Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks (1974, Dick Randall)


First off no one is sure who directed Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks in the first place. Secondly, this movie is a weird mess that doesn’t work as a movie or a Frankenstein flick, which is too bad since the Hammer Studios Peter Cushing one ended that same year in 1974. This movie coasts on nudity, violence and goofy moments that don’t really work. Then the movie actually tries in the last act yet even manages to botch that to a certain degree.

Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to watch this, or perhaps I’ve seen better takes on the material and I couldn’t help but compare Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks to those. Either way, I don’t regret watching this flick even if it wasn’t a good movie, if only to continue my quest to view every Frankenstein movie ever made. I can’t help myself sometimes.

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 2019/It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Hands of the Ripper (1971, Peter Sasdy)


The Hands of the Ripper was one of the non franchise movies that Hammer Studios put out while they were still one of the top horror studios in the world. I rather like this one as it has nasty kills, good characters and a plot that works despite being kind of ridiculous. Eric Porter stars as the kind psychiatrist who takes in the young daughter of none other than the infamous Jack the Ripper! Yet, he finds out all too quickly that some behaviors cannot be cured.

Angharad Rees is great as Anna, the poor young lady who doesn’t realize that she’s a killer. Things become even more dramatic as everytime Anna falls under a spell she acts out her father’s deadly wishes. One murder is particularly brutal (and quite sharp) while another is highly unexpected. While this movie works better as a slasher movie than a melodrama, I rather enjoyed it. The Hands of the Ripper might not one of Hammer’s best, however it was a solid effort from one of my favorite horror studios.

Horrorfest 2019/It’s Hammer Time Presents: Vampire Circus (1972, Robert Young)


After years of making vampire movies that conclude with the heroes killing the vampire plaguing their home town, Hammer Studios decided to make a film that shows what happens after the townspeople win. Vampire Circus is a fairly solid picture, one that lives up to its own expectations. I liked that the townspeople are still haunted by the memory of the evil Count Mitterhaus, and that they fear his return. Into the midst of a disease that is tormenting the village a circus arrives, and of course they bring trouble because this is a Hammer film. Even the circus is evil, and in this case is hiding secrets that will all be revealed in due time, viewers.

As a big fan of Doctor Who it was fun to see Lalla Ward playing one of the circus people, and Thorley Walters playing the mayor, as he was in multiple Hammer movies as well. I like that Hammer Studios often used the same actors in different films, and naturally Vampire Circus has a good amount of gore. One particular stand out kill is a cross being thrown onto a vampire, and also a crossbow is used to rather gruesome effect. Even though Vampire Circus is not top tier Hammer, it is still worth a look as being an entertaining vampire movie. These kinds of films have a quality that is lost in this day and age.

Horrorfest 2019/It’s Hammer Time Presents: Twins of Evil (1972, John Hough)


Twins of Evil has a few things in it’s favor, most notably Peter Cushing being Peter Cushing, although in this Peter Cushing is burning women alive after accusing them of being witches, and not trying to kill Dracula or bring monsters to life. The real hero of this movie is a guy named Anton, which is an odd name for a good guy in this type of movie. Also this is part of a series of films surrounding the evil Karnstein family, who are all vampires one way or another and love to serve the Devil. Because I guess that is what you do in these movies if you are rich and love to conduct human sacrifices in your creepy old castle. Plus this film has a pair of twins, one who is good and the other who is naughty, and if you think the film makes you guess which one is which at one point, well have a cookie and a gold star.

Having Mary Collinson and Madeleine Collison, real life twins, actually play twins is a nice touch, and I liked how John Hough provides the usual mayhem and sexuality that most Hammer films were known for by the 1970s. Also the Karnstein family series breathed new life into Hammer and gave them a bit of a short reprieve that unfortunately was short lived. I dug some of the wonderfully outrageous one liners (Peter Cushing actually utters “They have brought me twins of evil!” while keeping a straight face), and Hough delivers a solid flick that is never boring. Recommended even though it falls short of being as good as The Vampire Lovers or some of the best Dracula entries.

