My latest splurge included an occult flick from the 70s, a late 80s killer croc flick and its sequel, and a cabin in the woods horror comedy from the 90s.
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER (1973)
Water down the child of Satan movies that were all the rage in the 1970s to make them safe for general audiences, and you get this made-for-TV dud that I picked up on DVD. As cookie cutter as it gets, it’s about a young woman who goes to live with a lady who claims to be a close friend of her late mother.
Shelley Winters is that welcoming lady, and she is the reason I bought this one—I now have every bad 70s horror movie starring Shelley Winters in my collection.
Turns out there’s a cult coming to “reclaim” the young woman because her soul was sold to the devil by her mother when she was young!
There’s nothing all that frightening happening here. There’s a creepy painting of the Devil, the original Barnabas Collins vampire from Dark Shadows is Shelley’s mute servant, Shelley’s friends all seem like Stepford wives, and eventually a whole cult comes out of the woodwork to drag the young woman into a dance ritual at a party.
When she rejects their open arms, bad things start to happen. Actually just one thing—her friend dies…off screen…and she learns about it through word of mouth. Made-for-TV madness, I tell you!
Then we get an accelerated romance with 70s horror hottie Robert Foxworth just so the movie can come to a close at their wedding.
The twist isn’t much of a twist in this day and age, but if you loved movies like Rosemary’s Baby, Race with the Devil, and The Omen, you’ll appreciate the nostalgia of it all. We even get some cheap Devil action at the end, which is more than we ever got at the end of Rosemary’s Baby.
KILLER CROCODILE (1989)
This Italian killer croc movie is the bomb! Everyone was dubbed into English after speaking their lines in a variety of languages, cheesy music plays at all the inappropriate times, there’s plenty of gore, and there’s a practical effects crocodile that brought me right back to the 80s.
We get into it immediately with croc POV, a couple with a boom box, two attack scenes in a row to start us off, and a total reveal of the huge crocodile.
We quickly find out why the croc is so over-sized. In total 80s fashion, toxic waste dumping is the culprit! A group of environmentalists comes to the swamps to find proof of dumping and then get picked off one by one.
The film uses every underwater monster cliché in the book, as well as rip-off Jaws music, and I was living for it. There’s also a typical scene in which all the Black locals that live right on the water every day of their lives can’t seem to figure out how to contend with a croc attack, so the white dudes from the city need to step in to save them.
But not all the white guys are superior. One idiot is like the prototype for modern day found footage characters that won’t put down the damn camera. He is determined to get photos of the croc, and people wind up dead as a result.
The final act is croc fighting fun as a stubborn hunter and the remaining environmentalists—two hotties—get back in the water for a battle to the death.
Would you believe that just when they think the croc is dead, an egg hatches on the shore?
KILLER CROCODILE 2 (1990)
This is how you do a hot campy mess of a sequel. It all begins with another couple getting gobbled in the opening scene.
Then we meet a reporter looking for a story. One of the first words out of her mouth is “faggot”, so I kind of wanted her to die. However, as soon as she goes into the swamps for a story and the dude manning the boat decides he’s going to rape her, she whips out a big knife and is like, “Dude, I’m from New York.” Awesome.
Also awesome is a scene of the croc devouring two boats full of nuns and children.
Anyway, one of the main guys from the first movie is back and feels he needs to go find the reporter after she doesn’t return. Things slow down a bit as he hunts for her while having flashbacks to the first movie. He locates her, there’s sexual tension, and they then have sex. Joke is on the homophobe, because she got with a pretty boy with feathered hair in a pink shirt.
It’s total popcorn movie goofiness once the final battle takes place, with our main dude even using the croc like a ramp to do a death-defying jump in a boat.
FROSTBITER: WRATH OF THE WENDIGO (1995)
An unapologetic love letter to the Evil Dead movies, Frostbiter is ten times more absurdly slapstick and completely exploits the silly stop motion effects that were kept to a minimum in Evil Dead.
Frostbiter is definitely an entertaining midnight movie, but it is also sloppy cinema. Because the Wendigo can take on any form, it takes on way too many, leading to an abundance of goofy stop motion critters and creatures.
In between there are a few really good baddies that should have been the focus all the way through to enhance the horror aspects and somewhat mute the tomfoolery.
So what’s the plot? An old fisherman who looks like he died decades ago is living in a cabin in the woods guarding a spot that will unleash the Wendigo on the world if desecrated.
Wouldn’t you know a couple of redneck hunters comes along and desecrates the spot?
Almost immediately, 80s style horror colors saturate the screen, and, unfortunately, the film assaults us with a barrage of constant obnoxious music in the background that spoils any sense of atmosphere that could have helped improve the horror presence of the cheesy monsters.
Even so, the next group of guys that comes to the cabin fights some cool baddies, including a witch and a giant centaur.
Eventually those that die come back in a demonic form that is a cheap knockoff of the Deadites.
I’d tell you to keep an eye out for the Evil Dead 2 poster on a wall of the cabin, but you can’t miss it.