Thursday, November 21, 2019

PANIC (aka Bakterion)

Panic  Movie Review

An accidental explosion happens in a scientist's lab, rendering him deformed, mutated, and a killing machine. That's the terribly uninspired idea behind this Italian/Spanish film that sounds like something that would have come out in the 1950s but actually showed up in 1982 (you'd swear by looking at it that it would have come out at least ten years prior). This is another "gem" from my Chilling Classics collection which, if nothing else, is getting me quite accustomed with low-budget Spanish and Italian movies. Knowing we have a monster of sorts, I'm sure you are wondering what he looks like. I won't leave you in suspense...

He looks like a meatloaf we made for Halloween

As you can probably imagine, there's not a lot going for this movie. It starts off fine, as we get right to the accident, but from there things drag along--in fact, it took me three attempts to get through the movie, and the second and third times I put the DVD in, I struggled to recall where I left off and just ended up starting the movie over--that's how little it kept my attention. The movie is 90 minutes long, but feels at least twice that. The scientist, aside from looking like a decorative meal, did little on screen but hide in the shadows and make irritating howling sounds. As the movie comes near its end, we see the demise of the monster and, for a brief moment, a digital clock appear...and then it's just over, mercifully.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Panic: The Entire Movie

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Grave of the Vampire Movie Review

Leslie (Kitty Vallacher) is raped by vampire Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki). She gives birth to a blood-sucking boy named James as a result, and years later, after Leslie's death, the now-adult James (William Smith) ventures out to hunt down Croft and exact revenge. This low budget 1972 American film is one that will test your patience.

"I think we should just, you know, be patient and not rush things"

After a hot start, this movie cools off quite a bit, and doesn't really pick up at all until the final ten or fifteen minutes. Needless to say, by then you have likely lost interest in the film, but if you stick it out, the final moments almost make you feel like your patience was rewarded. Getting there we are treated with a story that unfolds painfully slowly, pretty bad acting, dreadful dialogue, and nothing else of real note. If you're in the mood for a vampire movie, do yourself a favor and pass on Grave of the Vampire.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Grave of the Vampire Movie Trailer

Monday, November 11, 2019

BLACK SUNDAY (aka The Mask of Satan)(aka La Maschera Del Demonio)

Black Sunday Movie Review

Asa Vajda (Barbara Steele, Shivers, Nightmare Castle), a witch, is burned alive, promising to return one day to get her revenge. Two centuries later, she begins to come back to life, brought back by some dope who discovered her tomb. One of Asa's ancestors, Katia (also Steele) lives nearby, and looks identical to Asa, giving the witch the perfect body to take over.

"You will work nicely"

"Please tell me there's somebody behind me"

This 1960 Italian film, originally titled La Maschera Del Demonio, is considered the breakthrough movie for Steele, who does an absolutely fantastic job with her dual performance. Long-time readers will know I am a fan of Steele (she may be my favorite horror actress of all time), and her performance in this movie is probably her best ever. The rest of the acting, however, is a considerable drop from the awesomeness that is Barbara Steele. The story is a solid one, though it does drag at times. The amount of violence and gore in this movie is probably a bit more than one would expect from a 1960 film, but it is executed extremely well. Unfortunately, the end of the movie is a bit underwhelming and rushed--you will leave it thinking they could have done so much more. Black Sunday is a creepy old movie that makes for a good late-night viewing with all the lights off.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Black Sunday Movie Trailer

Saturday, November 9, 2019


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Movie Review

Set thirteen years after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we find the Sawyer family terrorizing radio DJ Stretch Brock (Caroline Williams) while being chased by officer Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider). The Sawyer Family, by the way, is now Drayton (the returning Jim Siedow), Leatherface (this time played by Bill Johnson), Grandpa (Ken Evert), and newcomer "Chop Top" (Bill Moseley, House of 1000 Corpses). Let us assume you have watched the original movie, which is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, but not this sequel--you may be expecting something that at least tries to match the terror of the first film...this is not the case. Director Tobe Hooper wanted to go less horror, more dark comedy with this movie, and the results are shaky.

Yes, there's a chainsaw sword fight

The gore is certainly amped-up from the original film, but much of it is done in a comedic way--you will notice this atmosphere pretty much right out of the gate. The performances are odd, with Moseley being so over the top it's easy to see why his character completely stole the show from Leatherface. The direction seems very lacking in this film, as much of what we see is repetitive--it feels like they had a lot of time to fill, and didn't quite know what to do with the time. The ending is very sudden, but I was okay with that--leaving Chop Top potentially still alive had tons of potential for future movies, but alas, he was not to be seen again (at least as of 2019 and at least 5 or 6 Texas Chainsaw movies since). As a side note, in many circles this movie is known for being sampled in the Primus song "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver". As a fan of the band, I did find it amusing watching this scene in the movie, and may have hit the rewind button to watch it more than once.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about

Your enjoyment of this film is going to depend a great deal on your attitude coming in to it. I have known people over the years who have loved this movie while finding the original film boring--these people hold a special place in society, and the less said about them, the better. I have also known people with absolutely no sense of humor at all who loathe this film because it is "an insult to a classic". These folks actually scare me a little, so I will say no more about them. Me? I fall kind of in the middle, and appreciate what Hooper was trying to do with this movie. This had the potential to be an absolute dumpster fire, but Moseley's performance saves the day, making this movie much better than it should have been.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Movie Trailer