Hang 'Em High (C, 1968)
American take on a spaghetti Western doesn't quite hit Leone level (like anything could) - the direction is solid but it's meat and potatoes, no noticeable stylishness - but it's still vintage Eastwood. Clint's a former lawman named Jed Cooper, who gets lynched on circumstantial evidence. A marshal sees him hanging and cuts him down before he's dead, and the only way for Jed to legally get the men who hung him is to put on a badge again, so he does and hits the trail after Alan Hale Jr., Bruce Dern, and others. He's not quite the superhuman that The Man With No Name is (they almost kill him twice) but he's no slouch. Good music score. -zwolf

Hard Boiled (C, 1992) AKA Lashou shentan, God of Guns, Hot-Handed God of Cops, Ruthless Super-Cop
Chow Yun Fat is a cop named Tequila in this John Woo film, and he takes on some arms dealers and makes them die by the dozens in transcendental orgies of gunfire. Forming a shaky alliance with an origami-crane-making killer who might be a triad member or an undercover cop, Fat wades through numerous hyperviolent and very creative gunfights, and ends up doing the Bruce Willis thing in a hospital full of hostages, which also includes a hidden arsenal with enough heavy ordinance to equip a small country. Much of it gets used as Chow and his buddy mow down multitudes of gangsters while saving babies. You won't believe the amount of gunfire in this (and they don't even have to reload!) or how beautifully it's all done. The first time I saw this I was a little put off because I thought it was just a Hong Kong version of Die Hard - and comparisons are inevitable - but on a second screening I decided I'd misjudged it and it's more original than I'd thought. -zwolf

The Haunted Palace (C, 1963)
Another Roger Corman adaptation in the Poe series, but this is Poe in name only - it's actually based on H. P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Charles Dexter Ward (Vincent Price) and his bride (Deborah Paget) come to fog-shrouded Arkham, where his warlock ancestor Joseph Curwen was burned for sorcery a hundred and ten years earlier, after placing a curse on the village. They've come to take possession of Curwen's mansion, which they inherited. The townspeople aren't glad to see him, because he looks just like his ancestor. The palace is so creepy that Lon Chaney Jr. is the caretaker, and Ward is automatically obsessed with a portrait of Joseph Curwen. The streets of Arkham are no relief - they're full of robed, deformed mutations, people with eyes or mouths grown over. Worse things are kept in locked rooms in the houses and fed raw meat. Soon Ward becomes possessed by the spirit of Curwen and is taking his vengeance on the town, with Chaney and another wizard from the old days helping him. Frightened townspeople like Elisha Cook Jr. and Leo Gordon want to stop him, but he carries on with his plans to resurrect his dead witch consort, using rites from The Necronomicon, and goes down his shit-list, burning townspeople alive. The usual uprising of townspeople happens, but not necessarily with the usual results. Lots of atmosphere and some creepy moments in this AIP production that's true neither to Poe nor Lovecraft but is good on its own. -zwolf

The Head (B&W, 1959) AKA Head for the Devil, The Screaming Head, Die Nackte und der Satan
German entry into the disembodied-head-kept-alive subgenre of B-horror schlock. A scientist who's come up with a means of keeping tissue alive after death takes on a new assistant, the sinister Dr. Uhd. The scientist needs a heart transplant, but things don't work out, so instead Dr. Uhd severs his head and keeps it alive, so he can learn the scientist's medical secrets. The professor is not pleased by this and wants to die, but Uhd is not about to comply. He wants the doctor's formula for Serum Z, so he can graft the head of his hunchbacked nurse onto the body of a stripper. The first thing he does after the operation is to give her a cigarette; that should show you the kind of quack he is. The refurbished nurse starts an affair with the stripper's old boyfriend, who recognizes the body but not the head... and this leads her to the truth, and even more craziness. Made the same year as the similar The Brain That Wouldn't Die and goofy in its own right, but with a darker, more gothic atmosphere. "NO! NO! NO! I AM NOT MAD! NO! NO!" -zwolf

