Eye of the Devil (1966)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson [Other horror films: The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), Happy Birthday to Me (1981)]

So I didn’t really know what to expect going into this one, and to be entirely honest, I wasn’t really anticipating that I’d enjoy it, which goes to show (not that this needs any additional examples) of how wrong I can be.

Eye of the Devil is far from your typical Satanist movie, even for the time period. I was expecting something along the lines of The Devil Rides Out (1968), which seemed a fair basis of comparison since that’s also a British Satanist film from the latter half of the 1960’s, but again, I was far, far mistaken.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Eye of the Devil’s horror is subtle, but I think it’s fair to say that there’s far more uneasiness and unsettling situations than there is outright horror. Certainly there are some tense scenes (two of my favorites being the children playing on the roof and the main actress being chased through the woods by robed cultists), and I think they work beautifully in the movie, but it’s not a thrill-ride from beginning to end.

Another somewhat surprising aspect about this film is the fact it’s in black-and-white. By the mid-1960’s, most movies had made the full transition over to color (Night of the Living Dead being the most famous exception, but other cases of black-and-white movies post-1965 include Hour of the Wolf, Blood Bath, Ghosts of Hanley House, The Living Skeleton, Confessions of a Psycho Cat, Zinda Laash, and A Thousand Pleasures), so the fact they filmed this in black-and-white was a bit of a surprise. That said, I do think it worked wonderfully with the story (especially during the scene when Deborah Kerr is being chased by the cultists).

Kerr (The Innocents) here is great in her leading role, as she is well aware something sinister is going on around the castle and surrounding village, but she can’t ascertain as to exactly what it is (and it doesn’t help when everyone who knows something has exactly zero intention on letting her in on it). Playing her husband, David Niven (who has an extraordinarily familiar face, but aside from the murder mystery spoof Murder by Death, I haven’t seen anything else with him it in) does a great job too, especially as his somewhat tragic tale unfolds. I often wonder if he is seeking, or the one being sought.

Of most interest to me, of course, is Donald Pleasence (most famously Halloween, though he also really stood out in 1960’s The Flesh and the Fiends), who played a priest here. He was pretty much as you’d expect, speaking in soft tones (it’s hard for me to even hear him speak without immediately thinking about The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water), so that was fun. David Hemmings isn’t a name I know, but he was also great (and that scene where he pops up blowing that horn just randomly amusing), and brought a fantastically tense character. Others who stand out here include Sharon Tate (yes, that Sharon Tate), Edward Mulhare, and Flora Robson.

What really sets Eye of the Devil apart from many of it’s contemporaries is the atypical cinematography, some of which is really quite smashing, as my homeboi Nigel would say (90’s kids what’s up!). Seriously, some of the camera-work here is fantastic, and much before it’s time. Even if the story isn’t up your alley (and it should be, because there’s some solid uncertainty and a great feeling of dread of the unknown), you should probably watch this just to see how it was filmed.

Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t really expect to like this film, but I was quite mistaken. I’ve not honestly seen that many 1960’s horror (at most recent count, only about 148 total films for the decade), but I can say that I think Eye of the Devil would be in my personal top 20 list for the decade, and it’s a movie I’m sorry I waited so long to see.

8.5/10

Survivorz (2017)

Directed by Craig Tudor James [Other horror films: Granny of the Dead (2017), Solar Impact (2019)]

I recorded this off Syfy some time ago, and before I started to finally watch it, I looked it up on IMDb to gauge some feeling of what I was going to watch. At the time I read this movie’s entry, though, it had an astonishingly low 51 votes, which blew me away then and still surprises me now. How can a movie that was on Syfy a handful of times have such a low amount of ratings? Are people that tired of zombie films? [I have delved deep, though, and after my review, have found the answer].

Well, no matter the reason, I feel that the now 52 of us who have actually rated the film were the unlucky ones, because Survivorz is almost intolerably a pointless movie.

