At this point, you have to wonder where and when this whole “ghost hunting” thing will end.
“Reality” TV is full of this kind of crap, of course, as is the “micro-budget” horror scene, and on a purely practical level it certainly makes sense : you don’t need much money, after all, to make a film where amateur acting, equally amateur cinematography (usually of the “shaky-cam” variety), and “hinted at but not really seen” effects work are built right into the story itself. In short, where unprofessionalism is not only countenanced, but expected. With all that in mind, then, it would probably be terribly naive to expect this burgeoning sub-genre of “found footage” horror (a sub-genre in and of itself) to go away anytime soon — but goddamn, sometimes I wish it would.
Case in point : 2015’s Ghostfinders, a zero-budget effort that comes our way courtesy…
Hard is it may be to believe in this day and age, there once was a time when the tag-line “Based On A True Story” was used to sell a film. It was a simpler and more naive era, I suppose — but as the years progressed, most audiences wised up to the fact that even these purportedly “true” stories were heavily fictionalized, if not outright fabrications, and so movie-makers started giving themselves a little bit of breathing room (not to mention legal protection) by claiming that their productions were merely “inspired by true stories” or, to push the degrees of separation out a bit even further, “inspired by true events.” These days, though, who are we kidding? Even these tepid labels impress precisely no one — but apparently Connecticut-based producer/director/actor BuAli Shah didn’t get the message, because he was still trying to gin up interest in his 2014 straight-to-streaming…
For tonight’s televised horror, we have another episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted anthology series, Thriller!
Like many of the Thriller episodes that we’ve shared this month, this episode deals with an inheritance and a possibly haunted house. Ellis Corbett (John Newland, who also directed) promises his uncle that, after his uncle’s death, Ellis will never leave the family mansion and that he will always check to make sure that the crypt has not been disturbed. The uncle promptly kills himself and Ellis soon discovers just why exactly he cannot leave the mansion.
This atmospheric episode features a script by Richard Matheson and a frightening performance from Reggie Nalder, who is best known for his roles in both The Man Who Knew Too Much and Salem’s Lot!
At one time, you were Alan Chase, a narcotics detective who was on the verge of a big bust. Then you and your partner, Sarah, were ambushed by the dealers. Sarah was kidnapped. You died. When you returned as a ghost, you got to attend your own funeral. That is when you found out that Sarah was still missing and that everyone blamed you for getting killed.
Why was your spirit still in the mortal plane? Was it so you could save Sarah and clear your name?
You have three days to get the job done.
Scapeghost is a text adventure, with optional graphics. Strangely, the game is written in the first person. For instance, type “go north” and the game will respond with something like, “I headed north.” At first, it’s awkward but it doesn’t take too long to get used to it. The puzzles are challenging but not impossible and there’s a lot of fun to be had in haunting people. (You get extra points every time you scare a certain character.)
The best thing about Scapeghost? Once the drug dealers figure out that you’ve come back from the dead, they bring in a priest to perform an exorcism! Don’t worry, though. Just leave your grave before he finishes the ceremony and you will still be able to save Sarah and clear your name.
One final note: Scapeghost was the last text adventure to be published by Level 7. They went out on a high note.
Someone is murdering women in Los Angeles and draining them of their blood. A mysterious detective named Michael Fury (George Chakiris) arrives from London and starts to investigate. Fury is a vampire but he is a thoroughly modern vampire. He even has his own special travel coffin that he takes with him on trips. To help him with his investigation, he hires a researcher named Lori (Pamela Ludwig). Lori is convinced that the killings are being committed by a real vampire but Michael believes that they are actually the work of a human who is only pretending to be one of the undead. Michael is worried that this fake vampire will make real vampires look bad. Meanwhile, a crazy photographer (Wings Hauser) stalks Michael, determined to capture a vampire of his very own.
Pale Blood went straight-to-video and does not have the budget to match its ambitions but it is still a fairly good, if overlooked, vampire movie. George Chakiris, who is best known for his role in West Side Story, had the right look to play a brooding vampire and he and Pamela Ludwig made a good team. Not surprisingly, the best thing about Pale Blood was Wings Hauser. In this movie, Wings Hauser gave a performance that was demented even by the standards of Wings Haauser. Hauser is so crazy in this movie that Pale Blood sets the standard by which all other crazy Wing Hauser performances must be judged.
One final note: the vhs cover art, which is pictured above, features a shot of Wings Hauser that was apparently lifted from a different movie.
Val Lewton’s I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is, despite the exploitative title, one of the most moody and atmospheric horror films of the 40’s. This was Lewton’s follow up to the highly successful CAT PEOPLE (1942), with Jacques Tourneur again in the director’s chair. Though screenwriters Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray based their script on a story by Inez Wallace, producer Lewton had them add elements of Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, making this a Gothic zombie movie!
Nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) is summoned to the West Indies isle of St. Sebastian to look after Paul Holland’s (Tom Conway ) catatonic wife Jessica. The cynical Holland has an air of melancholy about him (“There’s no beauty here”, he states on the sea trip to the island, “only decay and death”). Upon arrival, Betsy meets Holland’s stepbrother Wesley Reed (James Ellison), a jovial sort until he gets in the presence of…
Today’s horror scene that I love comes from the 1997 French film, Two Orphan Vampires.
I knew that I really wanted to share a scene from Two Orphan Vampires on this date. It’s my favorite Jean Rollin film. Unfortunately, most of the really good scenes have been taken off of YouTube. That said, I do like the way Rollin uses the color blue in this scene and the opening image of those two blind vampires walking across the bridge is still a strong one. When viewed out of context, the attack on the poet may be seen weak but actually it’s just another example of Rollin’s dream-like aesthetic. If the attack on the poet seems fake, that may be because it wasn’t supposed to have really happened.