AUGUST 8, 2007
Man, I am down to like 10 movies left on my beloved budget pack. And some of them aren’t even horror. For example, one movie carries this description: “A man begins to investigate the death of his brother, who died from eating a hamburger laced with ground glass. With the police case stalled because of ineptness, the man’s investigation leads him toward a beatnik hangout frequented by Nico, a shady character who supplies drugs to the patrons and philosophizes about the ills of the world.” Now while a movie filled with beatniks IS indeed terrifying, it’s still not gonna fly for Horror Movie A Day.
On the plus side, finishing the set will means I’ll hopefully be watching a lot less stuff like Crypt of the Living Dead, an alleged vampire movie that somehow manages to showcase more shots of pulleys than shots of vampires.
The description on this one is pretty ridiculous too, not to mention acting as a direct nuclear strike against grammar:
“An archaeologist visits a remote island to bury his late father and, despite the warnings from the local people, opens the tomb of the vampire queen, buried over 700 years ago. This foolish act by the archaeologist and his reporter friend places the entire island in danger, including the local school teacher that the two men are rivals for her affection. With the school teacher in danger of being a sacrifice to the vampire queen, the duo sets out to stop the vampires, rescue the teacher and destroy the vampire queen.”
Well for starters, his “reporter friend” is the woman’s brother, so if he was a romantic rival this would be a much better film. They also say “vampire queen” a couple times more than necessary, not to mention introduce her as if we should have known she existed.
Plus it makes the movie sound more interesting than it is. A more truthful description would be:
“A guy who looks like Fred Armisen doing a parody of John Carpenter is drawn to an island to bury his father, and in doing so opens a tomb that releases an evil we don’t really see until the final few minutes. In the meantime, his reporter friend talks Seussically about drugs and we discover that some vampire worshippers killed his father on purpose because they somehow knew he would come to the island and open the tomb in order to retrieve the body, rather than just fucking open it themselves.”
See? Much better.
Still it’s a puzzlingly appealing movie, even though nothing happens I was strangely drawn to it, and not just because the bad guy looked like Jerry Dandridge. At any rate, it’s certainly worth sitting through until the end so you can hear the truly odd scream of the vampire queen as she falls to hear death. If I had to describe it, I’d say it sounded like a dying cat imitating the sound of someone trying to start a car. While drunk.
There’s also a line of dialogue that made me laugh out loud, because it was so damn snooty: “We sent a man to the moon, and we have magic flowers to protect us from vampires… seems we haven’t come very far in the past 1000 years.” Either the guy is a bit misinformed about the origins of NASA, or he just expects way too much out of his fellow man. I think going to the moon and using garlic is pretty goddamn genius. Sure, maybe they’re not as stunning a display of brainpower as building a pulley system in order to lift the lid of a coffin, but they’re still pretty swell.
Bizarrely, Mill Creek’s version is black and white (every other version I have found is in color), but I think it actually kind of works for the story, which focuses more on being atmospheric than on what some folks might call “action”. There’s also an annoying technical snafu that results in 5-10 seconds of silent blackness whenever the reel changes. Again, not that any Mill Creek transfer will win any awards, but they can at least make an effort for my 40 cents.
Like Horror Express, this one is well suited for a remake. There’s a good story in there (it’s sort of Wicker Man-ish in fact) but the technical nonsense and total lack of anything actually happening bring it down.
What say you?