Short Takes: N

The Naked Kiss (1964)

Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Samuel Fuller

This is one of Samuel Fuller’s best-known films. A prostitute lands in a small town on the run from her old pimp. She tries to go straight but ends up with a murder rap. It highlights the hypocrisy of American life but the happy ending does seem a bit forced. When you are weak in America, happy endings come hard.

Starring Constance Towers fresh off Shock Corridor. Featuring: Anthony Eisley (The Wasp Woman), Michael Dante (Willard), Virginia Grey (Unknown Island), and Patsy Kelly (Rosemary’s Baby).

The film may be in the public domain — it is on There is a great print on the Criterion Collection release. I’m not sure about the DVD. But I know the Blu-ray is worth having.

The Name of the Rose (1986)

Producer: Bernd Eichinger
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Screenwriters: Andrew Birkin and Gérard Brach and Howard Franklin and Alain Godard (novel: Umberto Eco)

Two Franciscan monks arrive at a 14th-century abbey and try to determine the cause of some recent mysterious deaths. Things get more difficult when the Inquisition shows up.

This is a bleak but interesting mystery. It died in the US but did well in Europe. The star casting may be to blame. It features one of the most erotic scenes on film. Other than the abrupt ending, it’s quite an enjoyable film.

Starring Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Michael Lonsdale, William Hickey (Puppet Master), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and F Murray Abraham.

The Name of the Rose is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray with a director commentary.

18 February 2024

The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Producers/Screenwriters: Aubrey Wisberg & Jack Pollexfen
Director: Ewald André Dupont

Fairly standard but well-made 1950s B mad scientist film. Directed by German expressionist director. Well lit with well-framed shots. Good acting. Some rather unfortunate special make-up effects — although they do give the film a certain charm.

This film should be in the public domain. But somehow Paramount managed to renew its copyright. So you will have to buy it — generally on a collection.

Necessary Roughness (1991)

Producers: Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme
Director: Stan Dragoti
Screenwriters: Rick Natkin & David Fuller

The Texas State University football program has been destroyed because of its corruption. So a new coach is brought in to rebuild it. A major part of rebuilding is recruiting a 30-something ex-star quarterback who had to pass up college.

This is an entirely standard sports film and as such, a lot of fun. It features a very good lead performance.

Starring Scott Bakula (Major League: Back to the Minors). With Harley Jane Kozak (The Favor), Héctor Elizondo (The Flamingo Kid), Robert Loggia (Jagged Edge), Sinbad (Houseguest), and Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You).

Necessary Roughness is copyrighted. It is available on DVD.

4 April 2021

Necromancy (1972)

Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Bert I Gordon
Alternate titles: The Witching

A young couple relocates to a small town so the husband can work at a toy manufacturer. But the owner seems to be some kind of cult leader who holds everyone in his spell. And he wants to use the wife to bring his dead son back to life.

This is a perfectly serviceable early-1970s occult thriller. It features some great moments but suffers a bit from a thin plot.

Starring Pamela Franklin (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Michael Ontkean (Twin Peaks), and Orson Welles (The Third Man).

Necromancy is under copyright. It hasn’t been well released on disc. There are suspect DVD and Blu-ray releases available. You can also get it with The Headless Eye on DVD.

20 September 2022

The Negotiator (1998)

Producers: David Hoberman and Arnon Milchan
Director: F Gary Gray
Screenwriters: James DeMonaco & Kevin Fox

A hostage negotiator’s partner tells him about some corrupt cops stealing from their retirement plan. The partner is murdered and the negotiator is framed for it. So the negotiator takes hostages at internal affairs to find out the truth.

This is a solid thriller with some interesting twists and turns and a fine cast.

Starring Samuel L Jackson (Jackie Brown), Kevin Spacey (LA Confidential), Paul Giamatti (The Illusionist), JT Walsh (Pleasantville), and Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Men in Black). It features a number of character actors you will recognize including Stephen Lee (Dolls).

The Negotiators is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray. There are many different versions including in collections.

24 October 2021

Nekromantik 2 (1991)

Producer: Manfred O Jelinski
Director: Jörg Buttgereit
Screenwriters: Jörg Buttgereit & Franz Rodenkirchen

After the publicity of a man stabbing himself to death as he ejaculated all over his room, a young nurse steals his corpse and begins a sexual relationship with it. But she is unsatisfied and starts up a relationship with a living man. She still has the old urges, however — and some of the old body parts.

