Horror Bites - Baron Blood


Hammer's Dracula series has a lot of films with increasingly outlandish names as they progress. Taste the Blood of Dracula and The Satanic Rites of Dracula spring to mind when considering the absurd monikers used during the life span of the series. However this entry remains their best effort, despite the non-appearance of Count Dracula himself. In an impressive turn of events he actually stays destroyed in this story, which is quite a feat considering his track record. But that means the titular women are not his brides at all. Perhaps something like Curse of ... or Disciples of ... would have been more appropriate. This odd title and the lack of Christopher Lee as the villain means this is often overlooked and people consider Dracula: Price of Darkness as the true follow up. But make no mistake, this is the superior sequel.

Horror Bites - Seeing Double


AKA A Stranger's Face. While there are a lot of articles about Japanese films from the sixties here they're generally full of colourful miniatures and monster mayhem. Calling this an actual horror film might be pushing things a little far, but then it's just the excuse I need to take a look at Hiroshi Teshigahara's existential drama. The premise is simple - a man disfigured in an accident is given a new face... and the freedom to do what he will with it. Will he misuse this gift or simply adjust and rejoin society? What other kinds of masks are the people he knows already wearing? Just like The Invisible Man things start to get out of hand when the bandages come off, which is a fitting comparison and a good place to begin a deeper analysis.

Horror Bites - Fear in the Night


William Castle is often remembered for directing spooky films like House on Haunted Hill, where appearances by stars such as Vincent Price were paired scary movie theatre gimmicks. Simply wearing 3-D glasses wasn't enough, he went further to get the audience excited. But less is said about this release which is an attempt at a more straightforward thriller, with a script by Psycho author Robert Bloch. It's a story full of atmosphere starring Barbara Stanwyck from Double Indemnity rather than a horror film regular. It's all still pretty hokey of course as a product of the time, but as a mystery tale there are some fairly striking moments that stand out even by today's standards. Let's take a closer look at this venture into fantastical dreams and waking nightmares.

Horror Bites - Communion


There are a lot of influential genre films from the 1970s, with releases like The Exorcist and Jaws spawning dozens of imitators. However it's more unusual to see a movie that seems to have taken a few notes from Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now. While this is not a direct copy, there are at least a few visual nods here and there amongst what is generally a murder mystery plot. The colour red is swapped for a lurid yellow, which I guess is pretty apt for a story that involves a lot more slasher scenes. But there's more going on here than just a series of shocking deaths, in a story that involves themes of guilt, youth, denial and the loss of innocence.

Horror Bites - Red and Black


Time for a whodunnit. In the realms of Giallo there are many elements that often make an appearance, and a lot of them are present and correct here. There are seedy affairs going on, there are potential doppelgängers running about, and there's a killer with black gloves using a lot of knives while a strangely pleasing and jazzy score plays over the violence. But there are a lot of other regular inclusions such as vague and erratic narratives, dream like sequences and sudden plot twists... which may or may not do the story any favours. Let's take a look at both the style and the substance of this particular murder mystery and see which side comes out on top.



FILM OF THE MONTH: Tenebrae ☆☆☆☆
Jaws ☆☆☆☆
Kelly's Heroes ☆☆☆☆
RoboCop ☆☆☆☆
The Lower Depths ☆☆☆☆
Alice, Sweet Alice ☆☆☆☆
Infernal Affairs II ☆☆☆☆