E… A to Z 2021 Horror Movies #AtoZChallenge

Hello,and welcome to my 2021 April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year, I am absolutely determined to tell you about every single horror movie that Alec and I watched during the pandemic (so far). There are, I think, around 200 of them on my list. Today, however, we have a bit of a light day. Only five of them begin with “E.”

Without further ado…

 

Eating Raoul (1982)

USA

Director: Paul Bartel

Eating Raoul is a movie we’ve known about for ages, but had never gotten around to actually watching until just lately. I liked it a lot, though not all of the humor landed for me. It is a very dark comedy, and it is extremely stylized, so it isn’t going to work for everyone. Still, wow. A very interesting premise.

But what is the premise? Well, I’ll tell you. The Blands (Paul and Mary, played by Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov) are a married couple who sleep in twin beds. This is symbolic. They act more like brother and sister than husband and wife. They are, in fact, defiantly, absurdly, and exaggeratedly “square.” They dream someday of opening a restaurant, but they don’t have the money. Also, their apartment building is full of swingers! This bothers them. They don’t like swingers. Swingers have loud parties and are very promiscuous and so on. The Blands disapprove.

One fateful day, a drunk swinger gets into their apartment and tries to rape Mary. They kill him sort of by accident… and then discover that his pockets are absolutely stuffed with money. This gives them an idea. Are all of these swinger types similarly loaded? If so…

Quite soon, they are murdering swingers left and right and stealing their cash. They lure them in by placing a saucy ad in the paper, promising to cater to every fetish. Then they bop them over the head with a frying pan and loot the bodies. They’ll have that restaurant yet!

The main charm of this movie is the way the Blands remain… bland. They never, ever stop being bland. That’s part of the movie’s thing, I think. People don’t ever stop doing the thing they are put in the movie to do. The Blands are bland. They are as bland when they are committing murders as they are when they are discussing the menu of the restaurant they’d like to open (“Bland Enchiladas!”).

Eating Raoul may or may not belong on a list of horror movies, but I feel like it belongs on this list of horror movies.

It was also the source of yesterday’s Mystery Picture! Here it is again:

Event Horizon (1997)

UK, USA

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Some wonderful talent in this one (Laurence Fishburne, and… wow, okay, I just checked the cast list, and realized that Joely Richardson is in this too; she played Theresa Gardner in 2019’s Color Out of Space, which I talked about in my “C” post), but on the whole I felt that it was a touch under-done. A little more work on character arcs, though, and it could have been brilliant.

I guess my specific objection is the character arc of the scientist in the party. The one who built the ship that this crew is in the process of salvaging (the eponymous “Event Horizon”). He seems to go from zero to evil in no seconds. And if there is a reason for this, it didn’t really land, for me. Was it because the ship ate his wife? Why would that make him evil?

Still, there are some gorgeous and mesmerizing sets.

 

Evil Laugh (1986)

USA

Director: Dominick Brascia

A cheap slasher film. I basically liked it. It is very aware of the genre it is in, and makes constant references to the rules of the slasher. That is pretty neat, pre-Scream (though Evil Laugh is far from the first slasher flick to do the self-aware gag. It isn’t even the earliest one to do so in this A to Z).

The main cinema nerd, though, gets steadily more annoying throughout the film, with his stupid pranks, until I was begging the slasher to kill him.

If you like cheap slashers, there is no reason not to see this one. If you don’t, there is probably nothing here that you’ll like.

 

Evils of the Night (1985)

USA

Director: Mardi Rustam

It isn’t often that I say this, but I am going to do it this time: don’t watch this one. I know it has John Carradine in it. There are also several other B-movie people in the cast. That’s why we decided to watch it. Just… don’t. Do yourself a favor.

The movie starts off light and jokey (and it manages to be pretty annoying then). Then there’s this turning-point where, I feel, the filmmakers shrugged, said, “oh well, we’d better get all these teens killed off somehow!” …and proceeded to give me the worst case of tonal whiplash I have ever experienced. Things get suddenly, horribly brutal.

There is one woman who finds the corpse of her fiancee and literally sobs for the rest of the movie (until she, too, is killed). I was really hoping that she would become some sort of weeping avenger, and maybe redeem the movie at the last minute (at least a little bit) by slaying some of the villains. But no. The movie didn’t even give me that. It was too lazy to be anything but brutal.

 

The Exorcist III (1990)

USA

Director: William Peter Blatty

This is a fine movie. Not great, but not bad. But the only part I really remember (because it was a rare moment for me where a movie actually scared me) is also a part that I don’t want to ruin for other viewers (though I knew it was coming–I’d even seen a clip of it–and it was still effective for me). If you watch the movie, just keep paying attention when you get that long shot of the hospital corridor–and don’t blink, or you might miss it.

***

So, that’s it for today! Tune in tomorrow for “F”!

