Eyes of a Stranger (1981)

Directed by Ken Wiederhorn [Other horror films: Shock Waves (1977), Return of the Living Dead: Part II (1988), Dark Tower (1989)]

This is a somewhat well-known film that I’ve not seen until now, which is a shame, as it’s pretty good. It’s not amazing, but as a big fan of slashers, I have very little to complain about.

In many ways, I think the performances stand out more here than the gore, which isn’t necessarily common for many slasher films. Lauren Tewes does pretty well as the lead, though she’s not exactly the most exciting character. On the other hand, though, John DiSanti does a fantastic job as the sleazy, rather disturbing antagonist. We never really learn why DiSanti’s character has the psychosis he does, but that didn’t bother me much. His character is brutal, efficient, and pretty enjoyable to watch despite his atrocious acts.

Better than both DiSanti and Tewes, though, and the real stand-out in the film, is Jennifer Jason Leigh. She later went on to appear in both The Hitcher (1986) and the enjoyable television movie Buried Alive (1990). While this isn’t her first role, it is her first feature film, and as she plays a somewhat challenging character (someone who can neither see nor hear), she does amazingly. She feels like such a vulnerable person who, via flashback, we see had a very traumatic experience, so seeing her come into her own at the end was such a cheer-out-loud moment. I loved Leigh here, and her character is the one that you won’t likely forget after seeing this.

As I mentioned before, the gore is pretty decent, though it’s not really the showcase here. In many ways, this film feels a bit more like a thriller than a horror (and from my understanding, it was originally meant to be a thriller before they decided to move more toward the slasher direction), but we definitely get some gory scenes, along with some occasional nudity (actually, for a slasher that feels a bit more classy, I was a bit surprised by the amount of nudity in the film). It may not be a highlight, but if you’re a slasher fan, I don’t think there’s much to complain about.

And honestly, while I know the movie wasn’t perfect, off the top of my head, I have no major complaints. I enjoyed the plot well enough, and the suspenseful scene in which Tewes’ character is searching for evidence in the antagonist’s apartment was definitely on point. I guess they could have added in a few additional kills, but really, we got a decent body count here, so really, I can’t complain about that either.

Eyes of a Stranger isn’t necessarily a classic, but I do think it’s pretty overlooked, which is admittedly easy to do as the early 1980’s are somewhat over-saturated with slashers. I don’t think this movie’s anything overly flashy or even special, but I don’t have any real issues with the film, and the ending was one of the most satisfying sequences I’ve seen in a little while. If this is one that you’ve missed, I’d certainly look into it. Even if you don’t love it, it’s still a great way to spend an hour-and-a-half.

8.5/10

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

Night School (1981)

Directed by Ken Hughes [Other horror films: N/A]

This is one I’ve seen once before, and I don’t recall particularly enjoying it the first time around. Seeing Night School again confirmed, at least to me, that it’s certainly no classic of the 1980’s, but at the same time, it does have some pretty decent kills.

Putting the kills aside for the time being, Night School doesn’t strike me as that memorable a movie. The plot’s decent for a slasher flick, and we get some solid suspects and a bit of procedural detective work, but there’s not a lot here that strikes me as inspired.

The main character (Leonard Mann) was fine, as was his partner (Joseph R. Sicari), but I don’t really think many other cast members stood out, save for Drew Snyder and perhaps Rachel Ward. Annette Miller was sort of funny the few times she appeared, but really, as far as the cast goes, there’s not a lot that’s offered.

If anything puts this movie on the map, it’s the kills. The best was probably the locker room attack (which concluded with the killer throwing a severed head into an aquarium), but the diner sequence was pretty good also. When Night School leaned that way, it could be pretty suspenseful, so credit where credit is due.

Unfortunately, I don’t think credit’s due that often. The ending is about what you would expect, and while there are some good things strewn throughout the film, there’s not enough here at all to really think that highly of it overall. Honestly, while it may be worth a single watch, I don’t think Night School is worth too much more.

6/10

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

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Directed by George Mihalka [Other horror films: The Blue Man (1985), Psychic (1991), Relative Fear (1994)]

What’s the best slasher ever made?

I’ll save you time, and just admit it’s Halloween, which is a spectacular flick. But what’s the second-best slasher ever made? Well, say no more, because it’s My Bloody Valentine.

Truthfully, I don’t know exactly why I love this movie as much as I do. I mean, I love all the performances, I think the story’s fantastic, the killer’s interesting, the theme track very enjoyable, the kills amazing, the setting is great and everything else is flawless, but as for specifics, it’s difficult.

