Round Up & a Close Call

So many movies to catch up on. On Monday, October 5 I watched Brainiac (1960) a crazy Mexican-horror film that we’ll get back to later for a couple of reasons, the main one being that I felt compelled to rewatch it, so I’ll talk about both versions a little later.  Tuesday’s film was the blockbuster of the week.  We’ll  get back to that, too.


Wednesday, October 7, I watched a horrible, horrible thing called The Beast (1996).  I can explain this film in one (over-long) sentence: Peter Bencheley saw his hopes of long-lived franchise money dry up after the failure of Jaws 3 and decided to cash in his big sea creature cred one more time to plump up his nest egg, and yeah, a TV movie would do just fine.  Oh, I forgot to mention it’s a giant squid. And there was William Petersen who has an amazingly round butt.


Thursday, October 8, was an improvement with one of the Amicus Studio’s great quickie horror anthologies: The House That Dripped Blood (1970). This one has Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, a hammy Jon Pertwee and a lot of ascots.  Plus several great severed heads and a tiny, adorable girl who terrified Christopher Lee.  I loved the segment with Lee, though it was over-long in in setting up the sole scary moment, because Lee actually has a good bit of dialog.  Dracula speaks!  He has a wonderful baritone, full of gravitas and forboding.  Also, there was Denholm Elliot in a lovely pink sweater.  Fun movie with easy but effective scares.


Friday, October 9, I had my first close call.  I was busy all day with house-cleaning, shopping, and being worn out.  When I finally settled in to watch a movie, it was already 11pm.  We flipped on the great World of the Weird Monster Show, assuming I’d score my daily requirement with no trouble – but alas! The film of the evening was Plan 9 From Outer Space, and though I do love it, in a way, I just couldn’t sit through it.  I was over-caffeniated, tired, and cranky.  I couldn’t handle Ed Wood.

We got online to see what I had lined up in my Netflix watch instantly queu and searched vainly for something that would appeal to both of us.  At 11:58, I kid you not, I finally had a moment of clarity: looking at the pile of DVDs I’d picked up at the library earlier in the day, I surrendered to fate.  “Put in Black Sabbath!” I screeched.  D complied, and at 11:59, the movie started and disaster was averted.

Black Sabbath (1963) is a fun little Italian film, directed by one of my favorites Mario Bava.  The original title was The Three Faces of Fear, which makes so mch more sense as it is a trilogy of vingnettes, though Black Sabbath definitely sounds scarier, doesn’t it?

I’ve seen this film before – specifically during Month of Madness, 2005.  It was interesting to see it in the original Italian version this time, with English subtitles.  Oddly, the dialog looked as if it was being spoken in English, but with an Italian overdub.  Even more odd, the version I saw in 2005 was in English, but dubbed over as well.  Honestly, I sort of missed the English dubbing as I have a thing for poorly dubbed horror films.

The vignettes concern a taunting “Telephone”, a “Wurdalak,” and a menacing “Drop of Water.”  The telephone segment was my favorite in the first viewing; it was very different in Italian.  An entire lesbian subplot had been excised in the English-language version, but the English version had more of a supernatural, freaky feel to it.

All this compare and contrast is making feel this I’m in tenth grade Enlgish class again.

Oh! I forgot to mention Boris Karloff.  He hosted each segment and was a scary family patriarch in the Wurdalak segment.  It just doesn’t matter what this man does – he does it well.  I especially loved his scenes with his grandson.  You can see this tenderness in Karloff, a loving gentleness belied by a madness just underneath the surface.  He’s really great. And so is Bava.  I can just watch his films over and over.  But next time I’ll start one a little earlier than 11:59.

One thought on “Round Up & a Close Call

  1. Ooh! That’s a good one! Thanks for getting it in just the nick of time! I’m going to put “Black Sabbath” on my short list for this Halloween.


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