Isle of the Dead (1945)
Director: Mark Robson
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Marc Cramer, Katherine Emery
Storyline: On a Greek island during the war people are quarantined on the island due to a plague
Review (Spoils): During the war of 1912, people are trapped on an island located on the side of Greece. Legend and tales from a peasant woman is spread that there is a haunting presence of an undead spirit vampire known as the vorvolaka. The people on the island are told by the general (Boris Karloff) that they cannot leave due to a plague that is causing people to feel ill, weak and then slow death. The battle of legend and politics starts to happen between the people on the island as the sickness spreads. Does the faith in the goddess over power the tales of the spirit of evil.
The setting of this film is well done as it builds the backdrop of the war and the environment of the island. We have Boris Karloff not playing really the monster in this case but instead the hardheaded general who is trying to protect the people but at the same time contain the plague. Katherine Emery plays the part of the woman who fears of being buried alive which does come to terms within the film. Of course, we have the lovely Ellen Drew playing the lead woman who may or may not be a vorvolaka spirit.
Rating: This is actually not a bad film but there is something that is missing from the formula. Not sure if it was because they did not get into the details of the haunting evil spirit idea or it was lacking scares. Ellen Drew was great and of course so was Boris Karloff but something when it came to the horror of the tale was missing. Except of course, the scene of live person in a coffin scratching is a nice touch.
The Return of Dracula (1958)
Director: Paul Landres
Main Stars: Francis Lederer, Norma Eberhardt, Ray Stricklyn, Virginia Vincent
Storyline: Dracula over takes a persons identity and moves to America posing as a far away cousin.
Review (Spoils): Count Dracula kills a passenger that just happened to sit in the wrong box on a train and takes over his identity. He travels to California where he plays the part of an artist who is a far way cousin of the Mayberrys. He acts funny and very distant and this attracts the young Rachel to him. The long-term plan of Dracula is to draw young Rachel to become his love in the new undead life.
I was not expecting much from this film as there are so many Dracula knock offs that I was waiting for the worse. We have Francis Lederer playing the wide-eyed Dracula and at first, I was saying to myself this is going to be bad. I was wrong! Francis Lederer took the regular Dracula and made it his own. We have a dark and mysterious man who just happens to be undead. He does not play the vampire part as much as he plays just the creepy man. The cute Norma Eberhardt plays the flirty and wants to move out of the countryside to the big city chasing him like a little lost puppy. Which causing conflict with her boyfriend and Dracula himself. The film is a very different take of the Dracula story.
The film gives us love, staring eyes, white dogs, a dead cat, some blood, a gory ending to Dracula, some fog, nasty neck bites, annoying young boy and undead girlfriends. It is Dracula in the countryside!
Rating: Not a bad film at all for a Dracula film. I personally will mark this up as a need to see at least once vampire film. Francis Lederer surprised the hell of my playing the part of the lead vampire and the ending scene is a nice bloody death scene that you do not want to miss.
Director: William Crain
Main Stars: William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicolas
Storyline: An African prince get cursed by Dracula and comes back from the dead to LA during the 70s.
Review (Spoils): Manuwalde (William Marshall) is an Africa Prince and after his visit with Count Dracula goes wrong, he is killed and cursed by the vampire to come back to life as the undead. Even Dracula names him under the curse Blacula. Time shifts to 1972 in LA, the coffin is transported there, and when opened by two men they unleased the evil inside. Blacula roams around biting people and stalking women until he runs into Tina in which he falls in love with but unfortunately, her friends hunt him down.
Not as Blaxploitation as I thought it would be (except the title of course), this film was an okay ride. We have groovy music, growling vampires, giant bat, some decent make-up, fangs, red blood, a solid storyline and even a love story. Some of the actual downfall of the film was the growling of Blacula (seemed a bit more bestial than vampire) and the voice of William Marshall as it came off that he was trying to sound like Christopher Lee.
Rating: This film was not as bad as I thought it would be and I can see why it has a cult following. The acting from both female leads was solid and Blacula is memorable character. I love the fact that nobody was shocked or taken away from a groovy dude in a cape checking out the local bar scene and that women found him attractive. There is a ton of 70s lingo that makes this film also enjoyable when your going through the motions.
Director: Jason Todd Ipson
Main Stars: Corri English, Scot Davis, Joshua Alba, Marisa Petroro
Storyline: A possible spirit is killing off all that have handle or desecrated the body at the morgue.
Review (Spoils): So at the medical school we have students Alison (Corri English), Brian, Carlos (Joshua Alba) and Rick who get the body of young woman (Marisa Petroro) who seems to have been butchered for their dissection class. Alison feels a connection with the body and has a feeling she is trying to communicate with her. As Alison looks into the history of the woman, we learn that she was once a prostitute that killed off her johns. As the class and the boys become morons, she starts to kill them off one by one.
