B… A to Z Horror Movies 2021 #AtoZChallenge

Hello, and welcome to my 2021 A to Z April Blogging Challenge: a giant list of all the horror movies I’ve watched during the pandemic! I’m not doing proper reviews here, just my personal notes about each film. Not that I took any notes while I was watching them, unfortunately. This is what I remember about each of these films.

Without further ado… I give to you, B!

 

Bad Channels (1992)

USA

Director: Ted Nicolaou

I really like this one. For some reason, other people don’t seem to. Also–does it belong on a horror list? I am going to go with yes, but I admit it might be a stretch. Call it horror-comedy?

I have talked about Bad Channels before, as it was one of the early-pandemic movies I blogged about last year, but let’s just go over a few salient points. It is about a disgraced radio DJ trying to repair his career by working at a radio station in a rural-ish area. When we meet him, he is in the middle of pulling a crazy radio stunt. Then, an alien comes to earth and sets up shop in the radio station. The alien captures beautiful women through song (I am not sure how else to put that) and they end up shrunken and agitated in a growing collection of glass bottles in the studio. The DJ can see all this happening, and can broadcast, but no-one believes him, because (of course) they think it is another stunt. They really like the stunt. They keep calling in, to say so. Not helpful.

A fun premise, and I liked some of the music, too. Blue Oyster Cult was involved in making at least some of it.

Bay of Blood (Ecologia del delitto)(1971)

Italy

Director: Mario Bava

I know we saw this one. I also know that it is considered a rather important giallo, and that it influenced the Friday the 13th movies, among other things. But… I don’t remember a darned thing about it.

The Beyond (…E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà) (1981)

Italy

Director: Lucio Fulci

Beyond meh. Another early pandemic watch. I didn’t like it at all at the time, and now I can’t even really remember why. I think it had something to do with the gore. Not that it was gory (I don’t have a problem there), or even that it was excessively gory (though it was). It was the way that the movie sort of wades through gore. It is like a tour of gore. Or even a tour of gore effects. After a while, you sort of stop caring. And some of it looks fairly unconvincing. I think some people like it for its shock value, but I rapidly stopped being shocked (or even grossed out).

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo) (1970)

Italy, West Germany

Director: Dario Argento

This is first on the BFI’s “where to begin with Giallo” list, and I totally see why. Very characteristic. Also, a solid movie.

It did not make the lasting impression on me that some gialli did, but I remember thinking that it was well-made.

Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio)(1960)

Italy

Director: Mario Bava

This one is fun. Barbara Steele is in it. But again, my memory of the film isn’t all it could be. I do remember that this is the one where Steele’s character gets a mask with nails in it to the face, shortly before being executed as a witch, in the movie’s deep background.

I believe it is considered to be part of the Italian Gothic movie tradition.

Bleeders (aka Hemoglobin) (1997)

Canada

Director: Peter Svatek

We LOVE this movie. Apparently, we’re the only ones. We watched it because we saw that Dan O’Bannon had a writing credit for it, and he’s done some pretty neat stuff.

Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Lurking Fear, with notes of other Lovecraft stories.

The main character is a hideously beautiful man, just right for the role.

Starts off quietly, gets pretty brutal.

The plot: the main character is really ill and sinking fast, and he and his girlfriend travel to an island where his family used to live to find some answers about his medical history. The answers they get are horrifying.

Spoilers (highlight to view!):

Turns out that his family has to eat human meat to live. Oh, and his family is totally still there, living under the ground. Then they sort of erupt, and lots of people are eaten.

“How badly… do you wanna live?” Asks Rutger Hauer’s character, of the main character. It is a real question.

Oh, also! Rutger Hauer is in this movie.

The Blob (1988)

USA

Director: Chuck Russell

A fun movie, but pretty brutal, in terms of body-count.