This is a very disturbing and funny film. Just focus on that. Try not to get caught up in its effort to be an art film. I think it fails at that and your effort to understand it will not be rewarded. It features some of the most disgusting gore I’ve seen. And some very sensuous live woman on dead man action.

Starring Monika M (Schramm) and Mark Reeder.

Nekromantik 2 is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray with a number of extras including a commentary with the director, co-writer, and two stars.

13 December 2020

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)

Producers: George W Stout, Bennett S Cohen, Ashton Dearholt, and Edgar Rice Burroughs
Director: J Edward Kull
Screenwriter: Chas F Royal (characters: Edgar Rice Burroughs)

Come for the inexplicable lions and zebras in the jungle, but stay for the racism! It is notable that this representation of Tarzan is in keeping with the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels where Tarzan is a sophisticated man who just happens to have been raised by apes. He speaks proper English and travels undercover from Africa to Guatemala. The New Adventures of Tarzan was a four-hour-long, 12-part serial. This is the 70-minute feature film made from it that somehow manages to still be padded.

There’s an interesting bit of trivia about the production. Producer (and star) Ashton Dearholt fell in love with the leading lady causing his wife to leave him. Burroughs dumped his own wife then ran off with Dearholt’s wife.

Featuring Olympic shot put medalist Herman Brix, Ula Holt, Ashton Dearholt, and Frank Baker.

The New Adventures of Tarzan is in the public domain and available everywhere, including The entire 4-hour serial is available on DVD for those interested, but you can usually find it online.

The New York Ripper (1982)

Producer: Fabrizio De Angelis
Director: Lucio Fulci
Screenwriters: Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Lucio Fulci, and Dardano Sacchetti (story: Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, and Lucio Fulci)

A serial killer in New York is carving up “loose” women and taunting the police with a Donald Duck voice. A police detective and gay psychologist are on his trail.

Lots of sex. Lots of gore. Watching it now, you can see clearly why critics at the time hated it — and all the brilliant things they missed in their moralistic pile-on.

Starring Jack Hedley (Witchcraft) and Paolo Malco (The House by the Cemetery). With Almanta Suska (The Hunters of the Golden Cobra), Alexandra Delli Colli (Zombie Holocaust), Daniela Doria (The Black Cat), and Andrea Occhipinti (A Blade in the Dark).

The New York Ripper is under copyright. It is available on DVD or Blu-ray with a good print and minor extras. Better to get it on the new Blu-ray release with endless extras.

28 August 2020

Nightfall (1988)

Producer: Julie Corman
Director: Paul Mayersberg
Screenwriter: Paul Mayersberg (novella: Isaac Asimov)

On a planet that is surrounded by stars, it is always day. But the night is coming via an eclipse and everyone is freaking out. The science-based people are trying to calm everyone while the cult leader is whipping up fear. Also, there’s a love triangle and an abandoned daughter and something about snakes.

This films seems like it ought to be a psychotronic classic. But it’s slow and kind of boring. On the other hand, it has a certain El Topo feel to it (admittedly without being nearly as interesting). And I think it more or less succeeds.

Starring David Birney (Bridget Loves Bernie), Sarah Douglas (The Return Of Swamp Thing), Alexis Kanner (Crossplot), Andra Millian (The Paper Chase), Starr Andreeff (Club Vampire), and Charley Hayward.

Nightfall is copyrighted. It is available on DVD with an interview with Douglas.

5 June 2021

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Producer: Antonio Sarno
Director: Emilio P. Miraglia
Screenwriters: Fabio Pittorru & Massimo Felisatti & Emilio P. Miraglia (story: Fabio Pittorru & Massimo Felisatti)

A man learns that his wife is cheating on him. But before he can divorce her, she dies in childbirth. So he finds prostitutes who look like her to torture and kill. Then he finds a woman who looks like his wife and marries her. But his wife seems to be haunting him.

Most of this film is really good. I enjoyed it. Then, in the last 10 minutes, I learned to hate it. It’s fine for a story to allow a bad guy to get away with his crimes. But there should be some recognition that he’s a bad guy. This made me reflect on just how ridiculous the plot was. I recommend turning the film off after the first reveal (which isn’t surprising). Or even the second reveal (which is even less surprising). But definitely don’t stay for the third reveal, which is exactly what you will expect and is guaranteed to make you groan.

