Horrorfest Presents: Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965, Freddie Francis)


Both Amicus Productions and Freddie Francis have done better, yet I still thought Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors was pretty decent. Some of the stories could have been cut, others deserved to be turned into full length movies. Which is often how it goes, and the cast here elevates some of the weaker material.

A group of men are on a train with a mysterious doctor who tells them their futures. It’s Peter Cushing sporting a bad accent and a neat outfit, and all of his tales end in, well…I think you can figure that out. The first one, “Werewolf,” begins with Neil McCallum going back to his old family estate. I enjoyed the ending, and one clever moment, yet this story is kind of bland. Ursula Howells was really good in this one at least.

The second one features Bernard Lee who played M in the Bond movies, plus Alan Freeman and Ann Bell. “Creeping Vine” is decent enough yet has the feel of a bleaker Doctor Who episode. Still that one could have been fleshed out into a longer movie, and it would have worked better as such. The killer vine effects aren’t too bad for a low budget movie, either.

Dudes On a Train

I actually liked “Voodoo,” if only because it leans into being a cautionary tale about imperialism and stealing from other cultures. Roy Castle is a jazz musician who learns the hard way that one should not steal tunes from other people. The cool thing is his backing band is Tubby Hayes’ quintet, so they’re real actual jazz musicians. Kenny Lynch is his fellow jazz performer who spends the whole segment warning Castle not to be a fool. I wouldn’t mind someone remaking this one into a longer movie.

“Disembodied Hand” is pretty twisted, as art critic Christopher Lee and Michael Gough’s artist going at it which leads to disastrous results. Both really deserved what they got considering how they refused to put their egos aside. This was probably the best one of the bunch, and the hand itself looks really wicked.

“Vampire” features Donald Sutherland and Jennifer Jayne as happy newlyweds who move to a small village. Max Adrian is the local doctor who suspects the new bride is a vampire. While the ending is a bit obvious I still grinned anyways, and I rather enjoyed this one a lot. The movie’s finale is a bit clear to those like myself who’ve seen way too many of these anthologies, yet I didn’t mind. Viewed on Tubi, and worth a watch just because they don’t really make these types of movies anymore.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Color Me Blood Red (1965, Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Even though A Bucket of Blood is the better artist kills people for art movie, I still found some merits in Color Me Blood Red. Also Herschell Gordon Lewis’ mad artist is different in that he’s not some struggling Bohemian despite for money. He has a house, he’s successfully sold art before, he’s just in a rut and can’t conjure up the right shade of red for his artwork no matter what he tries. Fate or the Devil intervenes in a horrible, evil way that leads him down the path of murder and destructive behavior. Unfortunately too much of the picture moves really slow, and Lewis has given us better, more interesting gory movies than this one. I was a bit disappointed here actually, having actually liked Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs!.

Gordon Oas-Heim is pretty good in this movie as Adam, the titular maniac, and he helps keep the movie watchable. There is a great lake kill sequence that is one of the movie’s highlights, and the finale at least aims for suspenseful, yet there isn’t much to recommend here. I’m reminded that when it comes to randomly viewing movies on Tubi you’re bound to find some duds as well as some treasures. I guess I gave this movie what could be considered a passing grade, yet I’m left rather unsatisfied at the results.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)


Years later I finally viewed this movie thanks to Shudder (I believe it was in 2018, maybe). Black Sabbath is probably Mario Bava’s best film although a few others do qualify, and this also inspired a certain famous rock band that I am a big fan of as well. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best anthologies ever made, and although one of the stories is weaker than the other ones all of them are still pretty great and make the film a quality viewing experience. Bava wisely sticks to only three stories, and has the legendary Boris Karloff narrate and star in the film as well. The title of the three tales are The Drop of Water, The Wurdulak, and The Telephone.

Maybe it’s the copy I viewed or the Wikipedia page is wrong (shocker!) yet the version I watched had The Drop of Water story first. This tale is utterly terrifying and has an marvelously creepy finale that works incredibly well. A woman foolishly steals a ring off of a dead woman’s finger and discovers too late that you should never rob from the dead. The dummy featured in this movie is pretty freaky looking, and this story is a great exercise in unbearable tension. I feel this one was the best of the bunch honestly, and shows that Bava was a master of the supernatural, a strong element of most of his movies.

