Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964, Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Not only did Herschell Gordon Lewis manage to make one of the earliest slasher gore flicks with Blood Feast, he then followed it up with an early redneck torture genre movie in Two Thousand Maniacs! Sure the acting remains wonderfully awful, yet beneath that and some cheesy moments lies a movie that in 1964 examines the South being unable to let the Civil War go. Sadly that aspect remains more relevant than ever, and it makes me appreciate this movie more than others do I suppose.

That and the kills are really disturbing and gory for a drive in 1960s flick. Lewis was not afraid to go beyond any lines of good taste, and the poor Northerners who stumble into the town of Pleasant Valley find out all too well how thirsty for revenge the folks of the town are, via multiple different ways of violence! He helps create the cliches of the two dumb redneck guys responsible for orchestrating the chaos, the victims who fail to realize what is happening until it’s too late, and a fun twist ending that would be at home in any modern horror movie.

Lewis did all this, and helped along with others to drag the horror movie genre into the modern era kicking and screaming. I want to see more of his other movies, and I think myself and others have more of an appreciation for his movies, good or bad. This flick will stick with me for a while, that’s for sure.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Death By Invitation (1971, Ken Friedman)


This movie has some good kills, yet Death By Invitation is a low budget bore that doesn’t work. I mean you have a woman who is the reincarnation of a woman burned for witchcraft, yet there’s no indication she has any powers or whatever. Nope she just murders people in the fashion of a slasher villain, which is fine but a tad routine. I was hoping for something either more goofy or creepy, and the film doesn’t accomplish either one.

Honestly I fell asleep sitting through this film multiple times, which is a bad sign. I don’t remember any of the characters, and I think the ending was ok, maybe? The worst movies are the meh ones, the flicks that I sit through and forget I even saw them a year later. Or even months later. This is one of those.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Hannah, Queen of the Vampires aka Crypt of the Living Dead (1973, Julio Salvador, Ray Danton)


Despite having two titles for some reason and being mostly a slow burn, Crypt of the Living Dead is a solid 1970s horror movie. I would have liked more vampire moments from a vampire movie, still the final act is awesome and the movie builds up a good enough atmosphere. The beach ocean shots are kind of haunting, actually, and I was left satisfied by how the movie concluded.

A professor of archeology, Bolton, shows up on an island after his father horribly dies. Suspecting it was murder instead of an accident, he contends with both a local wildman and the ancient legend of a vampire woman entombed by the ocean. There is a torches scene that is a good example of the classic mob scene, and when the movie does have vampire related scenes they are well done. Some of this reminded me of a Hammer Studios movie, other parts were very Jean Rollin or Mario Bava. If you are going to borrow, do it from the best.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Doom Asylum (1987, Richard Friedman)


Sure Doom Asylum is silly, cheesy, and very low budget. At one point a character says something about a person meeting them and God or whatever. I can’t remember, it was hilarious. This is a fun late 1980s slasher movie that refuses to take itself seriously, has a decent enough cast and is good fun trash that works anyways. Elements of the movie are a parody of slasher movies anyways, and work better in comedic fashion.

A lawyer and his girlfriend get in a horrible car crash. She dies, he becomes a mutilated killer who lurks in an abandoned aslyum. Some young folks show up to get horribly murdered in various ways by the killer, who spends half the flick watching old movies. Kristin Davis is probably the most famous actress in this movie, followed by Patty Mullen.

The ending made me laugh actually, and the kills are really good for a silly movie such as this one. Also the killer has some hilarious one liners and he looks really gruesome. This flick is easily a The Last Drive In candidate, although I’m sure the folks there have already seen this and I bet Joe Bob Briggs has reviewed it at some point. Check it out.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: One Dark Night (1983, Tom McLoughlin)


Even though most of the action happens in the last half of the movie, One Dark Night is still a decent horror movie. Plus the final act is pretty cool and quite weird, as if the movie couldn’t decide whether to be a slasher zombie movie or a vampire flick. So it choose all of those, combining different elements. I wish the kill count had been higher, still this is a flick I recommend anyways.

Julie (Meg Tilly) wants to join a group of popular girls despite her boyfriend telling her she’s better off ignoring them. They decide to send her to spend the night in a local mausoleum, and decide to come back to scare her. Too bad for them all a local occultist has been entombed there as well! Does he come back from the dead? What do you think? Also hey Adam West is even in the movie! Neat.

