Demented (1980)

Directed by Arthur Jeffreys [Other horror films: N/A]

I didn’t really know anything about this before jumping into it, and in fact I described it to my rabid Twitter followers as a “rape-revenge” film, which Demented really isn’t. I don’t know if Demented is a terrible movie, but it’s definitely a film I have mixed feelings on.

Firstly, the rape takes place a minute and a half into the film, and luckily, it’s not too explicit. I Spit on Your Grave didn’t spare the audience anything, but this one is done and over with in about a minute, which I was definitely okay with. What I was less than thrilled about was the drama that followed.

Not that it’s the worst idea in the world, following a woman who suffered a gang-rape after she’s released from a psychiatric hospital, and it’s not without a few “scary” moments (those hallucinations and night prowlers), but I wasn’t exactly excited by the content, and though I was still marginally invested, I can’t say that I wasn’t bored at times.

Things really pick up toward the final thirty minutes once the woman, for lack of a better word, snaps, and started going after some night prowlers as though they were the men who raped her (as she’s insane at the time, and more so, has every right to defend herself in her own home, I can’t say that I once felt any sympathy for any of these assholes). We get some good scenes, and the acting strikes me as better. I just wish they had gone a different direction, but whateves.

Sallee Young takes on a complex role and does fine. I think her performance is definitely shaky at points, almost laughably so, but after her character is gang-raped, who’s to say how she should act, and I can’t hold any of it against her. Playing her husband, Harry Reems (who was in the unpleasantly hairy Forced Entry) was fine as a very assholeish guy, cheating on his wife with Kathryn Clayton’s character. I did legitimately enjoy Bryan Charles’ doctor character, but he didn’t have any screen-time toward the end, which was a shame.

Demented isn’t a film I liked, but I do think that it got better toward the end, which certainly still possesses it’s fair share of somewhat silly, if not downright offensive, scenes of Young’s character turning the tables on her would-be rapists and seducing them, to their confusion. She even ties one down and has a lengthy, rather distracted and manic conversation with, much to the young man’s displeasure.

Before that point, though, I think the film bordered on boring for a pretty long time, and though I enjoyed aspects of the conclusion, I don’t know if it warrants the first hour of the film, and so I’d say that if you want to see a slightly different take on rape/revenge, Demented might be worth considering, but I don’t think this will ever top anyone’s list.


The Changeling (1980)

Directed by Peter Medak [Other horror films: Cry for the Strangers (1982), Species II (1998)]

Often quite atmospheric and somber by the very nature of the focal character’s background, The Changeling is a fantastically done ghost movie with an engrossing mystery and stellar cast. While not often outright frightening, it can get pretty unsettling, and the aforementioned mystery was on point.

That’s not quite what I thought about it when I first saw the film, but the important addendum there is that I was pretty young then, surely no older than 16. My tastes in horror probably haven’t changed significantly since that age (I loved slashers then, and I love slashers now), but my appreciation for some movies have definitely grown, and The Changeling is a good example of that.

Set in the beautiful city of Seattle (I’ve never been there, but I have had a life-long desire to move to Washington state), it follows a man haunted by the recent deaths of his wife and daughter, and upon moving into a Victorian house, has to deal with the inexplicable things people deal with when they move into houses that might be haunted.

For one thing, this can be an emotional ride following just George C. Scott’s character himself. Due to the recent death of his loved ones, there are some really touching scenes here, such as him finding the ball his daughter used to play with, or him sobbing in bed, probably with little will to go on. He definitely sold it, and though his character was one of maybe questionable motives, Melvyn Douglas really brought a lot of emotion to the final twenty minutes of the film also, especially during his face-off with Scott’s character.

George C. Scott is a familiar name, but I can’t really say I’ve seen much with him in it, which is a shame, as he does a fantastic job here, especially since it’s not too common for horror films to focus on solo older individuals. That might partially be why Trish Van Devere (who starred in The Hearse, which came out the same year but to much less fanfare, as deserved) was here – not that her character wasn’t welcome at times, but she wasn’t near as good as Scott or Douglass. And Melvyn Douglas (The Vampire Bat and, in 1981, Ghost Story, his final film before his death) – what a performance he put in at the end. Very moving and definitely worth it.