The Hearse (C, 1980)
Trish VanDevere is a rather assertive woman who goes to a small town to take up residence in her late aunt's house for the summer. The place is shunned because her aunt was supposedly a devil-worshiper, and most of the townspeople are really unfriendly, especially caretaker Joseph Cotten, who wants the house for himself. She's not there long before she's being stalked by an old black hearse and its driver (I guess they were hoping he'd be as creepy as the hearse-driver in Burnt Offerings or the Tall Man in Phantasm, but he's not) and she has a pretty creepy dream/vision. She learns that her aunt's hearse crashed and burned on the way to her funeral, and her coffin and the driver were never found. Trish's new boyfriend is also a little sinister. This was an attempt to buck the gore-movie trend that was so big at the time by leaving out all the blood and relying more on atmosphere and suspense for the scares. It's a nice idea and a sincere effort, but it's not completely successful. There are enough creepy moments to make it worth watching, though. -zwolf

Heaven (C & B&W, 1987)
Completely weird mind-fuck documentary consisting of loops of film, both new footage of people giving their conceptions of Heaven and strange bits of film from countless old movies and religious programs. Bizarre editing and camera work, guaranteed to leave you bewildered. The strangest thing about this indescribable odyssey is that it was directed by Diane Keaton! Funny at times, overwhelmingly schizo at others. Hey, somebody should make a sequel called Hell! Are you afraid to die? Are you afraid to die?! -zwolf

Hell's Wind Staff (C, 1979) AKA Long hu men, Dragon and Tiger Kids, Dragon and the Tiger Kids, Hell'z Windstaff
Militant vegans will get their panties in a wad over the fighting-over-a-live-chicken bit that opens this kung fu extravaganza, so if you're one o' those, do us all a favor; sneak yourself one of those ham sandwiches you think nobody knows about and sit this one out instead. This strange scene is followed by another where guy who's making himself the target of a human game of Whack-a-Mole. Then the plot sorta begins to kick in, and a troublesome jerk kid named Tiger gets a new kung fu teacher who puts him through torturous training sequences while evading Tiger's sneaky attempts to kill him (which always backfire in some really lowbrow comedy). Then Hwang Jang Lee, who's one of the most extreme badmen on the planet (in real life as well as movies; supposedly Hwang got attacked by a Viet Cong soldier while training South Vietnamese troops during the war, and he fired off a back kick that shattered the VC's AK-47 and his neck. I don't know if that's true or not, but I still ain't gonna mess with the fella), shows up with "Devil's Claw" fighting, including a Devil Staff which was "made in Hell." Only a style called "White Dragon Fist" can hope to defeat it, but it's a lost style that no one knows anymore. Meanwhile, the bad guys are selling people into the slave trade, and they kill off Tiger's family and his teacher, so he and his friend Dragon escape and find a teacher who knows White Dragon Fist, but he'd used it against Hwang Jang Lee in the past and ended up crippled. He also knows Paddle Staff, and they decide to combine the two styles in hopes of coming up with something strong enough to counter Devil Stick. This leads to bizarre training sequences and some really incredible stick-fighting and hand-to-hand. An obscure classic, and one of Hwang Jang Lee's finest hours - witness how twice in the space of a minute he jumps into the air and kicks three guys before hitting the ground. And I thought only Cassanova Wong was supposed to be able to do that... -zwolf

Hellbound: Hellraiser II
(C, 1988)
The Cenobites return in this even gorier sequel. The girl from the original teams with a disturbed girl who's great at solving puzzles, and they travel through labyrinths of Hell and battle a power-mad new Cenobite. Includes the origin of Pinhead, razor violence, bodies torn apart, and lots of people with no skin. Great makeup effects, of which you will see more if you get the unrated videocassette, which is five minutes longer. Almost as stylish as the original, and full of gore and weirdness. -zwolf

