Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Death By Invitation (1971, Ken Friedman)


This movie has some good kills, yet Death By Invitation is a low budget bore that doesn’t work. I mean you have a woman who is the reincarnation of a woman burned for witchcraft, yet there’s no indication she has any powers or whatever. Nope she just murders people in the fashion of a slasher villain, which is fine but a tad routine. I was hoping for something either more goofy or creepy, and the film doesn’t accomplish either one.

Honestly I fell asleep sitting through this film multiple times, which is a bad sign. I don’t remember any of the characters, and I think the ending was ok, maybe? The worst movies are the meh ones, the flicks that I sit through and forget I even saw them a year later. Or even months later. This is one of those.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: One Dark Night (1983, Tom McLoughlin)


Even though most of the action happens in the last half of the movie, One Dark Night is still a decent horror movie. Plus the final act is pretty cool and quite weird, as if the movie couldn’t decide whether to be a slasher zombie movie or a vampire flick. So it choose all of those, combining different elements. I wish the kill count had been higher, still this is a flick I recommend anyways.

Julie (Meg Tilly) wants to join a group of popular girls despite her boyfriend telling her she’s better off ignoring them. They decide to send her to spend the night in a local mausoleum, and decide to come back to scare her. Too bad for them all a local occultist has been entombed there as well! Does he come back from the dead? What do you think? Also hey Adam West is even in the movie! Neat.

Melissa Newman also plays the daughter of the dead occultist, Raymar (what a great name) who attempts to figure out what her father was up to, and Robin Evans, E. G. Daily and Leslie Speights are the Sisters club that is responsible for Julie’s situation in the first place. I liked the zombies in this movie, and the finale is definitely pretty wild. It’s too bad that Tom McLoughlin didn’t make more movies, as between this one and Jason Lives he seemed to have a knack for directing watchable horror movies. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Fear (1996, James Foley)


Ah, young love. It’s great as long as one of them doesn’t take it took far and turn out to be a complete psycho. In the case of Fear, one of those entertaining horror thrillers from the 1990s, the guy is the crazy obsessed one here. Mark Wahlberg plays David, who seems normal and is in love with Nicole, played by Reese Witherspoon. However he quickly reveals his dark side, sweeping her and her family into a nightmare.

William Petersen and Amy Brenneman play her parents, and naturally Peterson as her dad gets bad vibes from meeting David, which Nicole ignores. The movie kind of touches on how people stay in dangerous and abusive relationships because they think the other person loves them anyways. Then it veers back into outlandish thriller territory, particularly with the final act.

Still that last act is pretty entertaining and suspenseful, and the movie has it’s fun share of crazy moments. Wahlberg chews scenery, Witherspoon is very likable and what happens in the end is darkly hilarious to me. I think I’ve seen too many horror movies. This is definitely one, also, going between slasher and crazy people movie all too well.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Baron Blood (1972, Mario Bava)


While I like Mario Bava’s films a good deal Baron Blood was disappointing. Joseph Cotton and company do their best to elevate really flimsy material that is way too dependent on gory torture scenes. The film also takes much too long to become interesting, and I felt a lot of the film is a drag. This might be the first one I’ve seen from Bava that I have no desire to revisit, which is a shame.

The movie is not a complete waste, as the sets were neat and I liked several well framed shots. The ending is brutal as well, which does help and there is a scene that is quite suspenseful. I just expected more from a movie with a plot this ridiculous. Oh well. I’ll still try and check out more from Bava anyways, despite not having many of his famous films left to watch.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The College Girl Murders (1967, Alfred Vohrer)


Sure The College Girl Murders is really goofy and seems to combine a giallo with a spy mystery movie, yet I still enjoyed it regardless. Someone is using acid spewing guns to kill women on a college campus, and a red hooded figure lurks in the background. Are the two connected? Watch and find out. The main villain’s scheme is actually clever, using a man in prison to carry out his assassinations.

