Killer Crocodile (1989)
Directed by Larry Ludman (Fabrizio De Angelis)
Starring Anthony Crenna, Ann Douglas, Van Johnson, Thomas Moore (Ennio Girolami), Sherrie Rose, Julian Hampton
If anybody watches Killer Crocodile and expects some high-tech, big budgeted film, then they are going to be very disappointed. Come on people, the title alone says it all…pure cheesy entertainment. But even better, this cheese comes from Italy.
Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Veronica Lario, John Steiner, Giuliano Gemma, Christian Borromeo
“Every humiliation which stood in his way could be swept
aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder”
In the early ’80s, after spending several years with the first two films in his Three Mothers Trilogy, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), something happened to Argento while in Los Angeles that gave him the idea for what would be his next picture. He started to receive some strange phone calls from a ‘fan’ who wanted to discuss his work with him. With each call, they became more and more distressing to Argento, especially when this person said he wanted to kill him. After leaving LA, Argento started to really think about that concept of murder. Shortly after, he was quoted saying “To kill for nothing – that is the horror of today. If you kill for money or to achieve a goal, I can understand that, even if I can’t condone it. But when that gesture has no meaning then it is more repugnant than ever.”
So the genesis of Tenebre started.
The Centerfold Girls (1974)
Directed by John Peyser
Starring Andrew Prine, Jamie Lyn Bauer, Aldo Ray, Ray Danton, Francine York, Tiffany Bolling
Sure, this might sound a little jaded, but if you have a movie that was made in the 70’s that starred Andrew Prine, then you are going to be entertained, plain and simple. Prine is one of these actors that I grew up watching, in both movies and TV and always loved seeing this guy on screen. Sometimes he was the good guy, sometimes the bad guy. But always entertaining. His career started doing a lot of TV westerns, but it was in 1971 when he appeared in the title role of Simon, King of the Witches that started him in the genre. From there, he appeared in movies like Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), Barn of the Naked Dead (1974), Grizzly (1976), The Evil (1978), Amityville 2 (1982), and even on the TV show V, as one of the reptilian alien invaders. Prine was always giving a great performance, even if the film was lacking in other departments.
Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)
Directed by Joe D’Amato
Starring Ewa Aulin, Klaus Kinski, Angela Bo, Sergio Doria, Attilio Dottesio, Luciano Rossi
Italian icon Aristide Massaccesi, used so many different pseudonyms throughout his career, it’s tough to keep track of them. But the one name that he is most commonly known under is Joe D’Amato. This film here is his first real horror film as director, as well as co-writing it and being the cinematographer. It really does show his style, because he usually didn’t go for anything really flashy or outrageous, but still packed a punch.
Lake of Dracula (1971)
Directed by Michio Yamamoto
Starring Midori Fujita, Chôei Takahashi, Sanae Emi, Shin Kishida
Director Yamamoto returns a year after The Vampire Doll with another vampire tale, this one a little more traditional when it comes to the Western influence. As a small child, little Akiko is chasing after her dog that wanders into an old house. Once she goes in, she comes face to face with a vampire, with yellow glowing eyes and wide mouth with fangs. Years later, Akiko is still feeling the trauma from that point in her childhood, and was convinced it was all a dream, even though she’s not too sure about it. Living by the lake with her sister, trouble starts again when a large white coffin is delivered to her neighbor who runs the boat house.
The Vampire Doll (1970)
Director Michio Yamamoto
Starring Kayo Matsuo, Akira Nakao, Atsuo Nakamura, Yukiko Kobayashi, Yôko Minakaze
In 1970, director Michio Yamamoto released the first film in what is now called the Blood Thirsty Trilogy, which has recently been released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video. They all have somewhat of a vampire theme to them, using the feeling of traditional gothic horror and the usual vampire trappings that was being made famous by Hammer studios in the UK, as well as in America. But these are kept in a modern day Japan setting and still putting their own little touches in there.
Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Anita Ekberg, Gianni Medici, Diana Lorys, Rosanna Yanni, César Benet, Carlos Casaravilla, Adriana Ambesi, Julián Ugarte
There are times when you sit down with a movie and maybe you’re just not in the right mood, or frame of mind to really watch it. As the saying goes, you can never watch the same movie twice with the same eyes, and my experience with this title is a perfect example of this. I had seen this years ago, from a grainy old VHS tape, mainly because it was the same director as the Blind Dead series. But I didn’t remember that much of it at the time. When it came out on DVD, I course added it to the collection. I’m sure I watched it at some point, but just didn’t have a strong memory of it, meaning that if I had thought it was that great, I would have remembered it. Then the recent Blu-ray from Shout Factory came out and I was going upgrade to this new version when realized I remembered not caring for it that much. So I sat down with the DVD to refresh my memory and realized that I think I was okay with just this DVD version. Nothing really jumped out at me, so no reason to upgrade. But then I read that this new Blu-ray is actually the European cut which is a bit longer than the version I had. Then the “collector” part of me kicked in and decided I had to have this version now … I mean, it’s longer which means maybe I’m missing all the good parts! So I had to have it. Once it arrived, I sat down with it again, to see if this version was going to be another boring repeat viewing. Oh, how I was wrong.