Everyone’s seen zombie movies (apparently everyone outside the characters in this movie, I guess) that are just following all of the expectations and adding nothing of their own into it. It’s for this reason that, to me, many zombie films just seem repetitive and harder to really come into their own and feel enjoyable. Some movies can definitely manage it, such as 28 Days Later… and Zombieland, but I feel that easily 60% of the zombie movies that have come out past 2000 have been on the other side of good, and this movie has to be one of the worst offenders of that.

Certainly this movie had the budget to have some potential. I don’t know exactly how much they had to play around with, but most of the shots in the film look well-shot, and though the special effects aren’t great, this film wasn’t made by a bunch of teens on a camcorder (and in all fairness, most films like that have more heart than Survivorz does). So it had potential, but the story and characters? Oh, fuck me with a whirling lawnmower.

Listen, I liked the setting, at least. A bunch of younger American kids in London meant we still had to deal with a mainly-American cast, but seeing a slightly different locale added maybe a little spice to the movie. It didn’t make any difference, as the story done here would have played out exactly the same in the States, but hey, spice.

Here’s my problem. Early on in the film, a woman comes stumbling in from the street, and she is visibly wounded (she was bit in the early stages of the zombie outbreak). Now, they don’t know she’s been bitten, of course, and they try to help her, but of course she turns and attacks them, and they rightly defend themselves. That’s fine.

Later on, one of the guys in the group, Gabe, gets bit. It’s bothersome when they keep telling him “it’ll be okay” when he’s obviously showing the same symptoms as the woman before, but it’s been a few hours, and he’s a friend, so I get it. When he starts attacking them, though, and is killed, one of the guys is like “Oh, I wish you were alive” or something bullshit like that. What, he wishes the zombie was alive so he could too be infected and/or eaten?

Then Benny gets bit (sorry for the spoilers, by the way, but this movie doesn’t exactly set out to surprise anyone, as the two people who make it to the end are the exact two people you would expect), and his girlfriend is like “oh it’s okay” and the others are like “oh, it’s okay” and the fact that they care so much means that he won’t actually be infected.

That’s a joke, because he is infected, and he eventually does the smart thing and locked himself in a room before he starts attacking his girlfriend. On a side-note, it took Gabe maybe five minutes before he became a mindless zombie, but it took Benny at least ten minutes (long enough for him to propose to his girlfriend, and then hide with her from another zombie, then talk to her for an additional few minutes), so that’s great. But when he locks himself in the room, his girlfriend wants him to come out, and the others too find it a hard pill to swallow that he’s protecting them from himself.

All of this could be explained if no one in this universe has ever seen a zombie movie, which has got to be the case, because I feel like if something like an onset of zombies were happening here (which, this is written in 2020, so let’s not jinx it), I would know immediately after the first person bitten and turned that “Hey, it’s a lost cause. Sorry you were bit, but we need to kill you.” It’s harsh, but there’s no other options unless they can be locked in a room and wait for a potential cure (more on that soon, though). But no, these people must think the power of friendship will prevent their friends from turning into zombies after being bit, and it annoys the fuck out of me.

Later on, they meet a guy whose wife was bitten. Now, he can’t kill his wife, so he has her tied up in her room with the hopes that a cure can be found and she’ll be fine. This isn’t a bad idea as long as he is upfront and tells everyone to not go into that room, and ensures the room is secure. He goes into the room himself, though, because that’s where he keeps his firearm, and lo and behold, his wife breaks out and bites him.

Earlier on in the movie, the group of friends see a zombie woman with a baby carrier around her neck, and the two women (played by Penelope Shipley, the one British group member and Lucy Aarden) want to “save the baby.”

Slams head on desk and dies, then revives to finish shitting on this movie

If there is a zombie apocalypse, and there is no safe way to save anyone, it sucks, but if you care about surviving, you cannot set out on a lost cause to save people. It’s a fucking baby. It would only be a hindrance, and they don’t even know if it’s actually alive (plot twist – it’s not, it’s some freaky zombie baby, because of course it is), so why even discuss trying to save it? 