Hercules Against the Mongols (C, 1964) AKA Maciste contro i mongoli
Hercules (Mark Forest, who's actually playing Machiste - a lot of those Machiste movies got redubbed into "Hercules" movies because Americans are easily confused) visits China and helps some people somehow (the print I saw was choppy at the beginning, but it looked like he built a bridge for a possum!) and a girl foretells his future - he'll have to fight a dragon and some superpowered Mongol warriors: the sons of Genghis Khan. One is named Hurricane because he's so strong, another is an expert archer, and the third uses a whip. Since Genghis wanted peace at the time of his death, his sons kill one of his officers and blame the white men for it, so they can keep conquering in the name of revenge. While lifting a tree to help another possum (oh, the possums of China are a troubled lot!) Hercules gets attacked by Mongols, so he picks up another tree and laughingly beats 'em up. The Mongols work out their frustration by chaining a guy to some doors and then rushing them with a battering ram, then they enslave and torture more captives. Things look really bad, but then Herc shows up and they throw him in prison. They force him to compete in a tournament, and he, o' course, wins everything. Then they put a lion in his cell, but it lays down and wants to go to sleep, so Herc rips iron bars out of the windows and attacks it... even though it seems to just want to sit in the corner and be left alone! They must've over-drugged the poor animal or somethin'. Some crusaders come along to fight the Mongols, Herc breaks out of some stocks, there's an inept battle (watch the Mongols just toss their spears on the ground), and your insomnia is cured. Most of the film's atmosphere is provided by the scratches and color-fade in the print. "Sorry I can't be here to listen to your cries of agony!" -zwolf

Hercules In The Haunted World (C, 1961) AKA Hercules at the Center of the Earth, Hercules Vs. The Vampires, The Vampires Vs. Hercules, With Hercules To The Center of the Earth
To Hell with Hercules! Literally. Most Hercules movies are pretty bad, but Mario Bava directed this one so it looks incredible (or it would, if the print that Rhino Video mastered their tape from wasn't so washed out). Hercules (Reg Park this time) is attacked by men sent by a pale, grim sorcerer (Christopher Lee), but he fights them off. Lee is not pleased. He keeps Dianara - who should be queen - in a mesmerized state, making her live in a crypt while Lee rules in her stead. A weird sibyl tells Hercules that the only thing that can free her from this insanity is a stone found in the depths of Hades, so he sets out for the underworld. First he and his friend Theseus have to get a magic apple from the garden of the Hesperides so they can enter and leave Hell. First he saves one of his friends from being torn in two by horses, so he can get a magic ship to go to the dark garden of condemned women clad in flowing veils. Herc has to climb a giant tree to get the apple, but this proves impossible so he knocks it down with a giant slingshot, while a creaky rock monster tortures his friends in a completely bizarre, funny-but-nightmarishly-absurd scene. Then they enter Hades and find such things as damned souls imprisoned in bleeding vines and the stone they need surrounded by boiling lava. Herc makes it but loses his friend Theseus, or so he thinks at first. When Herc gets home he finds that an angry Pluto has cursed the place, because Theseus's girlfriend is Persephone - Pluto's daughter. Even after this problem is overcome, Herc has to deal with an army of rotten-shrouded, flying zombies that rise from their tombs in a way that must have influenced the Blind Dead films. At the core the film is the usual muscleman epic - the fight scenes are pretty terrible - but the stylized sets and the cheap special effects make this a surreal, dreamlike film, and you have Mario Bava to thank for that. Captures a child's-fairytale feel, and has some genuinely creepy images. -zwolf

The Hideous Sun Demon (B&W, 1959) AKA Blood on His Lips, Sun Demon, Terror from the Sun
A scientist who absorbs isotope radiation during an accident soon learns that exposure to sunlight will make him become a scale-covered lizard man. As you might imagine, this disturbs him to the point of screaming "Why me?!" and so he goes into hiding and tries to stay out of the sun. But, one problem is, he's an alcoholic, so he keeps going to nighclubs after dark. He gets involved with a gangster's girlfriend, and staying out all night with her leads to slip-ups. His transformations start making him violent and deranged, too, so he tries to stay inside completely, but that doesn't work out, and eventually he lizards-up and goes on a rampage. One of the best '50's sci-fi monster B-flicks, with an impressive monster suit (and you have to give them props for making it full-upper-torso so he could take his shirt off, rather than being budget-conscious and going for just the mask-and-gloves look). The only problem with the suit is, it was made from a wet suit with scales glued on, and so it was very hot. So star/producer/director Robert Clarke sweated a lot in it, and the sweat drained down... so, a lot of the time the Sun Demon looks like he wet his pants! Much of the music is the same library stock that was used in Night of the Living Dead. In 1983 a re-dubbed version called What's Up, Hideous Sun Demon? was released, with narration by Jay Leno and one of the voices done by Susan Tyrell. -zwolf

