Halloween White Elephant: Lesbian Vampire Killers

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From JC–“I’ve heard stories about how awful this is, and I’ve never seen it myself, and I’d like for Peter to write a hilarious review of this.”

[Note: Because the Weinstein Company is apparently afraid of the implication of breasts, the movie is titled just Vampire Killers in the US.]

Lesbian Vampire Killers is the kind of movie that I should hate, but don’t. I’m normally not a fan of spoofy horror movies. Either make a real horror movie or make a real comedy, because whenever the two get overtly cross pollinated, the result is crap like Stan Helsing and Transylmania. You’d think from the title alone that Lesbian Vampire Killers is a lot closer to Transylmania than, say, Dracula Dead & Loving It, but this is a surprisingly tolerable and occasionally enjoyable horror comedy.

Halloween White Elephant: Report Card

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With just a few days remaining in Horror’s Not Dead’s first ever Halloween White Elephant, I’ve decided to reveal the twist to the game that none of our writers were aware of. I have been keeping a running score going based on a completely arbitrary system that I made up as I went along. It is based on the appropriateness of their selections, how well the person for whom they were selecting them enjoyed the film, and…anything else I want. So let’s take a look at where we are so far…

Halloween White Elephant: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

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From Brian Salisbury–“Knowing Noah’s proclivities as well as his blind spots, I continued with the theme of Italian horror. Noah seems to know Fulci pretty well, but that’s about it. I don’t blame him, Fulci is my favorite as well and Argento can get a little flowery with his more supernatural stuff. But his giallo films are fantastic and I wanted to expose Noah to that side of him as a filmmaker.” 

If you’re a horror fan you’re almost instantly required to be a fan of Dario Argento. Well, that seems to be the general consensus in conversations I’ve had. Unfortunately for my status, I’ve never really found his movies to be all that compelling. I believe the man produces some beautiful looking films and his influence on how horror films are shot is undeniable. I’m also a fan of the music he chooses for his movies, whether it’s working with Goblin or Ennio Morricone, the soundtracks are nearly always a treat. And to be fair the man helped to write The Church, which I already stated is a favorite of mine. However, when Argento delves into the realm of gialli he loses my attention completely. To be fair, I’ve really not seen a compelling giallo as of yet. I’ll keep looking.

Halloween White Elephant: The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

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From John–“Is this Roger Corman’s best film?  Possibly.  I gave this one to Jacob Hall because it’s still fresh on my mind after seeing it a few months ago on Netflix.  MASQUE is genuinely perverse, sinister, and colorful, and stands out as the richest of Corman’s cheapies, a little closer in tone to Hammer Films than American International Pictures was typically known for. Time has sort of unfairly lumped it in with all of Corman’s Poe films; I think it stands out as a great horror film. My hope is that Jacob will think so too.”

Did you know that Roger Corman could actually direct? I’m not talking about a some unintentionally funny B-movie piece of junk, I’m talking about an intentionally interesting, creepy B-movie slice of awesome. The Corman name may be synonymous with schlock — and let’s face it, the man deserves it, mainly because he produced a whole bunch of worthless junk because it made him a whole bunch of money — but when he actually got behind the camera and had a decent script in his hand, he was capable of producing some damn fine schlock, schlock so good that it stops being schlock and starts being, I dunno, good schlock. His The Wasp Woman is one of the more character-driven “human becomes a monster” B-movies of the 1950s and his X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes is a legitimately fascinating science fiction film. Better than both of those is his adaptation of a classic Edgar Allan Poe story, The Masque of the Red Death, which manages to effectively Hollywood-ize the original story (Poe’s work is so internal that you’ve got to take some liberties) while capturing what makes the story work in the first place.

Halloween White Elephant: The Janitor (2003)

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Poster for The Janitor

From Brian Kelley–“I’m a big fan of well-excuted micro-budget horror films. Sadly, there are very few. However, a few years back I somehow (the details are fuzzy) got in contact with the director of THE JANITOR after seeing the awesome looking trailer. He sent us a pre-release copy and the Horror Movie Night crew ate it up. It’s hilarious and gore filled in all the right ways. I truly hope Damon agrees that it’s a silly fun time.”

Not entirely sure how The Janitor escaped my radar, but it had. The cover looks vaguely familiar but that’s about the extent of my knowledge on this horror comedy effort. In watching I found that what you get is a pretty fun ride with some exaggerated characters, plenty of gore, and a few laughs.

Halloween White Elephant: Black Roses (1988)

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From Noah–“BLACK ROSES is not a classic by any means but I personally have a blast with it’s melding of demons and heavy metal. It really is the epitome of 80s horror where they throw logic out the window and just try and go balls out. I feel Brian can often times be sensitive to the B-movie ethics at work in 80s horror, so I figured this would be either a good test of wills for him or hopefully, at best, would add another fun flick to his roster of movies he enjoys.”

When Noah assigned me Black Roses, I have to admit I was both excited and filled with trepidation. While I had often heard this was an incredibly entertaining flick, it resides within a weird substratum of horror of which I am virtually ignorant: heavy metal horror. I had previously seen 1986’s Trick or Treat at Terror Tuesday, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was the extent of my foray into the subgenre. So would this sophomore experience prove just as enjoyable…or completely disastrous? My outlook on the situation did immediately improve once I found out my only rental option for this film was VHS.

Halloween White Elephant: La Setta (1991)

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La Setta Poster

From Brian Kelley–“Though far from prolific, Michele Soavi is probably my favorite Italian horror film director. This film is considered the 4th in the DEMONS series (Soavi’s THE CHURCH was the 3rd). Neither of Soavi’s entries have any real relation to Lamberto Bava’s originals. While LA SETTA takes a while to get off the ground (after an opening that turns America’s ‘A Horse with No Name’ into an uber-creepy ballad) it descends into Soavi’s typical visually striking horror. Any horror fan owes it to him or herself to watch Soavi’s entire filmography.”

It only took about two minutes into this movie before I had a good idea as to why Brian Kelley chose this particular film for me to watch. We open with a group of hippies in the desert in 1970 and a mysterious stranger makes his way to their huddle looking for food and water. By nightfall he has killed the children of the group and some of the hippies. What is this psychopath’s name, you ask? Damon – of course.

Halloween White Elephant: The Church (1989)

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From Brian Salisbury–“I assigned Noah THE CHURCH for a couple of reasons. The first is I know he’s not really big on Italian horror, which is ultimately chief among his many character flaws. In all seriousness, I know that our intimate horror circle (a term having almost nothing to do with masturbation) loves the DEMONS franchise by Lamberto Bava and THE CHURCH is (un)officially considered the third chapter of that story. I am interested to see if I can trick Noah into liking this Italian horror film via the similarities it shares with an Italian horror film he actually enjoys. Because gift-giving, in the end, is all about trickery and hoodwinking (again not a self love term).”

When Brian assigned me The Church I was actually quite excited. I’ll be honest here and say that while I do enjoy a lot of Italian horror films, I’m not quite as enamored with the giallos that many horror fans are so fond of. I much prefer my horror like I like my whiskey, straight, on the rocks…with a lot of blood…and no mystery nonsense. Let’s just say The Church is right up my alley with its critical eye on the religious persecution of supposed witches, demonic insanity, self-mutilation and shithouse rat crazy ending.

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