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Dead By Words

Love horror movies and TV? So do we. Walk down our track and enter our cabin of horrors…

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Italian

31 Days of Halloween – Day 22 – Demons (1985)

This bonkers Lamberto Bava Italian classic is produced by Dario Argento and features a large amount of exploding pus, gratuitous 80s heavy metal and some reallllllly nasty demonic transformations. It’s also oh so self reflexive, yes!

Student Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) is stalked on the Berlin subway by a mysterious masked man. When he catches up with her, he gives her an invitation to a free film screening at a cinema. Cheryl turns up with her friend, and lots of other guests too – why they are selected is never explored.

A prostitute Rosemary (Geretta Giancarlo) puts on a demonic mask in the cinema lobby, which scratches her face. Whilst watching the free movie – which turns out to be a bloody horror film – her friend notices what is happening in the film is also happening to Rosemary. The mask is making the protagonist on screen bleed uncontrollably from his cheek, and so is she – Rosemary staggers to the bathroom and turns into a demon. Then all hell breaks loose.

Demons is a relentless gorefest but also stylishly done. Some bits make absolutely no sense – for example, the punks in the car who are completely pointless demon fodder – but it really doesn’t matter. It’s a joy to watch – frantic, scary and deeply unpleasant, and a real horror movie fan’s favourite. We love a bit of cinema reflecting cinema!

BEST HEAVY METAL BAND ON THE SOUNDTRACK: MOTLEY CRUE

GORE RATING: 5/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 5/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Revenge by motorbike, sword and heavy metal

Watch out for: Carmen’s surprise tongue. YUKKKKK

31 Days of Halloween – Day 6 – Suspiria (1977)

Dario Argento’s masterpiece is one of the finest horror films ever made – an audio and visual feast and completely, completely mad. American ballet student Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Munich, Germany, to attend a prestigious ballet school. The ballet school is run by – well, that’d be telling.

With the haunting soundtrack of Goblin – referred to as ‘The Goblins’ in the film’s opening credits – and some really horrible trademark Argento gory moments (he really loves lingering shots of stabbing beautiful women, often playing ‘the glove’ himself), see Suspiria before the US remake is done and dusted. Nothing can touch this classic, and a remake is sacrilege.

STAPLE ARGENTO MOMENTS?: Many, from the blind man through to brunettes

GORE RATING: 4/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Everything is sweet, atmospheric madness – and such a thing of beauty

Watch out for: The barbed wire room. Ouch 

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

The second film in the recently released double bill Dual-Format Blu-Ray and DVD ‘Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia’, this is a kinky little affair with great style and glorious giallo thrills.

Anthony Steffan plays Alan, an aristocrat who has been released from a mental institution following the death of his wife Evelyn. Evelyn was a redhead and it turns out Alan has quite the fetish for them, as he lures redheaded prostitutes and strippers back to his English mansion to torture and kill them. He does it as revenge for seeing Evelyn having sex with another man and to deal with his own grief and guilt. The scenes in his mansion are still quite shocking, even by today’s standards, and uncomfortable to watch.

Alan then meets Gladys (Marina Malfatti), another redhead, whom he marries and she’s in  the heart of the danger. There’s some spectacular shots of Evelyn – like an undead siren – beckoning Alan to her tomb and a build-up to a gruesome conclusion.

It’s an intelligent entry in the Italian giallo collection, and Miraglia is a solid director with a talent for beautiful filmmaking which makes his movies a joy to watch. Once again, Arrow Video releases another classic. Don’t miss too the spectacular Go-go dancing scene – so groovy!

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Evelyn rises

Watch out for: Alan’s very creepy Room of Pain

Review: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)

Recently released by Arrow Video as part of the double bill Dual-Format Blu-Ray and DVD ‘Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia’, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is a captivating Italian giallo movie that explores a hundred year-cycle curse from a family painting where a Red Queen rises to…you’ve guessed it… kill seven times.

Family members Kitty (Barbara Bouchet) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) suspect the curse after the death of Kitty’s grandfather, and that the back-from-the-dead Red Queen could be Kitty’s deceased sister Evelyn. The grandfather had told Kitty and Evelyn about the curse when they were children –  always fighting – and when older in another fight with Kitty, Evelyn accidentally hits her head and dies in a moat. Kitty blames herself for her sister’s death but the family covers it up as ‘Evelyn has gone to America’. Has Evelyn now risen again to take her revenge? Was the curse inevitable?

The film is stylish and thrilling, with some truly memorable shots from Kitty’s dreams of how the Red Queen strikes. It ramps up well with suspense towards the final big reveal, and there’s some elaborate deaths for the Red Queen’s victims including a man being dragged along and squashed on the side of the road by a car, and a nasty end for a fashion house mogul.

A solid part of any giallo collection, The Red Queen…is well worth checking out.

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Some great dream sequences

Watch out for: The Red Queen’s POV – she’s coming!

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