Horrorfest 2022 Presents I Like Bats (1986, Grzegorz Warchoł)

I Like Bats is one of those artsy foreign horror movies that often tries to be more than just a horror movie. In this case it’s a vampire flick that’s also a love story and a case of vampire driven insanity, I guess. I’ve seen way better foreign artsy horror movies than this one, and I’m starting to think my rating for this movie was too high. There’s some good scenes, yes, and I liked the ending despite the final scene being a tad obvious, although it did amuse me a little.

Katarzyna Walter is a woman that works in her aunt’s shop and feeds on people. After meeting Marek Barbasiewicz’s psychiatrist by happy chance she falls in love with him. This leads to her attempting to be cured by him, which has some interesting results. There is one scene at a party that is one of the film’s highlights, and the movie does wisely zig and zag at times. I don’t know if I would have viewed this if it hadn’t been on Shudder, which has a pretty good collection of foreign cinema.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Sole Survivor (1984, Thom Eberhardt)

Despite being largely a slow burn, Sole Survivor is a well made slow burn with some fine creepy moments. Also it’s pretty obvious that Thom Eberhardt’s cult film inspired both The Final Destination movies and It Follows, which is neat. The flick also manages to be eerie and spooky as well, plus very moody. This would be a good fall movie, honestly.

Anita Skinner plays a woman who manages to survive a plane crash, yet she remains haunted afterwards. The doctor who treats her (Kurt Johnson, who is very likable) tells her it’s all in her head, then falls in love with her. Meanwhile literal zombies roam the city streets and proceed to stalk her in different ways. Is this death reaching out, or something more sinister at work? The movie doesn’t quite say, which is fine to me.

Gotta love those blue color schemes and those eerie late night streets.

Is there a grand conspiracy at work, or is it just people’s imagination? Caren Larkey is also great as a fading actress who claims to know the answers, and Skinner is perfect for the role. She makes us, the viewer, sympathetic to what she is going through. There is a shocking swimming pool scene, plus an unnerving moment on a staircase that really works. Is this a zombie movie or a supernatural movie? Perhaps it’s both, really? I’m not sure.

Between Sole Survivor and Night of the Comet, I really like what Eberhardt accomplished in the horror genre. I wish he had done more, yet he moved on to more general Hollywood fair. Which is fine yet also too bad since he appeared to have a knack for making reliable horror movies with sci-fi elements. Viewed thanks to Shudder, a service that happily offers up plenty of cult movies every now and then.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Fright Night Part 2 (1988, Tommy Lee Wallace)

Vampires go bowling in Fright Night Part 2. There’s one on roller skates even. Another one tries to steal the hero’s girlfriend right out from under him. The sequel wisely decides to be different and even though it’s not as good as the first one, it’s still a lot of fun and I liked it. The remake and the original compliment each other a lot, this one just feels like a snappy appetizer. Which is alright with me.

William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall pop back up again as the vampire killing duo, only Ragsdale’s Charlie is now convinced the events of the first movie were not real. His psychiatrist has him believing that Jerry was a serial killer, not a vampire, and that vampires don’t exist. McDowell’s Peter still believes, and is on the verge of losing his show over it. Traci Lind is Alex, Charlie’s new college girlfriend, who doesn’t believe in vampires either. Oh but she will sooner or later. Especially since Julie Carmen’s Regine has her sights aimed squarely at Charlie. She’s not exactly human, that’s for sure.

This movie has a lot more comedy elements than the first one, and way more vampires, as well. Regina’s crew consists of character actors Brian Thompson and Jon Gries, plus Russell Clark. Is it goofy at times? Sure, and it lacks the scare factor of the first movie. However Carmen steals the movie and delivers a captivating performance that people still talk about. It’s too bad I had to use YouTube just to watch this movie, it should be on Tubi or Shudder by now.

That’s a pretty cool opening title.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Grave Robbers (1989, Rubén Galindo Jr.)