High Noon (B&W, 1952)
One of the most-classic o' classic westerns stars Gary Cooper as Gil Kane, a marshal who's just retired because he married a Quaker girl (Grace Kelly). They're leaving town to start a store when word gets out that Frank Miller, a gunslinger who swore to come back and kill Kane for arresting him, has just been released from jail and will be arriving on the noon train. Three of his dangerous buddies (including Lee Van Cleef) are already there waiting for him. Kane goes around town trying to get help, but everyone turns their backs on him, leaving him to face the four badmen alone. The film moves in real time, which adds to the tension, and the resulting gunfight doesn't disappoint. Reportedly when John Wayne saw this he yelled at his agent for not getting him the gig. I'm glad he didn't get it because I'm sure Cooper did a better job. His tall, thin frame walking down the middle of a wide, empty street is one of the cinema's best images of isolation. The writer of this film was blacklisted during the big Hollywood communist scare, so the movie may be seen as a personal statement in metaphor form. -zwolf

Hijack! (C, 1973)
Time has been good to 70's TV movies. Compared to the unoriginal, lame, cliched, formulaic crap we're given now, these things are stripped-down classics. In this one - calculated to cash in on the big trucker craze of the time - David Jansen and Keenan Wynn are contracted by the government to transport a great whatsit from L.A. to Houston. On the way some enemy agents with walkie-talkies, guns, and cars that explode way too easily try to stop them. But Jansen and Wynn are no punks, so stopping them won't be easy. They try sticking to the backroads, but the bad guys get a helicopter to keep tabs on them. It's not as slam-bang as a new-school movie like Black Dog or something, but action flicks back in the day had a more human, organic realism to them, and tension makes up for the shortage of explosions and gunfire and stunts... not that those things are absent, either. It never really goes into high gear, but it does keep going, and there is one thing that may make you wonder if the guys who made The Road Warrior saw it. -zwolf

The Hitcher (C, 1986)
Nonstop action and suspense as C. Thomas Howell picks up hitch-hiking psychopath Rutger Hauer and sets in motion a sick and crazed game that becomes almost a sadomasochistic affair of sorts - Hauer wants Howell to stop him, and becomes kind of attached to him, deciding to see just how miserable he can make the poor bastard. He frames Howell for his murders (he kills everybody who picks him up, even families with kids), gets him jailed... then kills off a whole station full of cops to set him free so the game can continue. You get the feeling that he's grooming Howell to be a protégé of sorts - he wants Howell to kill him, but only after putting him through enough hell to drive him insane. Where other films would balk, this one plows ahead - the girl who went out of her way to give Howell a hand (Jennifer Jason Leigh) even gets torn in half between two trucks. This film is often regarded as hyperviolent and gory, and violent it is - lotsa car crashes ala The Road Warrior - but the gore is very minimal, because the film doesn't need it. Scarier than the nonstop suspense is the darkness of the subtext - something really twisted is happening between the stalker and the victim. After a while you wonder if Hauer is always real, or if maybe he's sometimes just a dark part of Howell. Definitely an underrated film. -zwolf

Hitch Hike (C, 1978) AKA Death Drive, Hitchhike: The Last House on the Left, Autostop Rosso Sangre
Rarely-seen, intense exploitation flick with a couple who hate each other - an alcoholic reporter (Franco Nero) and his "great lay" wife (Corinne Clery) - traveling across country with a camper trailer. Into their personal hell of each other comes an even more hellish third party - a psychopath (David Hess) that they unwisely pick up in the desert. Hess is on the run from a bank robbery with a suitcase full of two million dollars. He terrorizes the couple, kills some accomplices, and rapes the wife. But he may not even be their biggest problem. Intense sex and violence with a typically-menacing performance from the solidly-typecast Hess (who says this was his favorite psycho role) and more good work from Nero and Clery. It's intense but underplayed and not as sick as Hess's other psycho films... but is perhaps even more nihilistic, cumulatively. Fast-moving, well-done obscurity that will have a good reputation given proper exposure. -zwolf

