Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)

After watching the "Werewolf Vs. the Vampire Woman" I remembered an old flick from the 70s called "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)."  The werewolf reminded a bit of this flick so I thought I'd dig it up. I had not seen it in years.  

The movie feels like a "Hardy Boys" episode to be honest. Maybe it is how it is filmed.  The acting is not great.  At least Kerwin Mathews ("Robert") is good, but the kid Richie, played by Scott Sealey, isn't.  He has not been in anything else.  George Gaynes makes a cameo as a psychiatrist but is still a decade away from his role in Police Academy.

The movie is a bit slow really.  The only interesting thing about it is some of the werewolf bits (the extended forefinger was very memorable) and the hippie commune.  Now I had memories of these groups. They are obviously Christian of some sort, but they also have some odd things about them, belief in reincarnation and five-pointed stars (not exactly a pentagram, though that is what they call it) on their cross.  I distinctly recall them being more pagan than they are here.  It was the 70s and all sorts of freaky weird shit happened then.  Bob Homel, looking like a hippie John Goodman, delivers a memorable performance as Brother Christopher is what was going to be one of his last roles.   Actually, Brother Christopher is my favorite character. 

The werewolf transformations are pretty good for 1973, we are still a decade away from the genre-defining "American Werewolf in London."

Oh, and since it was the 70s cars explode the second they go off the road.

So the father is bit by a werewolf and now is one.  The only one that knows is the kid. 

What follows is fairly typical werewolf mayhem.

This one makes the connection between werewolf and Satanism more explicit. The scene where the hippies create a circle and Robert can't enter is an interesting one. I am not sure if it is interesting because it keeps the werewolf out or because of the combination of Christian and New Age beliefs.  

The movie is not exactly as I remember it, but it was better than I had hoped for.

Watched: 35
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Werewolves are easy enough, it's the group of Christian Pagans that has me the most intrigued.  I'd likely give Druids the same chance to turn lycanthropes like Clerics do undead.  Though I would make them a little more effective than Brother Christopher was.

Maybe include a sect of Theosophists that are Christopagan
So it's nearly 50 years later, Brother Christopher has passed, but he trained an elite force of Christo-pagan-hippies that travel the remote areas of the West Coast to the Rockies protecting the unwary from monsters like werewolves and sasquatches.  They seem like a group of burnouts, but really they are an effective group.  

Richie though has passed the curse on...

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Patty Shepard Night

I have this disc with a bunch of movies on it. The first one The Witches Mountain I started and stopped a couple of times. I noticed the other movie on the disc, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, also featured Patty Shepard in it. So let's make it a movie marathon.  I might have asked for too much in one night!

The Witches Mountain (1972)

Ok. I can certainly be excused for falling asleep during this one. I had to rewind it to rewatch it a bit and I still had no idea what was going on.  I looked it up, turns out, nope. The movie just doesn't make any sense.

This movie starts with a scene of a woman, a little girl, a dead cat, a snake, and a gasoline fire. That in of itself makes no sense but it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  

In the next scene a photographer, Mario (John Caffari), breaks up with his girlfriend by canceling his vacation and taking the next job his publisher gives him.  Was the girlfriend the same woman in the first scene? I thought so, but now I am not sure.  The photographer goes to the Pyrenees mountains to take pictures.  He takes some of a woman undressing (Delia played by Patty Shepard) and decides to talk to her.  Sure. Why not. It's 1973 Italy. They decide to travel together, stay at an inn (with the creepiest innkeeper played by the ubiquitous Víctor Israel, who had been in a ton of Spanish horror films) and they hear about a witch's coven in the mountains.  

They find the witches of course and they induct Delia into their coven.  Oh, there is a little more than that, but not by much. In the end, Delia runs off a cliff.

The original title was El monte de las brujas. It was advertised in some of the other reviews I read as a "lost classic of Italian horror" or as an "occult thriller", well it had a solid 70s vibe to it, but that is about it. 

The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)

Also known as "La noche de Walpurgis" or "the night of Walpurgis." 

This one opens with a bit more promise. Two doctors are performing an autopsy on a supposed werewolf and mocking the "stupid superstitions" the whole time.  They remove the silver bullets and the full moon comes out.  The man (none other than Paul Naschy himself) gets up off the table, turns into a werewolf. He kills the doctors and the first woman he sees.

Next, we switch over to Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) and Genevieve (Barbara Capell) driving through the countryside. They are looking for the tomb of Countess Wandessa (Patty Shepard), a Medieval witch, a murderess, and a suspected Vampire.  Instead, they find Waldemar Daninsky (our werewolf Naschy).

We encounter his sister Elizabeth (Yelena Samarina) who seems really weird. Elvira takes an interest in Waldemar after initially not wanting to stay.  But Genevieve wants to leave after being attacked by Elizabeth. 

They do find the tomb, but Elvira doesn't want to open the coffin. Genevieve cuts herself and gets her blood on the corpse of the countess (of course).  Elvira is attacked by a zombie/revenant in the church and this doesn't seem to raise much of an alarm.  Night comes and the Countess rises and starts preying on Genevieve. She is killed and the countess turns her attention to Elvira. 

Waldemar keeps doing his werewolfing, but keeping away from Elvira while he does it. 

Patty Shepard is really channeling Barbara Steele in this as the vampire Duchess.  This was the point.

The movie has it's climactic battle between the werewolf and vampire. With both dying in the end and Elvira walking out into the sunrise with her otherwise useless boyfriend from the second scene. 

This one was a fun romp and really woke me back up from the earlier snooze fest.