In Grave Robbers, a long dead cursed executioner who wanted to birth the Antichrist is revived and goes on a pretty brutal killing spree. At times he seemed like your typical unstoppable undead slasher villain, and I’m sure he was inspired by the other horror movie villains from the 1980s. Grave Robbers is not as good as some of Rubén Galindo Jr.’s other movies, yet I thought it had some good moments.

This was a mostly satisfying horror movie, and I was greatly amused by how the evil executioner has magical powers just cause he’s the movie’s villain. The youths dumb enough to rouse him from his slumber are likable enough, and this movie has a pretty high body count. Viewed thanks to Shudder, and wonderfully goofy enough for me to recommend to people.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Cementerio del terror aka Cemetery of Terror (1985, Rubén Galindo Jr.)

Rubén Galindo Jr. seems to be a pretty good horror movie director based on what I’ve seen from him so far. Cemetery of Terror is a good example of his talents, and including two groups of youths dealing with an undead serial killer. The older group of kids bring him back and the younger group having the misfortune to be in the same area when it happens.

Hugo Stiglitz stars as a psychiatrist trying to stop the killer by any means necessary. This movie begins as a slow burn, then features tons of gore and murders. The ending made me grin too, since it was the old fashioned freeze frame moment that used to be a thing in movies. The movie is quite good although none of the youths really stood out to me and it’s probably a good thing that Stiglitz was cast in this one since he’s a well known cult movie actor.

I do like how Cemetery of Terror is a combination of slasher movies, zombie films and supernatural elements as well. That’s a nice bunch of different horror sub-genres woven into one movie. I saw this on Shudder, which has a good batch of foreign horror movies. Check it out.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents The Oracle (1985, Roberta Findlay)

The Oracle is a huge mess and for some reason looks and feels like a 1970s movie people decided to finally release a decade later. It would be not good in either decade, and I was very much let down by the whole thing. The movie tries to be both supernatural and a slasher movie and really fails at both, and it drags so much that by the end I was just glad to see the credits roll.

There was a cool decapitation kill that comes too late to salvage the movie, and the ending is as predictable as one can imagine. I didn’t like any of the characters and there is very little suspense or much of anything worth noting in this movie. I didn’t hate it, yet I can’t recommend seeing this one. That’s 1980s cult cinema for you: sometimes you find a gem, sometimes you are reminded why a lot of these movies weren’t big hits or remembered.

Let’s Get Criterion Presents: Repo Man (1984, Alex Cox)

“The life of a repo man is intense.”

Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic is one of the earliest Criterion movies I ever owned. I still have my DVD copy, and I recall lovely gazing at the packaging and admiring how cool the movie looked on DVD. I mean I had only seen some low grade copy of the flick on cable TV before, and this was the 2010s, before Blu-ray and streaming overruled everything else. Maybe one day I’ll bother to upgrade my copy but for now it will do just fine. I have watched Repo Man at least four, maybe five times and it’s one of my all time favorite movies. I don’t think anything else quite like it exists today, at least no movies that come to mind.

Having Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton star was a fine choice, and they are the duo from hell. Otto and Bud are both hilarious and marveling together, living on the edge and serving up fantastic one liners. I mean you have ones such as “Repo man’s got all night! Every night!” and “Only an asshole gets killed over a car.” Alex Cox is not content to have the film only focus on these two, tossing in numerous other eccentric and off the wall characters that populate a bizarre underground. It’s all very punk rock you see, 100% 1980s, centered at the heart of Reagan America.

Part of me thinks this flick is a masterpiece, some other part is fine with me just labeling it great. The rest is amused at how Alex Cox managed to smuggle this glorious bit of satire mocking the stupidity and futility of American life out of a Hollywod that was quite conservative. Or at least neoliberal to say the least, masquerading as leftist while serving both capitalism and their studio masters. God I love this film so much. Hail oblivion and the path one takes to get there.

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