Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Three Films Make A Post: her last kiss .... a horror worse than dying

The Devil's Daughter (1973): Jeannot Szwarc's TV movie about Belinda Montgomery finding out her dear dead mother was once a Satanist and her old compatriots (as lead by a sometimes effectively creepy Shelley Winters) want her to take on her true role as daughter of Satan ("Hail Diane, Princess of Darkness!") starts out derivative but entertaining enough, but suffers from an unwillingness to actually show the more exciting parts of its plot on screen, and the suburbanity of its menace. Like with most US TV movies from the 70s, it's quite difficult to share the film's ideas concerning what's horrific. The longer the film goes on, the larger the gap between what it thinks is horrifying and what I think is horrifying grows, until the final ten minutes or so turn into pure camp. Well, at least there's a shot of Joseph Cotten with goats feet.

Phobia 2 (2009): After the surprise success of the first part, it's no surprise that a sequel didn't take too long to appear. Said sequel contains five unconnected horror shorts by different directors, all very slick, very tight, and not afraid of being pretty damn gruesome when the situation calls for it. The monsters reach from awesome hungry ghosts to western-style zombies, all presented with a sense of spirited fun. Phobia 2 does stand very much in the tradition of the horror movie as a carnival ride, so if you're allergic to that, this won't be much of a joy to watch. If, on the other hand, you can appreciate the form, you'll hardly find it done better than here.

Las Vegas Bloodbath (1989): This SOV abomination does sound quite attractive, seeing as it does feature badly done gore effects, a serial killer who likes to rant about "daytime whores", a love scene so horrifying it makes those in Don Dohler movies look sensual, hair that clearly could survive without the people its living on (Exte 2, anyone?), and long scenes of professional female oil wrestlers enjoying their down time until the arrival of the killer. But don't let these wonders of the filmmaking art and the human imagination fool you, for enjoying (or "enjoying") these elements is nearly impossible thanks to the film's painful pacing and an odour of boredom that surrounds everything like a thick fog of sleeping gas.


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