Glad I started early, I also found this one.

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Also known as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires and La tumba de la isla maldita.  The set up of this movie sounded so much like the setup of the Palace of the Vampire Queen that I HAD to check it out. 

This one has Andrew Prine (Chris) a couple of years after his bit in Simon King of Witches.  So a Witch King vs. a Vampire Queen.  I can do something with that!  

Chris is here on the island to retrieve the body of his father.  In the process, he manages to set Hannah free. The natives begin to tell tales of how this island used to be known as Vampire Island it will be again.  Hannah tries to spread terror, but she is a rather slow-moving vampire to be honest. She has a helper who appears to be some sort of primitive man; I decided he was some sort of half-turned werewolf.  She is also getting help from Peter (Mark Damon), Chris' father's friend and brother to Mary (Patty Shepard).  

Hannah is played by Teresa Gimpera, though she has no lines.  Between Pine, Damon and Shepard there is an impressive list of movies and TV shows.  Soon after this Mark Damon would go on to become one of the biggest producers in Hollywood.  So the cast is no lacking.  

Sadly the story is slow and Hannah the Vampire never really lives up to her reputation.

Watched: 34
New: 24

I love the idea of a coven of witches meeting on a mountain top. Maybe to combine the first two movies here, cause they are going to blur anyway, the witches meet over the tomb of their founding coven member, a witch who had been suspected of vampirism.  They are threatened, and this how the PCs learn of them, from the outside by a small pack of werewolves.  To add in elements of the third movie I would set it all on a remote island. Maybe in the Aegean sea.

Friday, October 16, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Frankenstein Night

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

I talked about this movie back in 2015 when I watched War of the Gargantuas. I mentioned then I need to see this movie. Finally got around to it.  

The premise is cool. In 1945 Nazi doctors find the heart of Frankenstein's Monster.  The SS comes and takes the heart and sends it to Japan. They are about ready to study it when the atomic bomb is dropped.

Fast forward 20 years and there are strange things going on. Stranger than the radiation sickness still affecting people.  An odd boy is running through the streets eating dogs and other animals.   The boy seems to be impervious to pain and can heal.  After a bit of back and forth with capturing the child he is discovered not only to be European, but Frankenstein's monster regenerated whole from just the heart.  
Ok, that is cool enough on its own.  Also, the boy is growing bigger all the time.

The movie soon becomes a standard Toho Kaiju movie with giant Frankenstein battling Baragon. Oh yeah, Baragon is in this too, because Japan is just overrun with monsters. This gives us the English title, Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

Lady Frankenstein (1971)

Some more Italian fare tonight.  This one was a total stab in the dark. I wanted another Frankenstein film and this one meets all my other criteria in a movie, especially since I have been on an Italian horror kick this year.  So let's see how it is. It is described as Hammer Films meets Italian Giallo horror.

This is a surprisingly forward-thinking movie for 1971.  Tania Frankenstein wants to be treated as an equal Doctor and Surgeon in her father's eyes.  Sadly though the movie is about as predictable as you think.  The Hammer parts come in with sketchy looking assistants to get the body parts, a monster on the loose, an angry mob,  and lots of death.  The Italian Giallo parts are random nudity and the monster always seeming to catch people having sex.

Tania manages to up her father one by creating a creature that is both strong and intelligent. So both monsters have to fight it out. 

The angry mob comes to burn down the castle (Hammer) while Tania Frankenstein and her monster have sex while it burns (Giallo).  Well. That is not something you see in every Frankenstein movie that is for sure.

Watched: 29
New: 18


Frankenstein's story is a fantastic one and one that we can go back too time and again.  I think if I ever were to use the Frankenstein story in a game it would have to borrow elements from "Young Frankenstein" and the bits on Frankenstein from Supernatural.  The current heir of the family name has found his ancestor's old notes and has begun his own experiments.   Meanwhile the original creature, still "alive" is out there and is drawn to this new Frankenstein to destroy him and his works. 

OR better yet make this Dr. Frankenstein a young woman to honor Frankenstein's original author Mary Shelly.  Yeah. "Lady Frankenstein Conquers the World."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Devils (1972) and Vamps (2017)

I swear with all the Italian horror Giallo movies from the 70s I have seen I should be able to speak Italian. 

Night of the Devils (1972)
A man stumbles and faints in the countryside.
Next, see him hooked up to a bunch of machines in a hospital setting. We assume the images we see of torture and murder are all going on in his mind.  The doctor working on him makes the claim that the patient has no memory of his previous days and no ID.

A woman claiming to know him shows up, but this only sends him into a panic. We later see in flashback what happened.  

Nicola (the man) crashes his car while avoiding hitting a woman (Sdenka, from above) but when he looks she is nowhere to be seen.  We see some locals burying a body (later we learn it was the old man's brother). They are acting like the person needed to be killed. Nicola finds the home of the locals along with Sdenka (played by the lovely Agostina Belli) and they reluctantly take him in for the night. The locals are very rustic, Sdenka even mentions she has never seen a television. 

We soon discover that the family is under a witch's curse. They will become undead after they die.  Said witch is later seen running in the dark and digs up the idol from the dead brother's grave. 

The movie is actually fairly good. Tension is built, there is a lot of mystery with this creepy family. The vampire decay is also pretty cool for 1972.  

Like "Black Sabbath" this movie is based on the Tolstoy novella, The Family of the Vourdalak. Doing a little reading led me to my next film.