Naturally two detectives are on the case, and they dig up a bunch of suspects. This being a slasher film of sorts plenty of people die, and the film has a rather high body count for being a 1960s movie. Some argue this is one of the earlier influences on later slasher films, and they may have a point. I overlooked some bad acting and simply went along for the ride, which includes some good set pieces and a cool ending.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ghosthouse (1988, Umberto Lenzi)


Ghosthouse may have in some way helped inspire Final Destination. It is also an oddball mess of a movie that can’t decide if it wants to be a haunted house movie or a slasher movie. Some films that are competently made can do both, yet I wish Ghosthouse had just stuck with one. The haunted house and evil doll aspects work much better. Particularly since the doll looks like it escaped from Poltergeist.

Especially since there is one death scene that is hilariously awful. Still some other parts work, and I didn’t hate the characters even if I was given very little reason to care about what happened to them. Tubi has a lot of horror movies ranging from outright gems and classics, to mediocre and then outright trash. Unfortunately Ghosthouse falls in that muddled middle, not able to go the extra mile in either direction. Too bad.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Deadly Blessing (1981, Wes Craven)


Deadly Blessing is Wes Craven ironing out some more kinks before he started on his run of quality 1980s movies that kicked off with A Nightmare On Elm Street. However despite being very campy and odd, this movie works in spite of itself. The cast helps, as does the movie embracing the goofy plot, the multiple use of “Incubus!” (not to be confused with the band) and the fact that the countryside setting is creepy. After all, you are alone out in the middle of nowhere, and as the local cop reminds the trio of women at the farm, no help will arrive in time.

Perfect setting for what is equal parts a slasher flick, demonic flick, and sinister religious cult next door flick. Ernest Borgnine leads the religious fanatics who live next door, and he relishes the opportunity to ham it up as much as he did in The Devil’s Rain (hey I saw that too-neat). Maren Jensen is the woman who made the mistake of marrying his son and taking him away from a life of no electronics and tons of switch beatings. A pre-Hollywood stardom Sharon Stone and Michael Berryman add to the proceedings quite a bit.

I also liked Susan Buckner and Jeff East, though. They had nice chemistry in this flick, particularly since East plays the other son of a man not afraid to beat the fear of God into people. The final act is a strange molding of the supernatural and slasher, resulting in something that I might actually remember months later. Say what you will about Wes Craven, his movies never seem to be dull. Also feel free to turn people saying “Incubus!” into a fun drinking game. I forgot to mention that the James Horner score is fantastic, too.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Trick or Treats (1982, Gary Graver)


Speaks for itself

Ah, Halloween. My favorite holiday currently, or at least high up there anyways. I love this time of year, and I reflect on how because of horror movies I will never take a baby sitting job as long as I live. Slasher films have taught me that when you watch kids, a maniac wielding a knife always shows up every time. Without fail. Trick or Treats adheres to that formula and never waivers the entire time, which is admirable.

Jackelyn Giroux plays Linda, who gets stuck watching the kid from hell while his step-dad played by David Carradine and his wife leave her with their little brat over the Halloween weekend. Does her psycho ex husband played by Peter Jason show up to try and get his revenge for being committed? You bet! Does the kid drive Linda to the edge of her sanity with evil tricks? Oh yes. This movie more than lives up to its title.

While the death count is a bit low for a slasher movie, the ending was pretty good. Giroux is likable and you root for her to win against a demon child that would be at home in a The Omen sequel. Also not enough horror movies are set on Halloween, although perhaps it is a result of not wanting to be compared to a certain famous franchise starring one famous slasher villain. Too bad.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Intruder (1989, Scott Spiegel)


Perhaps I have worked in retail far too long so I liked Intruder more than most probably do. Also it helps that this is a fairly well made slasher film that tries to rise above the fairly low standards of the genre. Although I wonder if that was due to it being made at the end of the decade, when the slasher genre had begun to fade in popularity. Regardless this film has a likable bunch of characters and is well paced.

Oh and the kills are pretty wicked, although that is helped by the grocery store setting. The list of possible suspects is limited so I kind of guessed who the killer was, which is ok and did not ruin my enjoyment of the film. Intruder has a couple good comedy moments that I can’t elaborate on further due to them being spoilers, yet I will say that if you work in retail you can appreciate them like I did. Hurray for that random Bruce Campbell cameo, I guess.