Starring Anthony Steffen (Django the Bastard), Marina Malfatti (All the Colors of the Dark), Enzo Tarascio (Trinity Is Still My Name), Erika Blanc (The Red Headed Corpse), and Giacomo Rossi Stuart (Knives of the Avenger).

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave may be under copyright but there is a so-so print on It is available as a Special Edition on DVD and Blu-ray with a 2K video based on the original negative along with a lot of extras.

26 December 2020

Night Gallery (1970-1973)

Producers: Jack Laird, Stanley Shpetner, and William Sackheim
Directors: Jeannot Szwarc, Jeff Corey, Gene R Kearney, Jerrold Freedman, John Badham, Jack Laird, and 23 others
Screenwriters: Rod Serling, Jack Laird, Gene R Kearney, Halsted Welles, Alvin Sapinsley, and many others including Richard Matheson, Theodore J Flicker, and Robert Bloch
Our review: Random Thoughts on Night Gallery

This is a series of short horror films presented in the context of a gallery with disturbing paintings and sculptures. Rod Serling would introduce each story via a particular painting. The first two seasons featured episodes of 50 minutes with two to four stories each. The remaining episodes were 25 minutes and usually feature single stories.

I’m in the minority of people who like Night Gallery more than The Twilight Zone. I think people are unreasonably harsh with the series. As much as I like it, The Twilight Zone gets away with a lot of stories that go nowhere. Night Gallery normally had very clever — often emotionally charged — plots. But I’ll admit: I like horror more than science fiction and that explains my feelings. I just don’t understand why there aren’t more horror fans who stick up for the series.

Dozens of iconic actors showed up once or twice in the series including John Astin, Bill Bixby, John Carradine, Joan Crawford, Elsa Lanchester, Al Lewis, Ossie Davis, Vincent Price, Edward G Robinson, Barbara Steele, and many more. Some actors showed up at the beginning of their careers like Mark Hamill and Diane Keaton.

Night Gallery is, of course, under copyright. The complete series is available on DVD with a smattering of commentaries on particular stories by Guillermo Del Toro (6) and authors of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour, Scott Skelton and Jim Benson (11). You can get the first season on Blu-ray with strong extras.

21 August 2020

Night Moves (1975)

Producer: Robert M Sherman
Director: Arthur Penn
Screenwriter: Alan Sharp

As his personal life crumbles around him, private detective Harry Moseby gets a job to find the runaway teen daughter of an aging movie starlet. He is quickly drawn into a world of greed, incest, and death where nothing is as clear as it is in a Dashiell Hammett novel.

This is one of my favorite movies. It combines that wonderful paranoia of 1970s cinema with one of the great genres where all is revealed. But here, as in life, every revelation leads to a dozen more questions.

Starring Gene Hackman (The Conversation). Featuring Susan Clark (Coogan’s Bluff), Jennifer Warren (Slap Shot), James Woods (Videodrome), and Melanie Griffith (Something Wild) in her first role.

Night Moves is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray with little in terms of extras.

13 February 2020

The Night of a Thousand Cats (1974)

Producer: Mario A Zacarias
Director: Rene Cardona Jr
Screenwriters: Mario Zacarias and Rene Cardona Jr
Alternate titles: Blood Feast, La Noche de los Mil Gatos

A man has a four-step process for the women he fancies: seduce, kill, bottle their heads, feed them to his cats. That’s all you need to know, right? You have to see this movie now, right? Do the cats eventually kill and eat the man? Would I recommend this film if they didn’t?

This film has been criticized for throwing a cat over a fence. It’s hard to say. If it was a real cat, it was thrown more than once because there are two camera set-ups. Just the same, the cat flying through the air appears to twist the way a real cat would. I wouldn’t put it past the director. But I have a feeling the crew would have balked.

In addition to everything else, this film is a good advertisement for Acapulco — if you ignore the murder, cats, and most of all, heads in bottles.

Featuring Hugo Stiglitz (Tintorera), Anjanette Comer (The Baby), Zulma Faiad (Guns and Guts), Christa Linder, and Gerardo Zepeda.

The Night of a Thousand Cats is copyrighted. You can get it on DVD.

Night of Bloody Horror (1969)

Producer/Director: Joy N Houck Jr
Screenwriters: Robert A Weaver and Joy N Houck Jr

This guy, who lives with his motherer, is a real chick magnet. But they keep being murdered. The police think he’s the murder even before they find out that he was in a mental hospital for killing his brother. But you’ll never guess who the real killer is! (Just kidding. You will.)

