Dead of Night
Verdict: Bob Clark may be worshipped for his stunning seasonal effort, Black Christmas, but Dead of Night is an absolutely amazing film in its own right. It’s about a soldier who passes away, but is resurrected through sheer love and determination from his mother. But when he returns home, he isn’t momma’s boy anymore, he’s something much, much more terrifying. Side-note: the dog scene is absolutely stomach turning and terror inducing!
A young Soldier is killed in the line of duty in Vietnam. That same night, the soldier returns home, brought back by his Mother’s wishes that he “Don’t Die”! Upon his Return, Andy sits in his room, refusing to see his friends or family, venturing out only at night. The Vampiric horror is secondary to the terror that comes from the disintegration of a typical American family.
Verdict: Rivalled only by Halloween as the greatest seasonal horror film, Black Christmas is as humorous as it is frightening. However, the laughs are easily drown by the gruesome realities of a psychopathic murderer hiding in a sorority house where he’s free to pick off pretty young ladies at will. It’s a Christmas must, and it has withstood the test of time, which won’t change anytime in the near future.
It’s time for Christmas break, and the sorority sisters make plans for the holiday, but the strange anonymous phone calls are beginning to put them on edge. When Clare disappears, they contact the police, who don’t express much concern. Meanwhile Jess is planning to get an abortion, but boyfriend Peter is very much against it. The police finally begin to get concerned when a 13-year-old girl is found dead in the park. They set up a wiretap to the sorority house, but will they be in time to prevent a sorority girl attrition problem?
Verdict: The most slept on picture based on the life of Ed Gein, Deranged is surprisingly disturbing, and it all comes down to the unbelievable performance of Roberts Blossom, who creates a constant degree of unease. Don’t sleep on this one, it deserves a look!
A man living in rural Wisconsin takes care of his bed-ridden mother, who is very domineering and teaches him that all women are evil. After she dies he misses her, so a year later he digs her up and takes her home. He learns about taxidermy and begins robbing graves to get materials to patch her up, and inevitably begins looking for fresher sources of materials. Based closely on the true story of Ed Gein.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Verdict: There’s no need to get too in depth with this one. It’s yet another story based on Ed Gein’s life, but it differs from Deranged greatly. We get Leatherface, a flesh-mask wearing murderer with a love for chainsaws and a family that enjoys some good old human flesh. A gritty, almost too-realistic film from the great Tobe Hooper.
En route to visit their grandfather’s grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home… where they’re plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills…
Verdict: I confess: this film won’t work for everyone. But for those who do dig vintage grindhouse cinema, this is a must-see. It’s about a murderer stalking the drive-in, and while it could be more exploitative (in my mind), it still makes for a very chilling little experience.
Two police detectives try to catch a serial killer who is stalking a rural California drive-in theater, randomly killing people with a sword.