Friday The 13th At The Home Drive-In: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1987)

Poster for Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1987)Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1987) by #JohnCarlBuechler

w/#LarParkLincoln #KaneHodder

Jason Voorhees is accidentally freed from his watery prison by a telekinetic teenager.

”On Friday the 13th, Jason is Back… But this time… He’s Met His Match!”

#Horror #Slasher #FridayThe13th
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn
#FridayThe13thAtTheHomeDriveIn

I remember when Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1987) first came out, I actually thought it looked kind of cool. I had hated part five (as most fans did at the time, but as I wrote a while back, it’s really grown on me over the years). I was also annoyed by part six (basically because I didn’t think that Jason should come back after being destroyed at the end of part four), so I actually didn’t watch it for years (but when I finally did, I loved it). When Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood came out, I hadn’t been excited to see a new Friday the 13th movie since part four – but this movie changed that (at least a little). Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: The Leech Woman (1960)

Poster for The Leech Woman (1960)The Leech Woman (1960) by #EdwardDein w/#ColeenGray #GrantWilliams #EstelleHemsley

An endocrinologist in a dysfunctional marriage with an aging, alcoholic wife journeys to Africa seeking a drug that will restore youth.

“In the Savage Heart of the Jungle She Found the Forbidden Secret of Eternal Youth!”

“She drained men of their loves and lives”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

DVD cover for The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection.As I’ve mentioned a few times, I fondly remember watching a TV show called Not Quite Classic Theatre when I was young. This is how I was introduced to many horror and sci-fi movies from the 1950s. I happily discovered that some of the movies I can remember from the show have been included in a DVD set from Universal called The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection. This led me to believe that the 10 movies in this set were likely part of a package that Universal licensed to Not Quite Classic Theatre for broadcast all those years ago. Re-watching them all now, many years later, has been an exciting trip down memory lane.

The Leech Woman (1960) is the final movie in the set. The fact that it came out in 1960 may be an indication that the glory days of 1950s monster movies were coming to an end. I don’t remember seeing The Leech Woman on Not Quite Classic Theatre back in the day, but I may well have. As I’ve said before, many of those films are lost in time to me now. They may come back to me if I see them again someday, but I wouldn’t want to count on that. Not Quite Classic Theatre used to show three movies starting at 10:00 PM. By the time the third one came on, my attention may have been somewhat less than perfect. Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: The Giant Claw (1957)

Poster for The Giant Claw (1957)The Giant Claw (1957) by #FredFSears w/#JeffMorrow #MaraCorday

produced by #SamKatzman

A UFO turns out to be a giant prehistoric bird with an appetite for airplanes.

“Winged Monster from 17,000,000 B.C.! Big as a Battleship! Flies 4 Times the Speed of Sound! Atomic Weapons Can’t Hurt It!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

The first thing that I noticed when I watched The Giant Claw (1957), is that it’s a lot like The Deadly Mantis (1957) – at least at first. So much so, that I found myself thinking “Didn’t I just write about this a few months back?”

Both movies sort of begin in Canada, at the DEW Line – or Distant Early Warning Line. This was a system of radar stations in the arctic that would be able to detect nuclear missiles (or any other attack) coming from the U.S.S.R. and heading for the U.S.A.. In both movies, the DEW Line seems to be manned by U.S. military people. In reality, I think it was a mix of U.S. and Canadian personnel, but I don’t really know a lot about it. Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Poster for The Neanderthal Man (1953) The Neanderthal Man (1953) by #EwaldAndréDupont
w/#RobertShayne #JoyceTerry #BeverlyGarland

A scientist regresses a cat to sabre-tooth tiger and a man to Neanderthal.

“What mad desires drove him on…?”

“The world’s gone completely mad. Sometimes I think I’m the only rational being left in it…”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of monster movies made in the late 1950s. 1957 and 1958 were both particularly good years for mad scientists and giant mutant beasts. The trend continued through 1959 and into the 1960s, with plenty of good sci-fi horror films still left to come. I was surprised to discover that The Neanderthal Man (1953) predated all of those great movies by several years. And yet it feels very much like it’s part of the set.