Takes a deep breath

So obviously, I have some problems with the story here. What I will say is that I actually rather liked the hopelessness that this movie showcases. Even though there are three survivorz at the end (the third one, if you’re wondering, is the sister of Shipley’s character, who was miraculously alive), there’s not a hell of a lot of hope for them, because they’re trapped on a church tower with no food or water and hundreds of zombies surrounding them, so they’re probably screwed.

Unless they’re shot down by the helicopter, because that ending even made things more suspenseful somehow (??????) why

Survivorz was almost entirely pointless. I thought that there was some potential, and the fact that only 50 others had taken the time to rate it (and on average, the rating at the time I watched this was actually a 5.4/10) added to the mystique, but I look at a movie like Isle of the Dead, which I abhorred, and I at least can admit to myself that that movie tried to do something almost interesting. This movie really didn’t. Fuck it. Fuck life. Fuck zombies.

3/10

And now for the spicy research.

Up near the director’s name, I list another movie he directed, being Solar Impact (2019). Now, it’s important to note that the IMDb entry for Survivorz doesn’t list the director – I got that information from Moviefone.

Solar Impact is the same movie as Survivorz. Sort of. I mean, I’m guessing it’s mostly the same – I watched the trailer and I recognized most of the scenes. Under alternate titles of Solar Impact, Survivorz is listed as an ‘working title for the UK.’

Here’s the rub – IMDb lists Solar Impact as 2019, and I know for a fact that I recorded Survivorz off Syfy in either 2017 or 2018.

I don’t know why the movie is listed twice. I don’t know if Solar Impact adds anything. It could simply be a mistake. But as far as I’m concerned, until IMDb addresses this, these are two separate movies.

Also, while Survivorz does only have 57 total ratings, Solar Impact has 637, which is something I found worth addressing.

This has been IMDb delving with Jiggy. See you next time there’s an issue with multiple entries of movies.

From Hell It Came (1957)

Directed by Dan Milner [Other horror films: The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955)]

So a member of an island tribe is killed, and he comes back for revenge as a murderous tree? Good stuff, good stuff.

To be honest, while the monster itself is beyond goofy (the design for the tree creature just looks incredibly silly), I thought a good portion of this was at least enjoyable, and I definitely didn’t have a poor time with it.

Some of this is due to the setting, being a small island filled with restless natives while American scientists are trying to research a localized plague. To be fair, the plague doesn’t really play into the story at all, but I did like the idea of the scientists being worried about being overtaken by the natives, given that there’s only three of them and God knows how many members of the island tribe. It gives off almost a tense vibe at points (though I noted that those poison darts also never came into play).

None of the leads were particularly impressive, though. I think John McNamara was the most interesting, as Tod Andrews’ character rubbed me the wrong way with some sexist remarks and Tina Carver, despite being a scientist, still came across as second best to the other doctors. At least we got some humor from Linda Watkins, who’s British commentary cracked me up (and worth mentioning that Watkins was born in Massachusetts, so I wonder if she spent some time abroad to get that accent).

I can understand why this movie’s gotten rather negative reception, but I found much of it more charming than disappointing. I don’t think by any means From Hell It Came was a good movie – it’s still below average in my eyes – but I did personally have fun with it at times, if only for it’s ludicrous story, so take that for what you will.

6/10

The Toolbox Murders (1978)

Directed by Dennis Donnelly [Other horror films: N/A]

Certainly a movie that’s steeped in the 1970’s, The Toolbox Murders has a pretty fun idea and I think it does an okay job with it, but it’s possibly not the type of movie that people might be expecting.

