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Nightwish (1989)
4/10
"I Know What You're Thinking, But, Do I Look Dead?!"...
18 February 2020
A group of paranormal investigators venture into an abandoned house in an area w/ the perfect history for their needs. After setting up their equipment, the otherworldly madness begins... sort of. Cheap and absurd, NIGHTWISH saves all of it's real "surprises" for the big finish. The first hour or so is pretty bland, w/ little in the way of action or suspense. In the end, it's mostly nonsensical malarkey, held together by a heavy, gooey layer of cheeeze. Still, the last few minutes are suitably icky / entertaining, and it's always fun to witness the musclebound Robert Tessier lumbering around! Also, Brian Thompson is hilarious as the eternally-disgruntled, Dean!...
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Ghost Keeper (1982)
7/10
"I Ask The Questions, Girly!"...
18 February 2020
In GHOSTKEEPER, three snowmobiling friends seek shelter from a storm in a seemingly deserted lodge. Said lodge is packed to the rafters w/ ominous ambiance. The trio soon realize that they're not alone, when they are introduced to a rather bizarre old woman (Georgie Collins) who claims that someone else is also about. As night falls, mystery and madness commence. By morning, the situation grows increasingly dire, until the terrible truth is revealed. This is a nice little low-budget chiller w/ a great finale. The hallways and rooms of the lodge add to the air of panic, paranoia, and claustrophobic doom, while the surrounding snow keeps it all desolate. Ms. Collins deserves special mention, as she is quite convincing in her menacing role...
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3/10
"Look! Unusual Bites!"...
17 February 2020
DEVIL'S DYNAMITE opens w/ some kung fu and black magic going on. Kangaroo-hopping, karate vampires are revived from their coffins. They are provided w/ human blood by their criminal bosses, so their narcotics can flow freely. Ninjas attack! Alas, they're no match for the jumping undead. A story nearly develops, before the hopping vampires battle a silver-suited spaceman. Apparently, a man named Steve Cox has something to do w/ this spasmodic cluster-fudge, but god alone knows what that might be! He's been released from prison, in order to dress like a fedora-wearing vicar. He also kung fu's like nobody's business! It's best to not attempt to make any sense of this mess, and simply watch it agape, as one would watch an oncoming bus. WHAM! Otherwise, the viewer's brain will surely turn into mucilage. Just enjoy the impact, as vampire-ized ninjas fight the silver guy. Fittingly, this alleged "sequel" to ROBO VAMPIRE came out a year before that film. RANDOM THOUGHTS AND QUERIES: #1- Hey! The spaceman has an anti-sorcery mirror! #2- Woah! What's up w/ the kid dressed like a clown? #3- Who's the bald guy w/ the eye patch? Don't miss the big shootout finale, complete w/ explosions! Yep, we're just windshield / grill decorations for this bus!...
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Dark Waters (1993)
8/10
"I Don't Need Riddles, I Need Answers!"...
17 February 2020
After a lengthy journey, a woman named Elizabeth (Louise Salter) arrives at a remote, island convent, where all manner of strange, unholy things take place. This all has to do w/ a mysterious amulet. Elizabeth is there to discover why her late father supported the convent financially, and why he transferred this responsibility to her upon his death. What she comes to find out is that whatever is going on has nothing to do with any religion with which she is familiar. DARK WATERS starts right off w/ a heavy, foreboding atmosphere, full of darkness and dread. This is maintained throughout, w/ great use made of the crumbling, labyrinthine catacombs and candle-lit rooms. There's a definite "What if Argento had directed a Lovecraft film?" vibe to it. Well worth viewing for lovers of the macabre, the morose, and the malevolent...
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Aterrados (2017)
8/10
"Nothing Really Scares You, Right?!"...
16 February 2020
TERRIFIED is an inventive, original, and highly effective horror film from Argentina. A paranormal investigator (Elvira Onetto) and a forensics expert (Norberto Gonzalo) work together w/ the rest of their assembled team to solve a bizarre, even dangerous mystery. It seems that a neighborhood has become the epicenter for supernatural phenomena. The team must split up, in order to uncover what has happened in three separate homes. As the evening progresses, the terror increases, culminating in a nightmare of death. If you enjoy disturbing, unpredictable stories w/ ghoulish scenarios, then this will satisfy! Watching this movie is a great way to spend a cold, clammy night!...