Not a bad little thriller. Houck has clearly watched a lot of art films. And he uses some cool 60s-era effects. The acting is pretty good too. According to Michael Weldon, most of the music is taken from The Phantom Planet. There is some live music by a band called The Bored.

Starring Gerald McRaney (Simon & Simon), Gaye Yellen, Herbert Nelson (Future Cop), Evelyn Hendrick.

Night of Bloody Horror should be under copyright, but there is as good a version as you are likely to find on It is on a Cheesy Flicks DVD. These seem to be the same copies that have 12 minutes cut from them. It’s possible, of course, that the often stated 89-minute runtime is wrong. But the film does seem chopped up.

23 September 2020

Night of the Comet (1984)

Producers: Andrew Lane and Wayne Crawford
Director/Screenwriter: Thom Eberhardt

A comet passes by the Earth and turns all those outside into zombies. It focuses on two sisters, one of whom — Reggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart (The Last Starfighter) — is every 1980s nerd boy’s fantasy. It’s funny, sweet, and surprisingly scary at times.

Thom Eberhardt is more of a comedy writer and director and this works wonderfully in this campy gem.

Also stars: Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager), and Mary Woronov (Silent Night, Bloody Night).

Night of the Comet is under copyright. It can be found on sites like DailyMotion as well as on Netflix and Amazon Prime. There is an excellent Blu-ray/DVD version with lots of extras including three commentary tracks.

Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2 (1991)

Producer/Director/Writer: Lowell Mason (James Riffel)
Alternate titles: NOTDOT

For this film, James Riffel (Dead Dudes in the House) took Night of the Living Dead (1968) and replaced the sound with his own voices and sound effects. It’s tasteless with Duane Jones speaking with a jive accent, lots of toilet jokes, and zombies claiming a bit too insistently, “I’m not gay!”

Yet for fans of the original, it is hilarious. There’s something about putting the silliest of sound effects on one of the scariest films ever that just works.

Featuring the original cast of Night of the Living Dead and the voices of James Riffel.

I guess this film is copyrighted. But with the murky copyright of the original Night of the Living Dead, it has never been widely released. It’s available online.

You can find it on VHS where it is very expensive. It is also floating around as a DVD. Don’t mistake it for the other later films in the series like Night Of The Day Of The Dawn of The Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating, Crawling, Alien, Zombified, Subhumanoid Living Dead Part 5.

Night of the Demon (1957)

Producer: Frank Bevis
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Screenwriters: Charles Bennett and Hal E. Chester (story: Montague R James)

John Holden comes to London to help expose what he believes is a phony cult. But on arriving, he finds his contact has just died under what some consider suspicious circumstances. Holden maintains his skepticism almost to the end when even he is forced to admit that a curse has been placed on him that will kill him at ten o’clock.

More suspense than horror, this film is really good. The monster is kind of silly to look at but otherwise, the film really hasn’t aged.

Starring Dana Andrews (Laura), Peggy Cummins (Gun Crazy), and Niall MacGinnis (Island of Terror). The film also features a number of fine British character actors — Brian Wilde (Porridge) and Athene Seyler (The Franchise Affair) stand out in minor roles.

Night of the Demon is copyrighted but you can find versions online. It’s been released on disc in many forms, including one with the short version. There is a Blu-ray that looks like the ultimate release. The B/2 encoding is not enforced, so you should have no problem playing it on other devices.

22 February 2020

Night of the Demons (1988)

Producer/Screenwriter: Joe Augustyn
Director: Kevin S Tenney

A group of teens have a Halloween party at an abandoned funeral home. As a party game, they perform a séance which causes one of the women to be taken over by a demon. And it grows from there.

This is a pretty good teen horror film. It doesn’t have the budget of the remake but it features far less annoying characters and so the whole thing is more fun. It has a wonderful scene where a character pushes a tube of lipstick into her breast (repeated in the sequel).

Starring Cathy Podewell (Dallas), Amelia Kinkade, Linnea Quigley (Creepozoids), and Hal Havins (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama).

Night of the Demons is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray with extras. You are better to get the Blu-ray/DVD combo.