The Hitch-Hiker (B&W, 1952)
A hitchhiking killer (William Talman) with a droopy eyelid hijacks a couple of guys on a fishing trip (Edumund O' Brien and Frank Lovejoy) and makes them drive him into Mexico, threatening them and subjecting them to sadistic games the whole time. As the police get closer to finding out where they are and the car has problems, their situation grows more tense, and the captives have to find a way to turn the tables on their captor. Fast-paced and scary film noir directed by Ida Lupino. Definitely recommended. -zwolf

Hit Man in the Hand of Buddha (C, 1981)
Convoluted kung fu with an expert martial artist coming to town and finding plenty of trouble. First he's robbed by a kid and has to fight the wacky Fagin-like beggar who runs the gang of thief-children. Then he's got a hired killer on his case, and a menacing expert killer named Tiger, as well. The bad guys rape his sister (who commits suicide) and beat up his shiftless cross-eyed brother-in-law. The beggar sends him off to a temple so he won't be killed. They keep him there and make him do ridiculous, meaningless tasks and refuse to let him see the abbot. They're actually training him in kung fu, but he's impatient. He practices in secret and finally he's ready to return home and seek revenge, only to find that he has more reason to want it now than ever. Fairly standard kung fu plot, with better-than-average fighting since the star and director is Hwang Jang Lee, in one of his few good-guy roles. He's one of the best kung fu movie stars ever, and most people need to use wires to do what this guy does under his own power. He's a former Korean Army taekwondo instructor and legends about him are many. One of them says he once got in an argument with a knife expert who claimed that no one unarmed could beat a man trained with a knife. Hwang disagreed and tried to walk away but the guy attacked him, and Hwang killed him with one quick spin-kick. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but from what you'll see in this movie, I don't think I'd put it past him... -zwolf

The Holy Mountain (C, 1973)
Something about South America must really work its way into the minds of creative types... Jodorowsky, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Horacio Quiroga, Jose Mojica Marins... these guys are all a bunch of wacko-geniuses! Writer-director Alexandro Jodorowsky, responsible for such cult classics as El Topo and Santa Sangre, pulls out all of the stops in this film about spiritual awakening. Typical of Jodorowsky films, dwarves and amputees are heavily present, as are bizarre, sometimes disturbing images of fascism, skinned animals, and a perverted take on Catholicism. Jodorowsky plays a role as a mystical guru & alchemist who guides a small band of people into asceticism on their journey to the Holy Mountain, where they plan to destroy the gods dwelling there & gain immortality. Along the way, the viewer is treated to their individual stories, and some of the most bizarre images ever caught on screen, including a crazed sequence wherein the conquest of the Aztecs is retold using frogs & lizards in the roles of Aztecs & conquistadors. Part science-fiction, part fantasy, part parable, this is a must-see for students of Zen and other would-be mystics. Too bad that Hollywood bullshit & red tape split Jodorowsky from the Dune project back in the 1970s. With him directing, using storyboards from frequent collaborator & amazing European artist Moebius, we'd have ended up with a much better film than the David Lynch cesspool we got. (An aside: The Holy Mountain, much like The Wizard of Oz, syncs up almost perfectly with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, though the album ends well before the film. And it's as much of a coincidence here as it is with that film. Coincidence, as well, that the two films share a similar thematic concept in the last reel? Of course, there are no coincidences... just patterns too complex for the human mind to understand. "Zoom back, camera!") -igor

Honor Thy Father (C, 1972)
Made-for-TV mob flick documenting an episode where Salvatore Bonano had to take control of the mafia when his father, the notorious "Joe Bananas," is abducted in the middle of a gang war. There's plenty of shooting and some good scenes, but overall it tries to cover too much ground and ultimately becomes confusing and uninvolving, despite a narrator who tries to hold it together. The amount of blood is kind of surprising for a TV movie of its time; you seldom see squibs used in TV productions even now. -zwolf

