Hello, and welcome to my 2021 April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year, I am listing all of the horror movies Alec and I have seen over the course of the pandemic (so far), with notes. I always talk about how brief these notes are going to be, but I often find that I have failed to deliver on that promise. Today–really this time–I’m going to keep things short and sweet. Yesterday’s post was over 3,000 words. Granted, I had 24 movies to talk about, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, but it was still too long. Today, I’ve got 10 films to tell you about, and I’m just going to give each of them a few short paragraphs.
Without further ado…
Tammy and the T-Rex (1994)
Director: Stewart Raffill
I’d call this one a body-horror rom-com. Which is a weird thing to say about a movie, but… yeah, it seems fair enough here. A teenage boy gets his brain put into a robotic T-Rex. His girlfriend Tammy still loves him, though!
As I’ve mentioned before, I was a teenager in the 90s. I therefore deeply appreciated, in a nostalgic way, several of Tammy’s fashion choices. Though I don’t remember navel-bearing shirts for men being a thing. Still, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
Anyway, I don’t know if this one really belongs on my list or not. There are horror elements, but there are elements of practically every other movie genre I can think of here as well. Including comedy, definitely. About half of the humor landed for me, but that’s still pretty good, really. I think my favorite humorous bit is the scene in the morgue, where Tammy and a friend are trying to pick out a new body for her boyfriend.
Oh, and the movie sort of straight-up doesn’t make a lick of sense. But the whole thing was so silly that I was okay with that.
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
Director: Peter Sasdy
Three thrill-seeking English gentlemen agree, as all the usual pleasures are getting a bit boring, to taste the blood of Dracula. But things go wrong, and soon Christopher Lee is resurrected and vampiring it up once more. And this time, he has three thrill-seeking English gentlemen he’d particularly like to punish.
I really liked the premise here. I will make a confession: I love Christopher Lee, but there is a certain sameness about many of the Hammer Dracula pictures for me. So any novelty is appreciated.
Tenebrae (Tenebre) (1982)
Director: Dario Argento
This movie is about an American mystery writer who is visiting Rome. There are all these murders going on, and it turns out that someone is using the writer’s books as inspiration for the killings. There are, as always in a decent giallo, lots of plot twists.
An interesting giallo, and a good example of the genre, but not one of my absolute favorites. But yeah–I recommend this one, definitely. John Saxon is in it!
Terror Train (1980)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Who the… is that David Copperfield? Yes. Yes, it is David Copperfield. He plays, as you will perhaps be unsurprised to learn, a magician.
There is a wild costume party on a train. But one of the masqueraders is a killer. The train setting is fun, but I can’t say that the movie as a whole really stands out for me. I think it is yet another example of a horror movie with the moral: don’t play pranks on people, because if you do, they’ll be horribly mutilated or accidentally killed or driven mad or something, and they will have their bloody revenge the next time you throw a really cool party.
The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Um. So, this is one of the best movies ever. I’d never seen it before, and I was enthralled from beginning to end. Based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. (which I own but haven’t yet read), it is about some people at a research station in Antarctica. They get infected by a shape-shifting body-hopping monster. Paranoia runs like wildfire through the station. Anyone could secretly be a monster. Everyone could secretly be a monster. Each character knows that he could be the only real human left. The fragile social order that had been established in the station frays and snaps.
Here’s a neat thing I just learned! Apparently, Who Goes There? not only inspired both The Thing and The Thing From Another World (a 1951 movie from which The Thing borrows its title) but it was also, according to its Wikipedia page, the inspiration for Horror Express (which I review in my “H” post).
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Director: Steve Beck
Um. So, this is not one of the best movies ever. But it was adequate. This is a remake of William Castle gimmick-picture 13 Ghosts. A family inherits a house that turns out to have been haunted on purpose. As in, the former owner hunted down ghosts and imprisoned them in his house, because he has an evil plan–a plan that is still going forward.
The coolest part here, and the reason we watched the whole thing, is the house. The house has shatter-proof glass walls and gorgeous metal floors. It is an elaborate and deadly ghost-machine, and it looks amazing.
Matthew Lillard is in it.
The Tingler (1959)
Director: William Castle
Speaking of William Castle gimmick-pictures… The Tingler had a gimmick. When it was shown in theaters, some of the seats had buzzers attached to them. The buzzers would administer a gentle “tingle” to the lucky seat-holders at dramatically appropriate moments. The idea was to get the whole theater screaming.
As a movie… it was fine. Vincent Price is in it! He’s always great to watch. On the whole, I remember thinking it was slightly better than I had expected, but my expectations were pretty darned low for this one, so that may not be saying much.
Trick or Treat (1986)
Director: Charles Martin Smith
I can never remember what movie this one is. The title is a bit of a misfit, here.
The movie is about a heavy metal fan named Eddie. Eddie is in high school. He is not popular. Eddie’s rock-idol, Sammi Curr (who used to go to Eddie’s high school, and was bullied, too, just as Eddie is currently being bullied), has recently died in a hotel-room fire. Eddie is really upset about that. But! He does have the one and only copy of Curr’s last recording. That’s a comfort to him. Turns out, though, that [ it is an element in Curr’s resurrection-and-revenge scheme, ]* so… kind of a mixed blessing, really.
*possible spoiler! Highlight the bracketed area to read it.
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Charming. I love this movie. It was a re-watch for us. I’m sure we’ll watch it again, in the future. It is one of those movies. I am not going to tell you all the good things about it–you should really just see this one, if you like horror and haven’t yet done so–but I’ll tell you about some of its many charms.
It is very, very set on Halloween. The movie I listed just before this has a very similar title, which it doesn’t wholly earn, even though Halloween is an important plot point there. Here, the movie wholly takes place on Halloween, and trick or treating is one of the focal points of the many intertwining plots.
It has intertwining plots! There are several stories here, and they all overlap each other in a graceful and seemingly effortless way. You see characters from one story pass by in the background of other stories. It feels like Halloween in a small-to-medium-sized town, with lots of people living their different lives, and passing one another on the sidewalk as they go to meet their various fates.
It has this cutie in it:
Torso (I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale, Carnal Violence)(1973)
Director: Sergio Martino
I remember very little about this one. The title would suggest that it is probably one of the sleazier gialli, but that isn’t always a safe assumption, with these films.
(Later) Right. I’ve done a little research, and I now remember something about this one. There is a serial killer in it! He targets, people familiar with the giallo genre will be unsurprised to learn, attractive young women. He has a scarf of a particular black-and-red pattern. And, I expect, black gloves. Ladies, if you find yourself in a giallo, look at the other characters’ gloves. Are they black? Are they vaguely kinky-looking? Stay away from that person.
But still, all I can really recall about this one is that we saw it during our great giallo binge-watch.
Looking back, that binge was probably a mistake. Watching giallo after giallo meant that many of them sort of ran together. If we’d spaced them out a bit, I might be able to remember more of them as distinct entities.
Hey, look, I’m done for today! And tomorrow, I have only two movies to tell you about. Below, you will find a shot from one of them. Can you name the film? A clue: this movie has had the dubious honor of having been reviewed by all three of the YouTube bad-movie review shows that I listed in my Theme Reveal. And… it’s kind of great.