At first, much of the film follows a standard slasher route, what with a  killer dispatching multiple women in bloody ways. The killer’s wearing a ski mask, and it almost seems a mystery as to who he is. But The Toolbox Murders isn’t that type of movie, and before long, we find out who the killer is and why they do the killing, with the rest of the film being a brother investigating the disappearance of his sister.

That might not sound like a great tonal shift, but honestly, I think it works out fine. We got some pretty solid kills in the first thirty minutes or so, so when it switched over to a girl being held captive by the killer, it felt natural enough. The killer was certainly pretty well-acted, and his religious mania was nicely laid out (in fact, he has a five minute dialogue – just him rambling on – which really shows where his mind’s at).

Not all of the acting is that great, though. I thought that Nicolas Beauvy and Wesley Eure were reasonable, and Eure added something a bit unique toward the end of the film, but neither were going to win awards over this. Cameron Mitchell (who starred in many horror films, such as Blood and Black Lace, Haunts, and The Demon) was pretty solid throughout, of course, but playing the abducted woman, Pamelyn Ferdin didn’t really feel alive until the finale.

The finale itself was interesting, though, with a few story shifts added in. I wouldn’t call any of them terribly shocking, but it did give the movie a bit of a jolt following twenty or so minutes of somewhat dry drama. Certainly, being this is a 70’s film, everything here is played straight, even the sillier stuff in the end that maybe shouldn’t haven been, but you have to appreciate the decade for sticking to it’s guns.

One notable thing I really liked here was the music, much of it of the country vein, but still pretty good. “Pretty Lady”, a duet sung by George Deaton and an unidentified woman, worked beautifully during a scene in which a woman was about to be killed off. It lent the film something special, especially given how cheap much of the movie feels anyway.

I know that some people out there find The Toolbox Murders a classic, and though I wouldn’t go that far, I do think it’s a pretty good movie, and it stands up about as well as it did the first time I saw it years back. Some quality gore, an interesting conclusion (and in fact, that lengthy, final shot of someone walking was actually quite moving in a way, believe it or not), nice music – I’m definitely a fan.

7.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Toolbox Murders.

April Fool’s Day (1986)

Directed by Fred Walton [Other horror films: When a Stranger Calls (1979), I Saw What You Did (1988), Trapped (1989), Homewrecker (1992), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)]

Though mired somewhat by a mixed reception, April Fool’s Day is a classic that I will never not enjoy.

A large part of this is due to all of the characters. In truth, the kills themselves are somewhat light, but the variety of characters here still add a lot of vitality to the movie, and the opening scenes, while almost overwhelming insofar character introductions (there are quite a few characters thrown at us that we need to keep track of), do a good job of showing us who we’ll be watching for the next hour and a half.

So let’s take an unnecessarily lengthy time and go over each and every cast-member, shall we?

Jay Baker cracks me up here. He plays the Texas boy Harvey, and he’s fun in pretty much every single scene he’s in. It helps that he wants to plow some fields wink wink. Deborah Goodrich (Nikki) never really stuck with me, but she’s in the movie, so she’s fine too. It helps that her name is Mary O’Reilly O’Toole O’Shea, and she fucks on the first date. You know who else is fine? Ken Olandt (Rob, who was also in Leprechaun), as he’s a solid protagonist and there’s little to really dislike him for.

Griffin O’Neil (Skip) is of good quality. No complaints. Leah Pinsent (Nan) is probably my favorite character, especially toward the end when she’s just trying to read her book in peace amidst the celebrations going on. I really find her a lot of fun here, as Nan is totally my type. Clayton Rohner (Chaz) is something else, and of course, in this case, ‘something else’ means a lot of fun. He also wants to hide the sausage with Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future, brah), and seeing Rohner and Wilson just goof around like that is a lot of fun.

