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)


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


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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!

Music Video of the Day: Dracula by MOANA (2018, dir by Luna Laure)


For today’s music video of the day, we have yet another song called Dracula.  However, as you can tell by looking at the lyrics, this song actually has some connection to everyone’s favorite vampire (or, at the very least, the legend of everyone’s favorite vampire):

Her
She was a dancer
Feel
As the girl she twirls off the edge of her paper-thin world

The “I”
Give to the Master
Mirror, mirror
Can you tell one from the other?
Strange
I offer my veins
Feel
As the girl she twirls off the edge of her paper-thin world

Oh in the night
When Dracula comes to fill your soul
To atone, confess
My one true weakness
My Dracula, Count Dracula

Her
She was a dancer
(First I must appease my thirst)
Feels
Good you know as the girl she twirls off the edge of her world

Oh in the night
When Dracula comes to fill your soul
To atone, confess
My one true weakness
My Dracula, Count Dracula

Oh in the night
When Dracula comes to fill your soul
To atone, confess
My one true weakness
My Dracula, Count Dracula

According to singer Moana Mayatrix, “I’d say it’s not directly about vampires but more so an exploration of vampire mythology and the allure of the dark side, much like being seduced by a Bram Stoker character.”

Enjoy!

Horror On TV: Kolchak: The Night Stalker 1.10 “The Energy Eater” (dir by Alexander Grasshoff)


 

On tonight’s episode of Kolchak….

Kolchak investigates a series of accidents at a hospital and discovers that they’re all connected to a recently reawakened monster known as the Matchemonedo!  This episode features the great character actor William Smith as Jim Elkhorn, who teams up with Kolchak to battle the Matchemonedo.

This episode originally aired on December 13th, 1974.

Enjoy!

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Humanoids from the Deep (dir by Barbara Peeters)


Some people really hate clowns.

Myself, I really hate ventriloquist’s dummies.

Seriously, those little wooden things totally freak me out.  You know how some of you feel about the painted smile on the clowns ‘face?  Well, that’s how I feel whenever I see the big eyes of a ventriloquist dummy or that mouth with the fake teeth.  And don’t even get me started on those tiny little legs that some of them have!  AGCK!

I mention this because there is a ventriloquist’s dummy in the 1980 film, Humanoids From The Deep.  There’s really no reason for it to be in the film but suddenly, out of nowhere, there it is.  It belongs to a teenager named Billy who, when we first see him, is relaxing in a tent on the beach, trying to get his girlfriend to undress for him and the dummy. Of course, they’re promptly interrupted by a seaweed-covered monster, who rips open the tent, kills Billy, and chases after his girlfriend.  The whole time, the dummy watches with a somewhat quizzical expression on his face.  It’s a strange scene.

Now, I’ve done some research and I’ve discovered that Billy was played by David Strassman, who was (and still is) a professional ventriloquist and his dummy was named …. I do not kid …. Chuck Wood.  So, the whole tent scene was kind of a celebrity cameo.  Roger Corman, who produced the film, said, “You know what?  This movie has blood, nudity, killer fish-men, and rampant misogyny but it’s still missing something!  How about that ventriloquist that I saw on the Tonight Show last night!?”

Anyway, Humanoids From The Deep is basically about what happens when you try to mutate salmon.  You end up with a bunch of pervy fish monsters swarming the beach and trying to make like human/fish babies.  You end up with a lot of dead teens and unplanned pregnancies.  You also end up with the local redneck fisherman (led by Vic Morrow) blaming the local Native Americans, accusing them of killing all of the dogs in town.  Jim Hill (Doug McClure) and his wife, Carol (Cindy Weintraub), try to keep the peace but their efforts are continually tripped up by the fact that almost everyone in town is an idiot.

For instance, despite the fact that there’s been a countless number of murders and rapes and that they’ve all been committed a group of monsters that nobody knows how to fight, the town still decides to hold their annual festival on the pier.  Of course, as soon as the obnoxious DJ starts broadcasting, the humanoids from the deep show up and basically, the entire festival goes to Hell.  And here’s the thing.  The film itself is ugly and mean-spirited and misogynistic but the attack on the festival is totally and completely brilliant.  I mean, it’s one of the greatest monster sieges of all time, largely because the monsters are apparently unstoppable and that humans are so obnoxious that you don’t mind seeing them all die.  I mean, if nothing else, the monster deserve some credit for taking out that DJ.

It all leads to a “surprise” ending, which isn’t particularly surprising but which is so batshit insane that it somehow seems appropriate.

Humanoids From The Deep is an incredibly icky movie, one that has some effective scare scenes but which is way too misogynistic to really be much fun.  (Roger Corman hired Barbara Peeters to direct the film but reportedly brought in a male director to film the movie’s more explicit scenes.)  Oh well.  At least the ventriloquist died.