Spoilers (hightlight to view!):

And kids get killed, which doesn’t usually happen in movies. Usually the kids are safe. They aren’t safe, here. Also, there’s a great protagonist fake-out in this one, by which I mean that you think this one guy is going to be our hero and then he’s killed.

Don’t get attached to any of the characters if you watch this one. But, I mean, watch this one!

Blood and Black Lace (6 donne per l’assassino)(1964)

Italy/France/West Germany

Director: Mario Bava

We’ve seen this movie several times. We’ll probably watch it again and again. This is a very early giallo, or maybe even the very first. It is gorgeous. Absolutely wonderfully stylish (and not just because it is set in a… fashion house? Is that what I mean? Horrible doubt assails me. But one of those places where they design clothes. In a big fancy building. Even though all their models are being steadily murdered. That sort of place).

This is also the source of yesterday’s Mystery Picture. See what I mean? Gorgeous and creepy, and with a distinctive visual style. The plot is okay, too. Things happen in the movie, mostly murders. It turns out that they happen for a reason. Makes about as much sense as your average mystery novel, so actually pretty good for a movie that is also doing other things.

Here’s that glorious Mystery Picture, again:

 

Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984)

UK

Director: Ray Cameron

We were excited about this one. Excited enough to order the DVD, because we couldn’t figure out any other way to watch it. It was disappointing, possibly because we expected too much of it. Vincent Price is in it.

Blood Beat (1983)

USA

Director: Fabrice A. Zaphiratos

So, you’ve decided to bring your girlfriend home to meet mom. Great! I’m sure they’ll get along. Even though your mom is psychically sensitive to evil, and your girlfriend has this thing where… (Mildly dirty spoilers coming up! Highlight to view) …whenever she orgasms, a Japanese samurai spirit appears in the vicinity and kills someone. And the poor girl is lonely, and does really quite a lot of masturbating. Which is awkward enough as it is, in a house full of people who you’d really prefer didn’t catch you at it, even without the whole samurai problem. I sort of wonder if the whole movie could have been inspired by the inherently awkward situation of masturbating while staying with your boyfriend’s family.

An odd movie, and very, very low-budget. Possibly the people who made it made it because they had a samurai costume? Anyway, I can’t say I loved this one, but I do like oddities, and it’s full of those.

Blood Diner (1987)

USA

Director: Jackie Kong (a lady!)

We really like Blood Diner. We own the DVD, and we’re happy about that. But it is a seriously brutal horror-comedy.

Two brothers run a vegetarian restaurant. The secret to why their vegetarian restaurant’s veggie burgers are so good is really simple: they’re made of human flesh. Anyway, they have all this human flesh available because of their main project, which is to build a body out of lots of female victims, which they will eventually bring to life in a cannibalistic ritual as the goddess Sheetar. The vegetarian restaurant is just a side gig. None of these are spoilers, as I think all of it is established in the first five minutes. The movie is focused on the two brothers, collecting their body parts (through lots of brutal murder) and preparing for the ritual. And… I think it is really funny? It has an odd charm? I’ve watched it at least twice?

But look. None of the movies on this list are for everybody. No movie is. But this one is sort of especially not for the non-desensitized. Then again, if you, like me, have been holed up in your house watching horror movies for the past year, you’ll probably be fine with it.

 

Blood Rage (1987)

USA

Director: John Grissmer

“That’s not cranberry sauce…”

Look, this movie isn’t bad. It is (I presume) low-budget, and it isn’t brilliant. But, if what you want is a Thanksgiving slasher, then this is probably the movie for you. Anyway, I think your selection is probably pretty limited.

Basically: we expected this one to be unwatchable, and we were pleasantly surprised.

The Boogens (1981)

USA

Director: James L. Conway

This one is actively good. The characters are, in many ways, classic slasher-fodder: a couple of couples, in a remote farmhouse, having sex and also working in a local mine. Sort of a working holiday, I guess? Anyway, the charm of this movie is that none of the characters are dumb, and none of them feel generic. They’re all sex-mad, but in a cute way. They are all fairly interesting people that I wouldn’t mind talking to at a party. Unusual, for this kind of movie. There is also an underground turtle-monster. Or possibly several turtle-monsters.

