October Horror Movie challenge number blahblahsomethin'

 I'm not counting it as a movie, but I also watched the premier of American Horror Story on FX.  I liked it a lot, and I'm amazed they got away with it on commercial TV.  Some of the subplots are incredibly twisted and they're going to upset the hell out of a lot of people when the public gets wind of 'em and understands what they're building there.  And the idea that Glee fans will be tuning into this, hoping for another cute 'lil show from their filmmakers, only to get their minds brutally violated by the transgressive, dark content therein fills me with... well, glee!

Messiah Of Evil (C, 1975) aka Dead People, The Second Coming, Revenge of the Screaming Dead.  It's safe to say I'm obsessed with this movie.  If you don't like this one, you have no horror-cred with me.  I re-watch it every few months, and every time I notice something new (this time it was just the way they blended the wind outside with the sound of Anitra Ford's hair drier, but hey, that's something, right?).   It's  basically a Lovecraftian take on a zombie movie, with a girl visiting the "neon stucco" seaside town of Point Dune looking for her missing artist father.  She learns that an ancient prophecy is coming true and people (possibly dead, certainly zombie-like) are standing and watching the ocean all night, waiting for some ancient god to rise up.  In the meantime, they kill and eat the living... if the living don't succumb to their malady first.  This movie remains possibly the closest thing I've seen to a nightmare captured on film.  Some people find flaws in it, but I think those people just aren't understanding what the film's doing.  Michael Weldon, for instance, said in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, claimed it was "confusing and badly-edited."  Wrong, wrong.  It's edited to be dreamlike, and its any confusion in the plot is due to its dreamlike construction.  And the set design is very freaky and brilliant.  In a way, it's Caligari-esque (which is far from the only way this film is similar to that one).  It's a little bit Carnival of Souls, a little bit Night of the Living Dead, a bit of Argento, a little bit of a twisted poem, and a whole lot weird nightmare.  People always mention the grocery store scene and the movie theater scene as highlights (and they are), but watch it a dozen times and you'll start seeing every scene as a standout. You may initially be disappointed that it's not gorier (there's blood, all right, but it lacks the gut-munching other zombie movies engage in), but nothing sets a mood like this.  And the secret to this movie is... repeat viewings.  The more you watch it, the more you'll see. Even though it's public domain and can be gotten in a hundred different places for around a dollar, invest in the Code Red version.  But go ahead and buy a cheap copy, too, so you can get the eerie song they cut out for the director's cut.  This is easily the most-re-watched movie in my collection, and my collection could win me a spot on Hoarders.  I could go on and on about it, but I already have, right here.  Click that and you'll get more of me writing about this movie than you probably want. 

Whole movie here.  Watch it or die screaming.

Mardi Gras Massacre (C, 1978) Somebody actually found the plot of Blood Feast compelling enough to steal it.  A lunatic making sacrifices to some ancient Aztec deity seems out the most evil women he can find to tie down and slice up.  First he stabs their hand, then slices their foot, then cuts open the stomach, reaches in, and pulls out a heart about the size of a canned ham.  And I hope you like the effect because the footage is repeated every time he kills a girl; I guess the budget only allowed for one latex torso and one cow-heart.   The rest of the movie is padded with lots of dancing strippers, many of whom look artificially padded themselves.  A couple of really stupid cops try to half-ass their way into catching the killer while stealing money and sleeping with  the hookers.  You get a lot of padded-in mardi gras footage because these cops approach to their case seems to be to just keep wandering around New Orleans and hope the killer just falls into their laps.   The filmmakers seem to have chose locations based on if there was a sign advertising the sale of corn.  Either that, or N'awlins is one corn-happy town, because that stuff's everywhere.  The killer starts wearing the metal Aztec mask he uses in the rituals on the street because, why not?  Looks like they may have planned a sequel, too.  Weak and pointless, despite the extreme gore.

Trailer here.

Hell of the Living Dead (C, 1980) aka Night of the Zombies, Zombie Creeping Flesh, Virus, Zombie Inferno.  This Bruno Mattei zombiefest never got any respect and I can understand why but it's still always been a favorite of mine anyway.  A gas leaked at a factory causes a worldwide zombie outbreak.  A SWAT team of goofballs, after dispatching some terrorists, get a vacation (still in uniform) in New Guinea.  They join a female reporter and her Tom-Savini-lookin' sidekick and wander around,  fighting gory zombies and trying to pretend they're part of stock natives-and-wildlife footage inserted from The Real Cannibal Holocaust.  That's not all the movie stole, either -- Goblin's Dawn of the Dead score gets more airtime here than it did in Dawn.  All characters are incredibly obnoxious and their behavior is profoundly stupid so you wonder if they guy who wrote it was suffering a brain injury, but there's a lot of zombie action, and while the gore effects are mostly cheap, they're plentiful and extreme.   A rat runs out of a creepy old woman's bloated stomach, heads explode, an idiot who's playing dress-up in the middle of a house full of zombies gets devoured, and someone's eyes are gouged out... from the inside, by a zombie reaching through the roof of her mouth!  Yeah, it's dumb (the dubbed dialogue is hilarious, and every character is incredibly obnoxious) and derivative, but Mattei obviously isn't just playing "got your money" here, and you've got to respect that -- if nothing else, he's a showman.  The zombies are usually chewed-up looking, while Dawn of the Dead only smeared blue paint on most of them, and even if some of the effects are just meat held against a leg and gnawed on, at least there's plenty of it.  And there's probably more pointless scenes of people vomiting than any movie I can remember.  People pan this but I've probably seen it a dozen ties and I still love it.  I like Mattei's other dog, Rats: Night of Terror, too.  So there. 

Secrets of the Clown (C, 2007) Bobby's having some problems with his girlfriend Val, so one of his dopey friends vindictively breaks her prized clown doll.   This friend is promptly knifed to death on the doorstep.  Soon afterward another friend of Bobby's gets murdered in his car in the cemetery.  Bobby and his friends vow to track down the killer, but Val has dreams of them all being killed.  They contact spirits with ouija tactics and call in a psychic/exorcist guy.  Meanwhile, Val turns out to have witchcraft powers and battles demons on the highway while Bobby and his friends deal with possessed friends and a clown monster (he looks like one of the type of wrestlers that WCW was bringing in right before it went under) shows up.  A big supernatural battle starts up.  The moviemakers had ideas beyond their budget or skill, and the end results aren't good, but you can't fault them for trying, and I've seen worse home-made horror.  I wouldn't exactly recommend it, but it does seem sincere enough to make you want to help it along.

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