I don’t know if Amy Steel stands out amidst the characters as much as she did earlier in Friday the 13th Part 2, but she still makes for a pretty solid focal point. It’s Deborah Foreman (my girl Muffy) who really shows talent, though her obviously different personality in the latter half of the film felt almost too telling (which I guess is the point, so I won’t complain). Foreman’s probably best well known for, aside from this one, Destroyer, Waxwork, Lobster Man from Mars, and the ever-classic Valley Girl (this last one is, unfortunately, not horror), and I definitely think she’s a lot of fun here, from beginning to end.

Certainly, it could be said the kills are lacking. Much of the action, such as it is, happens off-screen, and usually that would be at least a mild cause for concern, but it works here due to, one, the nature of the story, and secondly, you’re already having a lot of fun watching these guys hang out, mess around, and get fooled by fake cigars, so the fact that the blood is a bit light isn’t a giant issue.

As for the conclusion, I think it’s pretty suspenseful, and they really get all the juice they possibly could out of the situation (I do love it that when Kit finally figures out what’s going on, Rob is still bellowing in the background). It’s worth mentioning too that, even had I not loved the ending (and I’m not going as far as to say I loved it, but I never had a problem with it), it wouldn’t badly impact the rest of the film – look at Slaughter High. That had perhaps one of the worst endings imaginable, and it still rocks in awesomeness.

From the beautiful island setting to the collection of fun and playful characters (I really can’t get enough of the cast – fantastic job all around getting these performers together), April Fool’s Day has never disappointed me. It’s not the best the 80’s has to offer, but it is pretty damn good, and I’ll stand by that.

8.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss April Fool’s Day, a true classic.

The Alligator People (1959)

Directed by Roy Del Ruth [Other horror films: The Terror (1928), Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)]

Years and years ago, I saw this film on AMC. I’ve not watched movies from AMC for almost a decade, so you can probably tell just how long it’s been since I’ve seen this, and because of that, I was rather excited to finally sit down and see this again.

Sure, it’s not a great movie. The story is pretty much a combination of The Fly (1958) and The Maze (1953), so it’s not all that original. Even so, it has that fantastic classic horror feel that you get from 1950’s horror that livens the film up even though the trajectory of the film isn’t that unique. It can also be said the framing of the story – much of it being told in flashback – was reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

A big positive for this film is the setting, being a swamp. I always thought that swamps were an underutilized setting for horror, so whenever one pops up prominently in a movie, even one that’s not that great (such as 2005’s Venom), it’s nice to see. Here, it made a great centerpiece and led to some pretty solid scenes, and brought a quality atmosphere to the film.

Beverly Garland (It Conquered the World and Not of This Earth) made a fine lead, though as with most actress leads at the time, she was somewhat limited in character. Same could be said of Frieda Inescort, who had some interesting scenes and a somewhat enjoyable character arc, but at the same time, she didn’t add a whole lot come the finale of the film. Perhaps most importantly, Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man) was present also, though his character didn’t really matter until the end. Still, he was sort of fun, and occasionally sleazy.

Perhaps most memorable about The Alligator People is the ridiculous design of the Alligator Person (despite the title, only one singular real “alligator person” appears), which is somewhat unfortunate, but as bad as it looks, there’s not much screen-time for it, and it almost has a hokey charm, so I don’t think it harms the film all that much.

If you’re a fan of 1950’s horror, I don’t think you’ll have a bad time with this one anyways. Sure, the story isn’t all that new, but it takes a well-loved route competently enough, and personally, I find the film a fun watch. It’s not great, but The Alligator People is a good time.

7.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast, amazingly. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Alligator People.

Spellbinder (1988)

Directed by Janet Greek [Other horror films: N/A]

There are some movies that I really enjoy the first time I see them, but then, upon revisiting them years later, fall a decent amount from my favor. Two good examples of this would be Witchboard (1986) and, more dramatically, Nightwatch (1997). My reaction to seeing Spellbinder again isn’t nearly as negative, but I do think I enjoyed this quite a bit more when I first saw it.

