I Saw A Film!
A small seaside town full of homicidal people murders its visitors in explicitly nasty ways. It’s one of those films that invests pretty heavily in the gore, like an Italian horror film, but the blood is normal not shocking crimson. A local cop tries to uncover what is going on and slowly begins suspecting his cute school-teacher wife (Melody Anderson from Flash Gordon) who appears to be studying witchcraft. It’s a kind of bore compared to the amount of time we spend with the funeral home creep reconstructing badly abused corpses. This is a favorite old trope, the one from the Return of the Living Dead took a lot of pleasure in cracking the joints of the cadavers. It’s an art after all.
As we follow these visitors and tourists into the town and see them burned or hacked or smashed with rocks, we find them being rebuilt by the funeral home operator, and inexplicably return to life. The explanation for this isn’t bothered with, which is often better than trying to provide an explanation (or maybe I missed it in all the dark corners and jump scares). Robert Englund is here in a nice pre-Freddy role.
So, the thing is, what these sorts of films are besides exercises for the effects crews (Dan O’Bannon here). They’re a sort of violent rollercoaster with a surprise twisty ending that hits pretty hard despite knowing it’s coming. I guess I’ve always preferred the monster film, as those require some identification and are mysterious with means of control, whereas people don’t really frighten as much as they annoy. And dark movies with people crashing through windows or hidden behind doors just don’t have the impact I find unknown creatures would have. But there is a misery effect associated with the husband wife emotional loss. And so I see this sort of film as more a “misery” exercise than a horror one. Sadness. Anyway, I don’t care so much for sadness in my horror films.
This runs free on Prime USA and has a proper Mamiya camera used in the early sequence, a real beauty, and the fellow using it does do some fine shots!