Going There: Bad Blood (1989, directed by Chuck Vincent)

Oh man, this is a twisted movie.

Yuppie lawyer Ted (adult film actor Randy Spears, credited here as Gregory Patrick) is shocked when he sees a painting of a man who looks just like him.  He is told that the portrait was painted in 1964 and that the man in the painting is the late husband of the artist, Arlene (porn legend Georgina Spelvin, credited here at Ruth Raymond).  Arlene goes on to reveal that Ted is actually her long-lost son and then she invites him and his wife, Evie (Linda Blair, credited here as Linda Blair), to come out to her mansion.  What Ted doesn’t realize is that Arlene believes that he is actually her husband reincarnated and she is planning on doing away with Evie so that she can have her son all to herself and do what it is she wants to do with him.  Yes, this film goes there.

Chuck Vincent was one of the leading directors of the Golden Age of Porn.  Unlike most other adult film directors, his movies were popular with not only the public but also with critics.  (His best-known film, Roommates, received a rave in the New York Times.)  In the 80s, Vincent tried to make the move into mainstream film, mostly directing sex comedies and dopey thrillers.  Most of his mainstream films featured adult performers in dramatic roles, which made them very popular on late night cable.

Bad Blood feels like a combination of Fatal Attraction and Misery.  There’s even a scene where Arlene ties up her son in bed and then breaks his toes to keep him from leaving.  (Bad Blood, though, came out a year before Rob Reiner’s film so the resemblance is probably a coincidence.)  Spelvin, who was widely regarded as being the best actress to ever regularly appear in pornographic movies, gives a great, demented performance as Arlene and Linda Blair is also good as Evie.  Chuck Vincent was a good director, even when he was doing schlocky straight-to-video stuff like this.  Perhaps because of his background in adult films, Vincent never hesitated about taking his films to the places where other directors would be scared to tread.  Sadly, Vincent died in 1991 and most of his movies have fallen into obscurity.

Halloween Havoc!: SON OF DRACULA (Universal 1943)

cracked rear viewer

Director Robert Siodmak is remembered today for his dark excursions into the world of film noir: THE SUSPECT, THE KILLERS , CRY OF THE CITY, CRISS CROSS . His first entry in the genre is generally recognized as 1944’s PHANTOM LADY , but a case could be made for SON OF DRACULA, Siodmak’s only Universal Horror that combines elements of both genres into what could best be described as supernatural noir.

A train pulls into the station in a sleepy Louisiana town. Frank Stanley (Robert Paige) and Dr. Brewster (Frank Craven ) are there to meet Count Alucard, invited for a visit by Kay Caldwell (Louise Albritton), Frank’s fiancé, who has long been interested in the occult. Alucard isn’t aboard, but his trunks are, and Brewster notices Alucard spelled backwards reads as Dracula. The trunks are delivered to Kay’s family plantation, Dark Oaks. The scene shifts, and…

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Weekly Trailer Round-Up: Destroyer, The Aftermath, Escape Room, Monster Party

In the upcoming film Destroyer, Nicole Kidman plays a detective who is haunted by her past.  This film, which is getting a lot of Oscar buzz for Kidman’s performance, will be released on December 25th and its trailer kicks off this week’s trailer round-up.

The Aftermath is the latest Keira Knightley historical drama.  This time, she’s the wife of a British colonel in post-war Germany and she is tempted to cheat with a German widower.  The Aftermath will be released on April 26th, 2019.

Escape Room is the upcoming movie based on the game that all the kids are talking about.  Can you find the clues and figure out how to escape from the room before you die?  Escape Room will be released in January, just in time for everyone to compare it to Saw.

Finally, Monster Party invites you to attend the dinner party from hell.  Despite being a horror movie, Monster Party will be released two days after Halloween, on November 2nd.

Halloween Havoc! Book Extra: DARK DETECTIVES (Edited by Stephen Jones; Titan Books paperback 2015)

cracked rear viewer

Back in September, I was browsing at the local Barnes & Noble (as I frequently do, given the lack of independent bookstores around here) looking for something to review this Halloween season. I’d just finished with Stephen King’s REVIVAL (Pocket Books paperback, 2017), and while it’s good, everybody does King this time of year, and I wanted something different. I wandered through the fantasy section, and waaaay up on the top shelf I spotted a title that caught my interest. DARK DETECTIVES: An Anthology of Supernatural Mysteries, combining two of my favorite genres, horror and detective fiction! Curiosity piqued, I grabbed the book and bought it (along with the great James Lee Burke’s latest novel, ROBICHEAUX).

DARK DETECTIVES, first published as a limited edition in 1999, features ten short stories, some old, some written especially for the anthology, by authors I’m familiar with (and I assume you are too, if…

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Horror On The Lens: Silent Night, Bloody Night (dir by Theodore Gershuny)

The 1974 film Silent Night, Bloody Night is an oddity.

On the one hand, it’s pretty much a standard slasher film, complete with a menacing mansion, a horrible secret, a twist ending, and John Carradine playing a mute newspaper editor.

On the other hand, director Ted Gershuny directs like he’s making an underground art film and several of the supporting roles are played by actors who were best known for their association with Andy Warhol.

Personally, I like Silent Night, Bloody Night.  It has a terrible reputation and the film’s star, Mary Woronov, has gone on record calling it a “terrible movie” but I like the surreal touches the Gershuny brought to the material and the sepia-toned flashbacks have a nightmarish intensity to them.  The film makes no logical sense, which actually makes it all the more appealing to me.  As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Watch and decide for yourself!

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 10/14/2018 – 10/20/2018

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

As per the norm, we’ve got four new books to take a look at in this week’s Round-Up column, with something of a common theme in that they all come our way courtesy  of those unafraid to put their money where their mouths are, the noble ranks of self-publishing cartoonists —

Or, in the case of So Buttons #9, a self-publishing writer, specifically Jonathan Baylis, who makes a welcome return after a couple of years spent raising his infant son, who features prominently in a heartwarming little “who do ya love?” anecdote illustrated with stripped-down poignancy by T.J. Kirsch and an equally “awwwww — fer cute”-inducing yarn about introducing the lovable tyke to music drawn with gorgeously wistful aplomb by Summer Pierre. For the anti-natalists out there, though, fear not : we have a quartet of stories that re-visit tried and true Baylis themes, with the great James Romberger…

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