Wednesday, December 11, 2013

House of Dark Shadows (1970)

As with the previous review this movie is somewhat difficult to find online without downloading a file and risking your hard drive to Gawd-knows-what kind of virus. Hence there will be a link and no embed for this flick. With the perfunctory stuff out of the way let's get to the movie.

This is, more-or-less, a perfunctory (yes, again) refresher course of the Dark Shadows television enterprise. Much of the plot is a rehashing of what was on the show though in a time lapse sort of way with everything culminating in mere minutes where it took the series months and years to impart.

This is both a good and bad thing. Good for those new to the drama and bad for those who have seen it all. That is, if you like the movie then you'll surely love the old reruns. The same thing cannot necessarily be said for the rabid fans of the show. You'll watch it because you have to and any other benefits derived will be purely superficial.

Having said that, one can never get enough Barnabas Collins. And now that Jonathan Frid has passed you'll have to cling to whatever fragment of elegantly parlayed fury you can grasp onto. This isn't a bad start or finish. At least not in comparison with the other DS movie Night of Dark Shadows, which is without Frid and much of the show's original allure.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Let The Right Ones In (2008)

I haven't done a review in two months and with good reason, I haven't watched any movies since October. Then a hankering came for some Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me and 1984 and here I am again.

While there is no proper embed for this film it is free to watch on viooz. I'm not sure how they get away with doing so but they seem to have every movie that I search for on the site. You have to avoid downloading or agreeing to a few popup's recommendatons but that's the price for freedom, Nancy boy.

As for the films itself--and despite numerous sites and top lists counting it as a favorite among the genre--I found it quite trite and sophomoric. That's coming from a cretin that watches those Charlie Brown most offensive parodies and howls riotously. But with the plot being about two prepubescents, it sticks to that mindset throughout with adolescent themes: bullying, first kisses, going steady, divorce, blah blah blah.

Not that the acting isn't good enough or some of the scenes rendering interesting perspective but they are few and far between. This is definitely B-movie-ish with full intent on being classic horror. I don't see it that way. It's more in the vein of throwaway vampirism to me and it takes a lot to achieve that status with a low budget aptitude such as mine.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973)

I've purposely avoided many of the Hammer films starring Christopher Lee because some chick once told me that he was the hottest vampire ever. Which, I'm sure, a thousand girls have said about dozens of other vampires, but it seemed like something that would slant my view of him as Dracula.

It did but in the exact opposite direction because he seems older in this film than what I imagined he should look like. Anyway, to me, the first half of this flick seems like a strange melange of a James Bon film and typical Hammer vamp cinema. Like an extended episode of Dark Shadows shot for quality and not quantity.

Yeah, I said it, it's a horror mystery. Which I suppose they all are but I mean both genres. Either way it works. Cushing is his normal excellent self and Lee is okay, I suppose, but nothing spectacular in the way he was built up to be by a slobbering sister of doom.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Blood Drinkers (1966)

When two young twin girls are given up for adoption and grow up worlds apart nobody could guess that one would become a vampire's mistress with a heart condition. As such, her vampire lover--and Telly Savalas's young doppleganger--must seek out the perfect transplant donor: her sister. Oh yeah, the Count's a doctor, too, and will be performing the said heart procedure.

The vampire Marco and his ghoulish gang consisting of a temptress, a hunchback and a dwarf set up in the normal sister Charlito's hometown and begin wreaking havoc. When Charlito's adopted parents are turned into vampires the biological mother hen returns to fill in the missing pieces of information. However, her acts aren't charitable as she is under Marco's spell as Charlito soon will be as well.

That is, until Jesus comes to the rescue! Through the help of a priest all are released from the vampiric spell, including Marco and his bride. The exaltation is temporal, of course, because the Devil always has his say as well. Thus, the transplant must go forward.

Will the encroaching throngs of clergy and citizenry thwart Marco's diabolical operation? Watch it and see, suckas!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bloody Vampire (1962)

This is one of the most slowly churning horror-dramas that I've ever seen with far too many characters put into a mix mostly devoid of action. When the action does come it's rarely suspenseful and the suspense itself is drab and mundane. Which is too bad because it's a well-acted flick despite the dreadfully boring plot.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

I had no fucking clue that a karate vampire movie even existed let alone that it could be found on YouTube. But this Hammer production has it all. Karate fight scenes (mind you, not between vampires though that would be even more brilliant), vampires, smug English accents clashing with broken English Chinese affects and of course, boobs. Always boobs when dealing with the fanged fiends.