It’s still a quality film, don’t get me wrong. The atmosphere is appropriately tense throughout much of the second half of the film, and the whole Satanic cult thing really works out in the movie’s favor. The special effects are great at times, and there’s an element of creepiness too that’s hard to deny. Oh, and there’s Tim Daly as the star, which is fantastic. All of these are great elements, and to be sure, I find the film above average without a doubt, but it’s missing something that I must have seen my first time through.

Tim Daly isn’t a giant name, but he did star in one of my favorite Stephen King works, the 1999 mini-series Storm of the Century. It’s sort of fun seeing a ten-year younger Daly, especially since it flew over my head the first time I saw this that I had previous experience with the actor. The other performances are all decent, such as Kelly Preston, Diana Bellamy (Stripped to Kill), and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Ghost Voyage, of all things), but Daly was, at least to me, the clear stand-out here.

Once we get toward the finale of the film, some potential surprises pop up, and even though I’ve seen the film before, I still found the ending decently satisfying, though I think that past a certain point, many people could correctly surmise where exactly Spellbinder is going. Related, I enjoyed how they tacked on an epilogue of sorts, because it gave the thing a cyclical feel that worked well.

In the end, I didn’t enjoy Spellbinder quite as much as I used to, but I still think it’s a decent movie. It’s just not a movie that blew me away at all. Still, for the late 80’s, Spellbinder is a pretty unique film, and if it’s gone under your radar, it may well worth be checking out at least once.

7.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Spellbinder.

Donner Pass (2011)

Directed by Elise Robertson [Other horror films: N/A]

This is one of those slashers that I saw some years back, found almost entirely forgettable, and thus promptly forgot, and then moved on. Seeing it again and remembering only the basic scenes from it really showed just how unremarkable this film was, and that’s a feeling that I think resonates today.

It’s not Donner Pass is a necessarily terrible movie, because it has the basic staples that you’d expect from a slasher movie. Hell, there’s even a kill that’s almost worth it. The problem is that there’s not much in the way of on-screen kills, and the addition of cannibalism (à la George Donner and the infamous history of the Donner Pass) leads to some story ideas that don’t fly wit Jiggy. I’m not saying the movie doesn’t hit enough spots to be called a competent slasher, but it definitely falls flat of good.

No one shines from the cast. Erik Stocklin is easily the most sympathetic, but the route his character takes isn’t in any form surprising. Desiree Hall was decent, and I liked her character well enough, but Colley Bailey, who played her boyfriend, was rather spineless and unlikable throughout. Bailey also appeared in likewise unmemorable slasher Madison County, on a side-note.

With as unlikable as Bailey’s character was, though, of course they have to up the ante and give us Dominic DeVore’s character. To be fair, his story, especially regarding his girlfriend, played by Adelaide Kane, was sort of unique. I think it was thrown in only to give the movie ten more minutes to play with, but credit where credit is due. Speaking of credit, Kane (who played the daughter in The Purge) was great as a bitchy, unlikable piece of trash, so kudos to her for a quality performance.

It’s never easy to really get into a slasher wherein a bunch of unlikable or uninteresting characters are killed. Well, it can be easy, if the gore is top-notch, but that’s not at all the case in Donner Pass. Really, aside from pulling in ideas from history, there’s not much here to really warrant a look. It’s not an exceptionally poor movie, though. Just sorta there, and that’s admittedly damning enough.

5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Donner Pass.

Devil (2010)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle [Other horror films: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007), Quarantine (2008), As Above, So Below (2014)]

To be honest, I was hoping for a bit more from this one. Now, Devil is a movie I’ve seen before, but it’s been years upon years, and I was thinking that maybe, if I went in with fresh eyes, I could garner a bit more enjoyment from this one than I got the first time through (in which I found the movie passable but little more). Alas, that’s not really what happened.

