In November, the VHS Vault program I co-curate at Nitehawk Cinema co-presented a series of real “turkeys” with Fangoria in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday season. In conjunction with this program, I wrote briefly on each of the films for Fangoria’s “Fango Flashback” which is their ongoing series that looks back at the “classics”. It was a bloody good time.
Fango Flashback: BLOOD FEAST (1963)
Horror cinema has many Godfathers. James Whale, Val Lewton, Mario Bava, and George A. Romero have all laid down the foundation of what we collectively consider to be the “horror film.” Mixed in with these founding forefathers of horror is the varied bunch of “B” geniuses: Edgar G. Ulmer, Roger Corman, and…Herschell Gordon Lewis. As the crowned “Godfather of Gore” and the near antithesis to Mr. Lewton, Lewis created the “splatter” subgenre in his over-the-top movies that would set the wheels in motion for future generations of American horror filmmakers. On the cusp of its fiftieth anniversary, Nitehawk Cinema and FANGORIA revisit Lewis’ first filmic foray into horror by presenting the VHS version of his cheap and charming 1963 flick, BLOOD FEAST. READ THE REST
Fango Flashback: BLOOD FREAK (1972)
Although many films in the 1970s dealt with the horror of the Vietnam War and the affected soldiers’ difficult return to “normal” life in the United States (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, DEATHDREAM, TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE), BLOOD FREAK certainly isn’t one of them.Vietnam vet / motorcycle rider Herschell certainly has some demons in his closet but this movie doesn’t really take us there with him. Providing a ludicrous quasi-morality tale on consumption (drugs, the bible, turkey, women), BLOOD FREAK is not exceptionally gory or gratuitous or even offensive. It is, however, horribly produced, horrendously acted, and has appalling dialogue. Yet still (still!), BLOOD FREAK is so damn entertaining that to revel in its kitsch should be a horror fan’s inalienable right. There is some indefinable quality here that makes this tale, one of a muscle-man-turned-drug-addicted-killer-turkey-man, one for the ages. READ THE REST
Fango Flashback: HOME SWEET HOME (1981)
Lovingly low-budget and certainly “inspired” by HALLOWEEN, HOME SWEET HOME occurs around what we can only gather is a Thanksgiving celebration at a failed music producer’s country home. It brings together all sorts of ambiguous relationships (who, exactly, is with whom?) that includes a small child named Angel (played by future EYES WIDE SHUT and THE HILLS HAVE EYES reboot star Vinessa Shaw), a wailing Latina, a mime/magician/guitarist, two over-sexed friends, a horny couple and the aforementioned producer. And all, save the two obligatory final girls, will perish in fairly comical ways by the ridiculously beefy unmasked version of “The Shape.” READ THE REST