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Konga (1961)
4/10
"There's Very Little Room For Sentiment In The Life Of A Scientist!"...
12 February 2020
After a year in the Ugandan jungle, famous botanist, Dr. Charles Decker (Michael Gough- HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM, HORROR HOSPITAL) suddenly returns to England. Fueled by his new discoveries, Decker gets right to work in his home laboratory. With his pet chimp, KONGA, he endeavors to perform a little mad science. Indeed, Decker is seeking the link between plants and humans. In no time, he's got a greenhouse full of huge -obviously rubber- Venus Flytraps and Pitcher plants! Of course, this is a giant monkey movie, so Decker injects the tiny creature w/ his secret serum, causing incredible growth. Soon, the chimp has transformed into a man in an unconvincing go-rilla suit! Terror commences as the ape attains gargantuan proportions! Utterly absurd, KONGA is a showcase for Gough, who is in rare form, emoting and carrying on something fierce! His every line of dialogue is a chance to display his mastery of raving histrionics! His role here makes Tod slaughter seem tame! A hoot from start to finish...
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Joker (2019)
10/10
"Isn't It Rich?!"...
11 February 2020
JOKER is astounding and confrontational. It covers issues like mental illness, class warfare, guns, societal breakdown, etc., while presenting a "villain" in Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) who is as sympathetic as he is terrifying. Filled w/ uncomfortable, even shocking moments, as well as unsettling comedic elements, some scenes will make many viewers squirm! Arthur is the overlooked, dismissed "nobody", forced to believe he doesn't even exist. He's a man in desperate need of help. Unfortunately, Gotham city isn't the place to find it. As his mind begins to shatter, Arthur has no idea what's coming his way. He simply finds his strength in a sudden act of violence, and somehow taps into the void within those around him, ultimately becoming a sort of messiah. The mesmerizing Mr. Phoenix uses his body as much as his dialogue to bring both Arthur and his alter ego to life. This is a movie to be watched and taken seriously, in spite of its comic book origins. It's as much a serious statement as it is entertainment. Multiple viewings recommended...
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Bug (1975)
6/10
"I'll Make You Live!"...
11 February 2020
In BUG, an earthquake releases the six-legged horrors of the title. They're cockroaches w/ added features that allow them to cause mayhem and death. If that's not bad enough, local biology teacher / squirrel whisperer / AMC Javelin enthusiast, James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman- THE SWARM) decides to perform experiments w/ the bizarre creatures, resulting in something far more dangerous than he could have imagined. As killer roach movies go, this is a good one. It's actually pretty creepy, and has a low cheeeze-factor considering the subject matter. Dillman is fantastic as the highly driven scientist. BEST SCENES: #1- The church-quake! #2- The ear assault! #3- Joanna Miles' burning head! #4- The increasingly bonkers, mad science finale! Co-stars Patty McCormack (THE BAD SEED), Jamie Smith Jackson (GO ASK ALICE), and Jesse Vint (MACON COUNTY LINE)...
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Son of Kong (1933)
7/10
"Oh, Let Me Outta This! I'm Going Crazy!"...
9 February 2020
SON OF KONG is, of course, the direct sequel to KING KONG. Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) returns, still smarting from the first film. He soon hops on a freighter, and, after a visit to various ports of call, winds up on a very familiar island. This time out, he's hunting for an alleged treasure. Not surprisingly, adventure awaits in the form of angry natives, rampaging dinosaurs, and the googly-eyed offspring of the King himself. Once again, Willis O'Brien provides the stop-motion creations. A fun, often humorous followup to its more solemn predecessor...
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Maxie (1973)
5/10
"Keep Your Hand Off The Meat!"...