7 December 2020

Night of the Demons (2009)

Producers: Greg McKay and Michael Arata & Kevin Tenney
Director: Adam Gierasch
Screenwriters: Jace Anderson & Adam Gierasch (original script: Joe Augustyn)

A wild party at an old mansion is shut down by the police. But 7 young people get trapped inside. In the basement, they find six skeletons. The party host gets bitten (?!) by a skeleton and is taken over by a demon. One by one the others are too as the rest try to make their way out alive.

This film is really well-made. It’s got great sets and good acting. And while I don’t love all the camera movements, it is clearly effective. What I didn’t like was that all the characters but one are generic. And the ending doesn’t actually make sense. But it’s still worth watching and I can imagine a lot of people really like this. Also: excellent soundtrack!

Starring Monica Keena (Freddy vs Jason), Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), John F Beach, Shannon Elizabeth (Scary Movie), Diora Baird (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Michael Copon (The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior), and Bobbi Sue Luther (Laid to Rest). Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead) has a cameo.

Night of the Demons is copyrighted. It is available on DVD or Blu-ray with a commentary with Gierasch, Anderson, and some of the cast.

4 December 2020

Night of the Ghouls (1959)

Producer/Director/Writer: Ed Wood
Alternate titles: Revenge of the Dead

A con artist medium bilks customers and convinces the locals that his house is haunted. But it turns out it really is!

This is a surprisingly effective film that combines the crime and horror genres. It’s a sequel to Bride of the Monster — and much better. Well worth a look!

Night of the Ghouls features Kenne Duncan (The Astounding She-Monster) as Dr Acula — get it?! Also: Valda Hansen, Johnny Carpenter, and Wood regulars Paul Marco, Tor Johnson, Duke Moore, and Criswell.

There is some question about the copyright status of Night of the Ghouls. But there shouldn’t be because of a number of issues, not the least of which is that the film was distributed in 1960 — admittedly in a minor way. Wade Williams claims to hold the copyright on the film as he has released a good, but overpriced, DVD with no extras to speak of.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Producer: Paul Gregory
Director: Charles Laughton
Screenwriter: James Agee (novel: Davis Grubb)

A man robs a bank, killing two others in the process. Before the police catch him, he gives it to his kids to hide. Before being executed, his con-man serial-killer preacher cellmate tries to learn the location of the money but fails. After his release, the preacher ingratiates himself with the family trying to find the money.

This is a very effective film that probably failed at the box office because it looked too much like a silent film. Today, it stands out as far more interesting than most films of the time. The story features a wonderful villain. It does get a bit hard to take at the end with the film trying to make a distinction between the False Christian and the Good Christians that all Americans were supposed to aspire to. Regardless, it’s still fun to watch.

Starring Robert Mitchum (Thunder Road), Lillian Gish (Duel in the Sun), Shelley Winters (Lolita), Billy Chapin (The Kid from Left Field), and Sally Jane Bruce.

The Night of the Hunter is under copyright but there is a great copy on Archive. It is available on DVD but if you like it, get it on the Criterion Collection DVD or Blu-ray.

17 November 2021

Night of the Lepus (1972)

Producers: Michael Cassidy & Chad Nicholson & Kyle Rankin
Director: AC Lyles
Screenwriters: Don Holliday and Gene R Kearney (novel: Russell Braddon)

The rabbits are taking over the plains so scientists try to make them infertile. Unfortunately, it turns them really big and violent.

This is a surprisingly boring film. It’s well-produced with good acting. But the giant rabbits are always shot in slow-motion and it doesn’t much work. There is no onscreen violence. And most of the film is more like a documentary about how to address a giant rabbit invasion. Also: Lepus is a hare, not a rabbit.

Starring Stuart Whitman (Strange Shadows in an Empty Room), Rory Calhoun (Thunder in Carolina), Janet Leigh (Touch of Evil), DeForest Kelley (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), and Paul Fix (Jet Pilot).

Night of the Lepus is copyrighted. It is available on DVD. But if you love it, get the Shout Factory Blu-ray.

2 April 2021

Night of the Living Deb (2015)

Producers: Michael Cassidy & Chad Nicholson & Kyle Rankin
Director: Kyle Rankin
Screenwriter: Andy Selsor

After a one night stand between a neat liberal man and a messy conservative women, they wake up to a zombie outbreak caused by his father’s water company.

A fun but forgettable zombie comedy featuring excellent acting and some notable moments.

Starring Maria Thayer (Annie Claus is Coming to Town), Michael Cassidy (Breaking Fast), Ray Wise (Shattered), Chris Marquette (Freddy vs Jason), and Julie Brister.