Vamps (2017)
Also, known as "Ghouls," but more importantly, "Vurdalaki"

The copy I had access too (Amazon Prime) was originally in Russian and then dubbed and subtitled.  It looked slick but I kept feeling that the voice actors were not doing their characters justice really.

This one deals with the Moyori, or a race of half-human/half-vampires and the six clans of vampires. So a little of Dracula meets Vampire the Masquerade or Vampire Dark Ages. 

Like the original, this one has vampires coming back from the dead to haunt their own families and draw them out for feeding.

Our story focuses around Milena (played by Aglaya Shilovskaya) she is target of affection by both our hero Andrey (Konstantin Kryukov who looks like a young Lindsey Buckingham) and our Vampire Lord who needs her Moyori blood to become a day walking vampire. 

The movie's biggest issue though is the pacing. It is just so slow in places. But it is a good looking movie all the same. 

Watched: 27
New: 17

I did the Vourdalak, or rather, Wurdalak a while back as a vampire that is formed under a witch's curse. I made stats for both OSR games and Ghosts of Albion.  So one for NIGHT SHIFT is certainly in order.

The Vourdalak or Wurdalak is created by a family curse.  Typically one laid down by a powerful witch on an entire line. When a member dies they will return as a vourdalak to feed on members of their own family.  Sometimes a vourdalak will also spontaneously arise when a member of the family disgraces their family name or when a member (typically a daughter) goes against the wishes of a recently deceased member (such as her father or uncle).

Vourdalak, Master
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities (Feed on Blood, Immune to Normal Damage, Mind Control, Regenerate, Repulsed by Holy Items, Spawn, Strong and Fast), Vampire Vulnerabilities (Stake Throw the Heart, Holy Water, Cannot Polymorph)
XP VALUE: 1,400

This is usually the one cursed by the witch and the one that will turn all the other family members.

Vourdalak, Spawn
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Cannot mind control. Cannot Polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP VALUE: 200 

These are the other family members. Unlike the Vampire Spawn, these creatures are Strong and Fast.

No Vourdalak can polymorph into animals.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unholy (1988)

This one came up while I was doing some reading up on The Devil's Nightmare.  On the surface, it has a lot going for it.  I liked the recently passed Ben Cross as an actor. Nicole Fortier (who never really appeared in anything else before or since) makes for a very attractive Demon. And the story sounds like it has some potential. 

The movie opens with a priest confessing before the altar.  While he prays a nude redhead woman shows up.  She caresses him and then rips out his throat.  

Later, a priest, Father Michael (Ben Cross) arrives to administer the last rites to another murder victim. He is warned that she is coming for him.  Three years later Father Michael is attempting to talk down an attempted suicide when he is pulled out a window and falls 17 floors to the ground.  He wakes up in the hospital with hardly a scratch on him.  Hal Holbrook, playing Archbishop Mosely, decides that Micheal is ready to run his own parish, but there is more to it than that. Michael is getting the church where the priest was murdered three years ago.

We learn from Ned Beaty that not one, but two priests were murdered in the church. One other a year before Father Dennis.   We learn a bit more about the case including meeting Millie (Jill Caroll), a girl Father Dennis tried to save from her job in a local "satanic" themed club.

Father Michael starts seeing some strange happenings and even a dog gets sacrificed on the altar. 

The movie starts to drag at the half-way point, never really going anywhere.  In fact, we don't even learn the demon's name, Desiderius (Latin, "ardent desire"), until about 1 and 20mins into the movie. The final battle doesn't get started until an hour and 25 mins in. 

Nicole Fortier makes for a very fetching demon, even if she never has any lines.  

I also find it a little interesting that I never saw this one when it was out.  I mean this was at the prime of my Horror VHS renting time.  But I was also in college so cash was not a luxury item.  

At this time I also had a red-headed girl-friend and I can assure you that their reported demonic powers are an exaggeration.  But only by a little. 

There is a great scene at the very end of what can only be described as Clerical Turning.  It works here. 

Make no mistake. This is not an Oscar-caliber movie and Ben Cross acts circles around everyone else.  But it is a fun little romp.  Ben Cross would right after this star as Barnabas Collins in the NBC mini-series remake of Dark Shadows. I have been meaning to rewatch it someday.

Watched: 23
New: 15

Ben Cross' Father Michael makes a great Theosophist/Chosen One multiclass in Night Shift.   I might have an older, now semi-retired, Father Michaels show up in a game one day, playing the role that Trevor Howard as Father Silva played in this movie.  I also just learned that this was the last movie that Trevor Howard was in. 

I am also thinking that a Cinematic Horror New Orleans. This movie, Cat People, maybe even the Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat among others. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Monsters of the Basque

“El sueño de la razon produce monstruos” - Francisco Goya

The sleep of reason produces monsters. Or in my case right now the lack of sleep produces monsters.

Yesterday I watched The Baztán Trilogy and it featured, or least talked about, three monsters from the Basque region of Spain. 

While I have seen variations of these creatures from other myths and regions, this was the first time I had seen them under these names. So let's give them a bit love.

Large Monstrous Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral [Neutral Good]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5d8+10* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam
Damage: 1d6+3, 1d6+3
Special: Stay hidden 95%.
Size: Large
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 525

The Basajaun is a type of large wild man of the forests similar in many respects to the Sasquatch and Yeti.  It also has commonalities with the Wood Wose due to it's more benign and protective nature. They are tall (9') humanoids covered in course black and brown hair. 

