This week, I revisited several classic horror and sci-fi movies, plus a few more recent exploitation movies.
Another eclectic week – Italian gore from Joe D’Amato, regional American exploitation, a pair of Amicus horrors from director Roy Ward Baker, a documentary about Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, and a glorious restoration of the Russian folk-horror Viy.
Some more brief comments on recent viewing: classic horror, Italian crime action from Umberto Lenzi, gender-bending art from France and exploitation from Australia, the U.S. and the Philippines.
Recent viewing features stylized violence, classic martial arts, western noir and political Ozploitation on more disks from England
More Italian genre movies from the 1970s – horror, giallo and poliziotteschi – along with a gritty American exploitation movie which owes something to the giallo.
A pair of recent Blu-rays from Shout! Factory bookend ’70s horror with John Hayes’ Grave of the Vampire (1972), a too-little-known cheap exploitation feature which revitalizes vampire mythology and William Girdler’s The Manitou (1978), a low-budget studio movie with a better-than-average cast which plays a variation on demonic possession but fails to find an effective tone.
Recently viewed Blu-rays from Severin films include a range of Italian horrors featuring zombies, necrophilia and Lovecraftian gods, a revisionist vampire tale from the golden age of Ozploitation, and an unsettling experimental adaptation of a Lovecraft story from Sweden.
Classic television horror, geriatric action and an off-the-wall Canadian horror from Kino Lorber and Severin; five recent disks present thrills, chills, strained comedy and some problematic post-colonial politics.
Winnipeg filmmaker and author Caelum Vatnsdal spent several years researching the life of everyone’s favourite ubiquitous supporting actor Dick Miller and the resulting biography is every bit as entertaining as the roles Miller has played through six decades in the movie business.
Sometimes something authentic can shine through the incompetence of a “bad” movie; that’s the case even in something like William A. Levey’s clumsy Blackenstein (1973).