On tonight’s episode of Thriller, we see what happens when an aspiring sorcerer (George MacReady) accidentally kills his son. In order to brings his son back to life, he has to have a special suit made by the weird tailor of the title (played by Henry Jones).
This is one of the better episode of Thriller. For once, the use of the word “weird” in the title is not a misnomer! This one was written by Robert Bloch, who adapted his own short story. It originally aired on October 16th, 1961.
Billy Colton (Derek Rydall) is a teenager who has a reputation for exaggeration. Lisa Grace (Shannon Tweed) is his next door neighbor, a high-priced prostitute who does not mind if Billy spies on her. When Billy tries to tell everyone about his wild new neighbor, no one believes him. Billy decides to prove his story by grabbing his camera and sneaking next door. Instead of getting proof that she’s a prostitute, Billy witnesses his neighbor being murdered by a robed Satanist, who just happens to be Zachary Willard (Allen Garfield), Billy’s hated science teacher! Billy goes to the police with his camera but Captain Crane (Richard Roundtree) points out that Billy forgot to take off the lens cap.
What can Billy do? He knows that Zachary and his strange brother, Stanley (Michael J. Pollard), are sacrificing prostitutes to Satan but he can’t get anyone to believe him. Working with his best friend (Teresa Van der Woude) and a burned out ex-cop (Elliott Gould), Billy sets out to stop the Willard Brothers.
Combine Rear Window with late 80s Satanic conspiracy theories and this is the result. Not as bad as it sounds, Night Visitor is an unfairly obscure movie about Satanism in suburbia. While it has its share of dumb moments (like when Billy uses a watermelon to end a car chase), it also has enough good moments that suggest that Night Visitor is deliberately satirizing the excesses of the Satanic panic that, at the time of filming, was sweeping across the nation. It also has a once in a lifetime cast. Along with those already mentioned, keep an eye out for character actor extraordinaire Henry Gibson and future adult film star Teri Weigel. Allen Garfield is especially good as the evil Mr. Willard. Any actor can say, “I sacrifice you in the name of Satan.” It takes a good actor like Allen Garfield to say it without making anyone laugh.
One final note: this movie was originally called Never Cry Devil, which is a much better title than Night Visitor.
Stephen King turned 70 last month, and the Master of Horror’s grip on the American psyche is stronger than ever, thanks to the unprecedented horror hit IT!, now playing at a theater near you. King’s macabre novels have been adapted for the screen since 1976’s CARRIE with varying degrees of success; some have been unabashed genre classics, others complete bombs, most lie somewhere in the middle.
Top: Stephen King 1983 Bottom: John Carpenter 1983
Director John Carpenter had a string of successes beginning with 1978’s seminal slasher film HALLOWEEN, but his 1982 remake of THE THING, now considered a masterpiece of the genre, was a box office disappointment. Carpenter took on King’s novel CHRISTINE as a work-for-hire project. I recently watched it for the first time, and think not only is it one of the best adaptations of King’s work to hit the screen, it’s one of Carpenter’s best horror…
Voodoo Island is an early text adventure from Angelsoft, Inc. Angelsoft was Infocom’s only serious competitor when it came to creating challenging and rewarding text adventures. Typically, both an Angelsoft and an Infocom game would require the player to solve puzzles and search for clues. What made Angelsoft unique was that the results of solving the puzzles were frequently randomized. You could solve a puzzle and still die, just due to the luck of the draw. That may be why Infocom outlasted Angelsoft by several years.
In Voodoo Island, you are the sole survivor of a shipwreck. You wake up on the beach, confused but with the feeling that someone has been watching you. The game’s introduction establishes Voodoo Island‘s tone early:
Spend enough time exploring the island and eventually, you will find a hotel. Exploring the hotel leads to scenes like this:
The first time I tried to play the game, it took me a while to make it to the top floor of the hotel. That is where I discovered not only Doctor Beauvais but also Sharleen, who the game describes as being “buxom” and “blonde.” Considering the target audience of this game, I assumed that buxom and blonde was going to be a good thing. I turned out to be wrong:
Your goal is to get off the island and avoid joining the living dead. It is not easy but I have discovered a few things that might help: examine everything, grab everything that you can, and remember that just because you don’t see something the first time you look, that doesn’t mean you won’t see something the second time.
4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.
This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order! That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!
Today’s director is one of the most important names in the history of American horror cinema, George Romero!
4 Shots From 4 Films
Night of the Living Dead (1968, dir by George Romero)
Can you figure out what’s going in today’s horror on the lens, the 1965 film Monster A Go Go?
This sci-fi/horror hybrid details what happens when an astronaut lands on Earth and promptly disappears. Much like The Creeping Terror, this film makes frequent use of a narrator. I always appreciate it when movies like this come with a narrator.
Anyway, Monster A Go Go was reportedly started by Bill Rebane in 1961. When he ran out of money, the film sat unfinished for four years. That’s when Herschell Gordon Lewis bought the film, added some additional scenes, and then released it on a double bill with one of his own films. Hence, if Monster A Go Go seems like two different movies crammed together … well, that’s pretty much what it is.
Along with its interesting production history, Monster A Go Go is also well-remembered for its amazingly nonsensical ending. I imagine that this film led to a few drive-in riots.