The Wurdulak is Bava making a vampire story that is one of the best vampire stories ever put to film. Planet of the Vampires also shows that Bava has a knack for vampire films, and it’s a shame he didn’t make more of them. Karloff appears as the head of a family that has a serious and very unique vampire problem. There’s plenty of bite in this one hehe, not to mention those who end up becoming the undead turn on their own family members. Many consider this tale the best of the bunch, yet I feel it’s not as scary as Water is although the gore factor is certainly featured in this one pretty well.

Finally there is The Telephone, which although is the weakest of the bunch is still very suspenseful and well crafted. Michèle Mercier is a woman who is haunted by her former boyfriend, who she believes was in prison but has in fact broken out and is seeking revenge. It just occurred to me that each of the stories are very bottle episode in nature, as all of the characters are limited to one particular location. How this one concludes is rather bleak, although that can be said of all of the tales in this movie.

Although I’m not sure if Bava should have featured a wrap around story, I’m fine with how this works as a book style movie with different tales featuring new people each time. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best horror films of the 1960s, and is easily in my Top 100 horror movies.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Sting of Death (1966, William Grefé)


So yes I did a double bill of William Grefé, enabled by Tubi. I really need to get my hands on that Arrow Video boxset of his films, even though I’ve now seen two of them. However I liked Sting of Death, too so that bodes well. It’s a little less goofy than the Tartu flick, although it does have another wonderfully cheesy dance scene although this one makes sense. It happens at a pool party, after all.

A giant killer jellyfish man or creature is horribly murdering people in the Everglades. Two scientists try to figure out what is happening, and without saying more this movie ventures into mad scientist territory. While also being a slasher film of sorts, which is note worthy considering this movie was made in the 1960s.

There is a pool attack scene that is parts hilarious and actually neat at the same time. My favorite thing about this movie is that Grefé sticks to his guns and makes a flick born for the drive in movie viewing experience. Sometimes that’s enough as far as cinema is concerned. This movie also has one of the best boat massacres ever, right up there with the one from The Burning, in fact.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Death Curse of Tartu (1966, William Grefé)


One William Grefé decided to make low budget B style exploitation movies in Florida. Death Curse of Tartu is one of those, and despite it being really goofy I liked it. Is it a great flick? Nah, yet it is fun to watch. I mean a group of people wander into the Everglades and awaken the vengeful spirit of Tartu, who proceeds to murder all of them with nature.

Yep this is equal parts slasher movie, ancient evil movie, and later on action adventure. Is there dancing randomly at some point? Yes. Are the killer animal moments ridiculous yet entertaining? Absolutely. You either give into a movie like this one or you think it’s really stupid. I fall a little in-between, yet I still give this movie a favorable rating anyways.

Mr. Grefé would have been right at home with Hammer Studios, and he’s one of the many American directors I wish has been able to work for that studio. Also I’ll never been able to forget the name “Tartu,” ever.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The College Girl Murders (1967, Alfred Vohrer)


Sure The College Girl Murders is really goofy and seems to combine a giallo with a spy mystery movie, yet I still enjoyed it regardless. Someone is using acid spewing guns to kill women on a college campus, and a red hooded figure lurks in the background. Are the two connected? Watch and find out. The main villain’s scheme is actually clever, using a man in prison to carry out his assassinations.

Naturally two detectives are on the case, and they dig up a bunch of suspects. This being a slasher film of sorts plenty of people die, and the film has a rather high body count for being a 1960s movie. Some argue this is one of the earlier influences on later slasher films, and they may have a point. I overlooked some bad acting and simply went along for the ride, which includes some good set pieces and a cool ending.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Masque of the Red Death (1964, Roger Corman)


Throughout my years of horror watching, I have marveled at the fact that there are 1960s movies that can disturb and even scare me. You would think that movies way older than me wouldn’t have that effect, yet the decade gave us many a good chiller picture. Well The Masque of the Red Death is easily one that left me uneasy very much, and made my skin crawl. This is a film depicting evil of all kinds, and it almost seems to revel in the cruelty of mankind. I’m glad my dad didn’t let me watch this on AMC when I was a kid-it would have given me nightmares.