I suppose it’s like Black Christmas (1974) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) coming out four years before the slasher genre officially kicked off with Halloween (1978). But unlike Black Christmas (1974) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Neanderthal Man Is not a well remembered and loved fan favourite. In fact, I don’t think I had ever heard of it before I first watched it a few years ago. And soon afterwards I forgot that I’d ever seen it. Considering that I seem to be obsessed with 1950s horror and sci-fi movies right now, I figured it was high time that I checked out The Neanderthal Man again. Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Poster for I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) by #GeneFowlerJr

w/#MichaelLandon #YvonneLime #WhitBissell

A hypnotherapist transforms a temperamental teenager into a #werewolf.

“The most amazing motion picture of our time!”

“It’s not for man to interfere in the ways of God.”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) is one of the most famous B-movies, teen movies, and werewolf movies in the history of cinema – or at least it is to me. Even as a kid, I knew about this movie. I’d heard about it, read about it, and seen pictures from it in books and magazines. Of course I’d never SEEN it, but that’s the way it was back then. No internet, no video stores – only late night TV could possibly give me an opportunity to experience this movie, and that just never quite happened.  Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: Day the World Ended (1955)

Day the World Ended (1955) by #RogerCorman

w/#RichardDenning #LoriNelson #AdeleJergens

In a world devastated by a wide-scale nuclear war, all that remains are teetering ruins and a handful of scrappy survivors.

”ATTACKED… by a creature from hell!”
“The terrifying story that COULD COME TRUE!”
“A new high in naked shrieking terror!”

#Horror #SciFi  
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

We’ve become used to post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows that deal with zombies. We used to see a lot of post-apocalyptic movies about people in the desert fighting over gas, or water, or the last fertile woman on the planet. Day the World Ended (1955) is a much earlier post-apocalyptic story of survivors simply trying to stay alive. They wind up stuck together in a house in valley that was somehow protected from the radiation fallout that is killing people and animals everywhere else (or something like that).

A threat of mutant monsters from outside the valley looms over the survivors, but as with many of the best movies of this kind, the real danger comes from within the group, as tension between the survivors begins to rise… Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: Blood of Dracula (1957)

Poster for Blood of Dracula (1957)Blood of Dracula (1957) by #HerbertLStrock

An angry teenager at an all girls boarding school becomes the subject of a monstrous experiment.

“In her eyes … desire! In her veins … the blood of a monster!”
“Who am I? What am I doing, I – I’m living a nightmare!”
“I know what you are, and I know what you’ve done to me!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Blood of Dracula (1957) goes deep for me. I saw it way back when – I’m not even sure how old I was the first time. I probably saw it on TV (although I’m not 100% sure about that). I eventually bought a copy on VHS – and I watched it several times over the years. It surprised me to learn that it didn’t really rate very well in review books, etc. I always found it irresistible… Continue reading

Friday night at the home drive-in: The Return of Dracula (1958)

Poster for The Return of Dracula (1958)The Return of Dracula (1958) by #PaulLandres

w/ #FrancisLederer #NormaEberhardt #RayStricklyn

A vampire murders a Czech artist, assumes his identity, and moves in with his cousins in California.

“There is only one reality, Rachel: Death. I have come to bring you Death.”

#Horror #Vampire #Dracula
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

I just can’t seem to get out of 1958. Last week I commented on the fact that I have been watching a lot of movies from 1958 (or thereabouts). After finishing that blog post, I turned to my horror library behind me and grabbed a double feature DVD that I have been having a hankering to revisit. The first movie in the set was The Return of Dracula (1958), and part of what attracted me to it was that it was a bit of a departure from the movies about giant monsters that I have been watching as of late. The Return of Dracula is about, well, Dracula; a vampire. 

What I didn’t notice is that it’s another movie that was released in 1958. Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Poster for Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) by #BernardLKowalski
executive producer: 
#RogerCorman

w/#KenClark #YvetteVickers

“Massive Blood Sucking Monsters!”

“Fear will pierce your flesh… Until every nerve in your body… EXPLODES!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) is another movie that sits right in the sweet spot of what #NotQuiteClassicCinema is all about. It’s a movie that could have been shown on Not Quite Classic Theatre back in the 1980s – and maybe it was. I wish there was a way I could go back and look up all the titles that I may have watched back in those days. Alas, TV was a fleeting thing back then. Once the TV Guide (or TV Scene in my house) went into the garbage, that was it. All you had left was your memories. Continue reading

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Maniac (1963)

As an avid movie renter, first on Beta then later on VHS, I noticed that there were three films called “Maniac” available to me. The one that I’d heard of and read about, and was super excited to see, was of course Maniac (1980). This was one of the holy grails of the slasher genre, with groundbreaking, eye-popping special make up effects by Tom Savini. The other two movies were Maniac (1934) and Maniac (1963). When I was a kid, these two Maniacs looked old – I mean, really old. They were black and white for crap’s sake! There was no possible way that they were going to feature groundbreaking, eye-popping special make up effects (I.e. gore). I made it a mission to make sure I didn’t accidentally rent one of them.

