LAST GIRL STANDING. (2015) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

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LAST GIRL STANDING. (2015) DIRECTED BY BENJAMIN R. MOODY. STARRING AKASHA VILLALOBOS, DANIELLE EVON PLOEGER AND BRIAN VILLALOBOS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘What happens AFTER the horror movie?’

This isn’t exactly the greatest horror movie ever made, but it whiled away a June Bank Holiday Friday night during coronavirus lockdown nicely enough, and it’s definitely worth one watch and one evening of your time.

The idea of the ‘last girl standing’ is a ready-made horror trope all of its own already. (It’s always a girl, by the way; maybe because the aesthetics of a trim young woman running in a slim vest top and hotpants, with unfettered boobies bouncing freely and with long hair streaming out behind her, are more pleasing to the eye than if we just have, say, a heavy-set bearded bloke in sweatpants pounding along, struggling to breathe ’cause its years since he attempted anything approximating physical exercise.)

We’re all familiar with the image of the last girl in a horror movie to survive a massacre by the serial killer. We’ve all seen her running frantically through the woods in the dark, her white vest top stained with the blood of the friends she’s seen murdered by the villain and her long hair matted with blood and twigs. (From the trees and bushes, see?)

We’ve seen her trip and stumble to the forest floor just inches ahead of the pursuing killer. We’ve seen her flag down the one car on the otherwise deserted motorway, only to find that the car is being driven by the killer or one of his local accomplices, say, a corrupt sheriff or something. In other films, the car’s occupants are genuine and the Last Girl Standing is whisked away to the safety of the nearest hospital or police station.

In this film, Camryn (the world’s worst spelling of Cameron, a lovely name) is the titular Last Girl Standing. She saw her friends butchered in the woods in a pagan ritual, by a serial killer wearing a deer mask complete with antlers known as ‘the Hunter.’ Camryn went one further than most victims, however, and actually killed the man who was looking to add her name to his list of kills.

So, now, it’s a few years later and Camryn’s life is, to be totally honest about it, a bit shit. Her apartment looks like no-one lives in it, so reluctant has she been to personalise it or put her own stamp on it.

Her hair is limp and lank-looking, she dresses in the drabbest of drab shapeless hoodies and tops, she’s become almost terminally shy and jumpy and she barely talks to anyone at the dry cleaners-cum-launderette where she works. Even Nick, the cute new guy, has trouble getting a smile or a friendly word out of her.

Camryn has terrible survivors’ guilt. Why did she live, when none of her friends did? Plus, she lost all her closest friends in one fell swoop; all murdered by ‘the Hunter.’ That’s plenty to be depressed about as it is, but now, as well, since Nick joined the staff, coincidentally enough, Camryn has the feeling she’s being stalked.

Is the Hunter not dead after all? Has he come back to finish the job he left unfinished before? Or is Camryn merely losing the plot after all this time? You’ll have great fun trying to figure out which it is.

Camryn’s new friends- they’re Nick’s mates really- certainly think that Camryn is as mad as a box of frogs, out in their garden in the dead of night searching high and low for skinned and bleeding rabbits, and digging up dead serial killers in the middle of nowhere, also in the dead of night, just to make sure they’re still dead.

Is she cuckoo, or is she right? Is the Hunter back to finish her off, or maybe one of his friends or relatives is seeking to avenge the killer? It could go any way, especially as Camryn has such a tenuous grip on reality at the moment. Have fun figuring it out. It’s a good, serviceable little horror film and you’ll enjoy watching it, as I said earlier, at least once.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

A VIEW FROM A HILL (2005) and NUMBER 13 (2006): TWO MORE CLASSIC GHOST STORY ADAPTATIONS FROM THE BBC. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

view from a hill

A VIEW FROM A HILL (2005) and NUMBER 13 (2006): TWO CLASSIC GHOST STORY ADAPTATIONS FROM THE BBC. BASED ON THE SHORT STORIES BY MONTAGUE RHODES JAMES.

