Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Visiting Hours (1982, Jean-Calude Lord)


The hospital setting is a pretty good one for Visiting Hours, which has a cool poster and a good trailer. Alas I was left mostly unimpressed by this early 1980s slasher, which bugs me since this should have been in my wheelhouse. The cast makes up for some of the weaker elements however-Lee Grant and Michael Ironside are both great in this movie-and it even has William Shatner randomly popping up later on.

The final act is really intense and quite brutal, yet most of this film is too slow and the scenes outside the hospital drag at times. I’m not sure if this movie is a feminist driven piece or if the director doesn’t like women considering the awful things Ironside’s serial killer puts the movie’s female characters through. I didn’t hate Visiting Hours, still I didn’t really like it either. This is sometimes the case with horror movies and cinema in general.

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: The Dead Pit (1989, Brett Leonard)


This randomly popped up on Shudder and so I decided to check out The Dead Pit, a late 1980s horror movie. This flick is a much a supernatural Americanized giallo as it is a slasher movie. These blending of elements work in the film’s favor, as does it’s likable main characters. The Dead Pit isn’t a great film, however it is very well paced and is very satisfying. The asylum setting is pretty good, and is very unnerving. The entire movie is appropriately bleak.

The Jane Doe, played by Cheryl Lawson, arrives at an old crumbling asylum with amnesia. Aided by a fellow patient, Chris (Stephen Gregory Foster), she tries to uncover the mystery of her memory loss. I liked how this movie was shot, using lots of green and building up a general sense of menace, hinting at nasty, dark hidden secrets.

Danny Gochnauer is fantastic as Dr. Ramzi, the movie’s evil sadistic villain, matched by Jeremy Slate as ┬áDr. Gerald Swan. The finale even goes full blown Fulci with the undead, which is cool. Chris is one of those awesome secondary movie characters, and Lawson is a good sympathetic main character. Check this flick out on Shudder while you still can.

A Brood of Brainwashed Blood Thirsty Killers (Strange Behavior, 1981)


Note: This is a lost Horrorfest review that after some changes and editing I’m presenting to you horror fans:

As much a slasher movie as it is a sci-fi “Science gone amok” movie, the under rated cult film Strange Behavior is a rather odd, and thus stands out from its brethren. By the time of Strange Behavior’s release, slasher movies were a large part of the horror genre and 1980s was about to usher in the sub-genere’s heyday. Created a year after Halloween clone Friday the 13th, Strange Behavior has been somewhat forgotten, perhaps because of its weird plot. Or maybe the numerous slasher movies that followed left more of an impression upon viewers.

Having now seen way more 80s slasher movies since viewing this film, I now realize even more how unique and original this movie really is. Weird experiments taking place at a local college are resulting in the studies’ willing guinea pigs killing people at random. What it all really means is a mystery, however someone is maybe pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

The film’s dreamlike 80s pop style soundtrack, well executed by Tangerine Dream, only makes this movie feel and seem even more bizarre. However the film doesn’t seem to go far enough with its commentary on conformity and leaves behind the science implications in favor of gory yet well crafted terror inspiring moments that really fail to be scary if you have viewed a horror movie before.

What really sticks out in my mind is how the film ends-the last act is really quite unexpected. Considering that it was fairly well made and is clearly smarter than most of the slasher films that followed, Strange Behavior is a rare gem. I thank TCM for airing the movie when they did back in 2010, and I hope that more people get a chance to check out a most welcomed addition to the slasher genre. 82/100

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