What really makes this movie work is the mystery of the ghost, and some of my favorite scenes are those of Scott’s and Devere’s characters trying to dig up as much information as they can, from reading microfilm of old newspapers at the library to going through land charts to figure out what piece of land has a well on it, it’s just a fun bunch of sequences leading to them going to some random house and, after some ghostly apparitions, finding bones in an old well. Just stellar.

Though almost an hour-and-fifty-minutes, I wouldn’t really classify this as a slow-burn, as enough of interest occurs throughout the film. I think some of the best parts are in the second half, to be sure, but there’s plenty of stuff throughout (including some delightful overextension of political purviews) that makes The Changeling a ghost film that is definitely worth seeing.


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

La casa sperduta nel parco (1980)

Directed by Ruggero Deodato [Other horror films: Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Inferno in diretta (1984), Camping del terrore (1986), Un delitto poco comune (1988), Minaccia d’amore (1988), Vortice mortale (1993), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Bridge’), Ballad in Blood (2016), Deathcember (2019, segment ‘Casetta Sperduta in Campagna’)]

In many ways, this Italian movie (generally known under the title House on the Edge of the Park) is a by-the-numbers exploitation flick, and there’s not much here that’s overly surprising (even for a video nasty). At the same time, if you’re a fan of exploitation films, there’s no reason not to check this out, even if it is a little shallow.

For the majority of the film, some rich, rather snobby, people are humiliated, raped, and otherwise under attack from David Hess’ Alex and Giovanni Lombardo Radice’s Ricky. Hess, best known for The Last House on the Left, does a fantastic job, and for his role, Radice does pretty decent too. Few of the other characters really stood out, save Gabriele Di Giulio (who had The Purge’s Rhys Wakefield swag), Annie Belle, and Brigitte Petronio, but everyone did at least okay.

None of the rape sequences here were as revolting as the scenes from I Spit on Your Grave, but there’s an in-universe reason for that, as we find out toward the finale, so that’s probably not a problem (and certainly not something I’d complain about). Speaking of the end, it was nice for this movie to throw a little bit of a twist to us – it didn’t entirely make up for just how dull much of the previous time was spent, but it did throw a bit of meat into the story, and the ending itself was pretty decent.

That said, I just can’t see House on the Edge of the Park being a movie I go back to all that often. It’s well-made and well-acted for what it is, but what it is is a by-the-number exploitation film, and while maybe fun for drive-ins, and certainly possessing some foreign appeal (the soundtrack here was, as the kids say, dope af), it’s not something I particularly loved. It did get better toward the end (some solid nudity from the attractive Petronio helped), but I still think it’s a bit below average.

Certainly, though, if you’re into exploitation movies, and you’ve not yet seen this one, it’s worth a watch.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested in hearing Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss House on the Edge of the Park, listen below.

The Shining (1980)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick [Other horror films: N/A]

I don’t want to spend a long time on this. I just want to get in and get out, while still being 100% honest about my views.

I don’t like the Shining. At all.

At best, I find the movie around a 5/10, certainly below average and definitely not a movie I’d want to watch too often. Now, to put my views in context, I don’t dislike the movie because it deviates from the novel. I’ve not read the novel as of yet, so unlike my views on the 1990 It mini-series, the book has nothing to do with it.

The concept in The Shining is interesting, but there are far too many unanswered questions come the end (Who was that old woman? Who was in that bear suit? Why was there a bear suit? Why was Torrence in that picture at the end? What was the use of ‘Tony’ at all? Why did Windy see those skeletons at the end, and that flood of blood meant what, exactly?) and I frankly didn’t enjoy much of this.

I’ll give it that Jack Nicholson does well here, though elements of his character bother me (such as the idea that he literally didn’t write a single word of his novel, and just automatically went into his “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” repetition). He did decent here. I didn’t like Shelley Duvall at all, though (she pretty much bothered me throughout the whole of the film), and Danny Lloyd did nothing for me (I don’t hold that against him, as he was a kid). And I gotta say, Scatman Crothers doesn’t do much for me either.

Both Philip Stone and Joe Turkel were good, but without an explanation as to exactly what they are (ghosts of previous people who do the hotel’s manipulation is my guess). Regardless, it goes back to unanswered questions, and while I know that the book might touch of some of these, the fact that the movie just doesn’t bother is something I find a problem with.