Horror (C, 2002)
Some juvenile delinquents break out of drug rehab, killing a security guard in the process, and head out to visit a certain Reverend Salo, who gave them drugs. The preacher is... The Amazing Kreskin! Kreskin does feats of hypnosis (or, he claims, "suggestion") that are legit; his approach to acting was to do it all for real, so the responses he's getting are actual-factual. Too bad the movie makes no damn sense whatsoever. The very, very thin narrative that you can impose on this is something about evil Rev. Kreskin's granddaughter, who's been tormented by her parents (her dad is also an evil priest)... but then the ending reveals that the whole movie is one of the guys' story, so, so much for that, and we're left with some zombies attacking (with no explanation), people starting to rot, Kreskin's act, a painting that changes (something director Dante Tomaselli also used in Desecration), and a black goat wandering around looking evil. The director's commentary is very helpful in explaining some of what he was thinking, but it doesn't really display that he has much knowledge of storytelling. Not to say it's a bad film - there's plenty of good, creepy imagery - but it's best viewed as a nightmare and will only frustrate you if you try to find a story or logic. Dante Tomaselli is an interesting director, because he has some strange obsessions and a good eye for scary, weird scenes, but he doesn't have any grasp of how to tell a story (which is bad since he's ambitious and tries to tell really complex, symbol-rich ones) and somehow everything comes out looking false, cheap, and stiff. It'd be interesting to see him collaborate with another director, to combine his strengths with someone who could fix his weaknesses. Then you'd really have something. As is, this is pretty messy but well worth watching for its nightmarishness. -zwolf

Horror Of The Blood Monsters (C, 1970) AKA Blood Monster, Creatures of the Prehistoric Planet, Creatures of the Red Planet, Flesh Creatures of the Red Planet, Flesh Creatures, Creatures of the Lost Planet, Horror Creatures of the Prehistoric Planet, Horror Creatures of the Red Planet, Space Mission of the Lost Planet, Space Mission of the Prehistoric Planet, Space Mission to the Lost Planet, Vampire Men of the Lost Planet
Only a true rip-off artist like Al Adamson would cheat you and try to convince you that you got something extra. Al took footage from One Million B.C., some other dinosaur movies, a Filipino cavemen vs. snake-, bat-, and lobster-men movie, and god-only-knows what else, tinted them, and passed them off as "Spectrum X Color." The color is explained by claiming that on the "vampire planet," the sun's radiation is altered into the individual colors of the spectrum, so everything looks just like black and white footage with blue, green, red, and yellow color gels over it! Amazing! Whatta technological breakthrough! How lucky we are to see it! Anyway, the story is about astronauts (including John Carradine, Vicki Volante, and Robert Dix) voyaging to a lost planet to stop vampires from taking over the Earth. Most of the movie consists of scenes of the cavemen battling guys with big plastic fangs hanging out of their mouths. It all makes very little sense, and the only thing tight about this movie is the budget. Some very mild gore, but plenty to laugh at. -zwolf

Hot Rod Girl (B&W, 1956) AKA Hot Car Girl
Car racing is pretty safe, thanks to teen-friendly cop Chuck Connors, who has problems convincing his superiors that hot rodders can be good guys. But then Jeff the car club leader withdraws his support after his little brother - whose head is hotter than his car - gets killed in an accident during a street race with an unidentified jerk. Jeff keeps working at a garage (where the guy who played Rev. Alden on Little House On The Prairie is his boss) while his goofy pals embarrass themselves jiving at YoYo's and deciding they don't like the rules and regulations of the drag strip. Amidst a lot of jerky wisecracks (especially from Frank Gorshin, who must've been using his role as "Flat Top" to practice up for being the Riddler on TV's Batman), the teens get more reckless and are goaded into playing chicken by an attitude-problemed new guy named Bronc, who's out to cause even more trouble... especially for Jeff, who gets accused of a hit-and-run killing of a little kid. There is a girl driver in the movie but she doesn't have a significant role, so the title is misleading. It had to be rough in the '50's, having to pay admission for your afterschool specials... -zwolf