Horrorfest 2019: Never Sleep Again


Music Movies Horror Gif Shared By Gamand On Gifer
They are not paying me for promotional purposes. Yet….

Well it is time for another Horrorfest, especially since last year’s worked great and resulted in me reviving my love for horror movies. Every time I think I’ll stop doing these something causes me to continue, and in this case the magic of streaming services makes it possible I will be doing this until I finally die…or return as the undead. I thought about doing a list but that never works, so all films listed here are ones I have actually viewed, with reviews to bore-I mean, follow. Enjoy! PS: This was my 500th blog post. Very fitting, indeed.

This concludes Horrorfest 2019. I will unsticky this post when it is time for Horrorfest 2020. Thanks for reading.
Pre-October:

1. The Babysitter (2017, Demonic Cult)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-babysitter-2017-mcg/
2. Ready Or Not (2019, Crazy Rich People)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2mq
3. It: Chapter 2 (2019, Pennywise)-Work in progress I guess
4. Summer of 84 (2018, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/horrorfest-2019-presents-summer-of-84-2018-francois-simard-anouk-whissell-and-yoann-karl-whissell/
5. The Ranger (2018, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-ranger-2018-jennifer-wexler/
October:

6. Viy (1967, Demons)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/horrorfest-2019-presents-viy-1967-konstantin-yershov-georgi-kropachyov/
7. Under the Shadow (2016, Evil Spirits)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/horrorfest-2019-presents-under-the-shadow-2016-babak-anvari/
8. Twins of Evil (1972, Vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/11/25/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-twins-of-evil-1972-john-hough/
9. Vampire Circus (1972, DUH)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-vampire-circus-1972-robert-young/
10. Final Exam (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/05/horrorfest-2019-presents-final-exam-1981-jimmy-huston/
11. The Love Witch (2016, SEX MAGIK)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/the-love-witch-2016-anna-biller/
12. City of the Dead (1959, New England Witches)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/city-of-the-dead-1960-john-llewellyn-moxey/
13. The Corpse Grinders (1971, KILLER CATS)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-corpse-grinders-1971-ted-v-mikels/
14. Cannibal Girls (1973, MEAT)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/horrorfest-2019-presents-cannibal-girls-1973-ivan-reitman/
15. Hell Night (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/horrorfest-2019-presents-hell-night-1981-tom-desimone/

16. The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-hills-have-eyes-2-1985-wes-craven/
17. Hands of the Ripper (1971, Jack’s Kid)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/horrorfest-2019-its-hammer-time-presents-the-hands-of-the-ripper-1971-peter-sasdy/
18. The Mutilator (1985, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-mutilator-1985-buddy-cooper/
19. Thirst (1979, Vampire Cult)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/2019-horrorfest-presents-thirst-1979-rod-hardy/
20. Stagefright (1987, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-stage-fright-1987-michele-soavi/
21. The Wax Mask (1997, Giallo)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-wax-mask-1997-sergio-stivaletti/
22. De Lift (1983, Killer Elevator)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/horrorfest-2019-presents-de-lift-1983-dick-maas/
23. I Drink Your Blood (1971, Rabies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/horrrorfest-2019-presents-i-drink-your-blood-1970-david-e-durston/
24. All The Colors of the Dark (1972, Madness)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/horrorfest-2019-presents-all-the-colors-of-the-dark-1972-sergio-martino/
25. One Cut of the Dead (2017, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-one-cut-of-the-dead-2017-shinichirou-ueda/

