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“Count Yorga, Vampire” (1970): Old and New Combine to Create a Creepy and Effective Vampire Tale

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) takes an Old World vampire and places him in the hip world of Los Angeles in 1970. Whereas other films play similar setups for laughs, Count Yorga goes for the chills. Two couples are trying to deal with the pernicious anemia that seems to be striking the women in the group […]

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“Vamp” (1986): Stylish Low-budget Comedy With a Touch of Horror – and Grace Jones, Too

Ask most genre fans to name a horror comedy with vampire strippers, and most will probably shout out Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Fine and fun film that it is, it is not the first particular cinematic example of this combination. Writer/director Richard Wenk’s debut feature Vamp (1986) (from a story by Wenk […]

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“Slugs” (1988): Not Art, but It Delivers the Goopy, Gory Goods for a Gruesome Good Time

Regardless of one’s feelings for slugs (personally, I find them squicky), the joint Spanish/American production of Slugs (the movie) (1988) is highly entertaining and disgusting (in a good way). Writer/director Juan Piquer Simón (director of the 1982 gore classic Pieces), along with his co-writers José A. Escrivá and Ron Gantman, adapt Shaun Hutson’s 1982 novel […]

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“The Hills Have Eyes” (1977): A Brutal Exploitation Classic That Still Holds the Power to Terrify and Disturb

Gritty, realistic violence is a common feature of many films of the 1970’s, in genres as diverse as police drama and horror. Writer/director Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes (1977) is the follow-up to his own groundbreaking directorial debut, The Last House on the Left (1972), and like that film, it uses the 1970’s newfound […]

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“Dead End Drive-In” (1986): An Entertaining and Quintessentially 80’s Ozploitation Classic That Also Has Something to Say

Director Brian Trenchard-Smith’s “Ozpoitation“ classic Dead End Drive-In (1986) takes the grim and dirty style common to tales of dystopian near-futures and marries it to the neon aesthetic popular in the mid-1980’s. In the near-future, the World is in economic freefall with vast numbers of unemployed youth getting into trouble. The solution, trick idle youth […]

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“The Bloodstained Butterfly” (1971): A Fairly Mundane Police Procedural – Courtroom Drama with Just a Touch of Giallo

What makes a giallo a giallo? Does it need to display a minimum requirement of specific tropes to fit the bill or, is it really a matter of how a film feels? Though often classified as a giallo, an argument could be made that director Duccio Tessari’s The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971) has more in common […]

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“Microwave Massacre” (1983): Trashy, Tasty, and Cheesy Fun from a Big Ol’ Microwave Burrito of a Film

Not every day calls for a gourmet meal. Sometimes, all you really want, and all you really need, is something like a trashy microwave burrito. Granted, you should not live off of microwave burritos, but there are times when they just hit the spot. Such is also the case with films; a steady diet of […]

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“Crimes of Passion” (1984): Fantasy vs Reality in a Sexy, Smart, Violent, and Satirical Drama Masquerading as an Erotic Thriller

It would be easy for someone unfamiliar with director Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion (1984) to lump it in with the glut of late 1980’s / early 1990’s erotic thrillers based solely upon its plot synopsis, but this would not do justice to the film. While sex and death are featured in screenwriter Barry Sandler’s […]

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“Hired to Kill” (1990): Cheesecake, Beefcake, Gunfights, and Guest Stars Make for a Fun Action Film

Filmed in 1989 and released in 1990, producer Nico Mastorakis’ Hired to Kill comes in at the tail end of the late 1980’s action b-picture cycle and provides a fun capstone to the genre. Frank Ryan (Brian Thompson) is an ex-CIA operative recruited to lead a group of female mercenaries on a mission to a […]

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“The Premonition” (1976): A Parapsychological Thriller Centering on the Horrors of Loss

The early 1970s saw a rise in the general public’s interest in parapsychology and the investigation of the occult. Organizations dedicated to the scientific and pseudo-scientific study of supernatural phenomena were increasingly popular. The film industry was quick to cater to this interest with a number of films that presented the “scientific” handling of paranormal […]

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“The Red Queen Kills Seven Times” (1972): A Stylish Giallo with a High Body Count and Gothic Undertones

Director Emilio Miraglia’s The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte) (1972) is the followup to his gothic/giallo mashup The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La Notte Che Evelyn Uscì dalla Tomba) (1971). Both films are available in the Arrow Video’s DVD/Blu-ray set Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by […]

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“The Zero Boys” (1986): Jason vs . . . Frat Boys?

What if characters in a slasher film actually make smart decisions? Better yet, what if they are also a trained paintball/airsoft team armed with submachine guns? Writer/director Nico Mastorakis and his co-writers Robert Gilliam and Fred Perry use this as the premise for The Zero Boys, their mashup of mid-1980’s slasher and action films. In […]

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“The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave” (1971): Gothic and Giallo Elements Combine to Create a Satisfying Thriller

For many people, the film The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La Notte Che Evelyn Uscì dalla Tomba) (1971) conjures up images of disjointed, confusing, non-sensical cinema. This is likely because their primary exposure is through one of the multiple English-language versions of the film often shown by local late night horror hosts. […]

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“The Witch Who Came from the Sea” (1976): Psychological Drama in a Grindhouse Wrapper

At first glance, 1976’s The Witch Who Came from the Sea looks to be a standard low-budget exploitation film of the era, replete with bloody violence, genital mutilations, and gratuitous nudity, but do not dismiss it so quickly. Screenwriter Scott Thom and director Matt Cimber have put together a film that deals with the lingering […]

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“Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood” (1973): A Creepy and Psychedelic Tone Poem from the Early 70s

From the title Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, one might expect a Herschell Gordon Lewis style B-movie gore fest. Instead, one gets a creepy, atmospheric, low-budget cross between art and exploitation. A young woman and her parents discover strange goings-on at the run down carnival at which they recently began working, and they find themselves having […]