The Hot, The Cool, and The Vicious (C, 1976)
A complex but coherent plot and some of the most amazing legwork on film (mostly from Tan Tao Liang, who has amazing control) make this a standout kung fu film. The playboy son of a corrupt official kills the mother of an expert police captain (Ling)'s fiancé. The police captain owes the corrupt official a debt, but he's got integrity and plays no favorites, so he sets out to arrest the son. But the father hides the son and hires a notorious drifter (charismatic Don Wong, aka Wong Tao) to stand up to the captain, because only he has the fighting skill to be any match. The only problem is, the drifter's really not that bad a guy, and he and the captain have a lot of respect for each other. This is not a conducive environment for evil plans, and the corrupt official may be in trouble, unless his gang is big enough to deal with two real experts. He has his doubts, so he brings in a strange, possibly supernatural zombie-looking guy (Tommy Lee - no relation to the Motley Crue/Pam Anderson guy) who has many skills. Top-notch chopsocky results. A classic. -zwolf

(C, 1986)
Not-so-hot horror/comedy about a writer (William Katt) who moves to his late aunt's house to write his Vietnam memoirs, only to be attacked by monsters. There's a fat woman monster and a zombie soldier who's a dead ringer for "Sgt. D" from the thrash band Stormtroopers Of Death. Fair special effects, stupid story, but somehow rated a sequel, House II: The Second Story. I can't remember if I saw that one or not. I don't really care, either... Stars George Wendt, Kay Lenz, Michael Ensign, Richard Moll. -zwolf

House by the Cemetery (C, 1981) AKA Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero, The House Outside the Cemetery
Another of Lucio Fulci's stylish gorefests. A scholar brings his family to Boston to study the papers of a Dr. Petersen, who hanged himself after being banned from medicine for researching the methods of a controversial Dr. Freudstein. The scholar's son Bob makes friends with a ghostly little girl, and his wife finds a grave in their floor. Their frighteningly-beautiful housekeeper, Ann, also seems up to something. But, worst of all, Dr. Freudstein is still living in the cellar, looking mummified; he's kept himself alive through hideous transplants, and sees the new family as a good source of organs. The plot is incidental (and, like much of Fulci's oeuvre, doesn't really make a whole lot of sense); the strong point is the gore, such as a knife through the head, bat bites, impalement by fireplace poker, assorted mangled remains, decapitation, maggot-oozing stab wounds, pulled-out throats, and other such pleasantries. Plus there's plenty of creepy atmosphere in which it all takes place. One of Fulci's most popular films. -zwolf

House On Haunted Hill (B&W, 1958)
Vincent Price stars in this William Castle horror flick. Vinnie P, at his smoothest, invites several people to his wife's "amusing" party in an infamous haunted house, giving them ten thousand dollars if they'll stay there for twelve hours. Before the party can even start, the guests run into such things as an exceedingly-creepy floating madwoman (I'm serious, that scene works) and a bloody severed head in a box. Despite this, they are all locked in 'til morning, and Vincent gives them little coffins with .45 automatics to protect themselves. Pretty soon one of them is found hanged, and they all think they could be next. It gets kind of hokey at times (it's a bad sign when my mom sees it on and thinks the attacking skeleton is "cute") but it's pretty good overall. Elisha Cook Jr. delivers a bug-eyed, twitchy performance as a true believer. Remade in 1999, without the benefit of Castle's "Emergo" gimmick, which consisted of a skeleton being dangled over the audience. -zwolf

House On The Edge of the Park (C, 1984)
David Hess ("Krug" from Last House On The Left) hasn't mellowed with age - he rapes a girl while strangling her before the credits even roll on this one. Then he and his creepy friend (John Morghen, another guy who always plays a creep - remember the guy who got castrated in Make Them Die Slowly and got a drill through his head in Gates of Hell?) go out to "boogie" in their bad disco suits and end up crashing a small upper-class party. The rich people end up laughing at the two slobs. BAD idea. Hess becomes the bad-guest-from-Hell, menacing people with a straight razor, punching them out, gleefully pissing in people's faces, raping women, keeping everyone hostage, and just generally being unpleasant to be around. He gets nastier and more out of control until things are a real mess. Tense, sadistic horror with some simple but nonetheless stomach-churning gore and lots of nudity. Hess is a little too good at these things.... Sick, mean-spirited Italian flick, but effective if you're looking for the strong stuff. Unbelievable twist ending. One of the actresses is also from Make Them Die Slowly. Directed by everyone's favorite purveyor of reprehensibility, Ruggerio Deodato. -zwolf