Bowery At Midnight (1942)

USA

Director: Wallace Fox

Bela Lugosi runs a soup kitchen. Also, he is a criminal mastermind. Also, his assistant has been raising zombies in the basement. Inconvenient thing for him to do. Bela’s just gotten a guy nicely killed, and thrown into the basement, and then… bam! Resurrected.

This movie is pleasantly and charmingly out of its goddamned mind.

Bride of the Monster (1955)

USA

Director: Ed Wood

Bela Lugosi wants to make a race of atomic supermen. He does this (or is trying to do this) by getting normal, non-atomic, non-supermen, strapping them to a table, and pulling a lever.

“Soon you will be as big as a giant… or, like all the others, dead!” Says Bela as he is about to pull the lever on some poor schmuck. Though, I mean, I appreciate his candor. And the joyful sparkle with which Bela delivers that line alone makes this movie kinda worth it.

“He tampered in God’s domain” …is an actual line in this movie.

Also, I think this is the one with the octopus in the closet. For, as far as I can tell, no reason.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

USA

Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui (a lady!)

I loved this movie as a kid, when it first came out. As an adult… not so much. And, I mean, it isn’t nearly as cool as the later TV show.

Actually, let me be brutally candid: I kind of hated this, watching it as an adult. It had none of charm I remembered it having.

But yeah, as a kid, I loved it. I remember running around with my friend Allison, attacking each other with sweet karate moves (or what we imagined to be sweet karate moves) and arranging ambushes and trying to stake each other and everything, all because this movie was that exciting for us. Looking back, I am pleased and surprised that we made it through that and into adulthood without losing an eye or something.

***

That’s it for today, folks! Have you seen any of the movies I’ve listed today? What did you think? Do any of the movies here sound fun to you? Planning to see any of them? Tell me all about it!

Mystery Picture “C” (identify it if you can!):

The screenshot below is from one of the movies I will be reviewing tomorrow. Can you name it?

 

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20 Comments

  1. Buffy was much better as a TV series than as a movie…

    • I know! I 100% agree with you there. But also, the movie was, I think, aimed at children (or anyway teens). The TV show was more for adults. Or I don’t know, actually. Maybe the show was also aimed at teens, but it turned out to have a broader appeal?

      • I don’t think I’ve seen the film, at least not all the way through, but isn’t Donald Sutherland her Watcher?

        • Yes, he is! And, if I remember correctly, he does a fine job in the role. Rutger Hauer is also in it, as the vampire king or whatever. Also, Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens). He’s in it, too. Actually, it is stuffed with famous people, now I look at the list. Sigh… if only the movie had been better…

    • How fun. Right away you make me laugh because you’ve watched more B movies (both literally and figuratively) than all of the movies I’ve watched during the pandemic. But you’ve given me a few to add to my watch list, with Blood and Black Lace heading.

      • Hello Deborah! Ha! I like what you did there, with the B movie remark.
        And yeah, we definitely watched lots of movies over the past year. For a time, we were watching a movie a night. It gave a structure to our days. Have dinner, watch movie, go to bed. It was useful. Heck, we’re basically still doing that.
        Tell me what you think of Blood and Black Lace, if you end up watching it! I hope you like it!

  2. OK
    you are baffling me this year
    I like it

    I saw the original Blob. Does that count?

    • Ha ha! I am pleased to be baffling you, especially since you seem to know your movies pretty thoroughly. Want a clue or anything?

      I haven’t seen the original Blob, so… I guess… we’re even? Not sure. 🙂

  3. >Oh, also! Rutger Hauer is in this movie.

    Sheesh, way to bury the lede!