Let’s spend a few minutes (INB4ITSHOURS) on the performances. Here’s a list of those who stood out: Don Francks (as sheriff, very solid and memorable performance), Keith Knight (Hollis is perhaps one of my favorite characters from a slasher film), Neil Affleck (Axel is pretty fun all-around), Lori Hallier (‘Sarah, be my bloody valentine’), Paul Kelman (T.J. is a solid mystery here), Alf Humphreys (good comic relief in a believable way), Cynthia Dale (really loved her character here, plus she’s Hollis’ girl, so you know she’s fun), Rob Stein (very memorable look), and his girl Helene Udy.

What works here is that all of these characters feel like they live in a small town where most men work in the mines and the girls wait for them to get out and go out to drink. This movie feels incredibly real to me, and while it’s somewhat odd how some of the girls dress more like it’s the 1950’s than the early 80’s, it doesn’t really do anything to impact my view on this. I love the small-town mentality, where everyone knows everyone, and these teenagers really pulled it off, not to mention Don Francks (the sheriff Newby), Larry Reynolds (the mayor), and Patricia Hamilton.

The design of the killer is just amazing. It’s simple, what with a mining suit and a pickax, but it’s damn effective, and one of my favorite scenes in the annals of horror is when the killer is walking through the mine, smashing his pickaxe into the hanging lights. The characters can’t see him, but they hear the lights breaking, and it’s just amazingly great. Plus, he writes killer rhymes (‘It happened once. It happened twice. Cancel the dance or it’ll happen thrice’).

Many bring up the song from Madman, but I think, without a doubt, ‘The Ballad of Harry Warden‘ blows it away. The song’s good lyrically and musically, and fits beautifully into the credits following the insane laughter of the killer. It’s on my iTunes, so it’s not good just for the movie or for horror-themed songs, but for any occasion.

If you watch the film with the cuts in, you’ll probably have an okay time, but if you get the uncut version, then you really have a lot of fun. A guy has his head boiled while he’s held down. A woman is struck by a pickaxe and thrown into a dryer. A girl is impaled on a shower-head. A double-impalement by a drill. Nailgun to the head and hung as so the body detaches. And a favorite of mine, a man pickaxed through the face, causing an eye to hang out (you know the MPAA took that one out before you could say ‘there should be no MPAA’). God, this is solid gore, and it’s a shame that the movie’s existed so long without the uncut scenes, as many people who see the cut version won’t realize how solid this stuff is. I’ve watched the cut version once, and like I said, it’s still a good movie, but seeing the gore in whole just completes the good times.

Like I said, I really like the setting of My Bloody Valentine. It’s a small town (named Valentine Bluffs – who couldn’t love that?) with a main industry of mining. Few are going to college after high school – they’re going to the mines, and those who do try to get out just end up back home (poor T.J. – I always wondered what mistakes he made out west). But was Hollis particularly sad about his fortune? Not so much, nor was Axel, nor do any of the characters seem particularly disheartened. The bar is always lively (despite the grumpy bartender, appropriately named Happy and played brilliantly by Jack Van Evera, who died just the following year), and even the junkyard is a place to just chill. I love the vibe here, and though it’s entirely different from my experience growing up, I find it somehow relatable.

Without a doubt, My Bloody Valentine is one of my favorite horror movies. There’s nothing I don’t like about it, and I watched it something like three times in the first week I bought it. It has everything I look for in a slasher, including an interesting mystery (with some red herrings thrown in), a great atmosphere, a very memorable setting (being stalked in a mine has never been done so well), lovable characters (Hollis and Patty), and all-in-all, My Bloody Valentine never fails to impress me.

10/10

And to hear my gush about the film, look no futher than Fight Evil’s podcast, where Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I spoke about the film.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Directed by Steve Miner [Other horror films: Friday the 13th Part III (1982), House (1985), Warlock (1989), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Lake Placid (1999), Day of the Dead (2008)]

I think we can all agree that the first Friday the 13th is a great movie, but the second film is probably a bit better. That’s always been my feeling on it, anyway, but at the same time, the first five films of this series are all pretty solid in their own way, and all are above average. The second part isn’t the best of the five, but it is pretty damn solid.

The kills here are great. I think there’s only one that’s particularly weak, but most of them are of high quality, from the razor-wire garrote, and double impalement by spear to a machete to the face, hammer to the head, and of course the upside throat-slitting. Though Savani wasn’t involved in this one, I thought the kills were all pretty great, which is nice to see.

