They Came from Within / Shivers (1975)
Director: David Cronenberg
Main Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Barbara Steele, Susan Petrie
Storyline: An apartment building gets infected by a parasite that turns people into mindless sex fiends.
Review (Spoils): A scientist lives in large apartment complex in Montreal which he murders a young girl, strips her, cuts her open and uses acid to burn out her internal organs then finally slitting his own throat. This all leads to a strange investigation which brings to the truth of experiments using parasites as organ transplants. This parasite escapes and starts to infect resident by resident turning them into sex crazed zombies.
This strange film does bring out the red as we have throat slitting, a nasty opening of a body, lot’s of vomit of blood, strange parasites and the classic bath tub scene with Barbara Steel. This parasite is the cause of zombie like sex orgy and everyone should run in fear. Some of the special effects are actually pretty decent and the storyline itself is touching the symbolism of sexual transmitted diseases. Remember this film is from 1975 so this was before the actual awareness of such disease such as A.I.D.S.
Rating: This is the first if not one of the first films from David Cronenberg. The film follows the pace of his other later films but this one stands out as it is a strange piece of art. The topic is buried in the movie but it is not hard to see what his point was. The movie can move a little slow at times but to be honest the more I think about the film the more it makes sense. I’m personally not a huge fan of David Cronenberg but this one I do get.
Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, Luana Anders
Storyline: A husband is being haunted by the ghost of his wife in a gothic castle.
Review: Francis Barnard (John Kerr) travels to Spain to visit his sister Elizabeth’s (Barbara Steele) grave and investigate her death. He meets her husband Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) who is driven mad from his childhood and from the ghostly presence he is experiencing of his late wife Elizabeth. Nicholas sister Catherine (Luana Anders) tries to hide his madness and the experience of their father’s torture chamber which is found in the dungeons of the castle. This all leads to what really happened to Elizabeth and is she really haunting the mind of Nicholas? The whole story unfolds and the truth is found and Nicholas shows the true colours of his family past.
Rating: I find this is Vincent Price at one of his best. He always plays the best madman and his facial expressions are top notch here. This is a classic Poe tale with non other then one of the kings of horror Mr.Price himself for this haunting tale. Fear the iron maiden!!!
Black Sunday “La maschera del demonio” (1960)
Director: Mario Bava
Main Stars: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici
Storyline: A witch and servant return from the dead to possess a look-alike of the witch.
Review (Spoils): Princess Asa (Barbara Steele) a beautiful dark haired woman who was captured due to dealing in witchcraft. She gets tied to a stake and has a metal mask with metal spikes in the inside placed upon her face. Her own brother Prince Vajda (Ivo Garrani) drives the hammer across the mask to kill her.
200 years later two doctors wreck their cart and travel into the crypt. In a battle against a bat they accidently smash a stone cross that was laid across her dead body. Blood from the battle help revive Princess Asa. Through this Prince Vajda daughter named Princess Katia (Barbara Steele) attracts the eye of the men. In the background a vampire named Javutich (Arturo Dominici) is working closely with Princess Asa to capture the young princess. In the end is battles and the vampire get’s staked in fall and Asa gets captured by a mob and burnt to a stake.
This film is a classic horror film; it holds the beauty of black and white. The storyline is based around occult, haunting and even vampires. Barbara Steele is a classic icon of horror and I love the fact that she can play the villain and the victim all in one film.
Rating: If you’re a horror fan you need to see this film or better yet own it. Princess Asa is a classic witch villain and this film is beautiful and full of gothic images. Bring lots of booze for this one as it is a classic.