It doesn’t help that we are currently in a pandemic that has swept the land. Just like the red death that has taken over the land ruled over by devil worshiper Prince Prospero, played with evil relish by Vincent Price. This might be his best role, or at least his most unforgiving one. Price takes the part and dials it up to 100, resulting a role that is both memorizing and very creepy. Jane Asher is also great as Francesca, the ginger peasant girl he forces to be a part of his court.

This film also has Hazel Court, Nigel Green, and Patrick Magee, all playing different roles of good and evil. The cinematography is marvelous yet it is the film’s gorgeous set design that really caught my eye. The film uses colors like any good or great horror film, and this is easily going into my Top 100 Horror films list when I’m done with October. I don’t know if I have the stomach to view it again though, and I thank Shudder for gathering a nice batch of Vincent Price films to watch in time for Halloween.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Son of Godzilla (1967, Jun Fukuda)


At this point the Godzilla franchise decides to aim for little kids and fully embrace pure camp. Thus we get Son of Godzilla, a fun movie about how Godzilla embraces a little kid and adapts him as his son. Godzilla is now a dad, and he tries to instruct his new off spring in the ways of being Godzilla. All while fighting off insect monsters.

Plus there are scientists on the island and a reporter who falls in love with the survivor of a past expedition. Or something, it is not important. Minilla is ridiculously adorable, and Godzilla is both a good and bad dad all at the same time. I liked the insect monsters, they were a nice touch and clearly were the inspiration for the monsters in the last couple American Godzilla flicks. My favorite part is the snow fight near the end, which is something the series could have done more often. Check it out.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966, Jun Fukuda)


That is a really long title for a Godzilla movie: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Ebirah happens to be a giant lobster that Godzilla ends up fighting later on in the movie. First though a group of people end up on an island controlled by a terrorist military group that even has airplanes and a nuclear reactor. Boy does this series really dial up the camp factor by this point, and people just went along with it. No matter because I really liked this movie: it’s fun, and wacky.

Plus fun for the whole family, really, as this entry is one that the kids could watch too. I liked how the heroes kept having to play hide and seek with the bad guys. They are forced to awaken Godzilla, who of course does underwater combat with Ebirah. Too bad Godzilla didn’t fight more underwater monsters in the series. Oh and Mothra pops up later on to help out, which makes sense considering she is the real hero of these movies.

Maybe one day I’ll finally tire of viewing Godzilla movies, and perhaps they’ll even stop making them. Yet I doubt either of that happens. Give me movies with huge monsters fighting each other while the humans run for cover. Sometimes cinema should be a blast, reveling in pomp and circumstances. If one can’t enjoy a movie with a killer lobster and a giant lizard sleeping off a bender, can one truly enjoy movies? Probably not.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: City of the Dead (1960, John Llewellyn Moxey)


Sure City of the Dead has other names, yet I really like that title. It fits the movie really well, and this flick is one of those hidden gems I always seem to find every time I binge horror movies in October. Christopher Lee is the major star in this film and he isn’t even one of the main characters. Perhaps he made City of the Dead inbetween Hammer Studios movies. Oh and Rob Zombie used this movie in one of his songs and it had to have influenced his modern day flick The Lords of Salem-a film I love a lot. Witches seem to pop up quite a bit in horror cinema, only in this case they operate as if fueled by urban legend.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) under the guidence of her professor (Lee) decides to investigate a small New England town where witchcraft happened centuries ago. This mission ends up dragging in her boyfriend and her brother, and leads to one Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel in a fine performance). Despite being not very quickly paced at times, City of the Dead works as a good slow burn with some very wicked atmosphere and a good closing act.

If anything this film reminds me of Stephen King and I wonder if he saw it as well. The idea of small ancient towns hidding dreadful secrets appeals to me for some reason. I guess I have always wondered if some legends are true, and that maybe I am too afraid or smart to find out. Horror movies have taught me that it is best to leave the searching to others.

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