The name Basajaun means "Lord of the Woods". The plural is basajaunak and the female of the species is a basander.  They are suspected of building megaliths with their immense strength and keep flocks of sheep.  They are a shy and reclusive species, speaking only their own language, although a few know the local languages.  They are averse to fighting but will protect their lands if necessary. 

They can avoid being spotted 95% of the time. Often they are just confused for a large bear.  They can be recognized though by the whistling they do to communicate with others of it's kind.

By Luistxo eta Marije
originally posted to Flickr as
Izenaduba-Olentzeroren etxea
CC BY-SA 2.0

Large Fiendish Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 6d8+12* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+4, 1d6+4 or 1d10
Special: Magic required to hit, evil eye
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 660

The tartalo is another large creature found in the Basque region of Northern Spain. It appears as a cyclops or as a one-eyed ogre. It has a fiendish glint in it's one large eye.  Many scholars of the occult believe they are connected to demons, either by birth or by actions.

The tartalo lives alone in caves. They are 10' tall and only speak in simple grunts. They do seem to be intelligent, it is just speech is beyond them. Only males have ever been spotted leading scholars to conclude they seek out young maidens as their "wives."  

Anyone wandering into the cave of the tartalo runs the danger of becoming the monster's next meal.  They prefer the taste of young men and women, especially ones that have not been baptized (or dedicated to a god).  Their tactic is to use their "evil eye" to stun (treat as a Hold Person spell) their victims. They will kill and eat any young men and anyone over marriage age.  They will keep the young unmarried women to birth their monstrous sons.  These women when then also be killed and eaten.

The only treasure a tartalo has is a fine wrought golden ring.  The ring is a curse and anyone wearing it will be known to any other tartalo in the region and they will seek the wearer out to kill them. 

Small Fiend (Demon)
Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 12d8+12* (66 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws, nightmares
Damage: 1d4, 1d4 or 1d10
Special: Magic or +2 weapons required to hit, cause fear, nightmares, ability drain
Size: Small*
Save: Monster 12
Morale: 10
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 1,900

Inguma is a demonic lord of sleep and dreams. He is believed to create incubi and can give his followers riches if they give him his preferred sacrifices, that of baby girls before two years of age.  He commands a small sect of Mara Witches.

Though small, he is a powerful demonic lord.  He can cast Fear and Nightmare three times per night. His physical attacks are weak, but he can gain entrance into the minds of sleepers, save vs. death to avoid. Once there he will invade the dreams and learn all the victim's secrets. Their sleep is disrupted so they can't heal normally nor will spellcaster regain their spells. By the third night of the invasion, the victim begins to lose Constitution points at the rate of 1 per night.  Only an exorcism (cleric) or cleanse (witch) spell will remove the influence of Inguma.  Often Inguma forces his victims into suicide long before they succumb to his draining effects. Each night the victim must make a save vs. death. A failed save means they will kill themselves.

Inguma rarely takes physical form. When he does magic is required to attack him. When he does manifest it is always as what the viewer fears the most.

It is believed that Inguma is the father, or at least the ancestor and patron, of the Tartalo and possibly the Imps of the Perverse. Some incubi revere him as their lord. 

Basque Mara witches see him as their lord and patron and will offer sacrifices to him. He rewards them with riches.

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Note: I had this one for another night, so I pulled the post to rewatch the HD 106-minute version.  Other than being much nicer to watch I can't really tell where the differences are. I figure I can have an Erika Blanc double feature! 

This movie is known by a lot of different titles.  The original title, La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba, and the title I am currently watching it under, The Night She Arose from the Tomb. 

The version I have is 99 minutes. So not the 88-minute cut version or even the full 103-minute version. Not sure where that rates this one.  

So crazy Lord Alan Cunningham picks up women that look like his presumed dead wife. He seduces them, tortures them and kills them.  All because he thought his wife was having an affair.

The biggest issue I am having with my version of this video is that the copy is so washed out.

Here is a picture of Polly, played by Maria Teresa Tofano, Alan's first victim, and I had to dig it up to see why she supposedly looked like his dead wife or how Erika Blanc featured into it.

Note: On the HD version I rewatched is much nicer and Maria Tofano is quite adorable.

and Erika Blanc,

vs the version on my screen:

Yeah. Less than optimal.  This is from the same DVD collection that my original copy of The Devil's Nightmare came from. So I should not be surprised.

In fact, some scenes are really screwed up. Split screens, bad color correction, and generally bad lighting.
Note: I am glad I rewatched the HD version.

Eventually, Alan meets a woman he falls in love with, but then all sorts of strange things start happening.  Is the ghost of Evelyn back?

Now I swear I have seen this movie. There is a scene where Alan is talking to all the blonde maids that is just too familiar and the ending.  I must have seen the shorter version under yet another name.  But I recall so little of the rest of it.  And I certainly would have remembered Erika Blanc in this. The music though sounds familiar, but I have heard the same music used in lots of different movies, so that is nothing really.

I was hoping for a supernatural element to this one, but no such luck.

Going to call this one as "Watched Previously" though for the life of me I can't recall when or where.  I even went through all my old October Horror movies but no luck.

I am going to be dragging today.

Watched: 20
New: 13

Throwing in another one. I had a lot of caffeine tonight. I'll come up with something.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

This is the movie I thought I was going to watch earlier tonight.

This is an older one and one I had seen before, but have had a difficult time finding it.   When I first saw it, years ago, it was under the title "The Succubus".  This BluRay transfer is a bit better than a copy I saw just a couple years ago.  I noticed I have talked about it, but never gave it a proper review.  I did give it a brief review while watching some 70s horror films a few years back. I figure I should pop it in.  Plus it is a "Succubus Sunday" so let's have it.

