Horrorfest 2022/Let’s Get Criterion Presents: The Cremator (1969, Juraj Herz)


My final viewing on Halloween that was a first time viewing (I did revisit two Brian De Palma films, one which I need to review for this blog, the other which I reviewed years back) was Juraj Herz’s disturbing dramatic horror movie The Cremator. Is this a horror movie or is it a drama? I feel that both apply here, in that Herz covers the so called “Banality of evil” that comes to mind when describing any such horrors that occur in life committed by people who appear to be normal. In this case it applies to the Holocaust, which is the event that inspired such a quote.

What we realize is that people we deem monsters are in fact rather human beings, and this movie is an excellent and chilling display of how someone goes from being a loving father, husband and pillar of the community to an absolute monster capable of murder and much, much worse. I wonder how much this inspired such later films as American Psycho, where the main character manages to captivate our interest while he commits such awful crimes, and fittingly both that movie and The Cremator are bleak comedies. I did find myself chuckling at some parts that were truly beyond the pale, and Karel Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrušínský) is the main character of this movie, combining Tibetan philosophy with Nazism in what is a marvelous and skin crawling performance. Without him this movie wouldn’t even work, and I’m reminded of how easy it is for people to be swayed by others who offer a credence that preaches you being better than others.

In fact, the Nazi party scenes offer a window into a society that practices benign acceptance of a horrific policy, and embraces a destiny that appeals greatly to Karel. He believes that he is freeing souls through murder and death, and there are several parts that show his madness on full display. The final shot is very effective, as he never waivers from his beliefs and they and him become one, driven on by others. He is given the authority to put his desires and plans into motion, and I’m sure others today would eagerly grasp onto such power if given the chance. The Cremator is one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen, and it’s going to haunt me for a while. With the rise of fascism again in the world and people cheering for alt right candidates, I feel that Herz’s classic is all the more relevant in today’s age. I wish it wasn’t so, people seem to have short memories and always need reminders. Cinema is good at delivering those.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Flesh Eaters (1964, Jack Curtis)


The Flesh Eaters is one of those cheesy 1960s horror movies, and yet it has more violence and gore than a lot of them do. In fact this movie is not afraid to cross the line and feature some creature murder effects that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis nod in approval. Despite the movie’s obvious limitations I enjoyed this one, and it’s a mostly bleak bottle style episode movie where a group of people are trapped on a distant island. This island happens to be surrounded by a group of monstrous glowing microbe that a scientist on the island seems to know more about than he’s telling. Byron Sanders is stoic and resourceful as the movie’s hero, and Barbara Wilkin plays the love interest. There’s not a huge cast here, and honestly most of the others seem to exist as potential victims.

One of the victims ends up being devoured from the inside out in what is a really gruesome and nasty moment, and the movie’s evil critters sure are hungry. All the time! The movie doesn’t really overstay it’s welcome and I’m actually surprised no one has tried to remake this movie, although I guess the creature effects would all be CGI these days. Sometimes practical effects work best, or at least look really cool.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: The House That Screamed (1969, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador)


Although The House That Screamed is a slow burning movie, the movie still has plenty of violence and mayhem to satisfy fans of giallo and slasher movie type films, of which this movie is clearly both. I’m glad that I was unable to guess the identity of the killer, and I really liked this movie despite the characters being the user paper thin clichés that populate these types of movies. The boarding school setting works very well in the movie’s favor, and this flick is probably best known to fans of Elvira, as she featured the movie on her show back in the 1980s. Unfortunately this movie due to including a mother smothering her own son resulted in The House That Screamed being unfairly compared to Psycho, which is silly considering the two films are quite different in style and in tone.

The murders in this movie are pretty brutal, and there is one shot that is particularly gorgeous. You have issues of voyeurism, lesbian overtones and the oppression of those in charge of the school, all which come to a head at one point or another. I’ve seen better foreign slasher movies sure, yet The House That Screamed is a good slow burn and offers a fantastic and super creepy finale. I’ll never forget that ending, that’s for sure. Oh and I’m pretty convinced that Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s film inspired or had an influence on multiple later, better slasher movies down the road. Alas there is a lack of house screaming, which is made up for human screams. Lots of human screams.

Killing Them Loudly: Horrorfest 2021


10 Horror Movie Memes To Get You in The Mood For Halloween

This concludes Horrorfest 2021 which featured me watching 66 movies, the most I’ve ever seen in a three month span. I’m not sure I will do that again but you never know. See you all next year for Horrorfest 2022! 

