More scrounging around has scored me three more flicks to add to my collection, and one I checked out thanks to a tip from a follower of my site. So let’s get into them.
THE MEATEATER (aka: Blood Theatre) (1979)
This film, which a reader of my post clued me into, is better served by the Blood Theatre title. The Meateater doesn’t apply at all unless you count a moment that shows the killer munching on a rat.
Sort of like Blood Theatre 1984, which I just blogged about, Blood Theatre 1979 is about the reopening of an abandoned movie theater. This time a family buys a theater and plans to show only family-friendly G-rated shit. Yawn.
So naturally the previous psycho owner, believed to have been run out of business for showing perverse movies (aka: the good stuff), is still lurking in the building. There’s also a stuttering weirdo who keeps coming around to warn the new owners not to reopen.
There’s plenty of suspenseful music and camerawork, but mostly nothing of significance happens for most of the film. There’s one kill early on, a corpse is found, and then there’s loads of filler as moviegoers come flocking to the new theater. One woman even mentions that her kids have nothing to do since the Donny & Marie show went off the air. Awesome timestamp. Another one is the main family singing “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener” in the car.
Seriously, there’s no body count here. The “killer”, who is pretty creepy, has a slightly deformed face, abducts one girl because she looks like a movie star, and then the family has to save her, which leads to the one super gory moment in the whole movie. That’s it, yet as bland as it is, this Blood Theatre is actually creepier than the other Blood Theatre, and so is its killer.
THE MAJORETTES (1987)
I guess this “slasher” was sorely overlooked in the eighties because it takes a detour in the final 30 minutes and becomes somewhat of a vigilante revenge flick. However, that a) makes it unique, and b) doesn’t detract from the fact that the first hour is totally awesome 80s slasher goodness.
Also totally cool is that the film is directed by horror royalty—Bill Hinzman, the very first zombie from Night of the Living Dead, who would go on to direct his own zombie movie FleshEater a year after The Majorettes.
Things start off perfect, with majorettes practicing a routine to a bad eighties pop song, and then getting photographed by a creep hiding in a vent in the locker room.
The girls are killed off in some absolutely fantastic death sequences by a big killer in camouflage, there’s a sort of religious cult subplot, there’s a white trash gang subplot, there’s an elderly old lady subplot, there’s a hairy mustached detective on the case, there’s a Rick Springfield poster sighting, there’s a sleazy strip club scene, and there’s a cute main boy determined to stop the killer.
And then comes the awesome little twist in the slasher plot.
And that is followed by the main boy arming himself with a gun to go have a shootout with the white trash gang while they’re hanging out in their trailer home.
This shit is eighties perfection.
HELL HIGH (1989)
This late 80s film really needs a proper Blu-ray release. The DVD from years ago is not anamorphic and there was a mistake in the mastering—about five minutes are missing from the film right when the plot is taking a major turn, and the company that released the disc never bothered to fix the problem. Sigh.
Anyway, this one starts perfectly for a low budget 80s horror flick. A little girl is warned by her mother not to go down to the “swamps” to play. The swamps look more like a shed in a cornfield, but we can overlook that, because a couple on a motorcycle comes to the shed to have sex, and there’s a horrible accident….
18 years later, the girl is a teacher at a high school where the kids act like the Class of 1984. A bad ass and his thugs harass a clean-cut football player until they convince him to play a prank on the teacher.
The film progresses very slowly with a lot of footage of a football game, but finally the kids show up at the teacher’s house at night wearing scary masks to terrorize her.
Things go horribly wrong, and the teacher’s PTSD from her childhood kicks in. It’s unfortunate that it takes sooooo long to get to the point of the plot, because all the horror fun is rushed.
In a way this is a revenge slasher, with the teacher going batty and killing the kids one by one. There are a few violent death scenes with some eerily effective visuals, it just all happens so fast, as does the denouement. It’s a bummer that they blew the chance to deliver some great scares and suspense, considering the scenes they pulled off totally delivered.
HAUNTING FEAR (1990)
It doesn’t get much more retro than an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation directed by Fred Olen Ray and starring Brinke Stevens. Based on the short story “The Premature Burial”, as Haunting Fear progresses, it becomes clear it should have been a short story, too. There simply isn’t enough plot to fill the near 90 minutes. Would’ve been cool if Ray had perhaps done a Poe anthology instead.
Brinke plays a woman having nightmares about being buried alive. Her husband is fucking his bombshell secretary and they totally want Brinke dead. They see her fragile mental state as their chance to bump her off.
Filling up the time is Jan-Michael Vincent in a totally pointless role as a detective (he basically sits in a car doing a stakeout for the little time he’s in the film), Michael Berryman as a creepy mortician in a dream sequence, and Karen Black as a hypnotist in another pointless role.
The best part of the film is the payoff, when hubby and ho do indeed bury Brinke alive…and she comes back looking all maniacal with a knife to get revenge. The final act and Brinke’s dedication to her performance are the highlight of the film.