The DVD transfer I had is good, but not great, transfer.  Still a lot of hisses and pops from the source. But still viewable. It does seem to have some material cut from it, or I am remembering it wrong.

The Blu-Ray is fantastic. Also, it has all the scenes I remembered.

We start the movie with a woman giving birth in Nazi Germany near the end of WWII.  The woman's father is a Nazi officer and wants to know if the child is a boy or a girl.  The woman dies in childbirth but the baby survives...until the Nazi officer stabs and kills the baby.

The story follows a group of seven tourists as they become waylaid in a creepy German castle.  Turns out the Baron of the castle is the same Nazi officer from the beginning.

The guests gather and we begin to learn a little about each one.  As they begin to talk about the family curse the Baron is under, another guest, Lisa Müller, arrives.  One known to the housekeeper, Martha.  In pure succubus fashion, she is a beautiful redhead with blue eyes.  I'll be honest, I watched this movie for the first time early in my D&D years so a lot of what a succubus *is* for me comes from this movie. Or. Rather, my memory of this movie.

Each guest is revealed to represent each of the seven deadly sins. The deaths are really what makes this movie fun.  Seven Deadly sins deaths years before Brad Pitt screamed: "What's in the box!"  Makes it worth seeing again.

As soon as six of the guests die, the remaining living guest, the seminarian, Alvin Sorelle, trades his own soul to Satan to bring the other guests back to life.  There is a nice twist at the end which really makes the movie memorable.

The succubus, Lisa, was played by cult horror figure Erika Blanc.  Her demonic make-up effects are both understated and extremely effective.  While I know others could see them as cheap, I rather liked it.  Plus regardless, Erika Blanc is great to look at.  It is no shock looking back on this that I have had so many witchy characters with red hair and blue eyes.

The BluRay is so much better than the old VHS I watched back in the 80s and the DVD copy I watched just a couple of years back.  Well worth getting. Mondo Macabro really puts out a great disc.

I was doing a bit of reading before posting and I noticed that "The Unholy" with Ben Cross is a similar themed movie. I will have to check it out.

Watched: 21
New: 13

Ok. Now I am dragging.  Succubi are a fantastic choice in NIGHT SHIFT.  So much so I am planning on posting more about them.  But later.

October Horror Movie Challenge: Succubus (1968)

I thought for sure I had seen this movie.  It is a little earlier than my "sweet spot" of movies, but it is a Jesús Franco movie and it is about a Succubus (maybe). So yeah feels like something I would have seen.
Well not so much.

Succubus, also called "Necronomicon – Geträumte Sünden" has nothing to do with Lovecraft and maybe nothing to do with succubi.

The lovely (and almost 40 at the time) Janine Reynaud plays Lorna, the star act of a live S&M show at some seedy European nightclub. A voice-over by the club owner leads us to believe that Lorna here has sold her soul to the devil.  She is called "Faustina" at various points and  "the essence of evil... a devil on earth!"

Lorna manages to move through the movie is a semi-languid daze, that is when she is not killing people she almost has sex with.  There is plenty of nudity, drugs, and killings.  You are never sure if Lorna is possessed by a demon or just crazy.  Either could be true.

Since this is a Jesús Franco flick Jeanine Reynaud is front and center and spends more time undressed than dressed.  She is supposed to be a succubus after all.

The ending is also what should be expected. But it is still a fun romp. Very 60s.

Watched: 19
New: 13

I am thinking a longer post about Succubi in NIGHT SHIFT is in order.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Quatermass and The Pit (1967)

Quatermass and The Pit (1967)

Another Hammer choice, since I am in the mood. This movie is a classic. Rarely does Sci-fi and horror blend so well as with Quatermass and The Pit (1967).  I remember watching this one as a kid and thought how fantastic it was.  It has stayed surprisingly up to date.

Like the Creeping Flesh and the Image of Fendahl, this one features a near-human skeleton that is at least 5 million years old.  Found in a subway station under Hobbs End (formerly Hobs End) brings into question not only the origins of humankind, but of our concept of evil.

Quatermass is one of the iconic British characters, one I would say is right up there with Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor.  In fact I am sitting wondering now how come Steven Moffat hasn't given us a modern version of Prof. Quatermass. We are overdue.
Note: After I typed this all up I did find a 2005 Quatermass serial starring Jason Flemyng and long associated Doctor Who folk David Tennant and Mark Gatiss. 

This movie also was the first that got me onto my research of Hobs which would eventually lead to my decision that hobgoblins are a diabolic bread of goblins.  A "hob" is a type of devil.  The creature movie is often described as a goblin. 

This movie also uses the ages-old trope of women being more psychically sensitive than men. 

The ending of this one is still surprisingly effective and scary. 

Watched: 15
New: 9

NIGHT SHIFT and BlackStar Content.
Like I mentioned in the Creeping Flesh a skeleton that should not exist is a fantastic element of horror and sci-fi.   Like Image of Fendahl, this one brings a pentagram into the mix having it as being older than mankind. 

Maybe I can combine these various ideas and go 2001: Space Odyssey here.  A NIGHT SHIFT game taking place in the early 70s discovering a skeleton that just should not belong. Horror ensues. Then a BlackStar game where the USS Protector investigates a planet with eerie similarities.  

I do love a long-game plot covering multiple generations.

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Creeping Flesh (1973)

Been in a Hammer mood lately, so I thought I would revisit some old favorites. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that The Creeping Flesh, starring  Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and directed by Freddie Francis was NOT a Hammer Film.  But more on that later.

