liz (Jennifer Bishop), and just inherited a castle in Arizona. That’s right. A castle. In Arizona.

There’s just one problem. The castle has been leased out to an aging couple for decades, and they don’t wish to leave. There’s actually another problem. The old couple are the Count and Countess Dracula (Alexander D’Arcy and Paula Raymond). They call themselves the Townsends now, but they are, indeed, the creature of legend and his wife. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle”

October Horrorshow: The Shed

What would you do, dear reader, if you woke up one crisp morning to find that Frank Whaley hiding in your backyard shed and he won’t leave? This is the question posed by writer/director Frank Sabatella in his magnum opus from last year, The Shed. Oh, wait. I forgot one detail. Frank Whaley was turned into a vampire right as the sun rose, and the shed was the first place he could get to before he was roasted to death, as this horror flick sticks to the vampire trope that the rays of the sun are lethal to vampires. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Shed”

October Horrorshow: Blood Vessel

I dig horror flicks set aboard abandoned and adrift ships. The real stories of the Mary Celeste and other vessels, found at sea with no one aboard, make for fascinating mysteries. Add in the supernatural, and abandoned ships become excellent locations for horror. Ships are creepy and claustrophobic. There are countless nooks and crannies where characters can get lost, or in which baddies can hide. They make more noise than a shack in a winter wind. They’re basically oceangoing haunted houses. Blood Vessel, the 2019 horror film from writers Justin Dix and Jordan Prosser, and directed by Dix, doesn’t involve ghosts. Rather, the menace in this film is a family of vampires. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood Vessel”

October Horrorshow: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Here’s an old review I wrote for an abandoned month of Tom Cruise reviews. It slots into the Horrorshow quite well:

What a clumsy title. The title of this film is up there in clumsiness with Ballistic: Eks vs. Sever, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. It can’t be too much longer before Hollywood shoves out a film that has two colons in the title, right? Of course, Hollywood has nothing on the Japanese, who are absolute virtuosos at stringing together nonsense titles. The anime realm brought us The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?, a film which showed us that J-pop is a weapon of mass destruction, and Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. Not too long ago I saw a Japanese detective flick from the 1960s titled Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! It was every bit as good as it sounds. But, while I jest, potential viewers should not let the awkward title steer them away from Interview with the Vampire. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

October Horrorshow: Vampire Circus

Vampire Circus didn’t make the cut two years ago for the October Hammershow, but now I wish it had. I watched some real stinkers that month, and Vampire Circus would have been a worthy replacement.

Hammer released Vampire Circus in 1972, placing it at the tail end of Hammer’s run. The cracks in Hammer were apparent by then. The formula they had been using for over a decade was showing less and less return at the box office, so Hammer turned to gratuitous nudity and more gore to try and boost sales. It didn’t work. But, even though it seems Hammer was turning somewhat desperate, they were still capable of releasing good horror flicks. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Vampire Circus”

October Horrorshow: The Lost Boys

To some movie fans, filmmaker Joel Schumacher is still paying penance for Batman and Robin. This page reconsidered that film a few years back, and concluded the problem lay more with viewers’ expectations than Schumacher’s final product. Still, no matter how people feel about that film, Joel Schumacher will be forever associated with putting nipples on the batsuit, when his greatest contribution to film was this operatic gem from the 1980s. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Lost Boys”

October Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Here we are. October 31st. Halloween. The end of the October Horrorshow. The final film in this look back at Hammer Film Productions is a departure from type. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on from watching 31 Hammer films in a row, it’s that Hammer basically made the same film over and over and over again. That’s not negative criticism on my part. Hammer had a style, in the same way that a musician like John Lee Hooker had a style or an artist like Willem de Kooning had a style. Listen to an album or see a painting hanging on a wall and it becomes immediately clear who is responsible. Hammer films followed a theme. They developed over time into something that was very much their own. Towards the end, though, they began to switch things up in search of a new formula. Such is the case with today’s film. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula”

October Hammershow: The Kiss of the Vampire

Hammer saw much success with its version of Dracula in 1958. Of course they wanted to cash in further. For reasons beyond the scope of this review, they couldn’t nail down Christopher Lee for a sequel until 1965. But that didn’t stop Hammer. In 1960 they released The Brides of Dracula, which featured neither Dracula nor any vampire that appeared with him in the previous film. It was misrepresentation, plain and simple. In watching it, it becomes clear Brides was meant to be a Dracula film, with Lee in it, but the script had been reworked to put a different baddie in the lead. The Kiss of the Vampire has similar origins, although with this film Hammer had the decency to release it without a false pedigree. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Kiss of the Vampire”

October Hammershow: Dracula A.D. 1972

There aren’t very many Hammer horror flicks that take place in contemporary times. For this month, only six of the films I’ve watched up to this point take place around the time in which they were filmed. Only one film from the franchise flicks, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, breaks away from its gothic setting. Until now. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Dracula A.D. 1972″