The House that Screamed (C, 1969) AKA The Boarding School, The Finishing School, La Residencia
Be aware that there's a vastly-inferior 2000 piece of shit disappointing people by the dozens 'cuz they've bought it thinking they were getting this Spanish gothic horror classic - it has the same title and for a while video dealers mistakingly marketed it as being this movie. It's not even close. This one is still unjustifiably hard to find; it used to show up on late-night TV and now deserves a DVD release (Anchor Bay, Blue Underground, Shriek Show... any of you guys listening?). Lilli Palmer is the strict headmistress of a school for unruly girls. She tries to break their spirits with discipline, hard work, boring routine, and - when those things fail - a cat o' nine tails. Part of the reason she hates the girls so much is that her horny son is too interested in them, always peeking at them and sneaking out with them. Because the girls have such hard lives, everybody blames their frequent disappearances on running away, but in reality someone is murdering them... and quite stylishly, too. And it all has something to do with a seriously-demented secret in the attic... Classy and influential (it supposedly gave Dario Argento ideas for Suspiria) exploration of the warping potential of repressed sexual tension; all that energy either goes into the headmistress abusing the girls, the girls abusing each other, or flat-out pathological psychopathia. Hard to find, but with DVD manufacturers mining for old Eurohorror, I'm hoping somebody will have the good sense to get around to this one. -zwolf

House With Laughing Windows (C, 1976) AKA La Casa dalle Finestre che Ridona
The most amazing thing about this Pupi Avati pseudo-giallo horror film is that it managed to stay unseen for so long, because if horror fans had known what they were missing they'd have beaten down the door for it a long time ago, because this can easily stand up there with anything by Argento, Bava, or Fulci. A painter named Stefano goes to an isolated rural village to restore a fresco on the wall of the local church. It was painted by an unbalanced artist called "the painter of agonies," who always painted people dying painfully. Stefano is warned away from the painting and learns that there's a terrible secret behind it... a secret he may become part of. There is some gore, but what drives this film is a menacing atmosphere that builds slowly and results in a nightmarish, horrific cumulative effect that few other films accomplish. The locations - lonely wastelands and decaying buildings - heap an oppressive air over the darkness that unfolds clue by clue. It's not a fast-paced film, and is thinking-person's horror; you should watch this with no distractions (not even popcorn) and let it worm its way in. A masterpiece. -zwolf

Hype! (C, 1996)
Documentary about the whole Seattle grunge scene (remember it? It was the thing that was GOOD before all the Britney Spears/ NSync crap took over the world), consisting of live footage and soundbite interviews with gotta be 'bout a hundred bands, known and unknown. It sounds like the rest of the world took the whole thing more seriously than the bands did; they were just going for loud, noisy, and ridiculous. It examines how SubPop started an underground hype machine that got the whole scene to blow up by promoting the whole label instead of the bands... making sure fans got the idea that everything on SubPop was cool and the thing to have. And when it got so huge, the bands were overwhelmed and didn't really want that much success. Includes footage of the first time Nirvana played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" live, and discussion of how Nirvana's success affected the rest, like Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice In Chains, and Pearl Jam. Other bands featured include Tad, Blood Circus, Dead Moon, Gas Huffer, The Gits, Coffin Break, The Melvins, 7 Year Bitch, The Posies, Fastbacks, Gas Huffer, Supersuckers, Seaweed, Screaming Trees, and more. The whole thing is interesting, but it leaves you wanting more - there are so many short clips and the music has aged so well in light of the absolute dreck that's come out since then that you start wishing they'd show the entire show. One of the absolute coolest things about this videotape, though, is that I got an SP pre-rec of it, brand new, for one dollar at the Dollar Tree! Whoo-hoo! Dat's a bargain, chillun! Especially since a lotta places - like Amazon - are currently asking $18 for it! Hee-ha! Great documentary on music... and on hype in general. Often hilarious and smart. Gee, it's funny that Candlebox never showed up... (I'm bein' sarcastic, y'know). -zwolf

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