Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Lisa and the Devil (1973, Mario Bava)


Sure Mario Bava has done better, yet Lisa and the Devil is still a solid horror movie that in the tradition of Italian horror doesn’t quite make a lot of sense to me. That’s alright, it’s part of the film’s charm and the visuals are fantastic as usual when it comes to a Bava movie. One of my favorite scenes is a dinner party of the damned, all of the undead guests decked out in their finest. A demonic last supper if there ever was one!

Telly Savalas plays a man who is probably the Devil, yet acts the part of a man servant for a pair of rich people in one of those old mansions in the countryside. Elke Sommer, who embodies the title character, spends a lot of this movie running and screaming while dealing with being as confused by what is happening as the rest of the audience.

There is an airplane scene that is definitely partly inspired by the famous Carnival of Souls bus scene, and this movie has plenty of mayhem and gore. Even mid tier Bava is worth a watch, and yet I wonder if this movie wouldn’t benefit from a second viewing, as some of his films have from my experience. Also I have little interest in seeing the American recut version, which is just an Exorcist ripoff from the sound of things. Sometimes director’s cuts are highly unnecessary.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Lady Frankenstein (1971, Mel Welles)


You know, Lady Frankenstein isn’t half bad. It has Joseph Cotten chewing scenery in what was a role he took to pay the bills, and Rosalba Neri under an assumed name as the Baron’s daughter. There is nudity, violence, brain swapping and even angry villagers! Naturally the grotesque creature shows up too to wreck havoc and kill a bunch of people. The Italians decided they could make their own Frankenstein movie, and I liked it despite it being pretty goofy at times.

When I watched this on Tubi I found out via YouTube that there is a director’s cut of Lady Frankenstein that is longer. I wonder if the additional footage makes for a better film. Guess I will have to find out later on. For now this was a passable spin on mostly already done material. Welles’ movie would fit in just fine with the other Hammer Frankenstein movies.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Demons 2 (1986, Lamberto Bava)


Even though Demons 2 lacks the originality of the first Demons movie (Lamberto Bava even uses people from the first film in this one!) I still liked it as a sequel. Besides the demon coming out of the TV part is freaky, and there is even a demon baby that terrorizes people. The movie theater sitting of the original has been replaced by an apartment complex that faces an evil onslaught of demonic forces, threatening to ruin everyone’s nice evening. One girl who becomes taken over by the evil proceeds to attack her fellow party goers, the end result of which is an orgy of violence in a parking garage that is rather apocalyptic.

I don’t honestly recall any of the characters from this one, although there is once again a guy and a girl desperately trying to stay alive through all of the chaos. Oh and the last act is equally nuts-in fact I felt that Bava was trying to up the original by including plenty of mayhem and freaky moments in this installment. One thing I do miss that the original did well is the soundtrack, although there are some good music tunes in Demons 2 as well. Never underestimate the Italians’ talent at making super gory horror movies with plenty of monsters and carnage along the way.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Hell of the Living Dead (1980, Bruno Mattei)


Too bad Hell of the Living Dead only really has a cool title and some decent gore, because the characters are way too one note even for a 1980s Italian zombie movie. There was some interesting stuff about how the Third World is devoured by the richer countries, as reflected by the zombies, yet it comes into the movie way too late to have any kind of major impact. I lost interest midway through the film, and this might have worked more as a short movie or even a TV series instead of a movie. Bruno Mattei lacks the talent and skill that other, better Italian directors possessed, and while there are some great moments Hell of the Living Dead feels as if its a greatest hits collection of other, better zombie and horror movies.

If anything the plant setting at the beginning of the film was pretty cool, and should have been used more. I would have gone for a bottle episode type movie instead, one that would have been different from the multiple cannibal/zombie/gore fest movies that were so popular at the time. Skip this flick and watch Zombie Holocaust instead, although I wonder if maybe I had viewed this one before the other I would have felt differently. I don’t think so though as Zombie Holocaust is clearly the better made of the two.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Zombie Holocaust (1980, Marino Girolami)


The Italians sure had a sense of style and many of their 1970s and 1980s films were gory and fun to watch. Some of them featured Ian McCulloch, who has a good screen presence in the handful of horror films I have seen him in. Zombie Holocaust is one of those, and it also went by multiple names, which was normal for foreign horror cinema. I found this movie to be wonderfully campy, and not as brutal and unforgiving as a certain other, more famous movie I watched in October. I gave both the same rating, and each one achieves different goals, which is fine.