While the vampire scenes are more or less bookends for a martial arts flick as the main corpus they are poignantly relevant to the mishmash of styles. As the story goes, Kah, a monk and high Priest of the 7 Golden Vampires, has lost his powers and seeks out Count Dracula to return his strength. Dracula, the ever-obstinate blood-tyrant rebukes Kah's overture but restores his power by claiming his body for his own.

Professor Van Helsing, teaching the legends of vampires in China to an unconvinced populace, along with his son, gathers a brood of fighters, a wealthy Swedish benefactress to bankroll the trip and ventures out in search of the Count. What ensues is both ridiculous and amusing but ultimately entertaining as hell. Peter Cushing is especially animated and brilliant as the professor.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Embrace of the Vampire (1995)

Everything that makes the Jess Franco movies from the 1970s, and their ilk, masterpieces--nudity galore, lesbianism, emo poetics--seems quite stale in the renderings of the 80s through present. What was artsy in the former turned into romance novels in the latter. Literally. Plus the story line of the innocent teenage girl going off to private school or college and turning into a whore is so hackneyed that it's neither plausible or pleasurable.

Now, if you simply want to see Alyssa Milano naked then you won't be disappointed. She's quite the handsome ingenue and perfect bait for an emo vampire. Plus there are the perfunctory nudie scenes that do not disappoint in the least if that's what you're into. And while the plot is hackneyed it's not abysmal, though it does lean in that direction.

2.5 fangs.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Vampire Hunter D (1985)

I hate anime. Not that the stories in most of the programs of that genre aren't relevant and generally life-affirming, I just hate cartoons. Not all cartoons but the newer breed that have become a staple among adults instead of children, where they belong.

That said, when a vampire hunter has a talking hand and is half-vampire himself you tend to like the guy even if he comes across as one part Charles Bronson and another part Andrew Eldritch. The fact that he is pursuing a vampire that has fallen in love with a mortal lets you know early that irony is the greater part of the plot.

As a general vampire movie I give it 2 fangs out of 4 but taking it for what it is it's generally on the up swing of 3 fangs.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Twins of Evil (1971)

It's Hammer time! After watching several schlock and fock films in the genre it's nice to return to the well-crafted and acted section. Despite the movie centering on two buxom twins it sticks to a strong central plot line and doesn't middle.

As for the twins, they are not of the Doublemint variety. Well, one of them is but she's been run roughshod over by the evil half of the pair and finds mischief cavorting with Count Karnstein, the resident Satanist-vampire. Debauchery and destruction follow the Count and soon the twins are enmeshed in the world of the undead.

Can Uncle Gustav, the Puritanical right hand of God that burns suspected witches at the stake, save the darling girls when his path crosses Karnstein's in one final battle of wills? I think the better question to ask is: "when do the boobs make their full fledged appearance, sir?" Very late, my minions but it's worth the wait.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blood of the Vampires [aka Curse of the Vampire] (1971)

The term blood is to be taken literally with this film as a hidden family curse is exposed when daddy Escodero's dying last wish to have his mansion estate burned to the ground is pronounced upon his heirs. With protestations from his son Eduardo the progenitor is forced to explain his seemingly selfish act by letting his son witness the spectacle of his vampire mother--who had been assumed dead for many years--being kept in a coffin, whipped and chained to a wall.

Short of killing the already shallow plot I'll just say that the curse is passed on from the mother to her offspring despite the valiant effort of the dying father. Is forbidden love the only way to thwart the curse? Egads, you'll see.

The first half of this movie ranks up there with my favorite vampire flicks before it devolves into Gone With the Wind Part Douche but a few scenes salvage it still. Especially the ones where three servant girls in black face are present and also one where, a priest realizing that a girl is in the process of changing into a vampire, states, and I paraphrase, "Satan is in this room. We are powerless." and then proceeds to flee with his attendants from the home.

Yes, it's B-movie schlock but the fuzzy framework, the dark setting and shoddy effects play right into my psychedelic sensibilities.

3 frenzied fangs.

