Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Starring Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian, Irene Papas, Marc Porel, Vito Passeri
I can still remember when I first got hold of a bootleg copy of this rare (at the time) Fulci film. This was at a time in my career as a horror fan that I only knew Fulci from his gore films such as Zombie, The Beyond, and such. So it was quite a surprise seeing something so different than what I was used to. Plus, it also showed me just how a skilled craftsman Fulci was before he became known for just his gory films. This is a grim tale of a small Italian village where someone is killing young boys. Several people seem suspicious, some are even accused and bad things happen. Fulci shows us a darker side of humanity, while still being able to weave together a great little giallo.
The Ghoul (2016)
Directed by Gareth Tunley
Starring Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe, Rufus Jones, Niamh Cusack, Geoffrey McGivern, Paul Kaye, Dan Renton Skinner, Waen Shepherd
This was a tough one, folks. I really wanted to like this. And there is a part of the film that I loved how it starts, moving you down a certain path, only to make you question if what you thought was going on was really correct. I know that sounds strange, but without going into details of the plot and giving anything away, that is as descriptive as I can get. The film is about mental illness , or delusions, or just a person having a hard time dealing with what is, or what he thinks is, happening in his life. And we’re not really sure right along with him. I would almost say that is a part that I like about it, but at the end of the picture when the credits start to roll, you realize that you still have no idea what you just watched or what the hell happened for the last ninety minutes. And for me, that was the real disappointment.
Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975)
Directed by Sergio Martino
Starring Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrer, Lia Tanzi, Barbara Magnolfi, Gianfranco Barra, Patrizia Castaldi, Adolfo Caruso, Roberto Posses
There were a few things that got my attention right away when this disc came in the mail. First and foremost, it is directed by Sergio Martino, who has made more than a few films that I have really enjoyed over the years. I mean, let’s face it…the man is a god when it comes to the giallo! Secondly, it would be the first of five times that Claudio Cassinelli would appear in one of Martino’s films, before dying in a tragic helicopter accident. My first introduction to Cassinelli’s work was in Martino’s Island of the Fishmen (1979), co-starring Richard Johnson and Barbara Bach. He always seemed to have fun playing the good guy and did it well. So he’s always a welcome site for me when he appears on screen.
Plague of the Zombies (1966)
Directed by John Gilling
Starring Andre Morell, John Carson, Diane Clare, Alex Davion, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper
In a small Cornish village, strange happenings are a foot! Some sort of deadly disease is creeping through the town and the local doctor is clueless as to what is the cause. He sends a letter of distress to Sir James, his former teacher, for assistance in this grave matter. Cutting short his vacation, Sir James travels to the village with his daughter to see if he can be of any assistance, but has no idea the evil deeds he is about to uncover there.
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy
Right off the bat, we need to get one thing perfectly clear. If there ever was a film that was miss-titled, this would be it. Yes, there are monsters in this film, but it is a very, very small part of this film. It is basically just the background for this simple drama. Which I wouldn’t have had as big of a problem with it had the film been called something like Finding Love…While Some Monsters Roaming Around. But when you call the film Monsters….I kind of expect some..I don’t know…maybe some monsters….maybe a LOT of monsters. The actual working title for the film was Far From Home, which I think fits a lot better. And for the other argument, yes…I get it that WE are the monsters. Still doesn’t change my previous thoughts.
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Bellamy, Lionel Atwill, Evelyn Ankers, Janet Ann Gallow, Barton Yarborough, Dwight Frye
There are certain movies from our childhood that still hold a type of charm over us. Ones that when watching it as an adult, even though the film might have flaws, or just isn’t the best, it still is able to recreate the same feeling it did upon that first viewing, all those years ago. The Ghost of Frankenstein is one of those for me. I still consider the original 1931 Frankenstein film one of my favorites and a much better film, but for some reason, I’d probably be more likely to sit down and watch Ghost on some afternoon than the original. Maybe because watching the original, I view it more like an adult, but with Ghost, it makes me feel like a 14 year old kid again watching it on my 13-inch black and white TV. That was when I first got to see this and I can still remember sitting there in my room, eyes glued to the little television set.
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
Starring Jason Miller, Richard Lynch, E.G. Marshall, Michael Tucker, Joe Spinell, Barrie Youngfellow, Jonelle Allen, Jessica Walter
At a ground breaking ceremony for a new church, a huge cross towers behind the podium where a priest is blessing the site. The shadow of the cross falls across the land behind the small stage. Where the cross is casting a shadow, the earth has turned black, as if burnt, and is smoldering. Later that night, a hand breaks through the dirt, pulling its owner to the surface. Rising from his grave for the first time in 30 years, a creature of the night returns to stalk the city of San Francisco. And so starts the 1979 made-for-TV movie simply titled Vampire.