Monday, November 27, 2017

"Is He Giving Me the Fingeroo?" - Horror House on Highway Five (1985)

A piece of hard-won advice: You can always tell that a horror movie is going to be good if the first word in its title is “horror” (see also Horror High, 1974). Following this wisdom, our next film is Richard Casey's 1985 proto-torture-porn film Horror House on Highway Five, a film that carefully and idiosyncratically walks the fine line between gritty suspense and slapstick shenanigans.

As usual, many of your universe's revered critics fail to appreciate this film's qualities. On IMDB, reviewer CMRKeyboadist [sic] writes, "The incoherent storyline is only one of the many things that make this one of the most bizarre movies out there....Of course, the acting is bad and the filming is even worse." Of course? Reviewer Backlash007 writes, "Horror House on Highway 5 could really be the worst movie ever....I really have no idea what effect the filmmaker was trying to capture....I don't know. The effect obviously didn't work. And neither does the entire movie. Avoid like your life depended on it." Reviewer hbendillo writes simply, "Acting - BAD Story Line - BAD Dialoge - BAD Cinematography - BAD Effects - BAD."

Suffice it to say these reviews miss the entire point of this woefully underrated gem, so it is up to me yet again to defend the film from its misinformed detractors.

Monday, November 20, 2017

"A Veil Over Reality" - House of the Dead (1978)

As you may have realized, here at Senseless Cinema we are of the considered opinion that many regional films are much better than their big-budget Hollywood counterparts. For examples, see Kansas City's The Chilling (1989), Michigan's Frostbiter (1995), Texas' Mark of the Witch (1970), or any of the Wisconsin-set classics of Bill Rebane, such as Blood Harvest (1987), The Game (1984), and The Capture of Bigfoot (1979).

Such is the case with Oklahoma's The House of the Dead (1978)--not to be confused with the more recent House of the Dead (2003)--but also known as Alien Zone. (Only a small part of the film's charm comes from the fact that the narrative is not set in a house--of the dead or otherwise--and likewise it features neither aliens nor zones.)

This anthology film has received some mixed reviews in your universe. On IMDB, reviewer Bezenby writes, "The real problem is that the stories are barely there at all!" Gridoon2016 writes, "only a few steps up from the quality of your average home movie....but three things they [the stories] all have in common are poor production values, tedious scripting, and amateurish acting." Junkmonkey writes, "The dialogue is dreadful: leaden, repetitive, and pointless...The whole movie has the feel of a bunch of student/ amateur shorts nailed together with a framing device to make a feature."

While some anthology films would deserve these baseless insults, The House of the Dead is not one of them.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Life Would Be a Lot Easier If We Weren't So Desperate" - Night of Terror (1986)

Our next classic exploration of the human condition is Night of Terror (1986), also known as Escape from the Insane Asylum. As we shall see, neither of these titles is strictly accurate, as terror does not occur on a single night, and only a minor background character actually escapes from an insane asylum. Nevertheless, the film, written by and starring Renee Harmon of Frozen Scream (1975) fame, is an intricately plotted nightmare in which overwhelming scientific and supernatural forces plague a wealthy textiles heiress who is simply trying to make her way in the world.

Reviewer HumanoidOfFlesh writes, "I have seen many bad horror movies, but 'Night of Terror' is easily among the worst horror movies of 80's....Utterly incomprehensible and amateurish piece of crap." Reviewer jakebabee writes, "This movie is just boring and looks like it has been shot on a video camera....Long dull scenes that are absolutely pointless, awful characters. The ending is very bad." This reviewer is correct in that the film does look like it has been shot on a video camera, but surely that has little relevance when judging the quality of a film.

We must now look at Night of Terror in detail and explicate its powerful statement about good and evil.

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Pushed Around by the Rogers" - Horror High (1974)

We have not covered many high school horror films on Senseless Cinema, though the subgenre has contributed its fare share to the canon of classics. We will correct that oversight by discussing 1974's Horror High, also known as Twisted Brain.

As always, your universe's most influential critics fail to understand Horror High's place in the pantheon of 1970s high school horror films. On IMDB, reviewer altamont writes that this is, "a teen revenge flick that could have plausibly been written and directed by a pimply adolescent." Reviewer dbboroughs writes, "Everything is poorly done from the acting to the make up to anything else you can think of." Reviewer knighttempler writes, somewhat confusingly, "The editing lacks much to be desired and some scenes were cut to fast and too soon."

I agree with that last critic that the film lacks much to be desired, if that means there is nothing more to desire from the film. Because there is nothing more that could be desired from this classic, as you will see below.