STARRING MARK LETHEREN, PIP TORRENS, DAVID BURKE, GREG WISE AND TOM BURKE.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

These two ghost stories from the BBC are almost every bit as atmospheric as their counterparts from the 1970s. I say ‘almost,’ because nothing could ever really fully emulate the bleak loneliness of A Warning to the Curious or the lush Victorian creepiness of The Stalls of Barchester, but both A View from a Hill and Number 13 are pretty bloody jolly good attempts, lol, as the English themselves might say.

In A View from A Hill, a young archaeologist fellow called Dr. Fanshawe has come to a posh stately home in the England of post-World War Two to evaluate a collection of historical artefacts belonging to the current Squire’s late father. The current Squire Richards is an unbearable toff, despite his situation of being extremely strapped for cash (hence the selling off of the ‘family silver’), and he really gets on Dr. Fanshawe’s rather class-sensitive wick.

Dr. Fanshawe gets plenty of time off to explore the local countryside, armed with a pair of binoculars lent to him by the Squire. But through these extraordinary binoculars, Fanshawe seems able to view a magnificent old Abbey called Fulnaker which the Squire assures him is no more, and also a gibbet complete with a hanged man on the nearby Gallows Hill, which loathsome practice has also, fortunately, died out by now.

The binoculars once belonged to, and, in fact, were made by, a local character of no small measure of eccentricity called Baxter. Fanshawe is informed of all this by the Squire’s butler Patten, who still stays loyal to the Squire in spite of the fact that the rude and impoverished aristocrat can no longer afford to pay him.

The sad truth is that the ageing Patten probably has nowhere else to go at this stage of his life. One wonders how many more domestic servants suffered the same lonely fate as Patten, once the English aristcracy had started to decline in earnest in those post-war years. (Remember Mr. Steevens, the devoted butler from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day? How happy do you suppose he was for the rest of his life, post-domestic service?)

Anyway, Baxter, who ‘fancied himself as an archaeologist,’ had a rather nasty habit of (believe it or not) boiling the bones of the condemned men who met their sad ends on Gallows Hill. Nothing good can therefore ensue from young Fanshawe’s ‘looking through the eyes of a dead man,’ as he is doing every time he takes up these accursed field glasses. There’s something evil abroad up on Gallows Hill and on the plot of land that used to house Fulnaker Abbey. Will it ensnare young Fanshawe, who just can’t seem to stay away from the place . . .?

Number 13 follows the popular M.R. James theme of a fusty, middle-aged academic, much more used to dreaming spires and dusty old tomes than life in the real world, coming to an old cathedral town to do some research in their ancient library. Professor Anderson is, admittedly, a good deal younger and, dare I say handsomer, than Michael Hordern in Whistle and I’ll Come to You, but he has the fussy, prissy mannerisms of the lifelong bachelor academic down to a T.

He demands to be moved from the hotel room he’s been given, to a room with a desk and plenty of room for him to work. This is how he comes to find himself in Room 12, next to the titular Room Number 13 which only appears to materialise intermittently.

That’s because it’s very much a ghost room, occupied by a sixteenth-century Satanist who still holds court there, giving rise to disturbing sounds and laughter and whispered conversations and shadows that all conspire to make Anderson feel like he’s going a little bit mad. He’s outraged to find that he’s no longer welcome in the archives of the town library, because of what he might find out about this Satanist fellow.

After all, the natives in this rural part of the world are still extremely superstitious already; what would it do to the town to discover that they once had a veritable coven of witches and Devil-worshippers in their midst…?

Okay, fair enough, but Anderson still has to contend with the tenant in Room Number 13, who has a most disquieting habit of trying to draw the occupants of Room Number 12 in to his world of devilish bacchanals and satanic revelries…

David Burke, who played the butler Patten in A View from a Hill, is excellent here too as poor Gunton, the put-upon proprietor of the hotel he doesn’t yet realise is haunted. (God Almighty, how could he not know??? Lol.)