July Viewings:

1. Vamp (1986, Vampires!), Arrow Films Video
2. Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013, Jason Doc!), Shudder
3. Vampyres (1975, Lesbian Vamps), Shudder
4. Patrick (1978, Mind Powers!), Shudder
5. Child’s Play 2 (1990, CHUCKY!), Netflix Instant Viewing
6. Prevenge (2016, Slasher?), Shudder
7. Night Tide (1961, Mermaid), Shudder
8. The Queen of Black Magic (1981, Revenge!), Shudder
9. Here Comes Hell (2019, Demonic), Shudder
10. Frankenhooker (1990, Mad Scientist), Shudder
11. Def By Temptation (1990, Succubus), Shudder

August Viewings:

(1) 12. Black Roses (1988, Rock n roll is evil! Evil!), Shudder
(2) 13. Death Ship (1980, Nazi Boat!), Shudder
(3) 14. Don’t Panic (1989, Demonic), Shudder
(4) 15. The Whistler (2019, Fairy Tales Are Real), Shudder
(5) 16. Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019, Ghosts), Shudder
(6) 17. Turkey Shoot (1982, Dystopia), Shudder
(7) 18. Dave Made a Maze (2017, Dangerous Cardboard!), Shudder
(8) 19. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981, Crazy Aunt), Shudder
(9) 20. White of the Eye (1988, Slasher), Shudder
(10) 21. Lisa and the Devil (1973, Telly Savalas is the Devil!), Shudder
(11) 22. Shock (1977, Ghost Possession), Shudder
(12) 23. Messiah of Evil (1973, Undead cult!), Shudder

September Viewings:

(1) 24. Vicious Fun (2020, Slasher Support Group), Shudder
(2) 25. Mortuary (1983, Embalmed), Shudder
(3) 26. Hellmaster (1992, JOHN SAXON), Shudder
(4) 27. The Dead Pit (1989, Like a Surgeon), Shudder
(5) 28. The Pale Door (2020, Witches and Cowboys), Shudder
(6) 29. Chillerama (2011, Anthology), Tubi
(7) 30. Mohawk (2017, Revenge!), Shudder
(8) 31. The Brain Eaters (1958, Parasites!), Tubi
(9) 32. Death Curse of Tartu (1966, Tartu), Tubi
(10) 33. Sting of Death (1966, Killer Jellyfish), Tubi
(11) 34. Blood Quantum (2020, Zombies), Shudder
(12) 35. I Bury the Living (1958, Cemetery business), Tubi
(13) 36. Candyman (2021, I’m not saying it), Theater Viewing
(14) 37. Head Count (2019, Mythical Creature Thing), Shudder
(15) 38. Found Footage 3D (2016, Meta), Shudder
(16) 39. Color Out of Space (2020, Aliens! Sort of), Shudder
(17) 40. Shakma (1990, Killer Ape), Shudder
(18) 41. Malignant (2021, GABRIEL), Theater Viewing

October Viewings:

(1) 42. The Church (1989, Man Is Evil), Tubi
(2) 43. Blood (1973, Monster Mash), Tubi
(3) 44. Cannibal Ferox (1981, Savage), Shudder
(4) 45. Sorority House Massacre (1986, Slasher Flashback), Shudder
(5) 46. Pledge Night (1990, Acid Sid), Shudder
(6) 47. WNUF Halloween Special (2013, NEWS AT 11), Shudder
(7) 48. Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020, Gentrification Sucks!), Netflix Instant Viewing
(8) 49. One Dark Night (1983, Raymar!), Tubi
(9) 50. Doom Asylum (1988, Power Tools), Tubi
(10) 51. Hannah, Queen of the Vampires aka Crypt of the Living Dead (1973, Undead Undead), Tubi
(11) 52. Death By Invitation (1971, She’ll have her revenge!), Tubi
(12) 53. Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964, The South Will Kill Again), Tubi
(13) 54. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks (1974, The Monster!), Tubi
(14) 55. The Convent (2000, Satanic Nuns), Tubi
(15) 56. Demonia (1990, EVIL!), Tubi
(16) 57. Psycho Goreman (2020, ALIENS), Shudder
(17) 58. The Descent (2005, Underground Monsters), Tubi
(18) 59. Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000, Snowman In The Tropics), Tubi/Crackle
(19) 60. Habit (1997, Indie Vampires), Shudder
(20) 61. Halloween Kills (2021, EVIL DIES TONIGHT), Theater Viewing
(21) 62. Rituals (1977, Into the Woods), Shudder
(22) 63. Just Before Dawn (1981, Don’t Go In The Woods), Shudder
(23) 64. The House That Screamed (1969, Serrador), Shudder

Coda:

65. V/H/S/94 (2021, Tjahjanto, Barrett), Shudder

66. Last Night In Soho (2021, Wright), Movie Theater Viewing

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