Night of the Demons (1988) directed by Kevin Tenney
Ahhh, horror comfort food. Watching an '80s bodycount film, I find, is relaxing. You kinda know what's going to happen and all of the characters act in predictable ways, but that's why it's like putting a sweater on on a chilly day. I have no idea how I missed out on this film for all of these years; I just randomly picked it on Hulu as something to watch at work. What a treat to accidentally discover an '80s horror gem I haven't seen.
Loved Stooge. "Eat a bowl of fuck! I'm here to party!" Great character. I was completely bummed when he got his tongue bit out, because I wanted more bon mots from him. Linnea Quigley shoves a lipstick through her nipple and into her breast. I don't know why she did that (other than the whole demon-possession thing), but it was awesome. There was surprisingly more gore in this movie, considering its era, than I expected. Eyes were gouged out, arms chopped off by coffins lids, hands melted in fireplaces and razors burst out of throats. The effects were pretty well done, though the demon faces the possessed people wear are a little generic. All this an a Bauhaus song, too. This movie was as fun as hell and can't wait to watch it again next year. (7/10)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) directed by Dario Argento
He got me. I wasn't able to guess who the killer was before the end of the movie. Are we supposed to? Is the mystery solvable in a giallo movie like in a Murder, She Wrote episode or Agatha Christie novel? Or is the mystery part just supposed to be a driver of the imagery, violence and psychological explorations in these movies? Next time I watch this, I'll have to pay attention to the attack on Monica. Is she holding the knife when we first see it? Or was that a new shot for the end of the film when she's revealed to be the killer?
A fine first film for Argento. It's confidently crafted and beautifully shot and, as I've said, the mystery is a puzzler. The colors aren't as whacked out as they'll be in Suspiria, but they're still eye-popping: the chartreuse of the boxing club jackets, the red velvet cloth the killer keeps her knives on, the shiny black of the killer's coat, the bright white of the art gallery.
Speaking of the art gallery, wow, the first scene set there was brilliant. Sam getting trapped between panes of glass, forced to watch an unknown woman struggle with an attack and then writhe in pain, bleeding on the floor... Argento seems to be saying: "yeah, it's my first solo directing gig, but I do know what the hell I'm doing, dammit." (7/10)