The film really focuses on the past of the mystery women and the connection with the lead Alison. We have the odd want to show skin scene (hey it’s a horror film), blood pools, some nasty cuts, haunting woman screaming and some shady video footage. Near the end, we have some gore and the actual creepy tale goes full flight.
Now the bad of the film. The stupidity of people and their actions in this film. Why are these kids still living at the hospital while all this weird shit is going on? They are fighting a curse but act like oh boy I wonder what that was I better open the door. The film lacks the thought train.
Rating: The two women of the film is what makes it along with the sounds and the creepiness that exists. The storyline (back-story) is actually nice and new but the film does have some flaws. The film is actually not bad for being part of the After Dark Horrorfest. Marisa Petroro is a memorable villain.
Director: Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama
Main Stars: Natalie Brown, Jonathan Watton, Peter DaCunha, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Angela Trimbur, Christina Kirk, Sheila Vand
Storyline: An anthology of horror and haunting which has female leads.
Review (Spoils): This film is broken down in four short films, which focuses on female leads in each.
The first tale called The Box, which is the stronger one of the tales. We have the beautiful Natalie Brown who plays the mother of small family and her son meets a stranger on a bus that shows him a red box. Never shown what is in the box he starts to starve himself and the secret starts to spread through out the rest of the family.
The second tale called The Birthday Party is more of fun tale of a mother who is trying to balance the death of her husband and her daughter’s birthday party on the same day. This is actually a funny tale and the giant panda was a nice touch.
The third tale is called Don’t Fall, a short tale and more unclear 1 where a small group travel into the wilderness and they come across an ancient occult symbol on a rock. One of the women becomes possessed and make short work of her friends.
The very last story is called Her Only Living Son, which is a weaker story of a single mom, and her love for her strange son who turns out is the son of Satan. Not bad story but was lacking on the scares and humor of the other tales.
Rating: Not the best film of short horror tales as there was a serious lack of blood and guts and the scares was just not there. The first couple were okay but then the second half of the film fell flat. The first tale was the strongest and actually could have made a neat movie on its own. Not a bad batch and worth checking out if you are out of ideas on what horror to watch.
The Birds (1963)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Main Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette
Storyline: A wealthy young woman chases a man to a small Northern California town where the birds start to attack people for no known reason.
Review (Spoils): Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is pretty well off and good looking and always gets what she wants. She falls a bit for a man at the pet store and follows him off to a small town where he is with his mother and young sister. It seems like as soon as she shows up in town things start to become strange. Birds start to swoop at people’s heads; some birds even peck people to death.
The birds are swooping and tacking everyone, we have birds doing fly by nips, a cool kids birthday party being crashed by birds, lots of people screaming and running, a nice blown up gas station and some small minor blood as bird peck people. The film has great mute sounds spots when needed to create the mood, which is some of the class of Alfred Hitchcock. Tippi Hedren steals the show in this film as the gently spoken blonde that everyone wants but at the same time why she walking herself into these situations. The birds themselves can be a bit corny but that it half the fun of the film it can be spooky but at the same time fun. The whole plot and reason of the birds is never fully explained, as most of the film is people just trying to escaping the flock of death.
Rating: I am stunned that I have not reviewed this classic film yet. This film is a horror masterpiece but is not out in the top 10 of all time as I find Psycho a much better film then this. However, the birds, the sounds and lack of is what makes this movie such a horror gem. Stay away from the horrible sequel that comes out years later… you have been warned!
Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
Director: Deborah Brock
Main Stars: Crystal Bernard, Jennifer Rhodes, Kimberly McArthur, Juilette Cummins, Heidi Kozak, Cindy Eilbacher, Atanas Ilitch
Storyline: The younger sister of Valeria has a feeling the haunting of the driller killer still exists.
Review (Spoils): Smoking hot Courtney (Crystal Bernard) has grown up since the first film and keeps having nightmares of that bloody night when the drill killer came to town and killed a batch of teenage girls. She keeps dreaming and seeing her older sister warning her about the drill killer, sex and other fun stuff as she and her friends plan a get together to party, play music and do just that. Just when her friends start to think, she is nuts the drill killer comes and brings on the bloody tunes.
I am going to first start off when I was young I had a TV crush on Crystal Bernard and for that; I cannot not like this film. This film has nudity, blood, hot chicks, an Andrew Dice Clay killer (Atanas Ilitch) with a drill on his guitar, sex dolls, 80s partying and some cheesy dance moves what is there not to like! We have some bad special effects, blood, plastic body parts and 80s love.
Rating: I loved the first film a lot and this one it not like it at all but…. It is so bad and worth drinking too that you cannot dislike it. Its screams B movie and screams hormones! Therefore, I was disappointed that this film did not score as great as the first one and became so damn cheesy and low dollar. In addition, it has Crystal Bernard and Crystal Bernard in a bikini…. You will need beers to survive this film.