Character-wise, there are some memorable ones here. Paul (John Furey) wasn’t that memorable, but Ginny (Amy Steel, also from the classic April Fool’s Day) was a fantastic character, and with her child psychology interest, she was a good choice of protagonist, as she, above anyone else, could even have the potential to get through to Jason (which she does, in a way). Ted (Stuart Charno) was pretty fun too, and unlike many in these films, finds a happier ending, which was a nice surprise.

The couples Terry (Kirsten Baker) and Scott (Russell Todd, later in Chopping Mall), along with Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober), don’t particularly interest me (though Baker did have a solid nude sequence), but all their deaths were welcomed. Mark (Tom McBride) and Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor, later in Girls Nite Out), though, were both enjoyable characters, Vickie in particular, as she was the cutest girl here, and I really liked her personality. Same for Mark, as a wheelchair-bound character in a slasher isn’t something you see everyday.

Seeing Adrienne King come back for the opening was decently fun, and did set up the movie well, but I don’t know how much I care for Jason going so far out of his way just to get revenge. Still, I’m glad they went as far as to bring King back, however briefly.

As for Jason, I really like his portrayal here. He runs, he makes mistakes (him breaking that chair toward the end always struck me as funny), he gets knocked down – Jason here seems a lot more human than he does in later films, and I thought that worked well. I also like the sack over his head – I get that the hockey mask is iconic, but I thought he looked reasonably frightening here, so I had no complaints. Steve Dash did great here as Jason, so it’s a shame he never played him again (though Warrington Gillette was credited as Jason, apparently Dash, the stunt double, played Jason for much of the film).

Of course, the ending is good fun, what with a rainstorm and characters finding bodies, getting killed, all that good stuff. Much like with the first film, I really enjoyed the finale, though I think the first one was better (though we do get a very clever way to deceive Jason here, which I thought was quite ingenious). Still, a lot of frantic running and fighting happen here in the final twenty minutes, and it’s all good fun, even the somewhat dreamily mysterious conclusion (we never really do find out what happens to Paul). I’m just happy that decapitated head didn’t wink, or something, because I won’t lie – they were definitely thinking of doing that.

Friday the 13th Part 2 isn’t the perfect slasher, but I do think it’s a lot of fun, and the likable and memorable characters here are certainly worth watching, and there are a few solidly funny quips here too (‘No seconds on desserts,’ or ‘the one with the puck’). I never hesitate to watch this one, and while I think the first movie has a better finale, Part II is a bit more enjoyable overall.

8.5/10

This is one of the films covered on the Fight Evil podcast, so if you’re into cool shit brah, here’s Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discussing this classic.

Deadly Blessing (1981)

Directed by Wes Craven [Other horror films: The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Stranger in Our House (1978), Swamp Thing (1982), Invitation to Hell (1984), The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Chiller (1985), Deadly Friend (1986), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Shocker (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Cursed (2005), My Soul to Take (2010), Scream 4 (2011)]

Directed by Wes Craven, Deadly Blessing is a movie I’ve been wanting to see for some time, and while I’m not surprised with my somewhat lukewarm reception to it, I do wish this one was a bit more stable, as it certainly had the potential to be a better movie.

Dealing with an Amish-like religious group called the Hittites (they’re pretty much Amish, though apparently more fire-and-brimstone and all that jazz) and a mysterious killer, Deadly Blessing occasionally feels like a really bizarre slasher. The slasher aspects themselves don’t really overtly pop up until the finale, but there’s plenty of creepy and unsettling scenes beforehand, among them sequences including tarantulas falling into mouths and snakes sliding into bathtubs (setting up a scene very similar to Nancy’s bathtub sequence in ANOES).

The three main women here were all good. Maren Jensen and Susan Buckner (who was the most attractive of the three women, especially in her jogging clothes) did the best, as past a certain point, Sharon Stone’s character didn’t have much to add (though to be fair, she did play more a part in the finale than did Buckner’s character). Ernest Borgnine was intimidating in his role, and had a way with words toward the serpents (or should I say the women who are not followers of his religion).

Lois Nettleton and Lisa Hartman, who played mother and daughter, were okay, but I don’t think either one was special. Michael Barryman (who was in The Hills Have Eyes) was nice to see, but didn’t necessarily add much. Lastly, as attractive as Buckner was, my vote for cutest woman here is Colleen Riley (who was in the second Hills Have Eyes).