Donald O’Brian hams it up as the resident mad scientist, while Alexandra Delli Colli serves as the film’s screen queen. I chuckled at the “I am determinded to have your brain” line, and I thought the zombies looked delightfully nasty in this film. Oh and this film has cannibals, because it takes place mostly on an island in a horror movie and so that’s a basic requirement, it seems. Even though this is mostly for gorehounds such as myself, I think Zombie Holocaust is one of those midnight cult movies that is both entertaining and was shocking for the 1980s. I wish I could have seen this on the big screen.

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Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Burial Ground aka The Nights of Terror (1985, Andrea Bianchi)


What did I learn from an Italian horror film with two titles? I prefer Burial Ground since that is shorter, and has a certain ring. I found out that certain zombies have the ability to use weapons, and that going to a mansion where a professor has awakened the evil is not a good idea. Of course the couples who showed up for a good weekend had no idea the dead had been raised. Way to spoil a fun weekend, old eaten alive professor guy.

Oh and the son of one of the women is in love with his mom, which leads to a gruesome and disgusting moment. It would not be an Italian horror movie if horrible things didn’t happen to people, yet this movie lacks the amount of violence seen in other zombie films. Also the zombies were lame by even B-movie standards, and the ending was creepy enough, I guess. When compared to better or more fun zombie movies of the time period Burial Ground is decent at best, disappointing at most.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The Black Belly Of The Tarantula (1971, Paolo Cavara)


Giancarlo Giannini is a legend in his own right, and starred in a movie featuring several Bond actresses and a score from Ennio Morricone, one of the greatest composers of all time. This movie is called The Black Belly of the Tarantula, a really good giallo despite the fact that l guessed the killer in the first couple of minutes. However I do not hold this against the film, mostly since I have spent almost a decade and a half viewing giallo films. Also parts of this film has more sex and violence than some giallos do, in addition to being the good type of mystery horror film that the Italians are known for creating.

Giannini plays a cop investigating a unique serial killer. This killer uses a paralyzing needle, then cuts open their victims while they are still alive. There is one freaky scene where this is shown in gruesome, open fashion. Also the killer humilates Tellini, the cop, by filming him having sex with his girlfriend and sending it to the police. I like that this film at times plays more as a detective film than a horror film, simply because that is an interesting take on the giallo that I have not seen before.

Despite being a tad slow at times, Paolo Cavara’s giallo is well made and mostly engaging. It is odd seeing Claudine Auger interact with Barbara Bouchet considering the former had already been a Bond girl and the latter became one years later. This also was one of the earlier giallos which plays in its favor. Tangling with a killer can be messy business, especially if the killer finds out you have someone you care about.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The House By The Cemetery (1981, Lucio Fulci)


Finally at last I finished Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, and the last one is the best of the three, so I guess that works out. The House By The Cemetery is a slasher film, a Frankenstein style mad scientist movie, and a ghost movie all rolled into one glorious Italian horror movie package. Its odd that as I grow older and see more of his films I have grown to appreciate Fulci, who certainly loved showing gore in his films but also worked in that same eerie, dreamlike atmosphere as his more famous and better liked colleagues.  House is also a clear influence on the great modern day horror film We Are Still Here, which I previously reviewed. A heartly thanks to Shudder for enabling me to see this 1980s classic.

Poor Bob keeps getting warnings telling him and his parents to stay away from that old creepy house in New England. These warnings should have been heeded, because there are freaky things lurking in the basement. The house, like so many old houses, keeps its own dark, ancient secrets. Norman and Lucy Boyle, Bob’s parents, wish to investigate since Norman’s former co-worker lost his sanity in that very house. Unlike the other two films in The Gates of Hell trilogy, which were zombie films, The House By The Cemetery works mostly as a slasher film.

Fulci was able to create some truly great moments despite his limitations, and The House By The Cemetery showcases those skills. The bat scene is freaky and gory, and there are multiple scenes that are intense and really creepy. Naturally it has a typically strange Italian horror conclusion, although its not too confusing by most horror movie standards. If anything this convinces me to further explore more of Fulci’s work, as I have already seen an okay amount of his movies. Oh and that score is unreal, another reminder that music matters a lot in cinema, period.

Horrorfest 2018 Makes Me Shudder: 10 Years of Viewing


Look, I know the last one was a bust. I blame work, laziness, whatever. However this time I have a new, better resource: Shudder. Also not going with a list again, just showing the ones I have seen so far. Plus this is the 10th year of me doing Horrorfest. Wow. So I plan on going all out this time.

Based on the viewing list, I think I did pretty well.

