Hello, and welcome to my 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! This year: horror movies! Specifically, the horror movies Alec and I watched during the pandemic (so far). We’ve watched quite a few of them. I forget if the list at the moment has actually gone over 200 titles, but anyway it is hovering in that vicinity. I’m going to list them all over the month of April, along with notes about each film. Feel free to just sort of skim for movies that interest you.
Today, I have ten titles for you. Most of the titles start with “Night” or “Nightmare” and go on from there.
And now… without further fuss, ado, or introductory remarks… I give you…
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba)(1971)
Director: Emilio Miraglia
A giallo, but not a very good one, in my opinion.
The interesting thing here is that, at the very beginning of the film, it is established that our protagonist is a serial killer. The movie then forgets this fact. I really feel as if “forgets” is the right word. He is treated, by the end of the film, as the hero. It’s really odd. But this movie is very convoluted and elaborate, even for a giallo, so, I mean, minor details like serial murder could easily just get lost in the shuffle.
I can’t say I recommend this one, exactly? Sometimes, it’s even a little dull.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Director: Wes Craven
This was my first time seeing this classic. And it was good. An engaging and worthwhile watch, with some real menace and moments of tension. As always, I was glad to see that it was still watchable and effective, after all of these years, and with all of that reputation to live up to.
Nightmare Sisters (1988)
Director: David DeCoteau
An early-pandemic watch, which I pan here. For people who don’t want to click on things: this is a horror movie with, right in the middle of the story, whole minutes of screen-time given to three ladies washing each other in a tub. In what I imagine is supposed to be an erotically-charged way. And, not only is the whole scene unnecessary and blatant, but it also fails to even be genuinely titillating. So it misses that very low bar.
Linnea Quigley. Michelle Bauer. Brinke Stevens. Three scream queens. All utterly wasted here, in this dreary attempt at secretly making porn that fails even to do that.
All of these ladies, I just noticed, have lots of acting credits. And I mean lots of acting credits. Brinke Stevens wins at… 220??? Damn, that is one busy woman. Just for comparison’s sake, Vincent Price, Mr. “I’ll Act In Anything” himself, only has 211 acting credits on his IMDb page (though he is credited as “self” in 270 things, so yeah–not exactly a slacker).
It is totally fair to call Vincent Price “Mr. I’ll-Act-In-Anything,” because he admitted this himself. If you look at his IMDb quotes page, you will see that he once said, ‘I like to be seen, I love being busy and I believe in being active. I know some people think I’ve lowered myself as an actor, but my idea of “professional decline” is “not working”.’ Which explains a lot, and is, I think, an admirable attitude to have.
And I notice that I have now utterly abandoned the topic of Nightmare Sisters, in order to talk about more interesting things. Time to move on to the next “Nightmare,” I think.
Nightmare Weekend (1986)
UK, USA, France
Director: Henri Sala
What? What happens in this movie? We became so baffled so quickly that we gave up and turned it off halfway through.
Night of the Creeps (1986)
Director: Fred Dekker
A great horror-comedy. Really fun, fairly scary in parts. It was an early-pandemic watch, and I talk about it here.
It is about some nerdy-type guys at college who want to pledge for a fraternity so that the girl one of them is smitten with will look at him. They end up stealing a corpse as part of their… I could call it an initiation, but I get the idea that no matter what they do, they aren’t getting into that frat. Let’s call it a sort of quest they get sent on by mean people who are tricking them. Anyway, this body is infected with horrible slug-monsters, and soon the whole campus is covered in slugs and slug-zombies and similar. Tom Atkins plays a suicidal policeman who saw part of the slug situation last time it broke loose, and has a dark secret connected with a particular patch of dirt in the grounds of one of the sorority houses.
As I pointed out in yesterday’s post, Fred Dekker as both director and writer appears to be a good thing for movies. The Monster Squad is also a product of this winning combination.
Night of the Demons (1988)
Director: Kevin Tenney
Another great horror-comedy! Also, another early-pandemic watch, which I talk about here. Linnea Quigley is in this film, and she’s utterly perfect for the part.
This is your typical tale, in many ways. A group of teenagers throw a Halloween party in a spooky house. One of them gets possessed by a demon. Soon, all of them are desperately fighting for their lives. The demons here basically work like zombies: you become a demon if a demon gets you.
The charm of this film is the engagingly unpleasant nature of the characters. You only mind when one of them dies because now that person isn’t going to be around anymore to say obnoxiously amusing things. Which is a more comfortable sort of investment than, you know, actually caring about the characters. It is therefore the perfect level of investment to have in characters in a light-toned murder-fest like this.
It is also the source of yesterday’s Mystery Picture! Here it is again, with some of our engagingly-obnoxious teens in the car on the way to the party. The man in the pig-nose is the most engagingly obnoxious character of all. I was almost fond of him, by the time he died, he was so lively and awful.
Night of the Werewolf (El retorno del Hombre Lobo)(1981)
Director: Paul Naschy
Paul Naschy not only stars in this one (as perpetually-doomed werewolf Waldemar Daninsky), but also directs! There’s a werewolf, there are some ladies messing about with tombs and such, and then–bang! Resurrected witch.
Weirdly, this is essentially the plot of two Paul Naschy movies (this one, and The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman), and, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen both, I can’t really keep them straight in my head.
Nosferatu (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens)(1922)
Director: F.W. Murnau
A classic. Gorgeous and creepy. I love Count Orlok’s horribly long fingers. And all the shadows. If you haven’t actually watched this yet, I’d advise just going ahead and doing so.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht)(1979)
West Germany, France
Director: Werner Herzog
I feel bad about saying this, but… it was a little dull. Lots of gorgeous shots of nature, but the plot of the movie slows to a crawl, or halts absolutely, in order to show us all these pretty shots. I mean, the shots are really quite gorgeous. But they feel, perhaps, a little self-indulgent.
It is supposed to be a tribute to the original Nosferatu, but I advise those who are interested to watch the original in preference to this one. Or at least to watch the original first. Then wait a little while. Then watch this one, if you want to, for the purposes of comparison. That is interesting and fruitful. And I’m not saying there isn’t a lot in this to interest a viewer, because there is. It just isn’t great at staying on task. And it feels longer than it is, which is usually a bad sign.
Director: Bruce Hickey
So we watched this one, and felt mildly baffled, but in an intrigued way. So we watched it again. Still baffled, still intrigued. It appears to be about a resurrected witch who steals people’s souls so she can lactate ectoplasm through her three rows of breasts to feed her faithful zombie hoard. So… yeah, if that idea appeals to you, see this film. Then please come back and explain it to me.
So, that’s it for “N.” Tomorrow, I have only two movies for “O.” They were made about thirty years apart, but they each bear the same title. And, having given you that clue, here is my Mystery Picture: