Tag Archives: Halloween

#53 – Dark Tentacles

(1999, Jap, 63 min) Dir Hiroya Hino. Cast Yukie Inoue.

I don’t know about you but if – all those years ago, back in more innocent times – if then someone had suggested to me the erotic potential of tentacles I would probably have smiled and nodded whilst backing away from them slowly. Of course now that the internet has opened our eyes to these things actually being things it’s harder to think of anything uncomfortable or unpalatable that hasn’t been exploited by some deranged pioneer or another, all of which is a long-winded way of saying that here is Dark Tentacles, should you want it. It’s the age-old story – an anonymous woman (let’s call her AW) is chosen by some sort of grotesque and many tentacled pan-dimensional fiend to bear its terrible spawn. Apart from a brief prologue showing AW looking in shop windows while the dread beast monologues its plan, the whole thing takes place in her apartment where said hell creature does its gross tentacle thing. It doesn’t go straight to it though – there’s 63 minutes to fill here people! No, there’s a slow and agonising preamble involving AW held down and tortured by the slippy limbs with lots of close-ups of her agonised features and vulnerable regions. It all goes downhill from there when the pixels come out… The whole thing ends with poor AW swollen with the pan-dimensional fiends offspring. It looks like it was shot on a camcorder in someone’s actual apartment which makes it worse in a couple of different ways and though the creature itself is well realised I’d probably have preferred that it hadn’t been. Easily avoidable.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#52 – Death to the Devil!

(1970, GB, 95 min) Dir Harold Andsley. Cast Leon Greene, Maria Pershy, Wilfrid Brambell.

The popularity of Dennis Wheatley transferred itself to the screen in the sixties and seventies via official channels, usually with Christopher Lee in the likes of The Devil Rides Out and To The Devil a Daughter. But really all you needed to ape his style was a country estate and an erudite tweed wearing man, right? Well here’s Death to the Devil! to try to prove this the case – indistinguishable from Wheatley or your money back! Okay so we don’t have Christopher Lee but we have Leon Greene – he was in The Devil Rides Out, wasn’t he? There you go. What about the infamous ‘Black’ Abbey as a location? No, it doesn’t exist, but we can make it up in the publicity and get the actors to say they saw strange things when they were filming. A floating old monk at the window or something, I don’t know… Okay, what next? Ah yes – a lovely lady, preferably in peril! How’s about Maria Pershy? She’s a right looker and European too so she’ll not mind being tied up in a slinky nighty. That’ll get the lads in if you get it up on the poster! Brilliant! And we’ll get Wilfrid Brambell in for some laughs too. Yeah, and we’ll get old Ron Beadle to shoot it. I know he don’t see too well these days but he’s cheap and he brings his own lights. Okay, what else do we need? That’s right – a script! Oh well, it seems we’ve run out of time. I guess we’ll do without!

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#47 – Hell on the Prairie

(1984, US, 100 min) Dir Steve Miner. Cast Tom Atkins, Dorothy Fielding , Jason Lively, Amanda Fox.

AKA Death Wagon. Mitchell Thomas (Atkins) has taken his family on holiday to rural Kansas so that they can experience the land that their forefathers crossed in hardship to make a new life in the west. Of course none of the rest of his family actually want to be there – his brattish adolescent son and daughter (Lively and Fox) spend the whole time fighting and his wife (Fielding) doesn’t take her nose out of any of the suitcase of books that she’s brought with her. The others are so preoccupied with everything that’s not the countryside that it’s him alone who notices the covered wagon in the distance, the one that appears to be getting closer no matter where it is they go. The first half is goofy but unsettling but the second half turns into a completely different film as the wagon arrives just as they arrive in the middle of nowhere and it’s inhabitants are revealed to be crazed murderers. It’s all cat and mouse chase stuff from then on out. The film never reveals where these crazed murderers have come from either – are they modern-day lunatics who have taken to travelling about in an antiquated vehicle or are they the spectres of some Donner Party types, come to wreck misguided vengeance? Either way there’s no real metaphorical value in them being pioneers – I mean something something Reagan’s America? Who cares though – they do their job well enough.

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#46 – What Did They Do To Patricia?

(1974, US, 92 min) Dir Art Blitzen. Cast Angela Raider, Pete Diggs, Harry Pork.

Given that The Exorcist’s release coincided with the ‘Golden Age’ of porn with Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door and so on, it should come as no surprise that someone would meld these two types of blockbuster together. Unfortunately that person was ‘Artless’ Art Blitzen and his effort What Did They Do To Patricia? (whose title, incidentally, is nonsensical) might actually be a step down from the likes of Jesus Franco’s Lorna the Exorcist, if such a thing can be believed. Angela Raider plays history student Patricia who has been possessed with the Paluzu, a spirit from an old icon, and of course this  renders her an insatiable nymphomaniac. By the time the church gets around to drafting in a pair of priests to rid her of the demon she’s already drained three men of their ‘lifeforce’, which means exactly what it sounds like. Unfortunately for both the viewer and everyone in the film too, the aforementioned priests are sex-crazed lunatics with a rather unfortunate method in mind of divesting Patricia of her demon. This film is all kinds of wrong – not just in a moral sense (though you’ll feel in need of a wash afterward) but also aesthetically, as everything seems to take place in a series of nightmarish bedsits and in them ‘Artless’ Art seems to spend as much time lingering on the appalling décor or figuring out how to pull focus as he does on recording the ‘action’ itself. Grim.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#45 – Notte il diavolo venne per Sandy, Il (Night the Devil Came for Sandy, The)

(1975, It, 112 min) Dir Paolo Andreotti. Cast Nicoletta Elmi, Carla Gravina, Mel Ferrer.

Whereas the majority of exorcism films take their cue from The Exorcist and follow the story from the perspective of the parents and/or the priests, The Night the Devil Came for Sandy takes a different perspective – that of the possessed. As if that wasn’t innovation enough, as suggested by the title the whole film also takes place over the course of one night. The film opens with young Sandy (eleven year old horror vet Elmi) being tucked into bed by her mother who leaves the night-light on and goes downstairs. All is quiet until, just before Sandy drifts off to sleep, a voice comes from the darkness at the far side of the room, the voice of a small boy. “Hi Sandy,” says the voice from the dark, “My name’s Phillip.” Sandy sits up and peers into the darkness but can’t see anyone there. “Hi Phillip,” she replies, “Why are you in my bedroom?” The voice laughs. “Because I want us to be friends.” Soon enough the conversation trots along from inside the bedroom to the inside of Sandy’s head and Andreotti has plenty of excuses to throw all sorts of madness at the screen, from hair-raising dream visions of a blood-dripping Satan in her room to savage biting attacks from the possessed Sandy on the clergy (hastily assembled in the middle of the night via, presumably, some sort of exorcism hotline). Pretty well handled from the usually schlocky Andreotti with an appropriately bonkers Morricone soundtrack.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms