Happy Halloween from everyone at Internal Bleeding! As I’m sure all of you have been doing, I’ve been happily watching all of the horror movies on TV this week. It is nice to see that at least one week out of the year some stations make an effort to play some of our old favorites, and give us a chance to see some great flicks we may have missed. So I decided this Halloween to do a couple “quick hit” reviews of American Werewolf In London & Hellraiser!
American Werewolf in London (1981)
Raz’s review of Ginger Snaps 1 and 2 got me thinking that it has been a while since I’ve seen a good lycanthrope movie, and as fate would have it my wonderful Tivo recorded An American Werewolf in London (Tivo knows me so well). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since this movie was directed by John Landis of The Blues Brothers and Animal House fame. But I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised.
David and his best friend Jack are backpacking through England when they come across a creepy town filled with even creepier people and a horribly creepy secret! In an effort to get away from all the creepiness the boys get attacked by a werewolf; Jack is killed but David survives and is taken to a hospital in London. Still trying to convince himself that what he saw was real and he is not crazy, a dead and quickly decomposing Jack shows up at David’s bedside and tries to tell him that he must take his own life soon before the next full moon or HE will become the werewolf and start the killing. Luckily for David he knows he is sane and this is all just a bad dream… and even more lucky he meets a beautiful nurse who takes care of his needs in the hospital and at her apartment! (ooh la la)
The only one who seems the least bit interested about David’s encounter is the doctor who is treating him. In fact the good doctor makes a trip to where the boys were attacked. Even though most of the town-folk are trying to keep the werewolf legend just that, someone decides to cooperate and fill the doctor in. But before he can find him, David is transforming (which was a beautiful piece of cinematography) and on the prowl. The next night David encounters Jack once again, and the victims he has killed who are now stuck as undead until David is killed. I won’t give away the ending but it involves of course the werewolf, a few hundred “bobbies”, a porn theater and a bunch of crazy Londoners who are more worried about seeing what’s going on than running away from a blood thirsty werewolf!
I’m glad I put aside the fact that this movie was directed by a comedy legend. It was very well done to the point where you felt bad for David, and worse for his victims. You could definitely see the John Landis comedy come out in a lot of scenes, but it kept a good horror story lighthearted. If you are stuck between watching The Breakfast Club and The Howling, give this movie a shot. I give it 3.5 gruesome werewolf transformations out of 5!
About 10-12 years back I caught what I remember to be Hellraiser 3 on Cinemax. I don’t remember a damn thing about it except there was a mind-blowing first 5 minutes where about 50 people bought the farm when this nightclub was trashed by demons. So I thought it was about time I check out where horror master Clive Barker began this series!
Larry and his wife Julia move back into Larry’s childhood home after being gone for about 10 years. The place is trashed and it appears like Larry’s brother was living there… but he is nowhere to be found?!? Julia is uncomfortable with living there because she had an affair with Larry’s brother, Frank, that she never told him about. What neither of them know is that Frank was killed by demons (cenobites) from another dimension and his soul was taken to hell in a gold puzzle box. While moving some things into the house Larry rips his hand open on a nail and blood is everywhere. He runs upstairs to find that Julia is hanging out in this dark and dingy room. He spills blood on the floor, and that blood helps revive the corpse of Frank. Somehow Larry’s blood released Frank from the clutches of the cenobites, but he needs more blood to fully return to the living and escape the demons forever.
Remembering her past love affair with Frank, Julia decides to help him by whoring out and bringing some guys home to kill. The blood makes Frank strong and strong. On one fateful day Larry’s daughter, sees her stepmom bringing this dude home and sneaks in the house to find out what is going on. She is startled by the corpse of the man she saw going in, and her skinless Uncle Frank. She makes a break for it, but not without taking Frank’s puzzle box. She awakens in the hospital with the box and decides to mess with it (bad move girlie)! She opens a gate to hell and out pops Pinhead and a few of his cute and cuddly friends! In order to save her own skin (literally) she makes a deal to take them to Frank where they can punish him for escaping. The rest of the movie helped launch a gruesome series who’s gore is rivaled by few!
I have to say for having so many sequels under its belt the first movie really took a long time to get going. The first half of the movie was mostly about a torrid love affair we’ve seen in dozens of other films. But the last half helps make up for it. There was a good amount of gore, and some of the most disturbing villians I’ve ever seen. If you can find this one on cable late at night you should toothpick your eyes open and finish it. This one gets 3 pale bondage demons out of 5!