Tom Burke (his real-life son), who is jolly good at playing decadent toffs (he portrayed rich, boorish swell Bentley Drummle in the 2011 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations), is terrific here as the boozy, flirtatious lawyer Jenkins, who provides a good back-up buddy for Professor Anderson when Anderson tries to unravel the mysteries of Room Number 13 . . .

These are both good, creepy little ghost stories for Christmas. Enjoy them, but make sure to keep the lights on…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

FRIGHT. (1971) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

fright

FRIGHT. (1971) A BRITISH LION FILM. WRITTEN BY TUDOR GATES. DIRECTED BY PETER COLLINSON. STARRING SUSAN GEORGE, HONOR BLACKMAN, GEORGE COLE, DENNIS WATERMAN, JOHN GREGSON, TARA COLLINSON AND IAN BANNEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a terrific horror-thriller movie in the sub-genre of what we would call ‘babysitter horror.’ Remember the original version of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (Carol Kane), the first twenty minutes of which are pure unadulterated perfect horror? Damn right. ‘Have you checked the children?’

There’s also HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (Jocelin Donahue), in which a young American college student desperate for rent money is lured out into the sticks on the pretext of a babysitting job, but when she gets to the creepy old house in the country, she discovers two things. One, the baby she’s been called out to sit for isn’t a baby at all, but an elderly lady; and two, that the entire family are up to their tits in a devil cult. Lol. Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

And then, of course, there’s the original babysitter horror itself, HALLOWEEN, with Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode doing duty as the babysitter and the masked escaped criminal Michael Myers providing the chuckles, I mean, the murders.

FRIGHT stars the delectable Susan STRAW DOGS George as Amanda, the young babysitter and child welfare student who comes to the isolated house of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd to watch their son Tara, while they go out to the Plover Inn in the village a few miles away and celebrate ‘a sort of anniversary.’

The real star of the film is Susan George’s infinitely expressive, mobile face, with the huge eyes, the lush trembling lips and the slightly gammy but still charming teeth. This woman can really show fear in her face. Her long blonde hair and perfect, petite little body all go to complete the package.

The camera loves her, and her face can be shot endlessly in close-ups and you’d never get tired of it. Also, she’s rather smashing at portraying women who are being pushed around and abused by men. You can see this here, and also in STRAW DOGS which she made later in the year for Sam Peckinpah.

Anyway, as Amanda, she shows up at the Lloyds’ house in her fab little woolly pinky-purple mini-dress with the kinky black knee-boots, all set to babysit their little blond cherub of a son, Tara. By the way, in Ireland, Tara is a girl’s name. Just sayin.’

The Lloyds are played by George Cole (MINDER, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS) as Jim and the super-posh and classy Honor Blackman (GOLDFINGER, THE AVENGERS, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER) as Helen. They are an uneasy pair.

Helen is obviously on edge, and doesn’t really want to leave the house, or her baby son, at all, but she’s going to go out to dinner for her husband’s sake and for the sake of living life as normal. Even though they clearly have a secret, one that might possibly place Amanda and the baby in danger if things pan out the way Helen clearly fears they’re going to.

The Lloyd house is big and old and creaky. Amanda gets a few scares initially that turn out to be no more than taps dripping or washing-lines tapping off the branches of trees. But when she sees a distorted man’s face through a ground floor window-pane, she can’t pass this off as a mere commonplace event.

She gets really scared and is glad when her male friend Chris (Dennis Waterman; MINDER, THE SCARS OF DRACULA) pops round to try and get in her knickers. She resists him at first, then gives in part of the way, then throws him out on his ear. Women, eh? Talk about moody and inconsistent. Men are like children. They need consistency in a woman. No means no and all that. Chris leaves, angry, confused and in a danger he’s unaware of…

In the meantime, there’s someone in the Lloyd house who shouldn’t be there and poor little Amanda, in her skimpy mini-dress that opens at the front to show her brassière and her perfect little boobies, is about to be subjected to a nightmare that will only be topped when Susan George films STRAW DOGS later in the year for Sam Peckinpah, the Daddy of Movie Violence. Will Amanda make it out alive? Will Tara? And what is the secret that’s eating Helen Lloyd up from the inside out…?