Knife In The Back: Horrorfest 2020


Well it is that time of the year again. I think a bit more Tubi than Shudder will be used this time. Perhaps even a dash of Netflix. Also all reviews will be actually linked in the titles since I figured out that looks better. Gonna try to keep up this time with the reviews for a change.

This concludes Horrorfest 2020. I think it went insanely well all things considered despite wifi issues and a pandemic, and I may have overdone it a bit. On to next year!

August:


1. Lady Frankenstein (1971, Female this time!), Tubi

2. Let Me In (2010, Vampires), Tubi

3. Slaughter High (1986, Slasher), Tubi

4. Mausoleum (1983, Demonic), Shudder

5. The Devil’s Rain (1975, Ernest Borgnine Satanic Revenge!), Tubi

6. Sweet Sixteen (1983, Dead Kids), Tubi

7. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002, Duh), Tubi

8. Bad Channels (1992, Horny Killer Alien), Tubi

9. The Pit & the Pendulum (1991, THE SPANISH INQUISITION!), Tubi

10. Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995, Tony Todd with a hook), Tubi

September:

11. Intruder (1989, Retail is Murder!), Tubi

12. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, Him again?), Shudder

13. Maniac Cop (1988. Cop Slasher), Shudder

14. Subspecies (1991, THE BLOODSTONE!), Tubi

15. The House That Dripped Blood (1971, Spooky Tales), Tubi

16. Trick or Treats (1982, Never babysit on Halloween), Tubi

17. The Car (1977, Demon on wheels), Netflix Instant Viewing

18. Fade To Black (1980, Movies Make People Crazy), Shudder

19. American Gothic (1988, Psycho Family), Public Library Blu-ray

20. Squrim (1976, Killer Worms!), Shudder/Tubi

21. Jack’s Back (1988, The Ripper!), Tubi

22. The Amityville Horror (1979, GET OUT!), Public Library Blu-ray

23. The Invisible Man (2020, Never marry a mad scientist), Public Library Blu-ray

24. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971, Giallo!), Shudder

October:

25. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966, Giant Lobster!), Criterion Blu-ray

26. Son of Godzilla (1967, Godzilla’s Kid), Criterion Blu-ray

27. The Living Dead Girl (1982, Hungry for Blood!), Tubi

28. Moon of the Wolf (1972, Werewolf!), Tubi

29. Deadly Blessing (1981, INCUBUS!), Public Library DVD

30. Ghosthouse (1988, EVIL DOLL), Tubi

31. The Sadist (1963, Archie Hall is nuts), Tubi

32. The Masque of the Red Death (1964, Plague!), Shudder

33. The Tomb of Ligeia (1965, That Darn Cat), Shudder

34. Doctor Sleep (2019, Shine On), Public Library

35. Scare Me (2020, Storytellers!), Shudder

36. The College Girl Murders (1967, Acid to the Face), Tubi

37. Baron Blood (1972, Undead evil Baron guy), Tubi

38. Don’t Breathe (2016, Be careful who you rob), Public Library

39. Bell, Book and Candle (1958, Love spells), Pluto TV

40. Waxwork (1988, Creepy Wax People), Tubi TV

41. Blood Diner (1987, Sheetar!), Hulu

42. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978, Tomato or Tomatoe?), Tubi

43. Fear (1996, Marky Mark is cray crazy), Public Library DVD

44. Hack-O-Lantern (1988, The blood is the power), Shudder

45. Victor Crowley (2017, Big angry hillbilly), Shudder

46. Firestarter (1984, psychic powers!), Public Library

47. Creature (1985, Alien Monster!), Tubi

48. Haunt (2019, Haunted House Evil), Shudder

49. Blood Tide (1982, Sea Monster!), Arrow Video Blu-ray

50. Edge of the Axe (1988, Brutal), Arrow Video Blu-ray

51. Ringu (1998, Seven Days), Shudder

52. Ju-On (2002, Creepy Dead Kids), Tubi

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