This film scarred me crazy when I was little, but it also is responsible for me becoming more curious on both psychology, anthropology, and the Victorian era.  Christopher Lee plays a psychologist and Peter Cushing an anthropologist. 

Emmanuel Hildern (Cushing) has come back from a trip abroad to Papua New Guinea where he has found the skeleton of a giant humanoid.  It was buried in a lower stratum than Neanderthal, and thus much older (note, Neanderthals have only been discovered in Europe and the Middle East).  He is being financed by his younger half-brother James (Lee), who is a psychiatrist.  

The skeleton (which my wife and I agree is actually that of a Klingon) begins to grow new flesh when exposed to water.  

There is a bit about his dead wife, she died in his brother's insane asylum, and maybe his daughter inheriting her madness.   Oh. And an escaped mental patient Lenny.  "Lenny the Lunatic" would a focal point of many nightmares after that.  Not so much him but how he was killed. 

Cushing plays the absent-minded professor with his head full of science.  Lee plays the scientist looking for fame and money.   

Eventually, Emmanuel concocts an idea of using the Klingon's blood as a vaccine against evil.  Of course, the doctor injects his "unruly" daughter (Lorna Heilbron) with it (she went into her mother's room where she was forbidden!) but not before he sees what it does to his test monkey.  In pure Victorian fashion turning evil makes you hotter, his daughter Penelope starts tarting around London.  Oh and she turns from a blonde to a red-head in a red dress. Not at all subtle really. 

There is some back and forth between Lee and Cushing (as there should be, they were the best as antagonists) with the skeleton getting stolen and caught in the rain.  

The movie is remarkably uneven, but still quite a lot of fun really.  Lorna Heilbron is absolutely adorable in this, first as the "Good" Penelope and then as the "Evil" Penelope.  Christopher Lee is his typical commanding self. Not evil, but certainly amoral. 

The ending bugged me then. Was it all in Emmanuel's head or has some ancient evil been released in the world? Now I think it is great.

Watched: 14
New: 9

Finding an ancient skeleton that should not exist is a hallmark of sci-fi horror.  Doctor Who would cover the same ground five years later with The Image of Fendahl about a 12 million-year-old human skull.  Quatermass and the Pit did it a few years back with a 5 million-year-old skull. I would use a similar idea in Ghosts of Albion: Dinosauria with a screaming skull. 

BlackStar Content.
My wife, who never watches horror movies with me, watched this one.  We both thought the skeleton looked like a Klingon.  So what about this. A Federation archaeological survey has turned up a 12 (or 5 or 6 or whatever) million-year-old Klingon skeleton on a planet far outside of the Klingon Empire, and millions of years before the Klingons achieved warp.  Since this is the dawn of the Federation-Klingon peace accords, everyone is on eggshells.  The survey team goes silent.  The Klingons send a ship. That goes silent. The closest ship in the sector is yours.  You intercept a Klingon transmission. It is the captain of the Klingon ship, he is covered in blood and screaming, "HeS'a' wa' tu'lu'bej!" (The Devil is here!)
I would avoid saying it is actually Fek'lhr, but that doesn't mean the characters don't know that.

We thought the skull looked a lot like a Klingon's.

And it was tall like Fek'lhr is.

It makes sense. Kahless pointed to a star and said to his followers "you would find me there" and was the planet of Boreth, home of the Klingon Time Crystals.  If there can be holy planets then there can be profane ones as well.   

October Horror Movie Challenge: Addams Family (1991, 1993)

When regular "family" channels start showing Halloween movies then you know October is in full swing.  These were on today and I thought I'd catch them while do other things.  Are they Horror?  Maybe not. But they are certainly in the spirit of Halloween and that is what matters to me.

The Addams Family (1991)

Gomez: Tish, when was the last time we waltzed?
Morticia: Oh, Gomez. Hours.

I have said it before, I'll say it again. Gomez and Morticia Addams might be the two most loving characters of all time. And no one does Gomez with the same flair and attitude as the late Raul Julia. Sorry John Astin, but it is true. If he were the only bright spot in this movie that would be enough. But we have chameleon actor Christopher Lloyd as Fester, a very young, but already brilliant, Christina Ricci (who claimed to be channeling Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz for her role), a regal Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams, and a great supporting cast. 

The movie deals with the return of Uncle Fester, but that is really not the point. You don't enjoy the Addams Family for its plot. You enjoy it for its wonderful campiness, its weirdness, and to paraphrase the old Addams Family TV series, its creepiness, and cookieness. 

Addams Family Values (1993)

Morticia: Wednesday's at that very special age when a girl has only one thing on her mind.
Ellen: Boys?
Wednesday: Homicide.

Why this movie wasn't spun off into a Wednesday Addams featured movie (or direct to video) still raises questions, because seriously. Christina Ricci outright stole this damn movie as teenage homicidal maniac Wednesday.  It is easy to see why Wednesday eclipsed the other characters here because she is just so much damn fun. It would later give us Adult Wednesday Addams from Melissa Hunter (which was taken down). 

The plot of this one, such that it is, is reminiscent of the first. Fester being manipulated to steal all the Addams' money. Maybe why it didn't fare as well in the box office. But that doesn't matter, the movie is fun and funny. 

Frankly, it would not be Halloween if I didn't catch one or the other of these.