I love the shots of Helen and Jim boogey-ing on the dance floor in the Plover Inn, and also the fact that Amanda is watching Hammer’s PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES on the Lloyds’ ancient telly. FRIGHT could so easily pass for a Hammer film itself. 

I also love the confident, ginger-moustached cop who’s clearly in charge of the station’s one gun, and the way the desk sergeant won’t tell the Inspector a single solitary dicky-bird until he’s painstakingly made out a handwritten report.

‘Oh, you’ve been shot in the ‘ead there, ‘ave you, sir? Well, just hang on out here, sir, will you, while I go and fetch a pen and paper and write all this down for the Inspector, sir. Now where did I put that darned pen? It were ‘ere a minute or two ago. ‘Ere, you, Davies, ‘ave you had me pen? Blue it is, with a chewed cap where I chewed it myself. Oh, you’ve given up and died, ‘ave you, sir? Right on the floor down there? Fair enough, sir, I can’t say I blame you, but just hang on a minute, will you, while I make a note of it for the Inspector? Oh yes, that’s right, I’ve lost me pen, ‘aven’t I…?’

Cracking stuff. Watch FRIGHT. It’s a good atmospheric watch with loads of shocks and scares along the way. Out now from STUDIOCANAL, it features interviews with Susan George (she’s still alive and looking very well) and good-humoured cinema critic and snappy dresser Kim Newman. I saw him give a talk once, but unfortunately didn’t get close enough to him afterwards to ask for an autograph. You snooze, you lose.

But please don’t snooze while you’re on your own in a strange house, with their telly and your refrigerator privileges. That could be the very chance a boogeyman needs to gain access. And, once he’s in, he can be very hard to get rid of…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

DRACULA REBORN. (2015) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

dracula reborn 2015

DRACULA REBORN. (2015) PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS ‘DRAKULA XO.’ DIRECTED BY ATTILA LUCA. STARRING TINA BALTHAZAR.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Wow. Except for a couple of highlights, this movie really sucks. I mean, there are some Dracula films with which Bram Stoker himself would be proud to be associated, namely: Murnau’s 1922 NOSFERATU; Bela Lugosi in the 1931 DRACULA; Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE; and any of the Hammer Dracula films starring horror heart-throb Christopher Lee. And then there are other examples where you’d wonder how the film-makers can justify stealing the name of Dracula and slapping it on their finished oeuvres, lol.

Let’s rush through the ‘plot.’ What do you mean, I’m bitchy today? I thought I was bitchy every day, haha. A blonde journalist called Hanna from Vancouver, who has definitely had some work done on her face, I’m just saying, travels to Paris and Transylvania in order to pick up information about a deadly cult of modern day Draculas.

They’ve already abducted and murdered some people, all nosey journalists, I think, and Hanna and her little crew of phone-and-computer-obsessed newshounds have stumbled across some rather gruesome Internet footage.

It’s footage of a young woman bleeding to death while being bitten all over and savaged by a bald-headed, elderly gent with a cloak and some brutal-looking gnashers. He’s much more Max Schreck than Christopher Lee, unfortunately for me. I’m a big fan of Mr. Lee’s.

Anyway, Hanna and her gang are, of course, putting themselves in great danger by persisting in their investigation of the vampire cult. One by one, they are bumped off by a cloaked male figure- not our friend Baldy- who charges at them out of nowhere and starts viciously chomping on their necks and wrists, anywhere there’s a nice juicy vein he can tap into. It’s not clear whether Baldy is Dracula or Cloakey is. It’s just one of the many mystifying things about this film.

It’s so funny that, when Hanna is pretty much the last of the intrepid little crew of journalists left alive, her stupid phone gives her away to the vampires. She’s stuck alone in the wilds of Transylvania in the middle of the night, watching through a window as the cult prepare to tuck into some fresh meat and then suddenly… diddle-oo-do, diddle-oo-do, diddle-oo-do-do…!