PS... also, if you let the video player run after the end it will take you to director Gerardo De Leon's previous vampire effort The Blood Drinkers from 1966. Forgive the commercials since I couldn't find this picture anywhere else.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pale Blood (1990)

Even though this movie was released in 1990 it sure the hell has an early '80s feel to it and seems rather dated. Which isn't really a deterrent so much as the fact that the movie is more plot-less than it is bad. Sure, a vengeful vampire trying to stop a poser mass-murderer posturing as one of the undead is a novel enough concept but the story isn't very cohesive outside of that and ambles along bumping into the plot on occasion. The part of the agent-reporter hired by the vampire is pretty much pointless other than to add another vagina into the mix. Well, and to provide some bogus irony at the end of the flick.

Otherwise, girls are falling all over the real vampire, Michael Fury, despite his stiffer than death persona, while an amateur auteur steals the show and slashes away in secret perversion. That is, Wings Hauer was quite excellent in the movie despite its shoddiness. I can't say that it was a total failure because although the movie was rather predictable in its results, the approach wasn't.

2.1 fangs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Erotikill [aka Female Vampire] (1973)

If the scribes Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski taught us anything it's that there's a fine line between poetry and pornography. With most movies that I've seen by Jess Franco, he's proven to be the cinematic embodiment of a such a sentiment. This flick is no exception.

When a movie is called Erotikill it's no wonder that it should began with a naked vampiress walking towards the camera until she is right on top of the lens and blurring it out with her full pubic center. Yeah, you know the plot line here: a naked vampire sizzles and scorches the lives of those around her in a frenzy of sensual blood lust. There is telekinesis, sex, picturesque scenery, fuzzy-artsy screen shots, a little S&M and several encores of sex.

I like it! The narration and dialogue is a perfect accompaniment to the visual poetry and though the story barely leaves the sexploitation side of the mark it never fails to respectably meld art with smut into a cohesive melange.

I guess there's an unedited version called Female Vampire as well as an x-rated cut called Insatiable Lust which includes graphic fellatio. Cute, eh? I see why I can't find any newspaper articles on this one.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Horrible Sexy Vampire (1970)

Nudity within the first 2 minutes of a movie shall never be frowned upon at this venue and is almost a prerequisite in the 1970s brand of the vampire genre. But the sexploitation opening scene soon morphs into something more staid. It's as if a typical horror movie had been spliced together with a lost episode of Masterpiece Theater without warning or introduction. So mote it be.

The problem, or shall we call it the intrigue, of Baron Winnegar, the murdering count, is that his bloodless murders are disembodied endeavors for the first half of the movie that illicit about as much terror as a cornball love scene from Twilight. When Winnegar finally appears in the flesh the effect adds nothing in shock or scare value.

The film is well-acted but lacks the promised horribleness and sexiness. I'm not sure that's necessarily a negative but it certainly isn't a positive. Well... there's more boobs after the opening scene so I guess all's not lost. Despite the fact that the movie embed above abruptly ends at the 51:13 mark, well before it's official end.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Thirst (2006)

5 minutes in and I'm already regretting my choice of adding a recent movie to balance out my 70s proclivities but I'll see it through to the end for posterity's sake. Then again, the film's absurdity, low-browed humor and ultra-gore are slightly amusing in a semi-primordial way. For a few minutes anyway.

The story centers on Maxx and Lisa, two recovering addicts, who become reluctant vampires and part of a ruthless clan who not only enjoy the bloodlust but revel in the brutal taking of it. With the brood of neo-vamps marauding and murdering like the Manson family the plot turns emo faster than an online chatroom meetup when the conscientious Nosferatiis decide that the licentious Lugosi lineage must die. A battle ensues and everybody loses. Including us.

So the flick was shit but at least there were hot Asian vampiresses included on the celluloid cylinder to temper the disappointment. At least I think they were Asian. They looked Asian to me. Isn't that good enough?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Velvet Vampire (1971)

A hippy-dippy slogfest through telekinetic passion, ditzy blonde moments and a barrel full of bad acting. This desert centered flick has enough artsy nature photography in it but not enough to absorb the thousand tons of trite plot lines and a weakly delivered script.

If you must know, a newly enjoined couple accepts a vampiress's invitation to her desert fortress where they are seduced into a web of sex, mystified insouciance, more sex, a killing off of the small population of locals, even more sex and then perhaps the worst ending to a vampire movie in the history of cinematography. 

Not a bad movie in total but certainly not a great one either.

