Monday, August 24, 2009

The Unseen #6: Horrorshow Double Feature: Horror Hotel & Crypt Of Horror

Why’d I Buy It?: Two horror films for a buck? Both with Christopher Lee? You can’t beat that.

Why Haven’t I Watched Them?: Apathy.

How Were They?: For expediency’s sake I’m reviewing the two films that came on this particular dollar tree double feature together. Expediency and the fact that you probably don’t give a fuck about either movie. You’re only half right though, one of them is surprisingly decent.

On it’s own Horror Hotel is neat little chiller that holds up surprisingly well. For a Dollar Store movie it’s better then Nosferatu, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Shining Combined.

Basically a decent ripoff of Black Sunday, with a little Psycho thrown in for good manner, flavored with the Hammer “Cobblestones N’ Fog” approach to filmmaking. Horror Hotel opens with a bunch of puritans in thrift store Pilgrim hats burning a witch at ye olde stake. She swears vengeance, yadayadayada, two centuries later the town is still controlled by Satan. Forcing people in the neighboring towns to pop their eyes and moan “Ooooohhhh you don’t want to go there.” Anytime it’s mentioned. In the grandest of Horror tradition they are of course, ignored.

A young student is sent by Professor Christopher Lee, to do some in the field work at Satantown USA. Thinking nothing of it, she blithely goes off to be either A) A sacrificial lamb, B) Bride of the great deceiver C) a little bit of both. Don’t worry I shan’t spoil which.

Like I said the film is basically a Black Sunday rip off but it’s a really good one. It may lack Barbra Steele’s magnetic presence but Christopher Lee’s no slouch either, and it’s definitely got a good, “We’re trying to rip off Hammer!” Vibe going with it’s fog covered streets, and game cast, that manages to be pretty effectively creepy.

It’s also got one truly great moment that I won’t spoil, all I can say is it involves a jump cut and a birthday cake and one day I’m going to steal it.

As if to prove that everything has an equal but opposite reaction, the other film on the disc, Crypt Of Terror manages to be a big bowl of suck despite the presence of Christopher Lee, and the fact that it’s Italian. It too is a blatant Black Sunday rip off, but crossed with a Dark Shadows like bit of soap opera that’s borderline incoherent.

To be completely truthful there are a few moments of nice Gothic Horror, corpses sitting up in their coffin and pointing while lightning flashes, hung handless corpses. Etcetera. But despite, such game attempts, the film never fails to congeal into anything intriguing. I don’t know if I’ve ever been quite so apathetic in during a horror movie before.

No comments: