Vampire Ticks from Outer Space (2013)

vampire ticks of

Directed by Michael Butt [Other horror films: Yetis (2012), This Woods Is Cursed (2015), This Book Is Cursed (2017)]

This is a low-budget, low-quality, ridiculous film, yet at the same time, I’ve not had this much fun in a while.

In many ways, this low-budget film (apparently, the budget was around $700) seems a love-letter to the B-movies of the past, such as Attack of the Giant Leeches (and I will say, this movie had a lot more feeling than the 2008 remake of that very title). It has questionable, yet fun, acting, a paper-thin plot, and special effects that maybe aren’t that special. I will say, the blood in particular looked bad (basically just water dyed red most of the time; it was that thin), but really, in a movie like this, I don’t see how that’s a big problem.

As far as actors go, I pretty much liked everyone. Most of them were horrible, which brought a lot of charm. I loved it when some of them couldn’t keep a straight face, and one of them couldn’t help but smirk every time he was on-screen, which was especially funny when another actress actually got into her role, and kept crying. Terrible acting, and I loved it. My favorite was Charley Guaren, who was the opening kill. His over-the-top attitude, his lines, his delivery, everything about him, I absolutely loved. I just wish he had gotten more screen-time.

The movie ends on a somewhat serious note. While the credits are running, it shows interviews with people who believe they’ve seen UFO’s. These look authentic to an earlier time period, and if I had to bet, I’d say wherever the director got them, they’re probably real interviews. Just a small touch that felt slightly out of place, but was cool regardless.

Toward the end, there was a small element of the film I didn’t care for, but it shortly led to a really interesting conclusion, one that a big-budget film likely wouldn’t have the balls to pull off (mostly because it’s so damn ridiculous). Still, I thought it was a lot of fun, and really helped cement the feeling of the movie.

No doubt, Vampire Ticks from Outer Space isn’t an amazing film, but it is both entertaining and amusing. It has that drive-in movie feel, and most everything about it, from the terrible acting to hilarious dialogue/delivery, horrible special effects, and the story, was fun. I had a hoot watching this one, and I would gladly give it another go in the future. When it comes to rating a movie, what matters more than that?

8/10

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Secret of the Blue Room (1933)

Secret of the Blue Room

Directed by Kurt Neumann [Other horror films: She Devil (1957), Kronos (1957), The Fly (1958)]

This is a pretty fun flick, solid 30’s horror movie.

The story here is pretty fun, what with a room that, if one sleeps in it, they end up dead. A good plot idea to play with, which leads to a rather satisfying conclusion. At the same time, they could have added a little more meat to the movie, and as it’s only an hour and six minutes, they certainly had some time, should they had wanted to use it. Good video and audio quality, too, of a movie from this time period.

The cast is pretty solid throughout. Lionel Atwill (who appeared in plenty of other horror films, such as The Vampire Bat, Doctor X, Mystery of the Wax Museum, Murders in the Zoo, Mark of the Vampire, and about six or so others) has a good presence here, and really shows why he’s often cast in these types of films. Gloria Stuart did pretty okay here, though she was overwhelmed with the hysterics often placed on female characters back in these films. The fact that she later played the elderly Rose in Titanic is really the most interesting thing about her appearance here. Paul Lukas, who played a rather straight-laced character, gave a great performance also.

Edward Arnold (who did very little for the genre, but has a solid resume overall) had a really fun character with snappy dialogue, and virtually every time he was on-screen, I had a fun time. Onslow Stevens, William Janney, and Robert Barrat all stood out also, and as they make up a large amount of the main characters, that’s only a positive thing.

Kurt Neumann, the director, didn’t do a lot of the genre (aside from directing The Fly, he only did a handful of other horror movies), but this was a pretty good movie. Digestible, enjoyable, and while they could have added a little more to the film, still a good time.