The Village Voice, November 4, 1971

Youngstown Vindicator, October 14, 1971

The Tuscaloosa News, July 7, 1985

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Vampire's Night Orgy (1973)

When your bus driver suffers an inexplicable fatal heart attack, the machine itself breaks down in a small European city and the least strangest event to transpire during your stay is one of your fellow travelers peeping at a woman through a hole in a closet, you know you're in trouble. As such, the gaggle of waylaid workers en route to a job at an aristocratic palace encounter a village of vampires. Not just ordinary creatures of the dead, these blood fiends engage in cannibalism, barbarism and torture. The end results are a low-budget mystery with too many clues and not enough intrigue to stave off boredom.

1.5 fangs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Night Flier (1997)

Seeing as this is adapted from a Stephen King short story I didn't really expect much more than the prototypical pseudo-intellectual schlock shock horror that comes with his work and I wasn't far off the mark.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I find most of the movies cast from his fiction to be quite entertaining. I just won't go along with those who say that his writing is better than the movies. Much of it is interesting and teeming with good ideas but the prose is stilted and the delivery formulaic and hackneyed. That is, the plots are more-or-less the same while the characters change. That's a sweeping generality but I think it's also quite applicable.

The movie itself is so-so with decent acting and flow but nothing new in the presentation of King's works. I will admit that the vampire comes across a bit more scary than your garden variety blood-sucking count but I wouldn't call it innovative in the least.

2 fangs out of 4.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)

A 38-year-old virgin inherits a castle, an ancestral brood of vampires and a plot straight out of the vampire cookie cutter thematic cinema playbook. Luckily, she also inherits some steam piano and Wurlitzer that give this beautifully filmed picture the atmosphere it deserves despite the shoddy script. Although it has many shortcomings it's still quite enjoyable as the period timepiece that it is.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Count Dracula's Great Love (1974)

This movie is bustling and bursting with bustiers and societal women who seem all too willing to be "Dracula's" victims while flaunting their sexuality. Or perhaps it's just the mystique of the great castle owned by the mysterious Dr. Marlowe which makes them so frisky.

The segue from innuendo to an orgy of blood and boobs is a quick transition and then the plot steamrollers towards a climax which may or may not keep with the Dracula mythos. Regardless it's a beautifully shot film despite its many dark scenes which are generally the most poignantly haunting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

It's impractical to categorize this as simply a vampire movie since there is minimal vampirism either explicitly or implicitly implied or witnessed and could just as well be called a zombie flick. Having seen probably a hundred different vampire flicks throughout the years I can't say that I was dissatisfied with this one on that basis alone. In fact, I actually enjoyed it despite thinking that Vincent Price's acting was a tad wooden, mis-cast and stereotypical in parts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grave of the Vampire (1972)

This is definitely a B-movie vampire flick though I think it has some merit as a serious horror picture despite the mostly hokey sci-fi flavoring. I don't like to give spoilers or even much in the way of plot lines, since I like to be surprised by movies, so I won't indulge in much of that.

What I will say though is that despite the campy beginning and the prototypical finale, the acting is pretty solid and there are some serious, albeit brief elements of occultism and vampirism explored here. It's worth the watch if you're really into the genre or want a few B-movie laughs but if it's mere blood and gore that you're after you'll be sorely disappointed after the opening scenes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Vampire Bat (1933)

I don't particularly like old movies but this one is very well-acted and the plot golden until about 3/4 of the way through when it begins to dissolve into hackneyed malarkey.

In the interim it's a solid cast of supporting actors around the two main protagonists Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Antwill, and the token superstar Fay Wray (King Kong), who stars but in a supporting role.

This is hardly horror in the modern sense but does serve well as a mystery with science fiction and paranormal (psychic vampirism) elements interjected. Much of the action is in the dialogue and the first attack by the "vampire bat" doesn't happen until almost 20 minutes in with the attacker appearing off camera.

It's worth a watch for nostalgic sake but quite disappointing in the traditional sense of vampire flicks. Then again, it is an 80-year-old movie.

*     *     *

(spoilers below!)

The New York Times, January 23, 1933
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 20, 1933

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vampire Circus (1972)

Vampire Circus is in league with many of the early 1970s vampire flicks which provide a sound story line, some gore and, of course, boobs. Which makes sense since the Hammer film company that produced this flick was also responsible for many of the pictures in this genre during the time.