Mystery Picture “F” (Identify it if you can!!!):

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18 Comments

  1. About Evils of the Night: helpless teens remaining helpless and horribly dying is realistic. A woman being utterly destroyed by her lover’s death, and being horribly killed in turn, is realistic.

    Although she dies in an empty shed, and who has one of those?

    But if you put these things in a movie in which John Carradine plays a feckless space vampire, assisted by a couple of nurses played by Julie Newmar and Ginger from Gilligan’s Island…and Carradine, having failed in his mission to steal blood from Earth, just shrugs – “Can’t win ’em all”…problems arise with your tone.

    There’s no effort to link or reconcile these two approaches.

    I can imagine a movie with these elements not being terrible, but that movie is not Evils of the Night.

  2. I haven’t seen any of these, though heard of Eating Raoul – I didn’t know there was more than one Exorcist movie. I believe Linda Blair has done some strange movies since then, and nobody can forget her child role, poor woman!

    Today’s post in my A to Z is F for Fantasy based on Greek Myth

    https://suebursztynski.blogspot.com/2021/04/f-is-for-fantasy-fiction-based-on-greek.html

    • Hello Sue! Yep, Exorcist has sequels. I hear that Exorcist II is painfully bad, and haven’t actually seen it. Exorcist III is a good movie, until it remembers it is supposed to be an Exorcist sequel, at which point it turns sort of sloppy. Linda Blair isn’t in Exorcist III (unless she has a cameo? Anyway, I don’t remember seeing her), which I bet was a relief to her.
      I think that maybe Exorcist III came to the studio as an unrelated script, and someone decided it would sell better as an Exorcist sequel. But I don’t actually know that for sure. It just seems plausible.

  3. When you deem a movie to be truly awful, do you consider just turning it off? I have forced myself to read books a lot of people reportedly like that I find an utter waste of time, hoping for a punchline or some pithy or profound conclusion, but a movie has to draw me in within the first 20 minutes or I will find something else to do.

    No clue about the mystery photo… but I have the sense that the toothy beast isn’t a monster, but the masked guy’s partner.

    • Hello Susan! Consider turning it off, yes. We’ve even done it a couple of times. But sometimes (and I’m not even sure how this happens), we end up sitting through a whole movie that we both completely hate.

      I think the pandemic is a factor here. The movie fills a big hole in our days, in the schedule we made up for ourselves. Turning it off means either going to bed early or starting a new movie (or, I guess, finding something else to do, but we’ve already done lots of something else over the course of the day).

      I love your idea about the photo! I’d like to have a partner like that.

  4. Event Horizon has gone from a movie I casually liked to one of my favorites. Just some real fun stuff in this movie. Plus I am a huge fan of sci-fi horror. And that cast! Really pulling in some star power to be sure. BUT like you said it has some issues.

    I still love it.

  5. I didn’t even know there was an Exorcist III, will need to check it out. Event Horizon is a great film, love Sam Neill in anything 🙂
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/07/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-f/

    • Hello Iain! Yeah, I was fairly excited about Event Horizon, it just didn’t quite click for me. And Exorcist III is only sort of a sequel to The Exorcist, if I remember correctly. It often feels like an unrelated story that has been hastily shoe-horned into the Exorcist universe, with lots of added references and things. I wonder if that is true, and if so, what the movie as originally written would have been like.

  6. Perhaps my new approach needs to be making up my own story for the mystery photo, since obviously I will never have seen any of them in actuality. Therefore, I suggest that the spidery thing is just minding its own business, perhaps as a weather forecaster for the evening news, when the filming is photobombed by the white-suited supervillain “Dr Poison,” who is holding his patented Gemini Bomb with which he threatens to blow up the entire ancient and noble spider-thing civilization if they do not deliver to him immediately a) 5 billion dollars, b) a fully functional space-pod stocked with enough food and water for three weeks’ travel, c) 14 pounds of jelly beans with all the black ones removed, and d) a forecast for rain.
    Am I close?
    Black and White: F for Faerie

    • I am ecstatically happy with this idea. Your interpretation is charming. Please make up stories about the pictures!!!!

      I find the idea that the spider-thing is a weather forecaster to be especially oddly persuasive. I can imagine him, sitting there, delivering his report, when suddenly… yes, it is perfect.

  7. Cool insights about the E movies. I absolutely HAVE to watch Eating Raoul now. That sounds like a fun movie. I’ve never heard of it before but I’m gonna find it. You are correct about Event Horizon and the scientist. I know exactly what scene you are talking about in The Exorcist III.

    • Yay! I am glad you know the scene I mean. Really, really good, isn’t it? Just one second or so of sheer terror. And then it’s gone. So cool.
      Eating Raoul is a weird movie. I hesitate to actively recommend it to people, though I personally liked it. Tell me what you think if you see it!

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