I think the problems here is that it takes a bit of time to get going, and when things to start happening, while some of the sequences are unsettling (such as the aforementioned tarantula scenes), it doesn’t feel quite enough. I enjoyed much of the story, though the ending was pretty damn bad. There’s a portion here too that reminded me a bit of Sleepaway Camp, though not nearly as interesting or effective. There were some good scenes here (such as Sharon Stone’s sequence trapped in the barn), but there just wasn’t enough to make the hour and forty minutes seem like time well-spent.

After The Hill Have Eyes, Craven directed five movies before getting to A Nightmare on Elm Street. I’ve not seen the other four (Stranger in Our House, Swamp Thing, Invitation to Hell, and The Hills Have Eyes Part II), but this one struck me as pretty middle-of-the-road. Like I said, I think there was more potential here than what the end product showed. Deadly Blessing isn’t without partial merit, and I still think the movie’s almost a smidge above average (if for nothing else, the mystery of the killer’s identity mixed with the remote setting worked well together), but I don’t see it as any more than that.

7/10

And as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I covered this on the Fight-Evil podcast, you can listen to us discuss it below.

Le notti del terrore (1981)

Le notti

Directed by Andrea Bianchi [Other horror films: La tua presenza nuda! (1972), Nude per l’assassino (1975), Malabimba (1979), Maniac Killer (1987), Incontri in case private (1988), Massacre (1989), Gioco di seduzione (1990)]

This Italian zombie offering (commonly known best as Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror) has some fantastic special effects in both their zombie design and exuberant amounts of gore. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really offer up much aside from that.

Really, it’s hard for zombies movies to not feel derivative – at times, this felt like fellow Euro-horror forebears such as Tombs of the Blind Dead and Let Sleeping Corpses Lie/The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (though in somewhat unique fashion, the former is a Spanish film while the latter an Italian-Spanish production), and of course emulated Fulci’s Zombi 2 and City of the Living Dead, along with taking some elements from Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City.

All of this is to say that you pretty much know what you’re going to get: a thread-bare story but great gore and effects, and by God, Burial Ground delivers.

Obviously, perhaps one of the most memorable scenes is a woman getting her nipple and breast tip gnawed off, but there are also plenty of scenes of zombies digging through peoples’ entrails (thinking Night of the Living Dead, only in glorious color), along with just general great use of gore. The zombies themselves have a great design too, looking both overly decayed, dried out, and decrepit, along with being inundated with maggots and seeping brownish liquid (which one can only imagine would be quite foul) when punctured.

Most of the performances here aren’t really note-worthy in any way. One that just has to be mentioned, though, is Pietro Barzocchini (credited as Peter Bark in the film). Because of Italian laws that restricted the use of children in violent and sexual scenes, Barzocchini (age 25 at the time) was cast as a young child (I’m guessing he was supposed to be between the ages of seven and ten), which added such a strange, surreal feel to the scenes he was present in. It also allowed for a rather creepy scene where he tried to seduce his mother.

Oh, fun times indeed.

On a small side-note, I rather liked the somewhat low-key way this film ended. I can imagine it bothering some viewers, but it also plays into the whole hopelessness the characters felt throughout the whole film.

For a fan of classic horror, there’s a lot to appreciate about this movie, but Zombi 2 will always be my go-to when it comes to Italian zombie movies, no matter how good some of the effects here tend to be. Still, I definitely recommend giving this one a look, as really, you can’t go wrong with Italian zombie flicks from that golden era.

7/10

The Prowler (1981)

The Prowler

Directed by Joseph Zito [Other horror films: Bloodrage (1980), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)]

The Prowler is one of those early 80’s slasher classics I’ve just seen once before. Truth be told, I only remembered the vaguest of scenes, so it was nice coming into this one as an almost-new viewing. While the story and conclusion are a bit lacking, The Prowler more than makes up for it with it’s atmosphere and fantastic gore effects.

The setting for this one is pretty good also – it’s nothing overly special, just a college campus (of sorts), but I liked how everything happened so close to each other. In one scene, the main actress is walking out of a dance, tons of people and energy, and then just two blocks away, the streets are dark and empty. I’m not sure why, but I just really dug that.

Of course, when anyone talks about this one, they’re going to bring up the gore, and for good reason. I don’t think there was a single death in this movie that disappointed me. The bayonet through the guy’s head (from top of skull, coming out his jaw) was fantastic, as was the double pitchfork impalement at the beginning. Even better, the shower-pitchfork scene, which was fantastically gory, along with providing a bit of welcomed nudity to the film. Let’s not forget the head being blown off with the shotgun, though – in pure Maniac style, that scene was great.

