100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Thirty-Four - "Scars of Dracula!"


So, like I said about yesterday's flick, "The Serpent and the Rainbow," being boring in the final third? Yeah, well that's where I fell asleep yesterday, too - right when the "action" starts. But I feel I didn't miss much except some shitty special effects and decidedly un-scary scenes.

I don't feel I need to backtrack and watch it again, because I have seen it a dozen or more times - hell, I was tossing lines of dialogue back at the television throughout the whole damn thing ("It is a terrible thing, the first time you cannot tell good from bad. Then, it is this very thing that sets you free"). Hey that's good, I'm putting that up as a status update!

Anyway, today's film is a great classic Hammer Films hoot - 1970's "Scars of Dracula," with Christopher Lee (the finest actor to don the cloak EVER, except for Bela Lugosi) once again as the Count!

Read "The Skinny" below, bitches, and rave on with it! RAVE ON WITH IT! SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS! KNIVES AND POMPOMS! KNIVES AND POMPOMS!

Scars of Dracula (1970): Directed by Roy Ward Baker. Starring Christopher Lee, Jenny Hanley, Patrick Troughton, Michael Ripper and Dennis Waterman.

The Skinny: One of the eight (actually seven, but that's a long story) Hammer films to feature Christopher Lee, this was actually supposed to be a franchise reboot on the heels of "Taste the Blood of Dracula," one of my all-time favorites. After an unrelated resurrection scene, Dracula returns once again to terrorize the villagers of the nearby town, slaughtering every woman and child and wreaking havoc against his lifelong mortal enemy - the church!

What's Good: As I have said previously, I enjoy just about all of the Hammer House of Horror films, for a variety of reasons. One, they reuse actors that I absolutely love, like Lee, Peter Cushing (that's Grand Mof Tarkin, for you "Star Wars" adherents), Ralph Bates, Roy Kinnear and plenty of others. And two, they're just so BRITISH I love them. The use of garish reds for the blood, the Stentorian voices, the dramatic nostril flares - yes, these movies have it all. This film actually gives Lee the most to do and say in the role since the original Hammer "Dracula" reboot in 1958. There's just something comforting and homey to me in these films and I think it may be because when I was a young teen I would spend the night at my grandmother's apartment to keep her company on Saturday night. And once she went to bed, I would of course watch SNL, but here in the Philly market, a local horror movie show came on right after, called "Saturday Night Dead," starring Stella, the Maneater from Manayunk. And these Hammer films played endlessly on that show - rarely was there a quality film, they were all B-Movies from a bygone era. But I loved them all, I truly did.

What's Bad: Well, now that's a loaded question. Yes, it's cheesy, it's overacted, it has crappy if any special effects ... but again, that's what makes it good. I can't sit here and disparage about these films on an individual basis. I enjoy them too much for that.

Why We Like It: We loves it, Precious, yes. For all the reasons above and more. Lee is just fan-fucking-tastic as Dracula. He's suave and charming but when it's time to bare his fangs, Lee is menace and violence embodied. His eyes bug out of his head, literally, and I get chills every single time.

Memorable Stuff: When the villagers find their women and children dead in the church while they were out trying to burn Drac's house down is an absolute chill. It's well staged and shows us just enough to make us sick to our stomachs at the very thought. And that, ladies and germs, it what this shit is all about.