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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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:
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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?