That’s meant to be the Nokia ringtone, by the way folks, lol. Note to stupid person in film: when you’re just about to catch the cult you’ve pursued across continents in a breath-taking act of murder and bloodthirsty cannibalism, put your bleedin’ phone on silent, will you? I can just imagine Dracula going berserk about the intrusiveness of the ever-present phone. Dracula hate mobile phones, kill everyone on social media…!

I love the scenes shot in Transylvania, especially the night-time snowscapes. These were very atmospheric. However, the best scene in the whole film doesn’t even have anything to do with the main plot. You could lift it right out and it would make no difference to the plot, but the film would be a little poorer for it, in my humble opinion.

I think it’s in Paris where this happens. We’re on a darkened, deserted street late at night. A very good-looking guy, tall, dark and handsome, is taking a woman home to his flat for sex. She’s an attractive brunette who might or might not be a prostitute. Although the film is in English, there were no subtitles and the film could really have used them, as the actors mumbled their way through their lines and the sound was terrible.

Anyway, we cut to the guy’s flat, where the very good-looking guy is now blissfully shirtless and wearing only low-slung jeans. His flat is discreetly lit, he’s put on some make-out music, he’s got a cigarette and a drink in his hand and he’s seated on the couch, one bare foot casually crossed over the other denim-clad leg while he watches the woman stripping.

He’s got a kind of cat-who’s-got-the-cream grin on his handsome face, the grin of a guy who knows he’s going to be having sex in a very few minutes, but for now he’s happy to be enjoying a nice bit of sexy foreplay.

The woman strips off her tight black outfit to reveal that she’s wearing red underwear. A red bra, red thong panties and, best of all, high-heeled red shoes. She strips in time to the sultry music, shaking her long dark hair out, wiggling her hips and butt and showing her soon-to-be lover (nearly) everything she’s got to offer.

Meanwhile, the handsome guy on the couch is ogling this striptease with the biggest grin on his face when… bam! It happens. What happens? Oh, I can’t tell you that, dear reader. That would be a spoiler, lol. You’ll just have to watch DRACULA REBORE- did I type REBORE, I swear to God I thought I was writing REBORN!- for yourselves and find out. Worth watching for this scene alone.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

THE CORPSE VANISHES. (1942) A BELA LUGOSI HORROR FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

corpse vanishes

THE CORPSE VANISHES. (1942) DIRECTED BY WALLACE COX. STARRING BELA LUGOSI, TRISTRAM COFFIN, ELIZABETH RUSSELL, MINERVA URECAL, ANGELO ROSSI, FRANK MORAN, VINCE BARNETT, KENNETH HARLAN AND LUANA WALTERS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Oh, Professor, do you also make a habit of collecting coffins?’

Patricia Hunter.

‘Why, yes, in a manner of speaking, I find a coffin much more comfortable than a bed.’

Dr. Lorenz.

I love these old low-budget Bela Lugosi horror movies. He made a fair few of ’em, God bless him, after his success in Universal’s DRACULA (1931), the unexpected smash hit (I don’t know why it was so unexpected; it was Bram Stoker’s masterpiece, after all!) that single-handedly launched the horror cinema genre into the stratosphere and made Universal Studios its home.

In many of these films, the tall, handsome Hungarian actor often plays a criminal mastermind, a mad scientist or some deranged professor engaged in a crazy experiment that will surely endanger the world if it’s successful. THE CORPSE VANISHES is, of course, no exception. It’s actually got quite an ingenious plot.

The American public is utterly bewildered by a spate of bride abductions, that is to say, pretty young blushing brides all over the place are swooning at the altar, being pronounced dead by puzzled medics and strapped into mortuary vans which are then waylaid en route to the morgue by a gang of unknown villains. Clever, eh? The police are left scratching their noodles in puzzlement.

The only thing these society brides have in common, apart from the fact that they are spoiled little rich girls marrying into even more money and a nice cushy lifestyle, is that they’ve all worn orchids on their persons that were mysteriously delivered to them just before the marriage ceremony. Could there be a connection between the orchids and the sudden ‘deaths’ of the brides…?