1. Tourist Trap (1979, Crazy People)-https://wordpress.com/view/madman731.wordpress.com
2. Sleepaway Camp (1983, Slasher)-https://wordpress.com/view/madman731.wordpress.com
3. Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988, Demonic)-https://wordpress.com/post/madman731.wordpress.com/8723
4. Daughters of Darkness (1971, Vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/horrorfest-2018-presents-daughters-of-darkness-1971-harry-kumel/
5. Basket Case (1982, Creature Feature)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2gT
6. The Meg (2018, Big Ass Shark)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-meg-2018-jon-turteltaub/
7. The Void (2016, Weird As Hell)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-void-2016-steven-kostanski-and-jeremy-gillespie/
8. The Addiction (1995, Vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-addiction-1995-abel-ferrara/
9. Bad Moon (1996, Werewolf)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/?p=8763
10. The House By The Cemetery (1981, Italian horror)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-house-by-the-cemetery-1981-lucio-fulci/

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11. Don’t Go In The Woods (1981, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/horrorfest-2018-presents-dont-go-in-the-woods-1981-james-bryan/
12. Curtains (1983, Crazy People)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/horrorfest-2018-presents-curtains-1983-richard-ciupka/
13. Magic (1978, DUMMIES ARE CREEPY)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/horrorfest-2018-presents-magic-1978-richard-attenborough/
14. Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971, Giallo)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/the-black-belly-of-the-tarantula-1971-paolo-cavara/
15. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988, Angela)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/horrorfest-2018-presents-sleepaway-camp-ii-unhappy-campers-1988-michael-a-simpson/
16. Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989, Angela. Again)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/horrorfest-2018-sleepaway-camp-iii-teenage-wasteland-1989-michael-a-simpson/
17. Scream Blacula, Scream (1972, Blacula. Duh)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/horrorfest-2018-presents-scream-blacula-scream-1973-bob-kelljan/
18. Split (2017, The Beast)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/horrorfest-2018-presents-split-2017-m-night-shyamalan/
19. Burial Ground (1985, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/horrorfest-2018-presents-burial-ground-aka-the-nights-of-terror-1985-andrea-bianchi/
20. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989, METAL BECOMES FLESH)-https://wordpress.com/post/madman731.wordpress.com/8814

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21. Cannibal Holocaust (1980, Cannibals)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2ik
22. The Giant Spider Invasion (1975, Spiders. Duh)-https://wordpress.com/posts/madman731.wordpress.com
23. Teenage Zombies (1960, Zombies)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/horrorfest-2018-presents-teenage-zombies-1960-jerry-warren/
24. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1974, Duh)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/horrorfest-2018-presents-bram-stokers-dracula-1974-dan-curtis/
25. Creepshow 2 (1987, Anthology)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2iA
26. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977, WTF)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/death-bed-the-bed-that-eats-1977-george-barry/
27. Zombie Holocaust (1980, Zombies)-https://wp.me/pRBID-2iJ
28. The Gate (1987, Demons)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-gate-1987-tibor-takacs/
29. Chopping Mall (1986, Killer Robots)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/horrorfest-2018-presents-chopping-mall-1986-jim-wynorski/
30. Halloween (2018, Ole Mikey)-https://wordpress.com/posts/madman731.wordpress.com

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31. Hell Of The Living Dead (1984, Zombies)-https://wordpress.com/view/madman731.wordpress.com
32. The Bat (1959, Slasher Mystery)-https://wordpress.com/post/madman731.wordpress.com/8915
33. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994, Weird)-https://wordpress.com/posts/madman731.wordpress.com
34. Contamination (1980, Aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/horrorfest-2018-presents-contamination-1980-luigi-cozzi/
35. We Always Find Ourselves in the Sea (2017, Ghosts)-https://wordpress.com/posts/madman731.wordpress.com
36. Madman (1982, Brutal)-https://wordpress.com/view/madman731.wordpress.com
37. Willow Creek (2013, BIGFOOT IS PISSED)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/horrorfest-2019-presents-willow-creek-2013-bobcat-goldthwait/
38. Ghostwatch (1992, BBC Ghost Hunting)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/04/14/horrorfest-2019-presents-ghostwatch-1992-lesley-manning/

Halloween Night:

Rewatch: Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987, Barnes & Noble Blu-Ray)

39. The New York Ripper (1982, Slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-new-york-ripper-1982-lucio-fulci/
40. The Deadly Spawn (1983, Aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/horrorfest-2018-presents-the-deadly-spawn-1983-douglas-mckeown/
41. The Curse of the Werewolf (1961, Duh)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/horrorfest-2018-its-hammer-time-presents-the-curse-of-the-werewolf-1961-terence-fisher/
42. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, The Sawyer Clan)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-2-1986-tobe-hooper/

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