“The Night Stalker” and “The Night Strangler” are a great watch for retro horror fans. Although they are very similar in tone and story there are a few notable differences in the way they are presented. I tend to sway a bit more to “The Night Strangler” overall but I never watch one without the other. There’s also a vibe, or a feel, associated to these 70’s made for TV efforts that makes sure they age like fine wine. Also it’s funny to think there was once a time when millions of viewers gathered around the TV set at the same time to experience a single movie event. Times sure have changed.
Coming at the tail end of the slasher film’s popularity and subsequent inevitable foray into self-parody; “The Initiation” is a thriller/slasher that’s very competent in every department and takes itself seriously. It has a terrific cast of old pros and good up-and-comers, a neat mystery that’s very well played out and solid set-pieces that are both well staged and executed with flair.
It’s stretching it to call “Intruder” a classic but it is an enjoyable late entry in a genre that was all but disappearing to a direct to video market. That’s for the most part thanks to some astonishing make-up effects and an overall gruesome nature in the flick’s kill scenes that “Intruder” scores highly among genre buffs.
Director Joe Dante is one of my favorites. He’s delivered some bona-fide classics like “The Howling”, “Gremlins” and “Innerspace”.
He’s simply an imaginative filmmaker who can play in more ways than one with the material at hand and, therefore, make them fairly unique and original.
Like many of Dante’s other films, “The ‘Burbs” pays a great deal of homage to a particular genre while also carving out a satirical standpoint that gives it it’s own identity.
A nasty demon is awakened at Hull House, an abandoned mortuary, where a group of teenagers are partying on Halloween night. The demon possesses two of them and soon bloody carnage ensues as the pair kills, and then possesses, the rest of the group.
A few years later students are preparing for a celebration where a few of them decide to visit Hull House. This new group of teens catch Angela’s attention and some more demon mayhem is unleashed.
The infamous Ed Gein (1906-1984), aka the Butcher of Plainfield, certainly had an impact on horror cinema. He was the inspiration for Norman Bates in “Psycho” (1960) and influenced Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974).
His own story is most accurately depicted in 1974’s “Deranged”. Not only is “Deranged” the most accurate adaptation of Gein’s doings but also a film that presents a sick and dangerous individual who went unnoticed for some time in a manner that feels very authentic and unglamourised. And while doing so it also infuses the morbid story with some very dark and wildly funny humour and that’s no small feat.
There’s a certain X-Factor with “The Final Terror” that makes it an enjoyable watch. I call this a slasher film in denial. “The Final Terror” falls into a between space in that it isn’t gory or trashy enough for the slasher crowd and nowhere near sophisticated enough for the elite thriller seeking crowd. It’s not surprising then to learn that the movie was completed in 1981 and shelved temporarily as it didn’t fit neatly into any category and had completely unknown actors.
“Without Warning” is a fun cross between gruesome sci-fi and slasher flicks that were doing good business in the late seventies and early eighties. A real coup was getting two terrific old timers Palance and Landau to headline the proceedings and inject real intensity into their wacky characters. They certainly help distinguish “Without Warning” and raise it from being of interest to only genre fans into being also a real curio.
Serial killer John Wakefield went on a killing spree on Harper’s Island, a small isle off the coast of Washington State, and murdered a number of people before being killed by the island sheriff Charlie Mills. The sheriff’s wife was among the casualties and he consequently sent his daughter, Abby, to live with family in L.A.