A lot of people love this movie. That’s cool. You do you. But I’ve seen this three, maybe four times now, and I never loved it, never liked it, never really enjoyed it. It’s a struggle to get through, and once I do, the best I can say about it is that it finally ended. The Shining isn’t a movie I enjoy.

And since I’ve probably pissed off some people already, let me just throw this in: the 1997 mini-series version of The Shining is a lot better in my eyes, and actually worth watching.

As for this one? Yeah, I can do without.


Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

Directed by Barbara Peeters [Other horror films: N/A] & Jimmy T. Murakami [Other horror films: N/A]

This is a film I’ve seen only once before this rewatch, and I have to admit to enjoying it a smidge more the first time I saw it. Not that Humanoids from the Deep is a particularly bad movie, it’s just that there’s not enough meat to the story.

What the movie gets right is probably one of the most common things to hear about it, being the creature design and the heavy use of gore. And indeed, there’s also some pretty quality nudity here, and some ever hot interspecies rape going on (just what you look forward to in a movie, I know), so no complaints there.

As good as a gore is, though, and as fun as the finale, which is mostly an attack by the creatures upon the small town’s festival on the docks, I think a lot of the first two-thirds of the film are unremarkable, and much of this is due to the utter lack of memorable characters or performances.

I never really got a hold on Doug McClure’s character here, and he seemed to just be there much of the time. Marginally more interesting was Anthony Pena’s character, due to an element of racial unease between the white town and Native Americans (though I don’t think enough was really done with this subplot). Otherwise, Vic Morrow and Ann Turkel are both unremarkable, and the story just isn’t that intriguing without the creatures present.

In some ways, this movie feels more like a 70’s flick than it does the 1980’s, especially due to the fact that there’s not a whole lot of lighter moments here. Humanoids from the Deep generally takes itself seriously, and while that’s not a problem in of itself, I partially think this movie could have had a bit more spice thrown in. Thank God it wasn’t as dull as Grizzly or Without Warning, but it’s not altogether too far removed from either.

Overall, I really adore the gore here. I love the creature design, and their freakishly long arms. Also, you won’t hear me say no to nudity like that. But when these elements aren’t the focal point of the scene, Humanoids from the Deep can come across as surprisingly dry. Still, for it’s flaws, you’ve gotta see the festival ambush – if the movie was building up to that, I think a lot of the smaller flaws can be forgiven.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast, so if you’re interested in hearing Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, listen below.

The Attic (1980)

Directed by George Edwards [Other horror films: N/A] & Gary Graver [Other horror films: Trick or Treats (1982), Moon in Scorpio (1987), Evil Spirits (1990)]

Apparently a spin-off of sorts of another horror film titled The Killing Kind (a fact I didn’t know until about halfway through the film), The Attic works fine as a standalone movie. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work nearly as well as a horror film.

Predominately The Attic is a drama, a depressing story of the day-to-day life of an older woman who has little in life but her bitter, wheelchair-bound father, her job as head librarian for 19 years, and a new friend, a young woman who reminds her much of herself from so long ago.

Really, it’s top-notch drama, and there are plenty of really moving scenes showcasing how utterly empty so much of Louise’s (played by Carrie Snodgress) life is. The music helps with this tone, and two songs, ‘Who Cares’ by Kelly Garrett and ‘Come Love Me Again’ by Christopher Callin, really bring out the somber tone of the film.

Because it’s primarily a drama, and dramas really aren’t my thing (no disrespect to the genre), I was moderately bored through a lot of The Attic. The story is perfectly engaging, but not being a drama fan, personally, I felt it dragged and dragged. It didn’t help that the film is an hour and 40 minutes long, and the best part isn’t until the finale, a ten-minute sequence or so.

Performance-wise, most of the main players do well. Carrie Snodgress (who later starred in the somewhat forgettable Trick or Treats in 1982) was great here, and really came across as a woman living with constant despair, beaten down into submissiveness by an overbearing and bitter father. The father, played by Ray Milland, was a rather despicable character, and Milland did really well playing him. Others who stood out include Ruth Cox (who played perhaps the only really good character here) and Frances Bay (the grandmother from Happy Gilmore).