5 February 2020
In MAXIE (aka: THE BUTCHERS), the title character (K.T. Baumann) sells newspapers around town. Meanwhile, the local butcher (Vic Tayback) is using his meat market to dispose of cadavers for certain "customers". Business is good. Enter Sandy (Talia Shire), who works for the new doctor in town. Nothing much happens for quite a while in this film, unless you consider a broken toe or chicken murder to be exciting. Aside from the occasional cutting up of the odd body, it's more like a drama about small town America. So, if you're expecting big scares, accentuated by gruesome shocks. Forget it. That doesn't mean it's not watchable, it's just not a horror movie. At all. Any real thrills are saved for the final 20 minutes...
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4/10
"I Lost All My Teeth Biting Off Snake Heads! Chicken Heads Too!"...
4 February 2020
DRIVE IN MASSACRE was meant to scare the patrons of the actual drive-ins that dotted the landscape of it's day. Starting off w/ a gag-inducing theme song, the horror gets under way. A madman is lurking among the rows of cars, and beheads a pair of amorous customers. With a sword! As usual, the cops are stumped. Cantankerous, bullet-headed manager, Austin Johnson (Newton Naushaus) is no help at all. He just hates everyone and everything. Could he be the killer? Or, could it be Germy the "halfwit" janitor? Why is he so twitchy? And, Why is he wearing Pinocchio's hat? Hmm? Meanwhile, in spite of the gory murders, the drive-in fills up the next night. Unsurprisingly, another couple is dispatched, this time in shish kebab fashion. And, on it goes. At no time does it seem like a bad idea to keep the drive-in open. Even when someone is killed every night! This movie's biggest problem is that in between deaths, it's an extremely dull police investigation, conducted by the world's most lackluster detectives. They're more like fast food-loving carpet salesmen. While chasing a suspect, one fears they could drop dead at any second! By normal standards, this is a debacle. However, on the schlock scale, this is pure gold!... P.S.- Watch for an uncredited George "Buck" Flower as a marauding, bug-eyed maniac!...
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4/10
"My Daddy Won't Like It That You're Smokin' Pot In His Graveyard!"...
4 February 2020
As the schlock movie gods would have it, a pair of melonheaded environmental activists invade a research lab, and decide to set an experimental creature free. Obviously, said creature is a murderous mutant, a humongous Tasmanian devil in fact! It just happens to escape near the local cemetery, where a young horror movie director is working on his latest project. Terror and bloody dismemberment, disembowelment, and death unfold. Packed to overflowing w/ idiot characters -including, yes, hillbillies- spouting mindless dialogue, there's plenty of food for the monster. CEMETERY GATES is another gore film starring Reggie Bannister. As gun-toting scientist, Belmont, he's the only non-imbecilic character in the movie. As for the ferocious furball itself, it's shown mostly in flashes, revealing just enough to show its utter, man-in-a-hairy-suit cheapness. Still, it's the best part of the movie! There is extended female topless-ness at one point, helping to deaden the overall pain. Fueled by plenty of potent beverages or funny cigarettes, this is quite enjoyable...
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The Lighthouse (I) (2019)
10/10
"Bad Luck To Kill A Seabird!"...
4 February 2020
THE LIGHTHOUSE opens w/ an extended period without dialogue, taking us along while two men (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) acquaint themselves w/ their post: a four week stint on the rocky mass where the title structure sits. They are on duty, one on days, and the other on nights, tending to the needs of the beacon. Shot in black and white, the days are bleached grey and the nights are coal black. An intangible sense of dread begins brewing almost immediately. Growing more odd and ominous by the day, we wonder, what is real? What is imagined? What's to become of these two men? Mixing marine mythology, superstition, and psychosis, Director, Robert Eggers (THE VVITCH) has made his sophomore effort an equal to his first film. Even better. The aforementioned use of black and white is perfect, making the movie appear like it was made in the late 1940's, 50's, or early 60's. The aspect ratio lends itself to the claustrophobia, paranoia, dipsomania, and other madness. Pattinson and Dafoe dig into their roles, bouncing off each other like well-aimed hammers. An exceptional effort all around...
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4/10
"Don't Let Me Find You Sleeping!"...
