Hello, and welcome to my 2021 A to Z April Blogging Challenge! This year, I am talking about all the horror movies Alec and I have watched during the pandemic (so far). There are quite a lot of them–we were doing a movie every night for a while there, and we still average maybe 4-5 movies a week–so I’ve got plenty to talk about.
Today, I have only five movies to discuss. Most of them I have little to say about, because I liked them, but not in any madly interesting way. One movie, though, I absolutely hated, and I am going to tell you why. Other than that, this is going to be a short post–though probably not as short as “J.” I only have two movies to talk about for “J.”
Without further ado…
Incense For The Damned (1971)
Director: Robert Hartford-Davis
A waste of some fine talent. Peter Cushing and Patrick Macnee, for example.
Dull, earnest, pretentious, and morally bankrupt.
Let me expand on that last one. I don’t necessarily ask my horror movies to occupy a moral high ground. Often, they do, of course. Often, in horror movies, bad things are done by people recognized by the movie to be bad. But I am okay with the occasional wild ride on the villain side. Eating Raoul (which I talk about in my “E” post) is about a couple who kill people for money, and you are basically cheering them on. But Eating Raoul never expects you to come away believing that murdering people for money is morally acceptable.
Incense for the Damned, on the other hand, treats the whiny and murderous lead (I think his name is Richard) as if he is an oppressed and misunderstood genius. Richard has joined a hippie sex cult which indulges in ritual murder. The movie thinks that it is awfully stuffy of those stodgy old other characters to judge Richard for all the murder. Because it’s, like, sexually liberating, man. Or something.
I am personally super-glad that the formerly impotent Richard has found his kink (blood-sucking). Not my thing, but hey, you do you! Find a consenting partner, agree on some safety parameters, and go to it! Maybe invest in some iron supplements, but yeah. I’m all for that sort of freedom. The murder thing, though, is not okay, and the movie doesn’t seem to notice that there’s a distinction.
And I could forgive all of it–because I don’t take my morals out of the horror movies I watch, so a bad moral won’t hurt me–if the movie wasn’t also so damn boring.
Director: Dario Argento
Visually stunning movie. The second in Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy. The first movie in that trilogy is Suspiria, one of my all-time favorites.
Inferno was good, but it was no Suspiria. Unfortunately, after the vividly-remembered opening (in which someone plunges into a puddle that seems to be very deep, and which contains a surreal assortment of household goods, and it is like you are plunging into some drowned dimension, and it is breath-takingly beautiful), I don’t really remember much else.
It is also the source of “yesterday’s” Mystery Picture. Here it is again!
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
Director: John Carpenter
A good movie. I liked it a lot. I didn’t love it, but I liked it a lot. And there is lots of exciting talent here. Several of the actors here were of the tantalizingly-familiar sort for me, the sort you recognize at once but can’t name. It turned out those people were David Warner, Sam Neill, and Frances Bay. It was especially thrilling to see Frances Bay. I shall perpetually think of her as “the creamed-corn lady” from Twin Peaks. But that may be because Twin Peaks (the original series, which I have marathon-watched in its entirety more than once) looms pretty large in my life.
Invisible Ghost (1941)
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Bela Lugosi plays a very nice widower whose wife isn’t actually dead, unless she is. Anyway, dead or not, she stands outside of his window quite often, and compels him to commit crimes with her hypnotic powers. It is weird to see Lugosi in thrall to a villainous hypnotist. He’s usually the villainous hypnotist.
Isle of the Dead (1945)
Director: Mark Robson
Boris Karloff plays a Greek general in this slow and melancholy movie about paranoia, mistrust, and the dangers of superstition. Karloff is really compelling here. But this isn’t a fun monster-movie watch, so don’t go in expecting that.
A small group of people are quarantined on a Greek island after one of them dies of plague. The survivors are waiting for the Sirocco wind to blow, on the theory that it will kill the fleas that carry the dread disease. While they wait, they fall prey to rumors, growing in intensity, that one of the people among them is a Vorvolakas, a kind of vampire.
Right! So that’s it for today, folks! On Monday–“J,” and the shortest post yet!
Mystery Picture J:
Identify it if you can, or spin a yarn about it if you’d rather! Solution Monday!