Which makes complete sense, given that the same individual behind the special effects for Maniac, Tom Savini, was behind these also. If you want to see a slasher that’s not afraid of showing some gore, this one is perfect.

I don’t want to give off the impression that the film is without downsides, though. The motive behind the mystery killer are never really explained, leaving the kills without context, and in fact, the identity of the killer is almost pathetically easy to ascertain pretty early on (many of the red herrings were obvious, and we’re pretty much left with a single suspect in mind). Also, while the atmosphere never falters, it did feel a bit sluggish toward the end before the conclusion. And on that note, there’s a scene in the conclusion that just feels overly silly (I’m guessing that, if you’ve seen this, you know which one I’m talking about).

It’s also worth noting that the cast isn’t really amazing either, but for an early 80’s slasher, I pretty much think most of those involved did fine. Vicky Dawson was a pretty fair main character, and Christopher Goutman, while a bit generic, did okay as a co-protagonist. Neither one, by the way, had much a career in movies, which I find a bit interesting. I wish he had appeared more, but Farley Granger was fun while on screen, and I have no idea who Bill Nunnery is, but his short scene is pretty amusing.

It’s the lack of motive that bothers me most about this one, and all other complaints can mostly be swept under the rug. I don’t get why they didn’t throw in a short relevant flashback, or a Dear John letter, or something to indicate why the killer went out of his way to kill again after so long. It was noticeably weak, which is a shame, as otherwise, The Prowler is a solid movie. Even so, the special effects here are damn good, and if I’d recommend it for anything, along with the classic feel, I’d recommend it for that.

8.5/10

Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II

Directed by Rick Rosenthal [Other horror films: The Birds II: Land’s End (1994), Halloween: Resurrection (2002)]

In many ways, this sequel reaches similar heights as it’s predecessor, and though it lacks the classic feel of the original, it’s both a fun and oft-thrilling watch.

Much of the suspense works due to the setting, a rather isolated and understaffed hospital, filled with empty corridors and many deadly weapons (and a therapy tub, used to glorious effect). It’s worth noting that the film doesn’t have a significantly higher amount of gore (aside from a pool of blood that one character slips in), and still manages most of the kills without showing that much. That said, there is a much higher body count here, so there’s still certainly enough to keep us looking for more.

The great setting aside, the fact that Laurie is wounded here also makes the chase sequences just a bit more suspenseful. When in her prime, Laurie could defend herself against Michael, but here, she’s nowhere near her best, and watching her stumble down a deserted hallway to escape Michael, then going into a dingy basement area, those were great scenes, and perhaps my favorites of the movie.

Of course, Jamie Lee Curtis does pretty good here as Laurie, though she doesn’t get nearly as much screen-time as you might expect. Donald Pleasence is fun here too, and gets a few more wild moments only hinted at in the first film. He especially gets in some good action toward the end and the explosive finale. Lance Guest is pretty solid here, though doesn’t have as much to do with how the film goes as first thought. Finally, returning from the first film, Charles Cyphers is nice to see, but quickly gets put out of commission after finding out his daughter, Annie, was a victim of Myers’.

Speaking of the first film, I liked how this film replayed the last few moments of the first, the music not kicking in until after Pleasence talks to a neighbor attracted to the gunshots. A nice, subtle beginning that quickly turns into a chaotic police manhunt, but of course, Michael still evades the search. The one plot twist in the film isn’t necessarily the best thought out (I think we all know what I’m talking about), but for this one film, it works out fine.

Halloween II doesn’t feel nearly as good as the first movie, but given how I think the first movie is one of the best horror movies ever made, that should hardly come as a shock. Still, there’s plenty in this movie to deeply enjoy, and ever since I first saw this many years back, I absolutely loved the hospital chase sequences, and always found them thrilling. The ending too was also pretty epic, and if they had wanted, would have served a fine conclusion to the story. A great movie by any means, this film stands the test of time, and brings a lot to enjoy to the table.