Miss Patricia Hunter, Girl Reporter Extraordinaire, certainly seems to thinks so. Tired of reporting bland nonsense for the Society pages- who wore what where; who was seen talking to whom when everyone knows his wife’s left him and she’s seeking a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, that type of thing- she’s thrilled when her grumpy male boss (is there any other kind…?) says she can investigate the possible orchid connection if she wants. She’s out of that office and investigating her tight little caboose off before you can say ‘glass ceiling,’ lol.

She heads straight up-state for the home of the mysterious recluse scientist, Dr. Lorenz (Bela Lugosi), who just so happens to be an expert on the particular type of orchid delivered to the unfortunate society brides on their wedding day and purporting to be from their husbands-to-be. I told you earlier that the plot was ingenious, didn’t I? Who wouldn’t wear an orchid on their wedding dress that had supposedly been sent to them by their loving fiancés? Depending on what’s up with these orchids, it’s kind of like the perfect ruse, isn’t it?

He’s a charming and cordial man, this Dr. Lorenz, and, although he refuses to help her on the orchids question, citing lack of time as an excuse, he invites Patricia to stay the night at his huge palatial home in the hills while a terrible storm is raging outside. Patricia reluctantly agrees, deciding she has no choice. You’d think that, as a journalist, she’d be glad of a chance to snoop around the place, wouldn’t you?

Dr. Lorenz’s wife, an older woman known as the Countess, is mighty displeased to have such a pretty young woman on the premises for however short a time, but her husband Dr. Lorenz tells her, with a giant grin splitting his face, that she could be very useful to the Countess, whereupon the Countess, taking her husband’s meaning, relents graciously.

Also staying the night Chez Lorenz due to the inclement weather is a Dr. Foster, a colleague of Dr. Lorenz’s but definitely not his partner-in-crime. (Dr. Foster is played by a Tristram Coffin; how cool a name is that for a horror actor? Seems to be his real name as well.) There’s an instant attraction between the rather wooden, stilted Dr. Foster and the feisty, much livelier Patricia Hunter. The pair could end up enjoying nuptial bliss themselves when the Mystery of the Missing Brides is solved.

Patricia could end up having the honour of bringing Dr. Foster his pipe and slippers at the end of the working day (his, not hers; she’ll have to give up her career, naturally, to have all the babies) and stoically taking the odd punch in the kisser when Hubby’s in one of his moods.

Oh, what a wonderful thing it was, to be a blushing bride in ‘Forties America, lol. Those women with careers who pretended to eschew marriage were really just waiting on tenterhooks for some guy to ride in on his white charger, scoop them up and take them away from nasty work for ever. Everyone knows that. Those women who seemed genuinely to enjoy their careers were definitely looked upon a bit suspiciously. They couldn’t really prefer forging a name for themselves in their chosen field to washing shitty diapers and chopping the vegetables for tonight’s casserole, could they…?

Anyway, Patricia has a nightmarish experience in the massive basement of Dr. Lorenz’s rambling mansion on the night she stays over, an experience Dr. Lorenz tries to dismiss as merely a bad dream but Patricia knows better. It’s connected to the Mystery of the Missing Brides and Patricia could swear to it, no matter how much the charming Dr. Lorenz tries to convince her that it was all just a dream and she should put it out of her mind like a good little girl.

Dopey Dr. Foster is of no help to her whatsoever in the matter of Patricia’s so-called ‘bad dream,’ but never mind. Once she’s married to him, she’ll no longer be required to use her fluttery little bird-brain for anything more complicated than deciding what spices to keep on her rack. But for now, she still has a mind of her own and she comes up with a brilliant idea for catching the ‘killer’ and abductor of all these unsuspecting society brides. Phoney wedding, anyone?

The scene in the ‘mausoleum’ at night is genuinely creepy. The man called Angel, the idiot son of Dr. Lorenz’s creepy old maid Fagah, comes across as the sort of gibbering sex-pest who might enjoy a nice bit of rape if it came his way. Patricia would do well not to run into him in the cellars at night. The music in the mausoleum scene is excellent and très atmospheric. I like the cheeky dwarf butler Toby, too, he’s cute.