I liked a lot of things about this film – the mystery, the conclusion, the overall story. I certainly feel that this one is overlooked, and I recommend it highly if you’re a fan of those early mystery-horror films that made the 1920’s and 1930’s a special time.

8/10

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

I Drink Your Blood

Directed by David E. Durston [Other horror films: N/A]

This grindhouse exploitation flick isn’t nearly as gory and wild as I remember it being, but it’s still a moderately fun ride.

The story, in which Satanic hippies are infected with rabies as a form of revenge, was pretty fun. At times, it was reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead, which came out just two years prior, as multiple mindless people were wandering around, committing violent acts, and some others board themselves in to protect themselves.

It also has a decent amount of gory violence. While there weren’t too many notable gory portions, there was a solid decapitation, along with a few dismemberments (one by an electric knife), and an impalement by pitchfork. Despite all of this, though, it never reaches the H.G. Lewis level of bloodshed, which is sort of a shame.

Really, the only issue I have with the film is the length – I know that when this first came out, theaters dictated their own cuts, and thus, a lot of versions of this film exist. I think that the theaters had a better idea than the director, because at an hour and 24 minutes, I felt the film went on a bit long. Cut out just ten, maybe 15 minutes, and I think it’d have been both more digestible and less dragging.

For an early piece of 70’s exploitation, I Drink Your Blood can be pretty entertaining. If the gore had been a bit better, and the length a bit more bearable, then I think the movie would have ultimately been more memorable. Still, it’s certainly a movie that’s worth watching, especially if 70’s flicks are your thing.

7.5/10

Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria

Directed by¬†Dario Argento [Other horror films: L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970), Il gatto a nove code (1971), 4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971), Profondo rosso (1975), Inferno (1980), Tenebre (1982), Phenomena (1985), Opera (1987), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Black Cat’), Trauma (1993), La sindrome di Stendhal (1996), Il fantasma dell’opera (1998), Non ho sonno (2001), Il cartaio (2004), Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005), La terza madre (2007), Giallo (2009), Dracula 3D (2012)]

This stylistic flick is a lot of fun, and while it doesn’t live up to Argento’s previous Deep Red, Suspiria is a solidly atmospheric flick.

Witches aren’t something that are dealt with too commonly in horror, so Argento going that route proved a wise move, especially as he was able to craft a movie of this atmosphere, with both moody tension and good gore (when the film deigned to go that direction). The gore is quite good, mostly in the first murder sequence, but the razor-wire room is fun also.

Jessica Harper wasn’t a big name before this film, and really didn’t become that big of a name after it, which is a bit of a shame, as I thought she did really well here. Unfortunately, while it’s not that big a deterrent, none of the other actors/actresses involved were that memorable, but it doesn’t leave that much a negative impact.

The artistic style this movie has can’t really be matched, what with amazing color schemes and music composed by Goblin. Really, just for these aspects alone, disregarding the story, the movie would probably be a must see (and I generally see a lot more compliments about the style of the film over the content, to be sure). All-around great use of camera, lighting, and music to bring a creepy vibe to this one.

While certainly not my favorite horror film of the 1970’s (I don’t know if it’d even make my top 25), Suspiria has a lot of character, and certainly, if you can find an uncut version, even if it is dubbed, to watch, I think that you’ll probably have a good time. Even after three, maybe four viewings myself, I still find the film quite fun, and I only wish the ending was a bit more conclusive.

8/10

Urban Legend (1998)

Urban legend

Directed by Jamie Blanks [Other horror films: Valentine (2001), Storm Warning (2007), Long Weekend (2008)]

In many ways, while still a fun film, this late 90’s slasher feels rather neutered at times. I still like it, and it’s probably one of my favorite late 90’s post-Scream slashers, but still, Urban Legend just felt lacking at times.

First off, though, I have to say that the opening scene has long been a favorite of mine. The gas station attendant trying to shout, “There’s someone in the backseat” just always gave me chills. It was a solid way to open this film. Sadly, much of it can’t maintain that level of pure tension.