8.5/10

Quella villa accanto al cimitero (1981)

House by the

Directed by Lucio Fulci [Other horror films: Beatrice Cenci (1969), Una lucertola con la pelle di donna (1971), Non si sevizia un paperino (1972), Il cav. Costante Nicosia demoniaco, ovvero: Dracula in Brianza (1975), Sette note in nero (1977), Zombi 2 (1979), Paura nella città dei morti viventi (1980), Black Cat (Gatto nero) (1981), …E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà (1981), Lo squartatore di New York (1982), Manhattan Baby (1982), Murderock – Uccide a passo di danza (1984), Aenigma (1987), Zombi 3 (1988), Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio (1988), Il fantasma di Sodoma (1988), La dolce casa degli orrori (1989), La casa nel tempo (1989), Un gatto nel cervello (1990), Demonia (1990), Hansel e Gretel (1990), Voci dal profondo (1991), Le porte del silenzio (1991)]

As with much of Fulci’s horror output, Quella villa accanto al cimitero (or The House by the Cemetery) lacks some cohesion at times, but comes forth with strong gore, though this doesn’t entirely save it.

At first glance, the story is somewhat simple, but there are elements never really touched upon aside from being referenced once or twice (such as what exactly the deal with the babysitter was, and under what circumstances did the main guy visit the house previously, or the psychic girl subplot), which creates an occasionally incoherent film, perhaps par for the course, as far as Fulci’s concerned.

That said, many don’t come to Fulci’s films for their unparalleled stories, they come for the gore, and this movie certainly has that. Dismembered body parts, a bloody bat attack, multiple stabbings, this movie knew what it was doing insofar as the gore and special effects were concerned.

I watched a dubbed version of the film (which is the same as last time I saw this, if I recall), and the dubbing wasn’t spectacular, but it didn’t really harm the performances. Paolo Marco was still decently strong as the main character, though he wasn’t as involved as I thought he might be. Catriona MacColl was a bit hysterical at times, but it worked for her character. Playing the babysitter with an unexplained connection to the house, Ania Pieroni did fine, but was lacking characterization. Lastly, the boy, played by Giovanni Frezza, was hurt most by the dubbing, and came across as annoying half the time, but I could live with it.

The lack of cohesion here is the biggest problem. Certainly there’s occasionally a strong atmosphere, and of course the gore is pretty top-notch, but when the story’s not amazing, those other factors can only do so much. Related, while much of the score was pretty good, it was rather eclectic at times, and seemed cut oddly, at least in the print I saw.

The House by the Cemetery probably isn’t Lucio Fulci’s best movie (I definitely like Don’t Torture a Duckling and Zombi 2 more, and maybe even The Beyond), but it is a good example of the kind of horror this Italian director did for the genre. It’s worth seeing despite the problems present, but it might not be one of his movies that you constantly go back to.

6/10

The Territory (1981)

Territory

Directed by Raoul Ruiz [Other horror films: La ville des pirates (1983), La maison Nucingen (2008)]

(Note: this review was written like this movie – it starts off competently, but then falls into a mess of stuff that has no context and makes no sense).

Maybe it’s because I don’t have much interest in philosophy, but I couldn’t stand this movie. It just felt aimless, meandering, and pointlessly ontological.

The story had potential, and it’s that potential that lead me to seek this film out, placing it on my ‘want-to-see’ list. It’s the same mistake I made with the 2007 French flick Eden Log, actually. I might have hated that one more, but this wasn’t a walk in the park, by any means.

There were some decent scenes at the beginning before the characters started acting irrationally and ultimately ceased acting like actual people. The idea of wandering lost in what should be an easy location to leave has appeal, but when the approach they take is one like they did here, it doesn’t do a thing for me, and actively irritated me.

I derived no pleasure from this movie. Not from the end (I guess one of the characters died off-screen, or something, because they don’t pop up again, and also, there seems to be a character at the end who never appeared before who was retroactively considered a main character or something), which was horrible.

I don’t even know if my critique is making sense. The cannibalism aspect was fine at the very beginning, but then it became some religious-like ritual for some reason without explanation. And then other stuff happened. I guess. Then a book was written from the surviving characters, despite the fact that the main survivor was utterly incomprehensible half the time.

This movie is Portuguese, though it’s in English, and takes place in France for some reason.

There was one scene where a guy kept yelling “BARBARA SHOULD I HIT HIM AGAIN BARARA WHAT SHOULD I DO BARBARA HES GETTING UP WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT SHOULD I HIT HIM AGAIN BARBARA HES MOVING WHAT SHOULD I DO” for three, four minutes. Maybe longer. Fun times.

Like suicide, I guess. Purple feathers on blue grass. Long Weekend was bad too, but this was so wurst.

Fun times.

1/10