THE CORPSE VANISHES is a good little black-and-white horror mystery, and Bela is on top form in it. His whipping arm is still in good nick anyway. He’s always whipping the poor unfortunate inbreds who end up working for him, isn’t he, lol?

He’s still able to pick up women bodily too and carry ’em off, and even horror legend Christopher Lee needed a little bit of help with that from stunt double Eddie Powell at the end. Good old Chris and Bela, the kings of Hammer and Universal horror respectively. Wonder if they’re neighbours now…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

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DIARY OF A MADMAN. (1963) A VINCENT PRICE HORROR FILM REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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DIARY OF A MADMAN. (1963) DIRECTED BY REGINALD LE BORG. BASED ON STORIES BY GUY DE MAUPASSANT. STARRING VINCENT PRICE, NANCY KOVACK AND IAN WOLFE.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This isn’t one of the Roger Corman-Edgar Allan Poe adaptations that horror legend Vincent Price made for American International Pictures, but it’s every bit as mysterious, atmospheric and luxurious as those gorgeous films, even if it doesn’t have a crumbling old mist-wreathed castle by the sea for a setting.

Vincent Price stars as Simon Cordier, a rich, well-respected French magistrate living in Paris. He has all the trappings of wealth, but the pain of the death twelve years ago of his wife and baby is his constant bedfellow. Which just goes to show us that money can’t always bring you happiness, even if it can bring you all the snazzy new material stuff you could ever wish for. (Which, of course, is nice…!)

Simon visits a condemned prisoner called Louis Girot in prison on the eve of his execution. Girot, who has requested the meeting, has apparently murdered several people without motive, for which he’s going to get an all-expenses paid trip to Madame La Guillotine. He’s hoping to convince the magistrate of his innocence, by explaining how he wasn’t at all in his right mind when he carried out the killings. He wasn’t really even himself, if you get me.

He tells a sceptical Simon that he was possessed by an evil spirit when he did the murders, a spirit that can order him to kill at any time. When Simon leaves the man’s cell, this murderous curse no longer inhabits Girot’s doomed carcass, but Simon’s vibrant living one…

To soothe his troubled mind, which by the way has started imagining things and hearing voices, Simon takes up sculpting, a subject in which he has always had an interest. He meets a stunning young(ish) artist’s model called Odette Mallotte who, unknown to Simon, is married to a struggling artist called Paul Duclasse and is desperate to claw her way out of the poverty trap in which she is currently enmeshed.

The unscrupulous, materialistic Odette sees Simon as her meal ticket out of the slums. While he is sculpting her perfect head and shoulders, he falls in love with her sunny demeanour and her ability to laugh at life and all its follies. Which was precisely what she was hoping would happen and what she was trying to manipulate into happening…

To Odette’s delight, Simon, who is blissfully unaware of her marital status, proposes marriage. She’s not going to let a little thing like her living husband, Paul Duclasse, stand in the way of her advancement. Surely he can be easily brushed aside?

In the meantime, poor Simon is convinced that he is possessed by the evil spirit that transferred itself to him from the convicted prisoner Louis Girot. The spirit is an invisible entity called the Horla, who speaks to Simon when he is alone.

It has telekinetic powers and can move furniture about and throw things and smash things just like a poltergeist can. Poor Simon can’t decide whether he’s going mad or whether there really is a race of evil spirits known as the Horla, who can inhabit the bodies of men while manipulating their minds into committing the most heinous murders. When the Horla orders him to carry out a killing so dreadful it makes his blood run cold to think of it, he finds out first-hand what’s real and what’s not…

The titular diary is the journal kept by Simon Cordier from the moment he suspects he is going insane. He leaves it ‘to be opened in the event of my death’ and, in it, he hopes to convince the reader- and, by extension, the world- of the existence of the heretofore unknown Horla, and of the very real menace they represent to mankind.

