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 Alec and I have watched during the pandemic. Since the pandemic is still ongoing, and Alec and I are still watching movies, this list does keep getting bigger on me.
Fun fact: we have now watched two movies just too late for me to blog about them. Mere hours after I published my “B” post, we watched The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe. Last night, after dinner, we watched Funny Man.
Many of my posts so far have been pretty darn long. Today, I am trying something different. Today, I strive for brevity. We’ll see how that goes.
Without further palaver…
Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Director: Bruce D. Clark
Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger) is in this! So is Sid Haig! So is Grace Zabriskie (who played Sarah Palmer in Twin Peaks–I knew her face was familiar…)! Also! James Cameron allegedly got steadily promoted as the filming went on, finally ending up as Art Director. So… yeah, that’s neat. I hear the giant maggot in this movie almost crushed an actress to death, because it was, like, super-heavy. She escaped at the last minute, though, by rolling out of the way. Or so I hear.
So this is a movie that is surrounded by myth, gossip, and legend. I’m not sure that the movie itself–that any movie–could live up to being this storied. I think Roger Corman must have been an interesting man to work for, or to work with, or whatever you did with him. Actually… wow, he’s still alive. And working. Man just keeps going, doesn’t he?
So, this movie is interesting, but maybe more for who is in it, and for the stories that get told about making it, than for the movie itself. Which, by the way, is about some people who crash-land on a planet. On this planet, their worst fears are brought to life and attack them.
Ghost Galleon (El buque maldito)(1974)
Director: Amando de Ossorio
This is Part 3 of the famous-for-being-bad Blind Dead movies. I was about to call it a “series,” but that isn’t entirely accurate. The movies don’t really form a series as far as I can tell. I mean, it isn’t, as far as I have been able to ascertain, as if the events of the first movie have much of an influence on the events of the second movie, which itself does not much inform the events of the third movie. The movies feel more like Amando de Ossorio trying again and again to get at the story he wants to tell. I’ve seen two out of the four, and Return of the Evil Dead (1973) had many fun parts and things I liked about it. I wanted to like this one, too. But look–it was a little dull. Just person after person, walking off into the hold of a ghost ship, getting murdered. Or that is the impression I retain now.
Director: Luca Bercovici
Ghoulies was advertised as a lots-of-little-monsters horror-comedy. It isn’t. The little monsters are present, but they are unimportant to the plot, which is about a man becoming corrupted by the lure of dark magic. And (most damning of all, for something so clearly branded as a horror-comedy as this movie was) it isn’t funny. I have a suspicion that it started out as a straight horror piece, but then someone remembered that Gremlins had done well at the box office, so… in went some creatures, and a couple of feeble jokes, to maintain the illusion that this was a Gremlins-like horror-comedy. I can’t prove that is what happened, and I may be totally wrong. All I’m saying is, the movie seems like it was made that way.
What I think I mind here is the false advertising. Any movie that has a little monster coming out of a toilet on the poster… really should be a comedy about little monsters. I’m not saying I expected it to be elevating. In fact, I was expecting the humor to be terribly crude, but I was curious to see if it had any sparkle of genuine wit. But–it wasn’t even a bathroom-humor-heavy gross-fest. I felt deceived.
Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (1990)
Director: John Carl Buechler
We watched Ghoulies 3, after the disappointment of Ghoulies, for two reasons: the director here was John Carl Buechler (a big special-effects guy, and also the director of Cellar Dweller, a movie we liked, and that I discuss in my “C” post), and we’d heard that this one at least actually seems aware of the fact that it is being sold as a horror-comedy. So we thought we’d try it. And… it was better than Ghoulies? That’s as far as I can go.
Oh, and it is set on a college campus, instead of in a big gloomy mansion. Not that I dislike big gloomy mansions as settings. I actually kind of view “set in a big, gloomy mansion” as a plus, when I am considering whether or not to watch something. But a college campus sounded like it might add some pep.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Director: John Fawcett
This is a brilliant movie. Really, really, really compelling. Really funny and also touching. So good. It was an early-pandemic (re)watch, and I talk about it more here.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (aka The Evil Eye) (La ragazza che sapeva troppo) (1963)
director: Mario Bava
This is fun. It is also, apparently, important. It helped to form the giallo genre. It also has comedic elements, which is neat, and, I think, rather unusual for a giallo, or a proto-giallo, or whatever this is. It is also the source of yesterday’s Mystery Picture! Our heroine has decided to set some traps, in case anyone tries to sneak up on her while she is sleeping. Here it is again:
Director: Jon Wright
This one is fun. Inhabitants of a small island have to fight off blood-sucking aliens… and then they discover that booze is poison to the invaders… so the whole town has to get very, very drunk in order to survive. It is charming and funny, and I really liked watching all the actors acting drunk. I talk about it more in this post; scroll waaaay down and you’ll see it.
That’s all for today, folks! Tune in for “H” tomorrow! I have 18 movies for “H,” and no clear idea of what I want to say about most of them. We’ll see how that works out.