Melissa Newman also plays the daughter of the dead occultist, Raymar (what a great name) who attempts to figure out what her father was up to, and Robin Evans, E. G. Daily and Leslie Speights are the Sisters club that is responsible for Julie’s situation in the first place. I liked the zombies in this movie, and the finale is definitely pretty wild. It’s too bad that Tom McLoughlin didn’t make more movies, as between this one and Jason Lives he seemed to have a knack for directing watchable horror movies. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Vampires vs the Bronx (2020, Osmany Rodriguez)


Vampires vs. the Bronx is a fun modern horror movie that has some cliches yet is still good and benefits from its young, talented cast. The flick also wisely uses gentrification as a main plot point, with the vampires buying up the neighborhood. Naturally no one believes the kids because well, they’re kids, and also since vampires in the modern era sound preposterous.

Naturally I’m reminded of Monster Squad and even Stand By Me, yet also I thought of Fool from The People Under The Stairs. Jaden Michael, Gerald W. Jones III and Gregory Diaz IV form the trio of boys in over their heads yet determined to defeat the evil infecting their neighborhood. Zoe Saldana, Shea Whigham and Cliff “Method Man” Smith are three of the veteran actors they got to play key roles as well.

Despite some obvious and kind of unavoidable cliches, Vampires vs the Bronx is a solid Netflix movie that also works as a fun summer movie, too. I would have liked to have seen this on the big screen, yet being unable to do so I made due via my flat screen, instead. That’s usually how I end up viewing horror movies these days, as a lot of them never make it to my area.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: WNUF Halloween Special (2013, Chris LaMartina, James Branscome, Shawn Jones, Scott Maccubbin, Lonnie Martin, Matthew Menter,Andy Schoeb)


Despite being low budget and taking its sweet time for anything to really happen, WNUF Halloween Special is a solid found footage movie that captures the spirit of the 1980s really well. The funny fake commercials spiced into a supposedly live broadcast on Halloween night make this a fun movie to watch. Plus it’s nice to see a horror movie that’s set on Halloween, as not too many of those seem to exist.

Frank (Paul Fahrenkopf) and his camera crew have set up shop in a supposedly haunted house. For ratings, of course. Oh the ratings! However they get more than they bargained for in the process. The footage by the way is very authentic looking since the film’s creators shot this movie in that fuzzy, old school VHS format that everyone loves to wax nostalgia about.

My favorite bit is the carpet commercials, especially since those don’t seem to have changed very much since the 1980s. Check this movie out on Shudder for its goofy charm, nicely creepy final act and to witness a decent homage to a decade long gone. I wouldn’t mind a sequel to this, either.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Pledge Night (1990, Paul Ziller)


If Pledge Night wasn’t on a streaming service, I never would have seen it. Then I would have been spared one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen in years. It’s really awful, which is too bad since the main villain is ok by slasher movie standards. Oh for some dumb reason Acid Sid doesn’t even show up until way too late in the movie. How can you have a slasher movie where no one gets killed until the flick is almost over? Lame.

I didn’t care about the people in this movie, and I guarantee in about a month I’ll forget I even watched this movie. The title is also dumb considering that the movie takes place over the course of multiple days. Imagine Animal House’s Kevin Bacon gets spanked scene only stretched out longer. Bad slasher movies such as this one do serve only good purpose: they make me appreciate the way better ones.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Sorority House Massacre (1986, Carol Frank)


Made at the height of the 1980s slasher craze, Sorority House Massacre feels a tad cliche and old hat by that point. Yet the characters are likable enough, the kills are brutal and it has decent enough pacing to be an alright movie. A bunch of college ladies are hanging out in an house, only the house was once home to gruesome murders!

Unfortunately for them, the new woman (Angela O’Neill) who moved in has a tie to those killings. Does the killer return and kill a bunch of people? You bet. Is this movie a quasi ripoff of Halloween? Um, kind of to a certain degree. Did I mind? Not really, as Halloween and Friday the 13th clones were common in this era. The title may be dumb but I enjoyed this movie as much as I possibly could.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Cannibal Ferox (1981, Umberto Lenzi)


Every negative thing people said about Cannibal Holocaust applies instead to Cannibal Ferox, which is a wretched piece of trash. I didn’t mind the poor acting or the low budget, nope that wasn’t an issue. The problem is I didn’t care about what happened to any of the characters and the plot is really dumb. It’s all just an excuse to feature lots of gore and horrible things being done to people.

I’m reminded of Roger Ebert calling movies geek shows, and I sometimes felt he was being too harsh or getting up on his moral high horse. Yet I think he had a point at times and geek show definitely applies to Cannibal Ferox. This is a repulsive, lame excuse for a movie that I’m glad I saw on a streaming service instead of in theaters. I’m also maybe a little unnerved that I wasn’t affected by this movie. Perhaps I watch too many horror movies every year.

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