    • Do you mean, Rutger Hauer will probably out-act anyone he is filmed with? I definitely see what you mean there, but I really think it works well in this one, especially since for most of the film, the main character is a bit passive. And I know that’s supposed to be bad–main characters should do things–but I like it here. I have, however, fought shy of calling him the “protagonist” because of his relative passivity.
      UPDATE: I just got it. You think that ought to have been my first remark. Fair enough, but he’s not a huge part of the movie.

  4. I recently saw ‘Bird with the Crystal Plumage’ for the first time and really enjoyed it, a very effective film.
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/02/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-b/

    • Hello Iain! Yes, it is pretty good, isn’t it? I really wish I remembered more about it, because it was very effective indeed. And I do remember the opening pretty vividly, with the attempted murder at the art gallery. I think we were just watching a lot of giallo at that time, and the details of “Bird…” got lost in the blur.

      Have you seen other Argento films? There are more coming on this list, and one of them is one of my favorite films, ever.

  5. I don’t remember seeing any of these movies, but I am drawn to several you’ve recommended, particularly the Bela Lugosi films. The one Ed Wood directed must have been Lugosi’s last work and he must have been in his 80s.

    I have no knowledge of the “C” movie photo, but I want to guess “The Call of Cthulu”. Not because I’ve seen it, but because “Cthulu” is what came to mind.

    Speaking of Lovecraft, have you watched the series “Lovecraft Country” on HBO Max?

    • Hello Susan! I like Bela Lugosi too, which means I’ve seen some fairly odd (and, some would say, bad) films that I mightn’t otherwise have watched. And I think “Bride of the Monster” is his 2nd or 3rd-last film, depending on how you count Plan 9 (which he died in the middle of filming, and which uses some fairly laughable tricks to conceal this interesting fact. “Just cover your face! No-one will know!”)

      I like your guess–because, I mean, that book in the picture sure does look like a Necronomicon–but alas, no. I also like your comment because, though I’ve read the story, I don’t think I knew there was a “Call of Cthulhu” movie until now. Neat! Possibly I should check it out.

      As for “Lovecraft Country,” I haven’t seen the series, but I do own the book, which is somewhere in the middle of my TBR pile. Not that I’m actually organized enough to have an actual pile. The pile is more of a conceptual thing.

  6. Black Sunday is one of my all-time favorites!

    Nothing gets my dad laughing more than a “good” Ed Wood movie. Been years since I watched Bride of the Monster.

    The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is also great.

    I do not recognize the picture though.

    • I noticed that Black Sunday was on your Pinterest board, and was pleased to see it there!
      And, for an Ed Wood movie, “Bride of the Monster” really isn’t terrible. Or anyway, it is watchable and has charm.
      I am super-thrilled to have stumped you! When you got the first one, I sort of assumed you’d get them all. Especially after I looked at your Pinterest board (and read some of the attached reviews, by the way! Good stuff! And it will be very helpful to us in deciding what to watch in the future).

  7. Wow, I’m two for two, having seen Buffy! Unexpected, this was. It may yet turn out that I am a horror movie aficionado, unbeknownst to myself and by having seen exactly 26 horror-adjacent movies in my life. On the other hand, it is possible that my streak will end. We shall see; only time and the vagaries of the alphabet will tell.

    Black and White: C for Camelot

  8. Interesting what you say about the difference in quality between the Buffy film & TV shows. I’ve only recently seen a few Buffy TV programmes (yes, the boyfriend is responsible for that too).

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    • The Buffy film feels like a bad early draft of the show. Or anyway, that is how it seems to me.

      And I’m not all that familiar with the show, by the way–not because I don’t like what I’ve seen (I have enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen quite a lot), but because… essentially because I have a little sister. When we were growing up, there was a very strict TV-watching schedule in our house. Any changes made to that schedule required a physical fight for the remote and a constant defense of one’s position thereafter. Buffy just wasn’t on the schedule. That was sort of that.

      And as an adult, I haven’t been quite interested enough to seek the show out.

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