VHS of Maniac (1963)VHS of Maniac (1934)VHS of Maniac (1980)

 

Fast forward a few years and I realized that Maniac (1963) was a Hammer movie. This made it somewhat more interesting, although it somehow didn’t look as exciting as any of the Dracula or Frankenstein movies. And it was still in black and white.

Don’t get me wrong. I had loved old black and white monster movies since I was a kid. My dad had also introduced me to movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1942) when I was young, so I had an appreciation for all kinds of black and white films. Not to mention the fact that our first TV was black and white so everything I watched for the first few years was black and white.

Still, when it came to paying money to rent movies – horror movies, in particular – I wanted to see something that I couldn’t see on TV. Something a little more extreme, or R-rated. And I believed that any movie called Maniac should be in blood red colour.

So, I didn’t rent Maniac (1963) until much, much later. And I think my first impression was that it was one of a handful of Hammer films that came out in the wake of Psycho (1960), trying to emulate that black and white, low budget, psychological horror-thriller style. It wasn’t as good as Psycho, and it wasn’t as good as Scream of Fear (1961), another Hammer film in that style which I had seen years earlier. So, I think I more or less dismissed it and went back to watching my VHS copy of Maniac (1980).

Watching Maniac (1963) again now, for the first time in more than twenty years, I can honestly say that I didn’t remember anything about it. I found myself doubting that I had ever watched it before – but I know that I did. I guess this is just another sign of old age creeping up on me. I’ve noticed that a lot of the movies that I only watched once back in the 1990s or early 2000s are completely new to me now. Movies that I watched more than once, I tend to remember. And movies I saw in the 1970s and 80s are far more likely to remain burned into my brain – even if I only saw them once.

I suppose this phenomenon could party be due to the sheer volume of movies that I watch now, which is a trend that started back in the ’90s. I watch at least one movie a day. Some days I watch two or three. Back in the ’80s I probably only saw one or two movies a week.

This could be the old man in me talking, but I also feel that the average level of quality was much higher in the movies that I was watching back in the ’70s and ’80s. So many of them are now certified classics – or #NotQuiteClassics as the case might be. I can’t imagine that very many of the recent movies I watch (and by recent I mean anything made in the past 20 years or so), will be remembered with the same reverence as Halloween (1978), Dawn of the Dead (1978), or even Maniac (1980).

I’m not saying that there aren’t great movies being made today (or within the past 20 years). There are, of course. But there are just so many MORE movies in general, and sometimes the truly great ones get lost among all of the mediocrity. It will be interesting to see which current films get remembered and talked about in thirty or forty years (not that I will be around to find out).

So what does this have to do with Maniac (1963)? Well, it’s an older movie (that was already older when I first came across it) that doesn’t get talked about very much. When people think of Hammer Horror, or Hammer movies in general, I don’t think this is one of the top ten movies that pops into their minds. It’s part of a sub-genre, or sub-category of Hammer films, that includes movies like Scream of Fear (1961), Paranoiac (1963), Nightmare (1964) and maybe Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960). Maniac (1963) is probably the weakest of all of these movies. However…

Watching it again after all these years, I found that quite enjoyed it. Maniac (1963) has enough of the good qualities that make movies like Scream of Fear great, to make it a pretty decent little noirish psychological thriller. It’s a slow burn, for sure, spending a lot of time building up characters and relationships. It’s almost more of a drama in the first half, so hardcore horror fans will need a bit of patience as they wait for the payoff. And that payoff likely won’t be big enough for those, like 12 year old me, who might be looking for some blood red gore.

But if you like black and white suspense thrillers, with likeable characters and a growing sense of creepy dread, you might just find Maniac (1963) to be a pleasant addition to your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn. While not the best example of its kind, it’s somewhat forgotten #NotQuiteClassicCinema that’s worthy of rediscovery.