3 February 2020
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, and others in the series, have been bible camp staples for years! It opens w/ "the rapture", and the sudden disappearance of the "true believers" from the face of the Earth. Next, we're treated to a mini-sermon, followed by the dreary, yet catchy theme song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready". Indeed, this is Director, Donald W. Thompson's christian shocker, making the case that time is short and you'd better be set to go! Dismal acting, harebrained dialogue, and lifeless "action" abound. Things only pick up slightly during the final 20 minutes, when the Antichrist arises. Still, to be fair, the message is loud and clear! It's impossible to miss, since there's a sermon every few minutes. Of course, watching ATITN today makes it hard to believe that it terrified a generation. However, keep in mind that most of the viewers were young kids, piled into a room for movie night. The general idea was to scare them into accepting Christ... right now!... or be darned!...
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5/10
"How Come we're Not Twenty Years Old, And Playing Bongo Drums Downstairs?!"...
3 February 2020
One evening, a young couple decides to frolic in the local cemetery. This is not wise, since a vampire named Caleb Croft (Michael Pataki) has chosen the same night to rise from his nearby tomb! After killing lover boy, Croft puts the moves on the girl... in an open grave! This results in a pregnancy, and an unholy offspring. Years later, baby Croft is all grown up, now known as James Eastman (William Smith), who has been hunting his odious father for most of his life. Now a college professor (!), Croft must prepare for his reunion / final showdown with his son. GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE is a fairly grim affair. The early scenes of Eastman's mother raising her dead child must have been pretty disturbing in the early '70's! The infamous "nursing" scene was audacious for its era. The rest is rather bland, until the big, fang-y finale...
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8/10
"Please Forgive Me, I'm A Little Overwrought!"... "Explain Yourself, Sonny Jim!"...
1 February 2020
THE WEEKEND MURDERS gets underway as a body is discovered buried in a sand trap at a posh, private golf club. The police reveal that it is the latest in a series of murders. A flashback introduces us to the Carter family, gathered at the vast Carter estate for the reading of their dearly departed relative, Sir Henry Carter's will. Of course, the inheritance isn't distributed in a way that pleases everyone. Well, okay, it pleases no one, except for an inept, flower-loving policeman, Sergeant Aloisius Thorpe (Gastone Moschin), and Sir Henry's Niece, Barbara Worth (Anna Moffo). The rest of the family is bitter to say the least, and it's not long before the bodies start popping up all over the grounds! With greed, jealousy, and treachery in the air, a mansion full of suspects, and a pair of bungling coppers on the case, this movie is enjoyable and satisfying on several levels. Part "old dark house" mystery, part giallo, and all comedy,TWM manages to parody its subject matter while still respecting it. Co-stars Ida Galli as Isabelle Carter, and Giacomo Rossi Stuart as Ted Collins. I didn't figure it all out until the end. I like that in a movie!...
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V/H/S (2012)
8/10
Video Record...
29 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
A group of vandals / thieves / videographers break into a house in order to steal a certain VHS tape. Once inside, they find the place empty, except for one room, wherein they discover a stack of televisions, a VCR, and an old man in a chair. This forms the wraparound story for the events on a tape already in the VCR. VIDEO ONE- a trio of drunken pervs are out to secretly record their sexual exploits, only to have the tables turned on them, becoming human prey. VIDEO TWO- A young couple's vacation becomes a nightmare when someone enters their room while they sleep. VIDEO THREE- Four hikers are on a walk in the woods. Unfortunately, someone / something is about to ruin their little nature walk. VIDEO FOUR- is a gruesome, supernatural tale told over several days via internet video. It's a cautionary tale best summed up in the words "Trust no one". VIDEO FIVE- Four guys go to a Halloween party, where everything flies out of control, plunging them into a demonic night of death. The conclusion of the wraparound has the burglars realizing that their situation isn't what they thought, and that they're in big trouble. V/H/S is a brilliant twist on the horror anthology film, while simultaneously being everything that "found footage" films like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT should have been!...
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The Uncanny (1977)
7/10
"Obviously, The Cats Were Hungry!"... "What A Sticky Mess!"...
