Time for some 1970s nightmares: Drive-In Massacre, The Driller Killer, and The House with Laughing Windows.
THE DRILLER KILLER (1979)
The Driller Killer had a pretty alluring and gross VHS cover when it made its 80s video store debut. The image of a man getting a drill through the forehead also happens to be the best scene in the entire movie. It looks deliciously real!
Other than that, this is a sleazy city slasher in which we follow the situations that lead our killer to go psycho with a drill. He’s just a struggling artist with two female roommates and some shitty luck. And he snaps. Yawn.
There are also endless scenes of a punk band rehearsing and a lesbian make out scene before we get to the killer going drill happy. Like literally. He just runs around the city, rushing up to guys and jabbing them with his drill. He also does this dance that seems to have been the inspiration for Peter Wolf’s moves in the “Centerfold” video by the J. Geils Band. Here’s the movie summarized in pix:
The movie sux but the drill kills are pretty hot.
DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1977)
Black Christmas and Halloween weren’t the only slashers of the 1970s. Drive-In Massacre follows the template pretty well; those who have sex in their cars at a local drive-in get hacked up by someone with a sword.
That’s the good news. Everything else is the bad news starting with the horrible hippy rock during the opening credits. Between kills, the movie predominantly focuses on two cops investigating the murders. Specifically they are looking at not one but two former sideshow sword swallowers who work at the same theater.
Aside from the nasty kills, there are noticeable humorous parts involving the two cops. Wait until you see them do a stakeout in the drive-in as a couple—a straight couple. Yes. One of them does drag.
Eventually, there’s a chase scene involving a young girl, there’s a cool kill in the form of a big silhouette on the giant movie screen, and there’s a very William Castle ending, with a narrator warning that the drive-in killer could be in the theater right now! EEK!
Overall, the movie sux but the drive-in kills are pretty hot.
THE HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS (1976)
The House with the Laughing Windows is an Italian giallo, most notable because a majority of the film has you wondering what the fuck is going on and why there are so many weirdoes running around.
A handsome bearded man named Stefano is called to an old church (once inhabited by the SS and therefore previously the home of many a corpse) to restore a painting glorifying—and gorifying—death. Before long, he is getting ominous threatening calls to stop working on the painting, is banging multiple female teachers, and is moving in with a bedridden old lady (good thing she’s not a teacher).
He’s also trying to uncover the truth about the mentally ill artist, whose body was never found—but whose voice is heard on a tape Stefano finds, chanting some weird shit about the colors flowing through him and death being the key to purity. On top of all that, there’s a seriously creepy priest and some other random pervy kid Stefano befriends. The priest and the perv should just get together….
The House with the Laughing Windows has horror, starting with the opening scene of a man strung up and being gruesomely stabbed. No. Really. This pic portrays pain, not pleasure.
After that it’s the slow burn mystery from hell. Endless clues pile up and ominous setups never pay off.
Finally, near the end, the truth of what the restored painting is depicting allows the pieces to fall into place and brings back the horror and brutality. The great twist is one we’ve all seen at this point in time, but if you can put the movie in the context of horror history, it would have blown some minds back in 1976. Don’t worry. This pic is not revealing the twist.
Even with the shocking conclusion, The House with the Laughing Windows could benefit from some editing. About 15 minutes of the hour and 45 minute running time would have vastly helped ADHD minds from wandering—even if they just edited out stupid shit like him making tea or driving down the road. It’s that kind of filler that has worn down the >> painted on my remote control….