Mystery Picture “H”:
Identify it if you can (or make up a funny story about it if that’s more your thing)! Answer tomorrow.
Jambi, post The Pee-Wee Herman Show.
I was doing quite well, but I think this is the first letter that I haven’t seen or heard of any of these! I like the sound of The Girl Who Knew Too Much though, might look out for it. https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/08/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-g/
The Girl Who Knew Too Much is good, though I wish it had gone further on the comedy (but I’m a horror-comedy kind of gal, so I would think that). I forgot to mention that it features a very young John Saxon in the role of romantic lead, which is cool.
I also recommend Ginger Snaps. It is kind of amazing.
Galaxy of Terror sounds like a movie that needs a behind-the-scenes movie—even if most of the stories are fiction!
Yes! I agree! That would be amazing. In fact, anyone who wants to give Corman the Shadow of the Vampire treatment will find me an eager member of the audience.
I love horror movies so am excited about your theme and checking some of these out. I agree Ginger Snaps is a great movie.
Yay! I am glad you like Ginger Snaps. It’s kind of amazing. May be in my top ten.
This is Harold Head. Well, this is Harold Head’s head, to be precise. In his full incorporation, he was the head of the Design Department at Headwear, Incorporated, a family-owned enterprise established four generations earlier by the Knewsy family.
Harold had begun his climb up the corporate ladder as an eager and well-liked apprentice, learning the milliner trade from the highly regarded and widely renown Newport Knewsy himself, inventor of the flat cap. Mr. Newsy had taken such a shine to young Harold, he would often invite him to join the family for dinner at their 32-room mansion across town. The Newsy family even agreed to guarantee young Harold a permanent place in the company no matter what turns the economy might take.
The other apprentices muttered into their boaters and bonnets and bided their time.
Time passed, and so did Newport. His son Theo inherited the business and everything else, but never set foot in the shop. Harold became a full-fledged Designer, teacher and mentor to his own brand new apprentice. He became a full-time resident in the Newsy mansion across town.
Sadly, the economy was receding. Some of the other apprentices were let go. Those fortunate enough to retain employment became Assistant Designers, grumbling to each other and the single apprentice they shared, as they stitched up top hats and trilbies, fedoras and fascinators. They took comfort in commiserating. “Flat caps are going out of style. He’ll learn. He has to diversify.”
But Harold’s respect for his deceased teacher and mentor focused his creative attentions on nudging the flat cap into the future with every step fashion took forward to keep Newport’s spirit alive. From earthy plaids, his headwear progressed to pastel paisleys and psychedelic neons. Their crowns ballooned to heights only patent leather could maintain. He bedazzled his creations with metallic stitching and studs, cabochons and crystals. At the prices they commanded, there weren’t a lot of buyers, but the sparkly displays brought customers inside. Some even bought hats. Theo promoted Harold to Managing Head Designer. But the painful truth was that fewer and fewer people wore hats as the years went by.
The Assistant Designers scowled as they turned out bucket hats, beanies, and broad-brimmed sun hats in their attempt to remain relevant. “If only Harold would make an effort to design something people wanted to wear,” they whispered to one another and their discouraged apprentice, “business would thrive.”
Headware, Inc. let a few more Assistant Designers go. The two who remained glowered at Harold. The lone apprentice found work in the meat packing district.
The next day, Harold Head did not show up for work. The two Assistant Designers opened the shop late and came in yawning. Silently, they surveyed the interior and exchanged a look that spoke volumes. Then they transferred all of Harold’s outlandish, glittering, unsellable flat caps from the front window to the dumpster out back. As they left through the front door, locking it behind them, glowing orange light grew behind the window and fingerlings of smoke were just beginning to seep out around the window frame.
Across town, a delivery van driver dropped a package on the veranda in front of a 32-room mansion. Theo Knewsy ripped the brown paper off an old wooden crate and opened the attached note which read, “Poor Harold Head. He never could think outside the box.”
Theo opened the box.
Ha! This is splendid, Susan! I love especially the point at which you choose to end your tale. Just the right dramatic note.
Thank you so much, Melanie! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I LOVED Ginger Snaps!
I know. Kind of wonderful, isn’t it? Have you seen any of the sequels? We haven’t, because they sound, frankly, a little silly. But I have heard some good things about them. I’m on the fence.
This is clearly a pirate who loved treasure so much he wanted to become one. Upon his demise at the cutlass of his chief rival Plaid Evan the Bold he requested that his first mate retrieve his head, package it up in the finest of treasure chests, and carry it to a prime Caribbean island beach, there to bury it beneath an X carved of glistening black marble. If you wonder how he made arrangements for his own funeral *after* Plaid Evan had already slashed off his head, I can only suggest that you must not have looked properly at that photo. It seems evident that he was still pretty perky.
Your first sentence… oh my god, I think I just did a spit-take. If I am applying the term correctly, anyway. That is so funny! And I agree, the man looks very perky indeed for a bodyless head.