You’ll know if you’ve been possessed by the Horla because a greenish glowing rectangle will appear across both your eyes and you’ll get a sudden uncontrollable urge to go all Norman Bates on someone with a fair-sized carving knife. There’s a definite PSYCHO moment in DIARY OF A MADMAN, complete with metaphorical shower curtains breaking free of their loopy things one by one as a desperate victim clutches at them for support. Very enjoyable stuff, lol.

Ian Wolfe you might recognise. Here, he plays Pierre, Simon Cordier’s devoted old retainer. He’s appeared in a few of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies of the ‘Forties, in at least one case playing- you guessed it!- a faithful old retainer, this time to the cold fish of a toff whose wife was found in the deserted church ringing feebly on the bell to attract attention. To the fact that she’d had her throat torn out by the same fiend who’d torn out the throats of various poor sheep in the area… Anyway, it’s lovely to see Ian Wolfe here in this gorgeous, sumptuously-coloured gothic horror movie. Any friend of Holmes’s is a friend of ours, right?

DIARY OF A MADMAN is as good a horror film as any of Vincent Price’s other works. Nancy Kovack is deliciously seductive as she takes the pins out of her hat and settles herself down on the model’s stool to loosen her long dark hair and pull down the front of her dress to bare her shoulders for Simon’s sculpting chisel to get to work on.

Remember her as Medea, the sexy, dark-haired priestess of the temple at Colchis whom Jason fishes out of the sea in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS? Covered in gold paint and nearly nude, the foxy wench does her frenzied dance with pure abandon in the temple, much to the delight of the watching males. She’s a real hottie, but dames like that ain’t nuthin’ but trouble. Just ask Simon Cordier…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… BY KINDLE AUTHOR SANDRA HARRIS.

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Hey! Hey, you! Yes, you there, reading this! Are you a horror film fan? Do you like reading what other people think about the films you love? Do you know who Hannibal Lecter, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are? Do you dream about meeting Stephen King and discussing the movie adaptations of his books with him? Are you a fan of Bram Stoker? Alfred Hitchcock? Jack The Ripper? Do you like poltergeists, mummies, entities, vampires, cannibalistic opera buffs, wicker men and haunted houses that actively try to kill their owners? What do you think of Hammer Horror? Have you ever had a sexual fantasy involving Christopher Lee? What do the words TARTAN ASIA EXTREME mean to you? Would you be willing to pay me $2.99 or less to read my personal opinions on all these things and more? Then buy my book, Goddammit, and you can roll around stark naked in my personal opinions if you feel so inclined! Hell, I ain’t one to judge…

ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… Kindle Edition

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FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… BY KINDLE AUTHOR SANDRA HARRIS.

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A veritable lucky dip of horror movie reviews, covering everything from old favourites and iconic titles to obscure and forgotten horror films and cult classics. Do you dare dip YOUR hand into this mystery bag of evil, demonic possession and bone-chilling terror…? You do…? Then on your own head be it… MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… (1.)Kindle Edition

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ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA… AN EROTIC HORROR TALE. THE FIRST BOOK IN ‘THE ANNA CHRONICLES’ BY KINDLE AUTHOR SANDRA HARRIS.

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So, you thought that the Victorians just spent their time quietly drinking tea and genteelly repressing their innermost desires, did you? Well, you were WRONG! The household of the wealthy Carfax family is a hotbed of deliciously deviant carnality and vampire sex. The beautiful Lady Anna Carfax is abducted by none other than Count Dracula himself and is treated to the sexual awakening of a lifetime, or should that be undead-time…? The rest of the Carfax family, servants definitely included, are in and out of each others’ bedchambers like rats up the proverbial drainpipe. Even Sherlock Holmes and Jack The Ripper make an appearance in this shockingly scandalous paranormal sex-and-spanking romp set in Victorian times. It’s inspired by the late great Christopher Lee’s smoulderingly sexy performance as Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror films, and you’d have to be undead from the neck up to miss out on it…

ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA: AN EROTIC HORROR TALE (THE ANNA CHRONICLES Book 1) Kindle Edition