Certainly the basic story of the movie is interesting, but I could have done without any of the religious talking points thrown in, and wish that the film was more based on, you know, reality. In particular, Jacob Vargas’ character Ramirez was pretty bad, especially when he said that even people who say they don’t believe in the Devil actually do, a little bit. Yeah, that’s not how it works, but this character’s mind was too warped by religion for anything otherwise to make sense to him, I suspect.

I guess a big part of my issues with Devil is that I didn’t find the mystery of who the Devil was all that interesting. So we know it’s one of the people trapped in the elevator, and we’re supposed to be kept on our toes about the Devil’s human form, despite the fact we know that M. Night Shyamalan was partially responsible for the story? Yeah, I don’t think so. The ending itself was cliché enough, what with a reveal that was somewhat obvious, but the whole movie suffers from just feeling too Hollywood.

It’s not like the movie didn’t have some potential. If the story had been less based on religious tripe as opposed to an actual mystery regarding one of those trapped being a serial killer, the movie might have been pretty good (especially considering that some of the cinematography is top-notch – look at that scene on the roof with a guy chasing a hat). The route they went, though, might work for some people, but it left me rather disinterested.

Chris Messina was okay. I mean, he was pretty generic toward the end, but hey, it’s only to be expected. More enjoyable was Bokeem Woodbine, and the fact he dealt with claustrophobia was a nice character addition. Matt Craven had a very familiar face (I’ve seen him in Disturbia, I guess, but I can’t imagine that’s how I recognize him – maybe from the Assault on Precinct 13 remake?), and I rather enjoyed his character (especially his back-and-forth with Jacob Vargas). Jenny O’Hara (Wishmaster) was also nice to see again, but I don’t think her character really had much to do.

Despite some solid performances, though, Devil still felt, at best, competent. I can personally say that I had an okay time for a good amount of the film. However, I can also say that the ending was almost pathetically anticipated, and I wish that they had gone a different direction with this one.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Devil.

Trick or Treats (1982)

Directed by Gary Graver [Other horror films: The Attic (1980), Moon in Scorpio (1987), Evil Spirits (1990)]

I didn’t much care for this one the first time I saw it, primarily because I thought things were happening way, way too slowly. That hasn’t changed with a revisit, and I have to admit that, despite having potential (I mean, it’s a slasher based around Halloween from the early 80’s, how could it go wrong?), this is an entirely lackluster movie.

So how slow is the film? From my viewpoint, we don’t really see any actual dangerous horror situations until about an hour and ten minutes in. Keep in mind that the film overall is just an hour and a half, so we really only get about twenty minutes of horror, and none of it is really worth all that much, including the ending, which was just ridiculous and included only for what I guess would be shock value.

Before that, we get to watch a babysitter become frustrated with the boy she’s babysitting. And – that’s it. Well, we do get to see the deranged Malcolm, played by Peter Jason, break out of a psychiatric hospital, but he was played far too goofy to possess any type of threatening aura. He also dresses up as a woman for half the film, and yet apparently no one, from cops to homeless people, can tell that he’s a man. Certainly it’s possible that, if done well, these more comedic moments might contrast nicely with the chaos that the babysitter is facing, but she’s not facing anything so exciting, just a dick who likes playing pranks.

I can’t lie and say that the kid, played by Chris Graver (who is the son of the director), didn’t annoy me, because he most certainly did throughout the film, but even if the kid had been marginally more likable, Trick or Treats still wouldn’t have been a good movie. Hell, even if the ending was foreshadowed in some way, it still would have felt as dry as it did. Sure, Jacqueline Giroux did okay, and it was sort of nice seeing David Carradine for a few scenes, but none of it amounts to much when most of the story is just filler.

Trick or Treats isn’t a movie without any enjoyment to be had, but it’s far and few between. I didn’t care for this film when I first saw it, and I really don’t think there’s a huge reason to go out of your way to see this one. You might have an okay time with it, but more likely than not, you’ll just wish you watched They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore again.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Trick or Treats.