17 June 2011

THE URANIUM CAFE NECROFILES: STRANGE BEHAVIOR/EQUINOX/BRIDE OF THE GORILLA/HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY


STRANGE BEHAVIOR
1981/Director: Michael Laughlin/Writers: Bill Condon, Michael Laughlin/Cast: Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor, Fiona Lewis, Arthur Dignam  

A mad scientist long thought dead by the local citizens of a small Illinois town exacts his demented revenge on the towns' leaders by controlling the minds of some of the teenagers through experiments in his laboratory. The kids are turned into homicidal maniacs with no recollection of their deeds later. Over all well filmed and acted. The violence and death scenes are effective. Nice soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that is, as far as I know, unreleased. The action unfolds in rural Illinois but was filmed in Auckland New Zealand.


EQUINOX
1970/Director: Jack Woods/Writers: Mark Thomas McGee, Jack Woods/Cast: Edward Connell, Barbara Hewitt, Frank Bonner, Robin Christopher, Jack Woods

The thing a lot of people enjoy about this odd little film is the stop-action animation sequences by Dennis Muren and David Allen. While not perfect the sequences are pretty interesting. The rest of the story could be forgettable expect for the fact the dialog, acting and camera work is so bad that it makes the film unbelievably fun to watch.  A group of college kids looking for the cabin of their professor are given an evil book of curses and charms by an old man in a cave. They are soon fighting off monsters and demonic possessions. Original tagline was "Begins Where Rosemary's Baby Left Off". Forrest J. Ackerman was helpful in bringing the project together and promoting it. A Jack H. Harris and director/writer Jack Woods is classic as park ranger Asmodius.


BRIDE OF THE GORILLA
1951/Director: Durt Siodmak/Writer: Curt Siodmak/Cast: Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr., Raymond Burr, Tom Conway, Paul Cavanagh

Produced by RKO horror film producer Val Lewton with assistance from Herman Cohen this is a man-in-an-ape suit film that actually does not have a man-in-an-ape suit. Raymond Burr is put under a spell after he kills a plantation owner, Paul Cavnaugh,  who has become jealous of Burr's feeling toward his wife, the shapely Barbara Payton. Lon Chaney, Jr. is supposed to a local member of an Amazon Indian tribe who is now the police chief, but he still looks and sounds like Lon Chaney, Jr.. George Sanders' brother Tom Conway is a doctor who has romantic interests in Payton as well. A pretty watchable movie but it would have been much better had there been a real ape rather than hallucinations. Originally to be titled The Face in the Water and you will understand why if you check it out, which you should.

HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
1981/Director: Lucio Fulci/Writers: Elisa Briganti/Lucio Fulci/Cast: Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina

Also known as Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero, House by the Cemetery is one of the new style films Fucli began making in the United States after the Giallo-Horror genre lost steam in Italy in the late 70's. While I tend to like Fulci's work overall it is rather confusing at times as is most Italian horror-suspense cinema. I watched a few Luci films back to back with this one andto honest I have the stories all mixed in my mind now and had to put House by the Cemetery back in to remember exactly what the hell happened in it. The films he made in the States lost some of the visual quality his Italian productions had such as Perversion Story and Don't Torture a Duckling. They simply became average exploitation and gore fare. In House By the Cemetery supernatural goings-ons in a small New England have plenty of people dying off in less than typical grisly Fulcian fashion with way too much dialog in between the action. The deaths are not nearly as gory as The New York Ripper or The Beyond. There is also some pesky kid who seems to have a power like the boy in The Shining and communicates with the spirit world. Probably for die hard Fulci enthusiasts only. Did a earn a Video Nasty from the British censors.

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