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  

I have talked about witch families in the past. I think what we have here is a very functional, loving family that just happens to be really weird.  It got me thinking, why do all D&D characters have a tragic backstory and are orphans? Well I guess that loving families don't produce adventurers any more than they produce Batman.  But what would an adventuring party of siblings be like? Wouldn't that be fun? I get along great with my sibs, taking them on an adventure would be fun. 

So what are the D&D classes of the Addams?

Gomez: Rogue
Morticia: Bard
Fester: Artificer (basing this on the old TV series)
Pugsly: Barbarian
Wednesday: Assassin
Grandma: Witch
Lurch: Golem Fighter
Thing: Familiar?

Ok, not a perfect fit, but something to have some fun with.

Watched: 13
New: 9

Friday, October 9, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Manitou (1978)

Watching Bigfoot this morning made me think of this oldie and how much it freaked me out as a kid.

This movie typifies the later 70s, post Exorcist, mood of American Horror.  Lots of psychic phenomena, some satanism, and if you can work in Native American or Eastern mysticism all the better.

Tony Curtis is great as a fake psychic and tarot card reader that gets pulled into the drama around a tumor growing on his ex-girlfriend's, Susan Strasberg's, back.  X-rays show the tumor to look like a rapidly growing fetus.

Karen (Strasberg) goes to see Harry (Curtis) the day before her surgery (and they drink a lot of wine before hand).  Harry does a tarot card reading for her and they all come up the same (the tower, the moon, the devil, and death).

That night Karen mutters something in her sleep in a language that Harry doesn't understand (he thinks it is Swahili).

Karen goes into surgery but the doctors are prevented from cutting into the tumor.   At the same time, Harry's psychic ability becomes real.  They take part in a séance and learn about the Manitou. They go and see Dr. Snow (Burgess Meredith in a surprise role) and learn more.

The contact a Native American Shaman played by the always amazing Michael Ansara (Kang of Star Trek and Kane of Buck Rogers) and learn that this tumor is really the ancient Shaman Misquamacus.
At one point Misquamacus tells John Singing Rock (Ansara) not to help them.  I was half-hoping he would stand up and tell them "you are on your white people."

Misquamacus is born (I seem to recall it being scarier in 78) but is held in place at first by John's circle. 

The "demons" summoned by Misquamacus are quite cool.  They have a sort of Lovecraft/August Derleth quality to them. They are even called "the great old ones."  In the end, the evil spirits are destroyed by computers, manifesting as laser blasts from a naked Karen.   Lest we forget this was the 70s.

This really is a cut above my normal fare in terms of acting ability even if the story is a little silly. 

Watched: 11
New: 9

A couple of thoughts here. 

First, there is a wealth of material in Native American folklore that I just have not explored and honestly, I am just not even remotely familiar or even qualified to write about them despite all the stories I have read or watched over the years. 

I'd love to get more of this sort of thing for my Valhalla, AK game.  While the Bigfoot stuff from earlier today went on the silly side, this would be more of the horror side of things. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Malenka / Fangs of the Living Dead (1968, 1969)

I am sure I had seen this one.  But like SO MANY Italian, French and Spanish horror films from the late 60s and early 70s plots, scenes and even whole movies were recycled.  I mean this one even has the same music as "The Night She Rose From the Grave" which I am getting too later and is on the same DVD as this movie.  Though that could even be because of the disk.

This movie has been known as "Malenka", "Fangs of the Living Dead" and "The Vampire's Niece" with various dates between 1968 and 1969.

Anyway, this one features Anita Ekberg, so that is a good reason to check it out.

The movie starts with a nice creepy, "Dracula's Guest", feel to it.  Sylvia Morel (Ekberg) learns she has inherited a fortune, a castle, and a new title.   Julián Ugarte plays the Count, Sylvia's uncle, Count Walbrooke.  Sylvia becomes the Harker stand-in and Walbrooke is Dracula.

I think I was getting this one confused with the Thirst from 1979. But while the beginnings are similar, they become quite different movies. This movie was the obvious prototype for Satan's Slave (also known as Evil Heritage) in 1976 and many Franco movies like A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973).

We learn that Sylvia's grandmother was burned at the stake as a witch and she was able to turn her children into vampires.

The basic story cleaves very, very close to the Dracula tale. So nothing really new here.
Until the end, and there is a neat little twist. It really saved the movie for me.

Kind of a fun little flick really.

Watched: 9
New: 9


So many of these movies have old cursed families with a suspension of witchcraft and vampirism.  
I think what I need, both for NIGHT SHIFT and maybe even my various witch books is a family of witches, in decay, whose members become vampires after death.  Not all are powerful vampires, some are little more than ghouls really, but a few.  Take notes from the Karnsteins and movies like this.
In some ways the Montblancs in NIGHT SHIFT's "Ordinary World" can cover this. Maybe this is a direction I could take them.  The American Montblancs are an old family, but the European Montblancs are ancient and maybe a little more evil.  Combine this with my Byleth idea from last week.
Maybe that is how I separate them, the American Montblancs are featured in NIGHT SHIFT but the "European" Montblancs would be featured in my Witch books for Basic-era.   I would need to have a map for the run down, but still better than anywhere you have lived, Château Montblanc.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)

I am a sucker for a weird Klaus Kinski movie. The trouble with this one was that he really wasn't in it much nor very central to the plot.

We watch the disjointed (and told in weird flashback) events of the life and death and life of Greta.  She is dead and mourned by her brother Franz.  We later learn that Franz used to abuse and rape Greta till she ran off with a mysterious Dr. von Ravensbrück.  Then we jump to a scene where Greta is in a coach accident. Her driver is killed and she is rescued by a young married couple, Walter and Eva.  Greta has no memory and is soon living with, and having sex with, Walter and Eva.

