When writing about this challenge, the concept was to discuss each film in a minimalistic almost diary-entry kind of way. I think I failed with Bloodlust, because I just had to take out my sheer anger out on that film. Either way, I think Bloodbath at the House of Death saved my sanity after such dreariness. Today involved two polar opposites: I saw the best and the worst film of this challenge.
Four unsuspecting people spot an island and decide to go to it, but later regret it when they realise that they are being hunted down.
I don’t think words can quite express how I feel about this film. Let’s just say there are moments in this film which are just about bearable, one moment is good, and the rest is just staggeringly terrible. It’s like staring into an abyss of awfulness, where all of the walls are made of vomit and clunge, and every so often you see a dead leprechaun ride a unicorn – some bits of hope, but not a very high amount of it. I think there’s something very bitter about this idea, something being terrible but having potential to be good. The one thing you can praise Manos: The Hands of Fate for is the fact that it as least its dreadfulness is consistent. Here, not so…and that paradoxically makes me almost prefer Manos.
Rambling aside, the quality of the image is like staring into the backside of a haemorrhoid-suffering, McDonald-loving truck driver – and not because it’s pixelated. I can forgive that. Amateur filmmakers then and now have to use the cheapest cameras, camera with low quality that they will inevitably record overly-pixeled images. The problem with the image here is the outlines of the characters. It’s as if some twit picked up a sharpie and drew around the characters constantly to somehow make their shapes more define…in every single frame. I imagine there was such a twit who did this, there always is.
Anyway, our characters see an island at the beginning of this movie, and decide to go to it. They get to the island. They walk across the beach. One of the characters falls into a hole. His friends then attempt to take him out of the hole. They are then spotted by a man wearing a suit, who has a sinister goatee. He is our villain, and he plays this mad character with such enthusiastic woodenness, it’s delightfully charming in a very bizarre sort of way. This character is the dead leprechaun riding the unicorn in the abyss of infected bodily fluids. Every time he appeared on the screen, my heart slightly rose, just slightly, nothing more, nothing less. Just a slight movement. Slight, you got it?
He then offers them a place to stay and then as the film unfolds we discover that he’s a complete maniac who kills people, and puts the dead victims on display in his murder-victim trophy cave. It is essentially a display cabinet for necromantics. Anyway, when we see this cave with his trophy dead people, a glimmer of hope appears, something slightly good. A man with a cave full of dead people, who also has a chair in this room with switches to control the display lights for each unfortunate victim. This is such a wonderfully gothic idea. But then of course the film decides to urinate all of this by making everything that surrounds it so impossibly dull that the thought of being clubbed to death by Mitt Romney seems invariably exciting…and not because it’s Mitt Romney who’s doing the dirty-work. This is a film where I begged for the movie to end.
Then there are the characters. I’m sorry, I know that horror characters have pitiably low IQs, but this just takes the biscuit. If you discover that you’re on an island with a nutter who will kill you and then put you in a display cabinet in his trophy cave, surely you would develop some sense of urgency? The characters manage to find a wardrobe filled with guns. But they’re so idiotic, they don’t even check if they’ve got ammunition, let alone take ammunition with them. As far as I’m concerned now, they deserve to die. Idiots.
The film then gets progressively duller. Evil-goatee man offers them a challenge. He allows his captees to run off into the forest with a head-start before he sets off about to kill them one by one with a crossbow. I don’t quite know what vulgar powers the filmmakers have to somehow make this final section dull, but like the rest of the film, it is so monotonous it’s like staring into a black hole of doom. It’s like they’re sucking the life out of a potentially edge-of-your-seat concept.
Oh I can’t be bothered anymore. This is just dreadful.
Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984):
N.B. I needed this to recover from the awfulness of Bloodlust. Thank God for me having bothered to record this on Horror Channel.
Many years ago, a group of people were murdered by a satanic cult in the ironically named ‘Headstone Manner’. Years later, radiation is detected near the sight, and a group of scientists go to investigate. However, the satanic cult has continued down the generations as many people in the village are part of this cult…
Ingenious black comedy written by comic-genius, Kenny Everett. This film works because of the constant jokes it makes, it’s like a conveyor belt of surreal black comedy. It also works because the jokes are clever, inventive, and so ludicrous – yet completely played with a straight face – that it’s impossible, at the least, to not pull a cheeky grin whilst watching. Perhaps the most ridiculous section in it is where an extremist christian’s head is quite literally opened like a can of soup with can-opener
…or maybe the section where an invisible spirit has sex with a girl until she climaxes, the spirit then smokes a cigar and then leaves through the window, leaving our blonde heroine to say the great one line: “I get it, I’m just another one night stand”. I think the funniest death goes to a group of people in a bed who were killed with a single spear going through them – the joke being: HAHAHAHAHAHA, IT’S A HUMAN KEBAB. Oh the amount of moments in this movie which I could tell you about could fill up a graveyard (see what I did there…*winks*)….but rather than telling you, I’ll let you find out for yourself and laugh just like I did as well.
However, all of this ingenious comedy is then slightly damaged by the somewhat overused caricature humour. There are some characters who are reduced to mindless things to laugh at, and that’s all they are there for, some characters are simply a walking pun and it’s as if Kenny Everrett couldn’t think of any more jokes and simply got these out of the bad-joke recycling bin. We’re meant to laugh at a woman with a lisp, a disabled man with a ‘funny walk’ because he has a metal leg, and two gay men – who yes, have limp wrists. HAR-HAR. Comedy by its nature is subversive, and I don’t care what anybody says, it should be used to ridicule those who have higher statuses, or people in positions of power, not those who are ridiculed everyday. Kenny Everett should know better. It could’ve been a masterpiece.