26. Demons 2 (1986, UGLY BUGGERS)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-demons-2-1986-lamberto-bava/
27. Der Nachtmahr (2015, Creature Feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/der-nachtmahr-2015-achim-bornhak/
28. You Might Be The Killer (2018, Meta)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-you-might-be-the-killer-2018-brett-simmons/
29. Day of the Animals (1977, NATURE IS PISSED)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horrorfest-2019-presents-day-of-the-animals-1977-william-girdler/
30. The Awakening (2011, British Ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-awakening-2011-nick-murphy/
31. Bloody Pit of Horror (1965, Torture and lots of it)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/horrorfest-2019-presents-bloody-pit-of-horror-1965-massimo-pupillo/
32. Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl (2016, Lesbians)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/horrorfest-2019-presents-sweet-sweet-lonely-girl-2016-a-d-calvo/
33. Mayhem (2017, VIOLENCE)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/horrorfest-2019-presents-mayhem-2017-joe-lynch/
34. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019, GO BIG OR GO HOME)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/horrorfest-2019-presents-zombieland-double-tap-2019-ruben-fleischer/
35. Jack Frost (1997, Killer Snowman)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-jack-frost-1997-michael-cooney/
36. Dark Water (2002, CREEEEEPY)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-dark-water-2002-hideo-nakata/
Halloween:

37. Happy Birthday to Me (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/horrorfest-2019-presents-happy-birthday-to-me/

Coda:

38. The Lighthouse (2019, WUT)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/horrorfest-2019-presents-the-lighthouse-2019-robert-eggers/

Horrorfest 2018/It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Curse of the Werewolf (1961, Terence Fisher)


Oliver Reed appeared in many Hammer Films over the years, and The Curse of the Werewolf, the third film I viewed on Halloween, was one of his towering performances. Reed goes from being sympathetic and likable to a horrifying beast, giving us, the audience, reason to root for and also be repulsed by him. As typical of many Hammer productions this one touches upon class issues, and of course features a prior evil that leads to the main evil, a plot element that many slasher films incorporated later on as well. Also I had no idea that a child born on Christmas Day would become a werewolf, something that I have never heard of before in any horror movie that I can think of, although perhaps it is based in some old myth or legend. It is too bad that Hammer Studios only made one werewolf movie, as this is one of their best films and it was made by their premier director, Terence Fisher.

Catherine Feller is also great as Cristina, who Reed’s Leon falls in love with despite the fact she comes from wealth and he is unable to marry her, and Martin Matthews is likable as Leon’s friend, Jose. I really dug the werewolf transformations, and the creature effects are properly freaky for such a film. Featuring a well rounded cast, surprising amounts of gore for a 1960s movie, and anchored by Reed’s excellent performance, The Curse of the Werewolf is a must for both horror and Hammer fans.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1974, Dan Curtis)


Dan Curtis’ 1974 Dracula made for TV movie is really good despite not coming from Hammer Studios. Jack Palance was pretty solid in the title role, embodying the Count as a primal force of nature. Richard Matherson wrote the screenplay, and Dark Shadows creator Curtis directed, which is a good pairing for a TV film. Dracula is fairly well shot, although the rest of the cast fails to match Palance. Also the story is largely familiar, even though Curtis adds the twist of Dracula and Vlad the Impaler being one and the same, a bit that Francis Ford Coppolla used later for his own Dracula film.

Palance really does take over this film, and some of the shots are rather impressive. Dracula shoving people aside as if they are rag dolls was a cool part, as was some eerie beach shots. Even though this pales in comparison to the best of Hammer’s vampire films, I liked its style. I also miss TV movies, as they were usually major events that used to be featured weekly on television. A relic of a long gone age, much like Dracula himself.

Horrorfest 2015/It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Woman In Black (2012, James Watkins)


These days Daniel Radcliffe seems to like being in horror movies. That’s good because he is fantastic in both of the ones he’s done-particularly in The Woman In Black, from Hammer Studios. The famous horror studio returned in time to give Britain a very good, creepy and well crafted horror film. It’s great to see that they haven’t lost a step and thus film is a nice throwback to their glory days. Having famous character actor Ciarán Hinds as the other star is a quality choice, as he brings gravitas to the proceedings.