In a nutshell the movie revolves around a count who is slain by the townsfolk for abducting women and children. His gypsy vampire family forms a circus and travels Europe avenging his death. Only when they kill those responsible for putting down the count and feed him their lifeblood can he return from the moribund state of the undead. If that isn't enough to sucker you in then the fact that there's a burgermeister involved ought to.

New York Times, October 12, 1972
Critics at the time of its original release weren't quite as impressed. New York Times film reviewer Howard Thompson dismissed it outright without even the courtesy of a proper review in favor of its double-billing Hammer counterpart "Countess Dracula". His curt review measured two sentences, "Wise horror fans will skip 'Vampire Circus' and settle for 'Countess Dracula' on the new double bill at the Forum. Both are Hammer Productions, England's scream factory, but the first was dealt a quick, careless anvil." before continuing his semi-praise for "Countess Dracula."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Las Vampiras (Vampyros Lesbos) (1971)

This movie begins with sex, segues into sex and minor vampirism and ends with sex and death. In between there is much faux lesbianism where hot chicks peck at each others bodies but never really go Ellen Degenerate-esque lesbo, mental illness, a groovy ass soundtrack and about as much vampire gore as you'll get from a box of Count Chocula.

That's not to say it doesn't have merit as an erotic vampire movie. It's just not a horror movie and your Anne Rice brand of vampire is long deceased in this realm. The scenery and architecture utilized is quite excellent and adds to the dream-like flavor of a rather plot-less flick.

I've watched this movie a handful of times over the years and have yet not to fall asleep during it. I don't know if it's the subtitles, the avalanche of nudity over-riding the senses or that the movie truly sucks despite my denials that it's an art film.

Unfortunately, both the translation and closed caption features seem to be unavailable for this embed of the movie (the previous one posted was deleted by YouTube; hence, the caption below in the still photo) but having watched it with those options it's safe to say that the dialogue isn't essential to the "plot."

My other hack observations include these two sort of lookalikes:

 The boyfriend of the victim who reminds me of that David Boreanaz dude.

And the crazy chick who is 55% blonde version of a young Tori Amos and 45% Laura Dern.

*     *     *

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Playgirls and the Vampire (1963)

I prefer not to embed Hulu videos because of the excessive amount of commercial ads but since I can't find this movie with the embed feature anywhere else at the moment it'll have to do.

Who is Margherita Kernassy? You're looking at her in the preview thumbnail portrait behind Vera, an exotic dancer, who along with her feckless troupe, piano player and bumbling manager have stumbled upon a castle after encountering a ferocious storm.

The castle, inhabited by Count Gabor, his assistant and a VAMPIRE, is little refuge for the traveling showgirls as they slowly fall under the spell of the un-dead demon. Vera, the living doppleganger of Margherita who has been dead nearly 200 years, becomes the object of affection for both Gabor and the vampire. Who'll win the showdown and get the girl? Oh, the suspense.

This is a fairly low-level mystery that plods through with some erotic undertones (for the time period anyway), minimal vampirism and only cheesecake variety gore. I liked it despite all of those shortcomings. Then again, I'm not very difficult to please when it comes to older vampire movies.

Apparently, this is an edited version that censors a few scenes of nudity! Oh, the humanity!

Here's a few still shots (from the version which I viewed) just the same:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vampire's Kiss (1988)

I enjoy me some vampire movies. Mostly older ones--especially from the 1970s--and preferably starring B-movie actors who don't muck up the screen with their "star quality."

YouTube seems to have many of them now in full length versions for free. I don't know if they were too low-budget to demand censorship and a credit card swipe or if people are just that diligent in replenishing the stock once it gets banned. I suspect a bit of the latter since movie companies are the biggest shysters this side of music moguls.

Anyway, I go through stages where I watch a movie or two per day and then dry spells where I won't watch one for 6 months. While I'm on the wet side of that line of demarcation I figured that I should start documenting which ones I've watched, liked and want to revisit since they begin to overlap after a while.

The one featured above, Vampire's Kiss, is a newer one, relatively speaking, in relation to those I prefer but I happened upon it and rather enjoyed the dual emo-comedic value of the whole thing. If you haven't seen it then just imagine Nicholas Cage with the worst east coast literary affect that you could possibly imagine and then actually put him into a vampire movie and that's what you have.

I don't like to give away plot lines when talking about movies as I prefer to know absolutely nothing about a film before seeing it but this one has the kitsch value of schlock horror along with the purposeful overacting of Nicholas Cage which I usually abhor but rather enjoyed in this 1988 release.