Night of the Living Deb is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Night of the Seagulls (1975)

Director/Screenwriter: Amando de Ossorio
Screenwriter: Richard Matheson (novel: Jeff Rice)
Alternate titles: La Noche de las Gaviotas, Don’t Go Out at Night, Night of the Death Cult

A doctor and his wife move into a seaside town where he is to work. All the locals are mean to them. It turns out that every seven years, they must sacrifice 7 young women to the Knights Templar zombies. But when their maid is taken the couple fights back.

This film goes back to the original in terms of the creepy presentation of the knights and their horses. But it still isn’t that much fun. Better than most horror films though!

Starring Víctor Petit, María Kosty (Vengeance Of The Zombies), Sandra Mozarowsky (Hitler’s Last Train), and José Antonio Calvo.

Night of the Seagulls should be under copyright but there is a nice print on Archive. It is available on DVD. Or you can get it on Blu-ray with a commentary by podcasters Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn.

26 August 2021

The Night of the Virgin (2016)

Producer: Kevin Iglesias
Director: Roberto San Sebastián
Screenwriter: Guillermo Guerrero
Alternate titles: La Noche del Virgen

A young virgin man goes back to the apartment of an older woman. The apartment is filthy with cockroaches running around, which he is told not to kill because it is bad luck. She worships an unusual goddess and soon he finds himself involved in some mating ritual with the woman and her ex-boyfriend.

This is a fabulous and funny film. It’s also often disgusting with tons of gore. If that sounds good, seek it out! It’s in Spanish with English subtitles.

Starring Javier Bódalo, Miriam Martín, and Víctor Amilibia.

The Night of the Virgin is under copyright. It is available in widescreen (even though the description says otherwise) on DVD with no real extras.

13 December 2021

The Night Stalker (1972)

Producer: Dan Curtis
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Screenwriter: Richard Matheson (novel: Jeff Rice)
Our review: The Night Stalker Universe

Carl Kolchak is a Las Vegas reporter looking for a big story to take him back to New York. And he finds it: a vampire is preying on the city. He must stay safe from the blood-sucker while convincing the authorities of what is really going on.

This film is much more serious than the follow-up and the series. But it still features our favorite cocky reporter. And the ending is really scary!

Starring Darren McGavin (The Night Strangler). Featuring a great cast including Simon Oakland (Bullitt), Carol Lynley (Blue Denim), Claude Akins (Movin’ On), and Elisha Cook Jr (The Maltese Falcon).

The Night Stalker is copyrighted. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray both with some interviews and a commentary track with film writer Tim Lucas. You can also get it on a single DVD with The Night Strangler, but it’s super expensive at the moment.

16 August 2020

The Night Strangler (1973)

Producer/Director: Dan Curtis
Screenwriter: Richard Matheson (novel: Jeff Rice)
Our review: The Night Stalker Universe

Carl Kolchak is back in this follow-up to The Night Stalker (1972). It led to my favorite television show as a kid, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. In this film, Kolchak is in Seattle chasing down a man who is killing women in order to prolong his life. It’s a pretty good story, but mostly it is just fun to hang out with a guy who “looks like he just came from a road company performance of The Front Page.”

Featuring Darren McGavin (A Christmas Story), Jo Ann Pflug (Catlow), Simon Oakland (Psycho), Wally Cox (Underdog), Al Lewis (The Munsters), John Carradine (The Grapes of Wrath), Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz), and Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man).

The Night Strangler is under copyright but I’ve never had difficulty finding it online. It is available on a good Blu-ray with nice extras. It is also on disc along with The Night Stalker.

Night Thirst (2002)

Producer: Jon McBride
Directors: Mark & John Polonia and Jon McBride
Screenwriter: Billy D’Amato

A guy’s car breaks down and he goes to a house to call for help. While there, he tells the occupant four stories about the “night thirst.” Thus we have the frame for a horror anthology film.

This has a surprisingly good script. As usual for an anthology film, the stories don’t actually make much sense in the context of the frame. But it works well. And the acting is quite good. Unfortunately, the video quality is terrible. But it’s a testament to the rest of the film that this issue is even noticed.

Starring Jeff Dylan Graham (Fell), Bob Dennis (Alien Surveillance), Brice Kennedy (Peter Rottentail), Holly Harrington (Terror House), and Kimberlee Gibson. The three directors also have notable parts.

