Three more, well four, fun horror films for you tonight. I am doing pretty well with three movies a day on this year’s countdown as we get close to the halfway point. We’re just about done with the Hammer Dracula films I believe, but we still have a long walk home, in the dark, in the woods, to get to No. 1 and the best night of the year, Halloween.
64. Taste the Blood of Dracula
More freeze-dried Dracula. But this time, a trio of gentlemen thrill-seekers get bored with their run-of-the-mill debauchery and fall in with broke-ass Lord Courtley. Courtley convinces them to purchase the dried blood of Dracula and participate in a ritual to bring the count back to life. The gentlemen panic and kill Courtley, but not before Dracula is resurrected.
Linda Hayden stars as Alice, the daughter of the leader of the trio of gentlemen. Dracula takes his revenge on those who killed Courtley, for whom he has an affinity for thanks to the resurrection. The hypocrisy of the three lords who preach chastity and piety in their households, yet engage in these occasional indulgences is the real ugliness in this film.
Apparently, Ralph Bates, who plays Courtley, was to be the next Dracula, but the American distributors insisted that Lee play the Count.
This has to be my favorite of all of the Hammer Dracula films, and probably all of Hammer Horror.
63. House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects
As I may have mentioned, including two films at the same spot in the countdown gives me the opportunity to include more than 100 movies. So, tonight we have two from Rob Zombie. Ah, the saga of the Firefly family. Deranged, seemingly backwoods, yet sophisticated, killers in the vein of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Firefly family lures unsuspecting travelers and legend hunters into their lair and visit unspeakable horrors on their unassuming guests.
The recently deceased Sid Haig, Bill Mosely, and writer/director Rob Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon Zombie make up the core of the Firefly clan. Leslie Easterbrook replaces Karen Black (House of 1,000 Corpses) as Mother Firefly in Rejects.
Zombie creates quite the dark, gritty, depraved universe with two films that could work independently of each other. House plays very much like Chainsaw, and Rejects, well, the Fireflys become a sort of rag-tag band of antiheroes we’re supposed to root for. Perhaps we’ll get some closure in the long-awaited third film in the franchise, which is out but I haven’t had the chance to see yet.
As I mentioned, I like pretty much anything from the mind of Clive Barker. Tony Todd, who happens to follow me on Twitter, gives his signature performance as the urban legend – the Candyman. Don’t say his name five times or the murderer with the hook-hand will appear.
You learn about the mythology and the pathos of the Candyman as the story goes as Virginia Madsen’s college student character researches local legends and myths.
Madsen is her usual reliable self in this tale of folklore and legend. The sequel, Farewell to the Flesh is serviceable.