The story overall is pretty fun. I just wish that it had been more gory over stylistic, because it really felt like it was pulling it’s punches. Plenty of opportunities for gore, but very little delivery.

The cast was pretty damn good, though. Alicia Witt was decent enough, but Jared Leto (most well-known, to me, anyways, as the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars) has always been rather enjoyable in this. Rebecca Gayheart is rather animated (which comes with it’s pros and cons), and Loretta Devine’s character is really fun. Lastly, two great side-characters include Robert Englund (playing a college professor) and John Neville, the college dean (Neville’s most known to me from 1965’s A Study in Terror and The X-Files series), who add good flavor to the film.

Like I said, though, the lack of gore is pretty noticeable here, and it’s rather disappointing that 80’s slashers have more to offer than slashers from the late 90’s. Still, this is one of the post-Scream slashers worth watching, even if it isn’t amazing.

7.5/10

American Horror House (2012)

american horror

Directed by Darin Scott [Other horror films: Dark House (2009), Something Wicked (2014), Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018), Tales from the Hood 2 (2018), Mr. Malevolent (2018)]

So, we have random ghosts with no discernible backstories killing bitchy sorority girls (who are illegally hazing new pledges), and along with this, there are also some dumb fraternity jocks around. Because of course there would be.

I first saw this film back in the 2012 October Challenge for HMF (Horrormoviefans, a forum I’ve been a member of for many years), and I rather disliked it back then also. Really, there’s not that much to say about this Syfy affair. There is occasionally some okay gore, but otherwise, the movie’s void of any pleasant additions and feels overly vapid.

None of the characters, aside from maybe Alessandra Torresani’s, have any value whatsoever. When they get killed, you just find yourself shrugging. Why would I care one way or the other if a sorority clone gets killed? If the kills were more impressive, sure, but this movie can’t really boast that.

Speaking of clones, the ghosts got a bit old. There were more than a handful, but we never really got much a read on any of them, excepting the main ghost, who, *SHOCKER* somehow is still around at the end, and should Syfy ever want to, they have room for a sequel.

As I said, there’s not really a lot to say about this film. It was bad the first time I saw it, and American Horror House does not increase in value over time. It’s just not that enjoyable or good a movie whatsoever. Part of this may be that I see absolutely no value in either frats or sororities. Why would you want to join an organization that abuses and humiliates you? I don’t get it at all. And given how horrible most of these characters are, it makes these people pretty hard to be sympathetic for. Nothing much here, and I wouldn’t recommend this.

4/10

Dark Sanity (1982)

Dark Sanitu

Directed by Martin Green [Other horror films: N/A]

This is a rather low-budget flick, and it’s drowning in unnecessary melodrama, but it’s not altogether a terrible movie. Definitely below average, though.

Having a main character with alcoholism was interesting, and adding a little something special to her character (while also adding drama that was a bit much). It’s this drama that holds the movie back, though, and it’s not just on the main character. The whole small subplot about the husband’s troubles at work strike me as entirely unnecessary, and though the conclusion to that was sort of funny, it didn’t really add much to the movie.

The main actress, Kory Clark, did decent playing a slightly more complex character than you might expect. Given that this was her only role in anything, I’d say she did a decent job. Aldo Ray was a genial presence, despite his rough background, and made the movie just a bit better by his pretty solid performance.

For a slasher, though, the main problem this movie has is it’s rather noticeable lack of kills, and when there are kills, there’s not much in the way of gore, or, more troubling, suspense. Also, while I sort of liked the route they went with who the killer turned out to be, it felt sort of soulless, as though it was just superficial and lacking something. Still, it tried, I’ll give it that.

Dark Sanity isn’t a terrible film, but there’s almost nothing here, aside from Ray’s presence, that really stands out one way or the other. Definitely on the lower-end of slashers from the early 80’s, I’d recommend that you pass on this, unless something about it seems to tickle your fancy.

5/10