I’m always hesitant to watch early 1970s crap slapped onto 20-movie budget DVD sets. There’s simply too much trash from that era that adds nothing to the horror genre, lacks any scares, and is painfully dated. That’s the case with 2 out of the 3 films from my latest 1970s horror excursion. Not surprisingly, the third film is not from one of my multi-movie boxed sets, was one I’ve actually been wanting to see, and was the best (only good one) of the bunch.
THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971)
Great title, horrible Euro sleaze flick, beginning with agonizing, early 1970s melodramatic music during the intro credits. I fricking hate the cheesy sound of early 1970s soundtrack music that makes every movie – even horror – sound like it’s going to be a cheap cash-in on Love Story.
I had higher hopes when we meet our main man, who takes redheaded women that look like his dead wife back to his castle to assault and kill them.
There’s always a whip involved, but don’t expect much (or at least, not enough) sex, nudity, violence, and blood.
Eventually, the main man takes a new bride (who looks like his dead wife), and she is terrorized in their home by seemingly supernatural occurrences.
There’s a séance, caged foxes, relatives coming out of the woodwork, a woman in a wheelchair, loads of servants, lots of running through the woods, a corpse woman standing at a mausoleum, thunder and lightning, and way too many characters to make a convoluted series of twists worth following. YAWN.
THE THIRSTY DEAD (1974)
Again, we’re slammed with a cringeworthy, dated sound – psychedelic music at a strip club. I’m so glad I was too young to remember anything before 1973. I missed the late 60s/early 70s psychedelic era and found my memory and little gay voice just in time for the thumping beats of disco.
This movie only gets worse. Robed figures kidnap a bunch of women and take them to what appears to be Paradise Island from Wonder Woman, where they are pampered by girls in skimpy, flowing fashions.
It’s pretty much a cult that worships a talking head in a box.
A bunch of male minions in loincloths are the bitches of a male leader who makes it appear there will be…um…no chance of reproduction on this island.
One woman in the kidnapped group is singled out as “the chosen,” but she’s having none of it and just wants to save her friends, which becomes the nonstop argument between she and the male leader of the cult for the entire film.
A couple of times she’s tossed in a cave with freaky zombie–like natives, but the movie in no way exploits the horror and delivers no gore or blood (so basically, the thirsty dead remain thirsty). This one would be a big yawn if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so laughable.
BLOOD AND LACE (1971)
This is the type of “what-the-fuckery” 1970s horror is best at. There’s so much nonsense going on here there’s bound to be something for most horror fans to like about it, despite the dated feel.
The opening scene could clearly be the inspiration for Carpenter’s Halloween. We begin with killer POV as someone walks around the outside of a house, comes in and enters the kitchen, gets a hammer out of a drawer, then heads to a bedroom for a pretty gruesome murder of two people – claw end of the hammer to their faces!
Next, we meet a young woman who is sent to an orphanage after the death of her whore mother.
It’s run by a sadistically cruel woman (veteran actress Gloria Grahame, who is awesome evil in the role) and a pervy caretaker (veteran actor Len Lesser, aka: Uncle Leo on Seinfeld).
Poking around as he investigates the death of the main girl’s mother is Vic Tayback, best known as Mel of Mel’s Diner on Alice. He’s also investigating a growing number of runaways at the orphanage…
Naturally, the psychos running the place are actually killing the kids and keeping them in a basement freezer!
Meanwhile, a freak with a hammer is terrorizing the main girl, but no one believes her, not even the hot orphan she gets cozy with.
Blood and Lace isn’t all that terrifying by today’s standards, but it’s so worth it for the crazy number of zingers and twists in the final few minutes. The concluding moment is fricking priceless.