28 January 2020
THE UNCANNY is another horror anthology film from Amicus studios. In the wraparound story, Wilbur (Peter Cushing) is a man w/ a distinct fear of cats. The three tales he tells to his friend Frank (Ray Milland) illustrate the grounds for his terror. In LONDON 1912- The aged Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) decides to leave her fortune to her large number of cats. Of course, her greedy nephew and the unscrupulous maid (Simon Williams and Susan Penhaligon) have other ideas, leading to skullduggery, death, and ferocious feline intervention! This one has a nice, EC comics-style ending! In QUEBEC PROVINCE 1975- Young Lucy (Katrina Holden Bronson) and her cat, Wellington move in w/ her aunt (Alexandra Stewart), after the passing of her parents. Lucy's insufferably bratty cousin, Angela (Chloe Franks) does her best to make life miserable, not knowing that there's far more to Lucy -and Wellington!- than she or her oblivious parents could imagine. For lovers of occult creepiness and comeuppance! In HOLLYWOOD 1936- When horror movie actor, Valentine De'ath (Donald Pleasence) loses his wife and latest co-star, Madeleine (Catherine Begin) in a tragic "accident", he suggests her stand-in, Edina Hamilton (Samantha Eggar) for the part. Of course, all is not as it appears to be, and Valentine and Edina are in for a very rude awakening, delivered by Madeleine's faithful, highly intelligent kitty. Pleasence and Eggar have a blast hamming it up for this segment! Co-stars John Vernon. The wraparound concludes, proving all too late that Wilbur has good reason to be afraid. This is quite good, and arguably the best killer cat movie ever made!...
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5/10
"Hey! We All Know How We're Gonna Die, Baby! We're Gonna Crash 'N' Burn!"...
28 January 2020
WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS starts off like many other biker films of the period, with members of the "Devil's Advocates" motorcycle gang tooling about on their choppers, looking for and finding trouble. Uh oh! The Advocates happen upon that early-70's horror movie staple, the satanic cult! Something's gotta give! Soon enough, the gang is bedeviled by the demoniacal devotees! Obviously, since black magic is involved, the hairy, biker hellions become even hairier. Lycanthropy and gruesome death ensue. No, this isn't the best biker movie ever. No, it's not the best satanic / werewolf movie either. However, as both, it's not bad, though there are some lengthy stretches between death scenes. So, if you're expecting non-stop mutilation by claws and fangs, you won't find it here. Most of the action is saved for the -rather tame- denouement, such as it is...
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5/10
"What's The Matter, Baby?! Don't You Want Your After-Bath Ice Cream?!"...
28 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO opens w/ the god Manos (Jackey Neyman herself!) choosing her minion, The Master (Danny McCarty). Next, the birth of The Master's future subordinate, Torgo is witnessed. We learn that he was raised on fried chicken, soda, and ice cream. He also had a full beard at twelve years of age. That, or he had a sticky face that picked up a lot of lint. Not surprisingly, his thoughts soon turn to love, leading to his being beaten within an inch of his life by a group of girls. No one but mama (Elizabeth Redpath) seems to like the poor schlub. This explains her giving him baths into his thirties. As luck would have it, events unfold leading to the end of one mindless servant, and the rise of... Torgo! Yes, my friends, this is the prequel we have all been waiting for! The origin of the unspeakable eeevil is revealed! It's all here: The cackling, goggle-eyed Master and his handy robe! The lackadaisical brides in their odd night clothes! Torgo, in all of his ultimately twitchy, teetering glory! The hellish painting! The unearthly, out-of-place howling! The original music, including Torgo's catchy theme! All! Here! Purposefully, entirely terrible, this is why cinema was invented!... EXTRA POINTS FOR: #1- The weird grandmas! #2- The "mama vs. bride" battle sequence!...
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Blood Bath (1966)
6/10
"Quiet, You Fool! I'm About To Astound The World!"...
27 January 2020
Director, Jack Hill's BLOOD BATH stars William Campbell (DEMENTIA 13) as crazed artist, Antonio Sordi, who murders his artistic subjects due to his allegedly being possessed by a vampire. Sort of like a darker, more brooding version of Roger Corman's BUCKET OF BLOOD, it has some of the same skewering of artistic pretension and buffoonery, involving Sid Haig (SPIDER BABY) and Jonathan Haze (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS). In spite of its history of fits and starts during production, it's an effective piece of horror w/ a dynamite finale!...
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9/10
"Curses Are Not To Be Taken Lightly!"...