As good as the performances tended to be, though, the fact remains that until the finale, we get so very few horror sequences. Generally, they come in the form of Louise imagining striking out against her father (one such fantasy had a gorilla strangle him, which was perhaps the most fun this movie had to offer). The story’s downbeat and decent, but without the horror elements to pull me in, I just can’t really give this one that good a rating. The conclusion, though without any real big shock, was certainly decent, though.


Inferno (1980)

Directed by Dario Argento [Other horror films: L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970), Il gatto a nove code (1971), 4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971), Profondo rosso (1975), Suspiria (1977), Tenebre (1982), Phenomena (1985), Opera (1987), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Black Cat’), Trauma (1993), La sindrome di Stendhal (1996), Il fantasma dell’opera (1998), Non ho sonno (2001), Il cartaio (2003), Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005), La terza madre (2007), Giallo (2009), Dracula 3D (2012), Occhiali neri (2022)]

While I’ve seen Suspiria a few times before, perhaps as many as three times, I’ve not seen Inferno up until the point of this writing. It’s a difficult movie to really get a feel for, but I’ll say that, while it wasn’t as striking and, I suspect, as memorable as Suspiria, there’s still stuff in here to enjoy.

It’s just possible that the movie lacks a certain cohesion. That’s not to say that Suspiria didn’t, but Inferno takes it to a whole new level. There’s a basic plot here, but the movie takes a rather meandering and sometimes disjointed approach to it, especially with Leigh McCloskey’s character not having a clue as to what was going on until the ending, and I’m guessing he didn’t really know then.

Inferno has a rather dream-like quality to it. There are some scenes that just seem off, or riddled with awkward dialogue, or character actions that don’t make a lot of sense. Most of the kills are great, but we never really find out who exactly is the one doing most of them, and generally, portions of the movie strike me as somewhat nonsensical.

None of this means the movie isn’t enjoyable. I will say that it probably went on a bit longer than it needed to, and the conclusion was, well, not amazing (and just brought forth a few more questions that were never even attempted to be answered), but it’s still occasionally fun. The special effects are decent, and the lighting is, of course, rather seductively ambient (though I will say that Suspiria’s lighting was quite a bit better). I think, in terms of enjoyment of the ludicrous nature of the film, the whole eclipse scene was definitely a trip.

Generally, I don’t know if most of the performances are all that memorable. McCloskey sort of had appeal as the lead, given that he had no idea whatsoever that anything supernatural was even going on until the end. He was basically clueless throughout the whole film (which lead to a somewhat amusing line near the end), but I don’t know if that makes him necessarily memorable. That said, the same could be said for both Irene Miracle and Eleonora Giorgi. Daria Nicolodi seemed somewhat pointless, but Alido Valli was rather fun to see again (she was also in Suspiria).

It’s sort of hard to pinpoint what exactly makes this film a little less stellar than his former film in the series. Inferno does meander a bit, and at times feels a bit aimless. The conclusion, especially that skeleton costume, seemed a iffy. The soundtrack was just a bit eclectic. It’s still a decent film, and I do think it’s probably above average, but Suspiria is, in my opinion, better.


Without Warning (1980)

Directed by Greydon Clark [Other horror films: Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977), Wacko (1982), Uninvited (1987), Dance Macabre (1992)]

I saw this alien flick once before, and I recall having an okay time with it. Watching it again, I don’t know what I was on, but while Without Warning isn’t a movie without potential, I certainly felt that the overall experience was pretty dull, bolstered only partially by some big names.

The only two names that are really worth mentioning are Jack Palance and Martin Landau (who, somewhat amusingly, also co-star a few years later in Alone in the Dark). Of the two, I think I preferred Landau’s character, but both were decently solid. I particularly liked Landau here due to the fact his character dealt with P.T.S.D., which led to some low-key emotional moments, and though he’s one of the primary antagonists, I certainly felt bad for him.

As far as the sluggish pace is concerned, though, Palance and Landau can’t really help. Much of the film just follows two kids (Tarah Nutter and Christopher S. Nelson) are they try to flee from an alien species, which look like frisbees, only with teeth and tendrils.

Actually, before I mock the film for the sleep-inducing plot, I will give them kudos for the special effects. The frisbee aliens sort of look silly, but when they latch onto someone, their tendrils sink into their skin, and a mixture of blood and pus is soon visible to all. It wasn’t over-the-top gruesome, but I did think that it was impressive, especially in a movie that really doesn’t have much else to boast about.

