Super 70s Sunday - House of the Devil

LISA AND THE DEVIL (1973)


While some Italian horror features are easily categorised there are plenty which are not as simple to digest, and are instead nightmarish and perplexing. Mario Bava's most personal feature comes under this latter description and is certainly not what you'd call a commercial release. After finding success with a variety of previous efforts he was given free reign, and this twisted ghost story was the result. It retains all his signature style and shock value, but is certainly not one to see before having watched the earlier films he directed in the '60s. The striking images, weird characters and eerie atmosphere play against what is a dream like narrative where the actual plot seems almost secondary to the series of strange goings on.

Horror Bites - Keeping the Faith [Part 2]

THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980)


Okay... time for a little detour with The Ninth Configuration. The links with The Exorcist are pretty tenuous at best in terms of character and plot, and what we actually have is a story set in a psychiatric hospital. One of the patients just happens to be the astronaut Regan spoke to at her mother's party before the whole pea soup episode. But still, just as a weird offshoot from those films it has to be visited. Some of the themes do cross over in a few places, and there is some exploration of the nature of faith and a lot of discussion about the strength of the human spirit. Which I suppose makes sense as William Peter Blatty directed this from an adaptation of his own book as he'd do later with Legion and The Exorcist III.

Horror Bites - Keeping the Faith

THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC


Some time ago, the third Exorcist film featured in one of the usual marathons here. Like many other horror sequels it gets overshadowed by the first entry in the series a lot of the time without much discussion. Opinions about this can vary, and there are obviously a lot of problems as a result of studio interference. However as noted I do think it's a great movie in many regards. While some elements are messy (particularly towards the end) a lot of elements included are very sinister and overall it's an entertaining movie with lots of punchy dialogue. But what of the other films in this series?

Super 70s Sunday - Right Out of a Comic Book

ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)

A lot of the films I discuss here from this decade are notable for their level of gritty and bleak stories with desaturated visuals, so it's time to change it up and look at something a bit more ridiculous. A story where the villains are recognisable because they have gigantic scars and prosthetic hands. Where the period isn't recognisable for it's grey colour pallet, but for it's music, costumes, and afros. Besides, looking at a Bruce Lee movie is well over due at this point, so where better to start than the greatest entry to his sadly very brief body of work. Some of his other movies might be more dramatic or have better use of nunchaku weapons, but this stands out for it's style, sound and characters in ways that make it the best of the lot.

Horror Bites - Fashion House of Death

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1963)


Mystery killers with black gloves seem to appear everywhere from the Giallo violence of Deep Red to the farcical mysteries of A Shot in the Dark, but tracing the roots of the Giallo body-count mystery genre seems to point to the films of Mario Bava. Here we'll take a look at one of the most striking early examples Blood and Black Lace (AKA Six Women for the Murderer). It certainly brings a particular level of Italian style to the proceedings with its 1960s garish colour scheme being mixed with plenty of dark shadows and sinister lighting. So let's put on the leather and get down to business.

Super 70s Sunday - They're Here...

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)

I suppose revisiting Spielberg's first venture into alien visitation stories is something a lot of people do on a regular basis. It's hardly a weird and creepy adventure into another cult classic. In the grand scheme of things I always find that on a re-watch this is still a great release even if it's not one of my personal favourites from his filmography. E.T. might be the better movie and Jaws is a better character piece, but this still feels like a unique piece of work. The pros and cons are pretty marginal of course, and though there are several cuts the final version keeps enough of the interesting character moments and thankfully avoids the unnecessary scenes added for the 1980 re-release.


HCF Review - Paperback Writer

PULP (1972)

Director Mike Hodges has a pretty eclectic body of work. He’s someone who’s told dark stories about crime and death… but also worked on music videos with Freddy Mercury. You don’t have to be a major cinephile to have noticed the differences between the oppressive, bleak underworld of Get Carter and the garish, eye searing vistas of Flash Gordon. These are household names with distinct tones and noticeable variations in style. But what of his less well known projects? What happens when a sinister detective story is handled with a lighter touch?


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Super '70s Sunday - Seeing Double

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978)

Every so often I get an urge to watch something like this, something bleak and unsettling and very much of its time. Each time the results are very much the same. The same few thoughts will cross my mind, things such as ... 'it's 2o'clock in the morning, why am I watching this again?' Certain movies always seem to retain that kind of affect, although it's a rare occurrence. A mark of something special, or truly horrible. There's particular sense of dread to be found here, an all pervading gloom that I can't look away from. Maybe it's because I'm just a sucker for this era of science fiction releases. But at the same time I can't help but wonder what it is that draws me into such a disturbing experience, a real waking nightmare distilled into less that two hours.


Scorecard

JANUARY


FILM OF THE MONTH Sorcerer ☆☆☆☆
Enter the Dragon ☆☆☆☆
Gerald's Game ☆☆☆☆
Ghostbusters ☆☆☆☆
I Don't Feel at Home in this World Any More ☆☆☆☆
Mad Max 2 ☆☆☆☆
Magnificent Butcher ☆☆☆☆
1922 ☆☆☆☆
Return of the Jedi ☆☆☆☆