27 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
FURY OF THE DEMON appears to be a very well made "shock-umentary" about the legendary, "lost" silent film of the title. While the film's creator is alleged to be none other than George Melies, it is found to be more probable that an occultist / photographer friend of Melies named Sicarius might have actually made it. What makes this so intriguing is the mysterious story surrounding FOTD, presented by various experts, historians, journalists, movie directors, and even Melies' great-great granddaughter. Apparently, on the few occasions when the film has been shown, the audience would burst into violent behavior, resulting in utter chaos, and even death. Mass hysteria, subliminal messaging, as well as toxins in the film stock itself are explored. It is also explained that the movie just may be cursed. This is presented in a most convincing manner, making one wonder, even hope, that it's all true...
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Rabid (1977)
8/10
"I Feel Strong! I Feel Very Strong!"...
26 January 2020
Director, David Cronenberg's RABID continues his exploration into bizarre contagions. Where his SHIVERS gave us out-of-control STD madness, this film brings us experimental surgery causing a murderous outbreak. When a motorcycle accident brings Rose (Marilyn Chambers) to the nearby Keloid clinic, her life is saved, only to lead to her being infected by a mysterious parasite. Upon regaining consciousness, her "hunger" begins, and soon results in gore-drenched catastrophe. Cronenberg's cold, direct style is perfectly suited to his material, bringing horror, sci-fi, and social commentary on everything from unwanted sex to our modern obsession with self-improvement / plastic surgery. Some of the most intense scenes include: #1- The operating room! #2- The police station! #3- The subway! #4- The mall! The Director takes a cue from George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by using radio and TV coverage to reinforce the terror of the ensuing epidemic. Ms. Chambers plays rose as an innocent woman, driven to do what she must in order to satisfy that which has invaded her body. Watching her here, one wishes she had done more movies like this. She nails the chilling, yet poignant ending! Co-stars Hart Read as Rose's long-suffering boyfriend, Frank...
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Berserk (1967)
6/10
"What Are You Trying To Do, Ruin My Circus?!"...
26 January 2020
In BERSERK, circus owner, Monica Rivers (Joan Crawford- STRAIT JACKET) finds a novel way to drum up business when a series of "accidents" prove to be profitable. The action starts right away when the high-wire act turns deadly. While Monica enjoys her windfall, and Scotland Yard snoops about, more performers come to their abrupt, grisly end. Though thrillers set in circuses have been made before, none have had Ms. Crawford! She smokes! She glares! She romances the musclebound daredevil! Doesn't this guy own a shirt? While some of the deaths are memorable, like the spiked noggin sequence, the actual circus acts aren't bad either, especially those adorable poodles, and the elephant stepping over the prone women! Yikes! One wrong move and your head is oatmeal! Co-stars Michael Gough (KONGA, HORROR HOSPITAL) and the heavenly Diana Dors...
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3/10
"There's Something In This House!"...
25 January 2020
HELP ME... I'M POSSESSED (aka: NIGHTMARE AT BLOOD CASTLE) starts out w/ an attack on an amorous couple by some unknown creature. The scene switches to the extremely well-lit dungeon of Dr. Arthur Blackwood (Bill Greer), located in the basement of his sanitarium / castle. This is where Blackwood keeps his test subjects / prisoners, and where he guillotine's the naughty, while quoting the bible. Postmortem, the doctor's hunchback henchman cuts the bodies into little pieces and stores them in tiny boxes. Said henchman also whips the prisoners and laughs. A lot. Also living in the castle is Blackwood's doll-clutching sister, and his wife. Oh, there's also a mute, leering chauffeur named Ernest, and an odd woman who roams about, spouting ominous blather. The local sheriff (Stuart Whitman) is investigating a series of murders that somehow involves the dangling of red licorice strings. What is going on? Who can tell?! This is mind-altering nonsense at its absolute summit! Only the likes of Al Adamson or Andy Milligan have ever achieved anything approaching the impossible density of this miraculous mishmash! Is it schlock? Hyper-schlock? My friends, this is Franken-schlock-zilla's second cousin, thrice removed! Watch it and feel the shrinkage of thy brain!...
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