Still, watching two teenagers run from these aliens, and encounter dangers from the townspeople (in the form of Landau), it just wasn’t that engaging. The teens themselves weren’t particularly memorable, and overall, I was just consistently bored until things picked up a bit at the end.

For the life of me, I can’t remember exactly why I enjoyed this the first time around. Without Warning certainly had potential, but the final product (which runs at almost an hour and forty minutes) is just too sluggish and void of interest. Might be worth a look just for the famous faces, but as far as alien/horror hybrids go, despite the decent alien design, this isn’t much up there with the best the genre has to offer.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, check out below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this movie.

Death Ship (1980)

Death Ship

Directed by Alvin Rakoff [Other horror films: Three Dangerous Ladies (1977, segment ‘Mrs. Amworth’)]

Death Ship had a potential that it didn’t at all live up to, which is a shame, as a movie like this really could have been something special. As it is, I just ended up bored most of the time.

There’s plenty of positive things about this film. The setting, an old, abandoned Nazi ship, is creepy, especially a room devoted to all things Hitler. The atmosphere is solid, and showing empty corridors, or the gears grinding, really brings forth a spooky vibe. Heck, there’s even quite a few creepy sequences, such as the net of bones, or the freezer full of dead bodies, or that one torture room. Combine that with a few golden deaths, and all should be well.

The problem is the film is rather slow, and much like a ship anchored at sea, oftentimes doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere. Not all that much really happens, which is a shame, as, like I said, the setting certainly had a lot of potential. George Kennedy’s performance toward the end was suitably creepy, but without a story to really back that up, it felt a bit stale. Richard Crenna is perhaps the only actor who can transcend the mediocre script, and does well for himself, but like Kennedy, it feels his character doesn’t really do all that much.

Unfortunately, the movie’s just slow, and while there are some interesting ideas here (a Nazi ship trolling the waters in search of people to torture/interrogate for eternity is a fun plot), and some creepy scenes, but it’s not enough to make up for the lack of flair. Overall, Death Ship isn’t terrible, but it’s just not that good, and certainly below average.


Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham [Other horror films: Case of the Full Moon Murder (1973), A Stranger Is Watching (1982), The New Kids (1985), DeepStar Six (1989), XCU: Extreme Close Up (2001), Trapped Ashes (2006, segment ‘Jibaku’)]

While nowhere near the greatness of classics such as Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th is a wholly enjoyable film with very little going wrong for it.

Some of the best portions of this film are due to both Tom Savini (special effects) and Harry Manfredini (who composed the music). The gore isn’t necessarily that graphic, but there are some fantastic death scenes, such as the arrow slowly being pushed through the neck, or the ax to the face (a personal favorite). The music within the film assisted in creating a decent atmosphere for the film, and at times even had sort of a Psycho feel.

Without a doubt, Betsy Palmer gets the highest praise in terms of acting in the film. Her ending scene is legendary, and I feel it’s for good reason. Adrienne King did fantastic as the final girl, and it’s a shame she never really had that many other big roles in the genre. I also really liked Robbi Morgan (who had a fun personality with her short screen-time), and Jeannine Taylor (she was quite easy on the eyes). Most of the others sort of blended in with each other, but I did sort of like Peter Brouwer also.

I’ve heard some call this film boring – maybe it’s a nostalgic thing, but I don’t see it at all. Running around in the rain, wearing slickers, looking for people who have gone missing, only to get killed, with the body being found later by another character – God, it’s a fun time. Made better by the fact that one of the characters who could possibly help out is trying to make his way back to camp, but hindered by the rain, a broken-down truck, what-have-you. I thought much of the tension toward the finale was great.

Honestly, when you’re talking about the first five Friday the 13th films, there’s very little to dislike about them. All five are varying degrees of fun, and all five are easily above average. This first film, with that iconic score and great ending (solid decapitation), is a lot of fun, and I always get a kick out of it, though with the second, third, and fourth films, elements certainly improve (and as for A New Beginning, well, some execution aside, still a solid film). Still a horror classic, despite the unfortunate existence of some mediocre sequels.


This classic was covered on Fight Evil’s seventh podcast by Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and myself, so give it a listen if you’re interested.