Klaus Kinski comes in as their doctor and he sees an amulet on Eva's neck that perplexes him.  He goes off to run experiments on corpses.  Meanwhile, Gertrude is bothered by Greta and keeps seeing Greta's rapey brother in hallucinations.

Gertrude eventually flees the house but is shot in the face by someone she knows but we never see.

Later Eva finally gets jealous of the sex Walter is having with Greta (she wants her to herself) and seals Greta up in a vault The Cask of Amontillado style.   Of and around this time Kinski's Dr. Sturges has revealed that Greta's amulet is a formula for bringing the dead back to life.  He succeeds but is killed by someone soon after.
A few weeks later the search for Greta is winding down and Eva and Walter throw a party.  At the party, Eva sees Greta and chases her throughout the house.  Greta's face is young one moment and a corpse-like visage the next.   Greta kills Eva, but no one sees her do it. 

Greta goes on to kill Walter, Walter's father who was...wait for it...Dr. von Ravensbrück!  We learn then that Greta was pregnant with Dr. von Ravensbrück's child but she died in childbirth. The whole thing was witnessed by Gertrude!
Rapey Franz then brought her back to life, but she kills him.  She also kills the butler of the von Ravensbrück's just because she can.

We see Greta in the end. I guess she must be immortal now.

Not a bad flick, but very disjointed.  Ewa Aulin as Greta is great to look at, but she isn't much of an actress. Granted my copy is dubbed, so it is harder to tell. Klaus Kinski is his typical weird-ass self.

Watched: 8
New: 8


Woman with amnesia is found, either by the characters or people they know.  Turns out she is a reanimated corpse intent on killing everyone that was responsible for her death. 
What separates this from say the plot of "The Crow"?  Well, in this case, she is killing everyone even remotely associated with her death whether they had an active role or not.  So less "The Crow" and more "Dr. Phibes."

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Color Out of Space (2019)

Oh. Now this was fun.

I have heard that some people didn't care for this one, but you can't watch it thinking it is a Lovecraft movie.  Lovecraft never translates well on screen.  Watch this one thinking it is a crazy Nick Cage movie.

Sadly I did not see this one when it came out, but I had heard a lot of good (and bad) about it.   Well the movie itself did not disappoint.  I mean really, Lovecraft, Nick Cage?  This has disaster written all over it but it gets pulled together well.

So the movie follows the story rather well. Well, as can be expected.

Our narrator, the unnamed surveyor, becomes Ward Phillips a hydrologist played by Elliot Knight.  I have to admit I did enjoy that the narrator, our POV character, is played by a mixed-race, Nigerian-British actor who is very active in gay rights.  Lovecraft would be so happy.

Nick Cage is at his Nick Cage best.  Super serious when he needs to be, and bat-shit insane with an accent when the movie needs that.  He reminded me of his characters in  Vampire's Kiss and National Treasure. And let's not forget, Cage has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award.  He is great as troubled Nathan/Nahum Gardner. 

The sons are changed and there is a daughter, Lavinia played by Madeleine Arthur (who has some solid geek cred with credits in "Supernatural", "Legends of Tomorrow", "Tomorrow People", "X-Files", "Magicians", and "Spooksville").  Oh, and Lavinia, who plays a Wiccan, also has a copy of the old 1980 Simon Necronomicon.  That made me rather happy to see, to be honest.

And Tommy Chong.  Seriously.
Tommy Freaking Chong playing the "crazy man" Ezra/Ammi Pierce.

The hardest thing I think is to capture the horror of Lovecraft on film.  I am not sure how many half-failed attempts I have watched over the years.  In fact, I think the only good ones have been "From Beyond" and "Re-Animator".  Maybe, MAYBE, 1970 The Dunwich Horror with Dean Stockwell.

What I REALLY enjoyed about this was I watched it with my two boys.  We all love Lovecraft and we all love Nick Cage movies.  So this was a nice treat.

This is supposed to be the first of a shared universe of Lovecraft films, but it did rather poorly in the box office.

Watched: 7
New: 7


What NOT to use here?  Might need to grab my 5e Cthulhu Mythos book and give this one a go using the Night Shift game.  The characters can play the parts of investigators to the scene.  My kids would LOVE that.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Byleth: The Demon of Incest (1972)

This is another one from last year.  The Blu-Ray was not available till November, so here we are. This is another one of those notorious movies of the 70s Euro-sleaze horror. One I had been looking for a while mostly because I never thought I'd find it.

Byleth: The Demon of Incest is a little Italian gem that features murders, gratuitous nudity and enough brother/sister incest for an episode of Game of Thrones.

Let's get right to the point. It's not good. It is slow and the lead Mark Damon as Duke Lionello is not great.

The movie revolves around Duke Lionello, his sister Barbara and Barbara's new husband Giordano.  This is a problem of course since Lionello and Barbara have been having an incestuous affair.   An affair that Lionello is loathed to give up.

The movie does make use of the demon Beleth, which is expected.  At one point Barbara asks her brother, Lionello, if he still has his white horse.  They later talk about "Byleth" on his white horse.

Of course, you are never sure if Lionello is possessed by Byleth or just crazy.  I like to think possessed because that is what I do here.

The Severin Blu-Ray version is really good.  There are some color issues from the original negative, but otherwise, it looks great.  Too bad the movie could not live up to the hype.

Watched: 5
New: 5


Come back tomorrow night for my ideas on this one!

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