Radcliffe is a young lawyer who journeys to a small town on business concerning a large estate. The house sits outside the village and is imposing, empty, and possibly haunted, of course. This calls to mind other previous and famous horror films, although James Watkins, the director, does a fine job of not depending on horror cliches or homages.

Also I like that this film doesn’t need jump scares or gore to be effective. Old school ghost films are something I have a soft spot for, and Watkins has a keen eye for unsettling moments. I also like that I was unable to guess the ending, which is always a plus. Whether or not the sequel is worth seeing, I’m not sure. I might check it out regardless. I do look forward to more Hammer films in the future, as I’m a big fan.

Horrorfest 2015: The Final Chapter


There’s no theme this year. Also this might be the last one. Maybe. List which is always subject to change endlessly and whenever I feel like it. Especially when Netflix decides to pull horror films before October like they often do. Bad Netflix:

image

Netflix Instant Viewing

1. The Babadook (2014, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-babadook-2014-jennifer-kent/
2. Pet Sematary 2 (1992, demonic)
3. Housebound (2014, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-housebound-2014-gerard-johnstone/
4. Late Phases (2014, werewolf)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/horrorfest-2015-presents-late-phases-2014-adrian-garcia-bogliano/
5. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977, mad scientist)
6. Troll (1986, creature feature)
7. Disturbing Behavior (1998, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/disturbing-behavior-1998-david-nutter/
8. Nightbreed: Director’s Cut (1990, monsters)-Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)
9. V/H/S: Viral (2014, anthology)
10. Starry Eyes (2014, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/horrorfest-2015-presents-starry-eyes-2014-kevin-kolsch-and-dennis-widmyer/
11. Almost Human (2013, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-almost-human-2013-joe-begos/
12. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013, giallo)
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, vampire)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/a-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night-2014-ana-lily-amirpour/
14. The Quiet Ones (2014, ghosts)
15. Ghoulies Go To College (1991, monsters)
16. Leprechaun 3 (1995, creature feature)
17. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997, creature feature)
18. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002, ghosts)
19. Damien: The Omen II (1978, demonic)
20. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981, demonic)
21. The Fly (1958, creature feature)
22. Dead Silence (2007, killer puppets)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/horrorfest-2015-presents-dead-silence-2007-james-wan/ 23. Deep Star Six (1989, creature feature)
24. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, demonic)
25. Vampire in Brooklyn (1995, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/horrorfest-2015-presents-vampire-in-brooklyn-1995-wes-craven/
26. The Sacrament (2013, crazy people)-I finally watched this in 2016, heh: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/7750/
27. Murders In The Rue Morgue (1971, slasher)
28. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/horrorfest-2015-presents-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-phillip-kaufman/

Other Media:

29. IT (1990, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/it-1990-tommy-lee-wallace/
30. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, slasher)
31. Society (1989, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-society-1989-brian-yuzna/
32. Murder Party (2007, slasher)-I also finally watched this in 2016: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-murder-party-2007-jeremy-saulnier/
33. Q The Winged Serpent (1982, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-q-the-winged-serpent-1982-larry-cohen/
34. Night of the Demons 2 (1994, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-night-of-the-demons-2-1994/
35. God Told Me To (1976, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/horrorfest-2015-presents-god-told-me-to-1976-larry-cohen/
36. Campfire Tales (1997, anthology)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-campfire-tales-1997-matt-cooper-martin-kunert-and-david-semel/
37. The Conjuring (2013, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-conjuring-2013-james-wan/
38. The Vampire Lovers (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-vampire-lovers-1970-roy-ward-baker/
39. The Woman in Black (2012, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-woman-in-black-2012-james-watkins/
40. The Final Terror (1983, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-final-terror-1983-andrew-davis/
41. What We Do In The Shadows (2015, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-2015-taika-waititi-and-jemaine-clement/
42. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/horrorfest-2015-presents-phantom-of-the-paradise-1974-brian-de-palma/
43. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/lets-get-criterion-presents-valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-jaromil-jires/

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