Night Thirst is under copyright. It doesn’t seem to be available on disc, but you can get it on Amazon Prime.

17 July 2020

A Night to Dismember (1983)

Producer/Director: Doris Wishman
Screenwriter: Judith J Kushner

This is the original — long thought destroyed — A Night to Dismember. It is very different from the shorter film that was released in 1989. The plots diverge starkly. And the star of the released film, Samantha Fox, isn’t even in the original.

As impenetrable as the released version is, this one is even worse. I can’t even give you a synopsis because I wouldn’t know what to say other than that there are two families and someone is murdering everyone with an ax.

The film nonetheless has some very effective moments. As usual, Wishman presents sensuality on the screen better than anyone. Moments of gore work well. And it presents an overall foreboding feel. It’s worth a watch — especially if you’ve seen the released version.

The film is copyrighted. One of the versions is available with Effects on DVD.

The Night Watchmen (2017)

Producers: Jeffrey Allard & Demetrea Triantafillides and Ken Arnold & Dan DeLuca
Director: Mitchell Altieri
Screenwriters: Dan DeLuca & Jamie Nash (story: Dan DeLuca & Ken Arnold)

A famous clown has died and while his corpse is in transit at an office building, we find that he is actually a vampire. As he goes on a killing spree, 4 fairly useless security guards and a woman who works at a magazine in the building must fight for themselves and the world.

This is a wonderfully funny and brisk action-horror film. If you don’t like it, you just don’t like this kind of movie. It’s pretty much perfect.

Starring Ken Arnold (The Wereth Eleven), Kara Luiz (American Poltergeist 3), Max Gray Wilbur (A Talking Pony!?!), and Kevin Jiggetts (Copley: An American Fairytale).

The Night Watchmen is under copyright. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray apparently in 4:3 aspect ratio. It is available in widescreen on Amazon Prime.

8 January 2021

Nightbreed (1990)

Producer: Gabriella Martinelli
Director/Screenwriter: Clive Barker

A guy has terrible nightmares. His doctor convinces him that he is responsible for murdering a bunch of people. The guy goes to the real-life place of his nightmares and meets a group of unusual creatures and is bitten. The police capture him and he dies. But then he becomes undead escapes and joins the group. And that’s just the first half-hour.

When I was younger, I really didn’t like Clive Barker. But now, I appreciate his pure horror. His plots don’t much matter. And that works really well. Far too many movies suffer from over-explanation. I wouldn’t say this is one of his better films, but it’s really interesting throughout.

Starring Craig Sheffer (A River Runs Through It), Anne Bobby (Cop Rock), and David Cronenberg (yep, him).

Nightbreed is copyrighted. It is available on DVD. You can get the longer director’s cut on Blu-ray.

2 December 2020

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Producer: Robert Shaye
Director/Screenwriter: Wes Craven

High school kids have dreams in which a burned man with razor gloves torments them. It may be a dream but the wounds are real. The main character, Nancy, goes My Side of the Mountain to save herself before she dreams again.

Freddy Krueger became something of a joke over time but here, he’s brilliant — perhaps the best bogeyman in all of cinema. The film has well-rendered characters and a surprisingly believable plot. It’s one of the best horror films ever made.

Starring Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors). Featuring John Saxon (Fast Company), Johnny Depp (Ed Wood), Ronee Blakley (Nashville), Amanda Wyss (Shakma), and Robert Englund (The Mangler).

A Nightmare on Elm Street is under copyright. You can get it on a double DVD and Blu-ray with lots of extras. You can also get all the films together.

29 February 2020

The Nightshifter (2018)

Director: Dennison Ramalho
Screenwriters: Dennison Ramalho & Cláudia Jouvin (story: Marco de Castro)
Alternate titles: Morto Não Fala

Unknown to anyone, a morgue worker can and does talk to the dead. When he learns his wife is cheating on him, he uses his knowledge from the dead to have her lover murdered. But it results in her also getting killed. And she is not happy about it and takes it out on him and their children.

This is a fabulous horror film from Brazil. The story is surprising and engaging with a complex central character. It makes great and subtle use of computer graphics. And it’s got outstanding gore. Can someone give Ramalho buckets of cash to make more films?!

Starring Daniel de Oliveira (The Lost Patrol), Bianca Comparato (Sister Dulce: The Angel from Brazil), and Fabiula Nascimento (492: A Man Called Death).

