Hello, and welcome to my April 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year, I am talking about every single horror movie that Alec and I watched during the pandemic (so far). Today, a weird collection of “what?”s, and a couple of movies we were unable to finish. With the exception of the Paul Naschy film, which I mildly enjoyed, I can’t say I actually recommend a single one of today’s movies.
With that firmly understood… I present to you…
Director: Tony Zarindast
We saw the MST3K version. That helped. And when I say it helped, I mean it. I’m not actually sure this movie is watchable without snarky robots. Still, with snarky robots, it is wonderful.
The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (La noche de Walpurgis)(1971)
Spain, West Germany
Director: León Klimovsky
Paul Naschy plays perpetually-doomed werewolf Waldemar Daninsky again here. This time, he is up against, not only his own werewolf nature, but also a resurrected vampire.
Willow Creek (2013)
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait, Laura Obiols
I saw this one super-recently, and so I can actually tell you what it is about. With lots of these films, I only retain the faintest of impressions. Not this time.
This is a found-footage horror movie about some people who are making a documentary about Bigfoot and stumble upon more than they bargain for.
Now, for a found-footage horror movie to work, the footage itself has to seem plausibly recorded. That means that you need to include enough non-scary material to make the thing plausible as an artifact. But a couple of times during the first forty minutes or so of Willow Creek, I found myself double-checking that it really was supposed to be a horror movie. There were lots of interviews with real Bigfoot people. Here is a still from one of those scenes:
There were also lots of scenes that featured the couple who are making the documentary, just messing around or getting on each other’s nerves. And about that couple. He’s an obsessed Bigfoot believer, she doesn’t actually think Bigfoot exists. He is also a big jerk. Alec and I commented on this often, while we were watching.
So yeah, we spend a lot of time with the couple, listening to them argue about whether Bigfoot is real or not. The sort of conversation that it might be interesting to have, but which isn’t that fun to watch other people having. And look, I’ve had these conversations before, only mine were more interesting. You’ve probably had conversations like these before, too, and I bet yours were also more interesting. The couple in Willow Creek don’t ever really break the surface of the subject. He’s all full of “you know how many species get discovered annually?” and she’s all, “yeah, but most of those are like bugs and small things,” and then they just start being nasty.
Finally, after what feels like forever (and this is a short movie, only an hour and twenty minutes), a scary thing happens. They are driving to the site of a historic Bigfoot sighting, down this narrow dirt road in the middle of a giant forest, and suddenly there’s a person in the road. A large, belligerent person, who tells them to go back to town. He is very threatening. They turn the car around, but the guy knows a second route to the site. Soon, they are in the woods, setting up camp. Snug in their tent, he proposes marriage. Alec and I screamed, “NO!” at the screen. Fortunately, she takes our advice. Which makes things slightly awkward for a bit.
That night, they are menaced by noises. This scene…had its points. One point in its favor is that she’s scared out of her mind but still skeptical; he’s in an ecstasy of Bigfoot terminology only somewhat tainted by fear (at least at first; he does get afraid eventually). But yeah, he talks Bigfoot fluently, speaking of “knocking” and “vocalizations,” while she simultaneously freaks out and rolls her eyes.
But the scene lasts too damn long. By the time it was over, I no longer cared if something was clawing just outside their tent. I was no longer engaged.
The next day, they decide to give up and get out of the woods. Good idea! Unfortunately, they get lost. I’ve been lost in the woods myself, and it is scary. They are absolutely furious with each other by now. Eventually, night falls once more, and things get confused. The camera is still on, but maybe for part of the time that is supposed to be an accident, because by the end it isn’t deliberately pointing at anything. I won’t tell you more, because I’d hate to go into spoiler territory.
I think this is a movie that Bigfoot enthusiasts will enjoy. Because it really does feel like a no-budget Bigfoot documentary (or I guess the unedited footage for such a documentary). I am not a Bigfoot enthusiast myself, and I am also not big on documentaries. I also found the male lead annoying. And I’m not actually all that big a fan of listening to people bicker. But a friend of mine (who is a Bigfoot enthusiast, and who also loves documentaries) recommended this one to me, and I decided to try it out. And… yeah, it wasn’t my thing.
I notice, re-reading this, that one word stands out to me. That word is “awkward.” Do you know what I actually can’t take in movies? Gore is fine, terror is fine, bloody dismemberment is a-okay. What I have trouble with is awkwardness. Little social misunderstandings in films have me literally hiding my face under the blanket and covering my ears until the scene is over. I get so embarrassed for the characters, and not in a fun way (this odd psychological fact is, by the way, why this is a list of horror movies, and not, for example, rom-coms). I spent a lot of time in uncomfortable-movie-crash-position during this film.
Director: Christopher Thies
So, I’m not actually sure I can explain Winterbeast. It… is a movie. It is set in a remote ski lodge and village in the mountains. Living (or anyway Claymation) totem-poles are shown attacking people. Some of the claymation is awesome, some of it is lousy. It is never, I think, really made clear why this is happening, though it might be connected with this guy (please note! This video… may constitute… a spoiler??? I hesitate to call anything about this movie a spoiler, because saying something is a spoiler suggests that there are plot twists that could be ruined and an ending that makes sense, and here… no):
I don’t know.
Director: Kevin S. Tenney
We got so bored with this one that we couldn’t finish it. We were surprised, because we’d heard good things about it, and the director here also directed Night of the Demons, which we loved (and which I talk about in my “N” post). Just not our thing, I guess?
What Have You Done to Solange? (Cosa avete fatto a Solange?)(1972)
Italy, West Germany, UK
Director: Massimo Dallamano
Sleaze alert! People who want to keep it classy should stop reading here!!
This one we also did not finish, because the characters irritated us. Our protagonist is a 40-something high school gym teacher who is having an affair with one of his students. She is, I think, 18, but… yeah, the movie kind of lost us right there. But we kept on for a while afterwards, hoping that it would at least be an interesting film. We were on our big giallo binge, and we’d heard some good things about this one.
Anyway, Mr. Protagonist is out on a boat with his not-technically-underage girlfriend Elizabeth. They are making out, when suddenly she stops, with the startling news that she just saw a murder take place in the woods. Mr. Protagonist immediately assumes that she is just making it up, as an excuse not to have sex with him. Because women are always doing stuff like that.
And you know what? I could go on. But I don’t feel like doing an in-depth dissection. Anyway, we didn’t actually finish the movie, so it doesn’t feel fair to dissect it. So I’m just going to stop. Let me just say that we found Mr. Protagonist to be very annoying, and the mystery to be both incomprehensible and dull.
Right! That’s it for today! Tomorrow, I have only two movies to talk about! This is from one of them: