Friday, October 21, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/20


Night of the Demon
(2nd viewing) d. Wasson, James C. (USA) 92min
Oh. My. God. This is one amazingly bad, amazingly bloody, amazingly twisted, amazingly brilliant little pic that even on the second go-round, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. From the opening credits where a guy’s arm gets ripped off and a Bigfoot track fills up with blood, James C. Wasson’s trashy, flashback-filled hoot has low-budget charm to burn. Um, dual girl scout massacre? Inter-species rape? Biker stops to take a leak and gets his Johnson pulled off? Yes, yes, and YES!!! Plus, it contains one of the great onscreen sleeping bag kills, awesome red-tinged “Bigfoot vision” and the finale is a jaw-dropping slo-mo masterpiece of high impact, low grade gore f/x mayhem, and how about the crazy van lovin' gal with the scary boob job? Her proooooloooooonged screams of terror are the least convincing in the history of cinema outside of DePalma’s Blow Out. Only there, the cries are supposed to be unconvincing. Wow. For fans of tasty grilled turkey and cheese, this is a must-see.

Rana: Legend of Shadow Lake (1975) (1st viewing) d. Rebane, Bill (USA) 96min
Wisconsin filmmaking wunderkind Bill Rebane’s homage to Creature from the Black Lagoon centers around one of the cheese state’s “warm!” lakes occupied by a prehistoric amphibian throwback, one that has no qualms with jamming errant speargun shafts into the necks of fishermen or making off with the occasional damsel in distress. Glenn Scherer recounts his childhood encounters with the beastie via flashbacks, where young Brad Ellingson and paleontologist Karen McDiarmid try to uncover the mystery beneath the surface. Unfortunately, as is the case with many Rebane efforts, it’s a long slog – with only the natterings of crazy ol’ coot Jerry Gregoris to keep us awake (as well as one awesome slo-mo gunshot/backfall) – until the final reel monster action goodies. The jolly green creature suit designed by Tom Schwartz is entertaining enough; it’s just too bad we have to wait so long to see it. Trivia: Rebane recycled the climax’s musical score for the opening titles of his next (and best) feature, The Giant Spider Invasion, released later the same year.

Monstroid (1980) (1st viewing) d. Hartford, Kenneth (USA) 98min
What do you get when you combine an unscrupulous American concrete company, a poor exploited South American village, polluted water supplies, liberal newspaper reporters, superstitious locals, ancient legends, ecoterrorists, fiestas, suspected witches, moonlight swims, drunken fishermen and one giant rubber monster puppet? Sadly, not as much fun as you’d hope, as director Hartford (billed as Kenneth Herts) commits the mortal sin of any low budget creature feature: being boring. Despite authentic helicopter (complete with saucy Latina pilot Maria Rubio) and location footage, the dozens of subplots and ancillary characters provide a bit more padding than necessary. (With four credited screenwriters, it’s easy to see how things might have gotten a little muddled en route.) However, the totally unconvincing (though not unimpressive) lake beast manages to satisfy in its full endgame glory, jousting with a speedboat and a helicopter until it gets blowed up real good by company man Jim (son of Robert) Mitchum. The opening credits tell us (twice!) that the events herein are based on fact, but it’s the closing credits you’ll want to stick around for, as they are some of the roughest scrolling final credits I’ve ever seen. John Carradine slums it up gloriously as an ex-pat verse-spouting priest, and that’s the director’s son and daughter as the kids who provide photographic proof of the monster.

First Time Views: 41
Repeats: 44
Total Films: 85

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