The Nightshifter is under copyright. Shudder has released it on DVD and Blu-ray with only a trailer. There is a Brazilian release that is jam-packed with extras, but I would assume they are all in Portuguese.

26 December 2020

Nina Forever (2015)

Producer: Cassandra Sigsgaard
Directors/Screenwriters: Chris & Ben Blaine

A young woman becomes obsessed with a man who tried to kill himself after his girlfriend died. The two get together but every time they have sex, the bloody and broken dead girlfriend appears and harasses them.

The film is played straight yet the dead girlfriend scenes are extremely funny. It isn’t much of a horror film. Still: very enjoyable — and sexy, in a necrophiliac way.

Starring Cian Barry (Help Point), Abigail Hardingham (Freak), and Fiona O’Shaughnessy (Goldfish Memory).

Nina Forever is under copyright. It is available on a Blu-ray with Imitation Girl.

03 Feb 2020

The Ninth Configuration (1980)

Producer/Director/Screenwriter: William Peter Blatty

Very smart people in the military are going crazy so the government sets up a mental hospital in a castle in the Pacific Northwest. A new doctor comes to run it but as he interacts with the very colorful inmates, it becomes clear he has his own problems.

This is a wonderful film. It’s funny and horrifying and weirdly deep (in a fun way). Just don’t expect a typical film. Allow it to unfold for you. Note that there are 3 released versions running 1:40, 2:00, and 2:20.

Starring Stacy Keach (Fat City), Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood), Ed Flanders (St Elsewhere), and Jason Miller (The Exorcist). It features a bunch of other notable actors.

The Ninth Configuration is under copyright. It is available on a Blu-ray/DVD combo featuring the two-hour version. It has a commentary with Blatty, 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and a short documentary.

19 February 2021

The Ninth Gate (1999)

Producer/Director: Roman Polanski
Screenwriters: Enrique Urbizu, Roman Polanski, and John Brownjohn (novel: Arturo Pérez-Reverte)

An antique book expert is hired to investigate three surviving copies of a 17th-century book, The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows. It is supposed to explain how to summon Satan. And wouldn’t you know it? Soon Satanists are trying to kill him as he attempts to figure why and how the three books differ in small ways.

It’s hard to know what to think of this film. It doesn’t quite work for me yet it’s incredibly interesting with some very funny meta-content. Some scenes are stunning like when the scaffolding falls. Other scenes are funny but not necessarily intentionally, like when Polanski’s wife copulates with Depp at the end of the film. It’s definitely a film that improves with multiple viewings and is certainly worth watching once.

Starring Johnny Depp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Emmanuelle Seigner (Frantic), Frank Langella (The Twelve Chairs), and Lena Olin (Romeo Is Bleeding).

The Ninth Gate is copyrighted. It is available on DVD (minor extras) and Blu-ray (good extras).

21 April 2020

The Norliss Tapes (1973)

Producer/Director: Dan Curtis
Screenwriter: William F Nolan (story: Fred Mustard Stewart)

A skeptical paranormal investigator comes to help a woman whose dead husband is back in zombie form.

This was meant to be a series where the investigator has disappeared and his publisher goes through his tapes to look for clues of where he went. Each tape would be another episode. This pilot is very good but I feel like the series would have been even better. It was created between The Night Strangler and the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Starring Roy Thinnes (The Invaders) and Angie Dickinson (Police Woman). Featuring Don Porter (She-Wolf of London), Michele Carey (Live a Little, Love a Little), Vonetta McGee (Blacula), and the great Claude Akins (Battle for the Planet of the Apes).

The Norliss Tapes is under copyright. It is available on DVD with some random trailers and nothing specific to the feature.

27 May 2020

November Son (2008)

Producer/Director/Screenwriter: Jason Paul Collum
Alternate titles: October Moon 2: November Son

After the events in October Moon, a photographer moves into Corin’s old apartment. He goes to work for Elliot’s mother who tries to make up for the past. But things get very weird.

This film is much better than the first and is actual horror. Once again, I think the opening could be cut down. But it has a powerful and surprising climax.

Starring Sacha Sacket and Brinke Stevens (The Naked Monster). With Judith O’Dea (Night of the Living Dead), Tina Ona Paukstelis, and Debbie Rochon (Witchouse 3: Demon Fire).

November Son is under copyright. It is available on DVD with director commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, and more. It is also available with October Moon with some interviews on DVD and Blu-ray.

17 October 2020

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