Quick Takes: City of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons, Not of This Earth

gates_of_hell_xlgCity of the Living Dead [Paura nella città dei morti viventi] (1980)
AKA The Gates of Hell
twohalfstar

Starring Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine
Directed by Lucio Fulci

Take a moment to consider the film’s title along with its poster art. Zombies, right? Wrong. City of the Living Dead really isn’t much of a zombie movie. Not in the traditional sense anyway. I’m somewhat unsure what the actual plot was, but the gist is that a priest kills himself and becomes a zombie mage, which somehow also opens the gates of Hell. These gates being open doesn’t really lead to the zombie hijinks you might expect, though, as City of the Living Dead is dreamy, haunting and supernatural where other movies would just go for your standard horror shocks and zombie kills. The plot is so nonsensical and chaotic at times that it makes it hard to get through, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. By far my favorite aspect of the film is the incredible gore, which really must be seen to be believed. There’s not much of it overall, but boy do they make up for lost time! I don’t want to spoil anything, but I definitely won’t be hankering for any pig guts and organ meat any time soon!

nightofthedemonsNight of the Demons (1988)

Starring Cathy Podewell, Amelia Kinkade, Linnea Quigley, Alvin Alexis, Allison Barron, Hal Havins, Billy Gallo, Lance Fenton, Philip Tanzini, Jill Terashita, Harold Ayer
Directed by Kevin S. Tenney

Despite its legacy and name recognition, I wasn’t really feeling this one until the 2nd half (which is pretty much non-stop entertainment). Demons in a haunted house chasing a girl dressed as Alice in Wonderland is as fun as it sounds. Dope Steve Johnson FX work too. The lack of any likeable characters is what made the first half kind of slow and boring, and I was surprised just how trashy a movie it was overall. If I didn’t know this came from the same director as Witchboard, I’d never have guessed it in a million years. Witchboard feels like solid, classic horror filmmaking, while Night of the Demons feels amateurish and naive in comparison. Two completely different types of movies, though. I really should hunt down some more of Tenney’s movies to see which style is the more prominent in his career.

not_of_this_earthNot of This Earth (1988)
onehalfstar

Starring Traci Lords, Arthur Roberts, Lenny Juliano, Ace Mask, Roger Lodge, Rebecca Perle, Michael DeLano, Becky LeBeau
Directed by Jim Wynorski

Man, Not of This Earth is some high level B-Movie shit. You need nerves of steel, forged through hundreds of horrendous B-movies, to make it through this one. Bad acting, bad writing, bad everything abounds, although Traci Lords — in her first “mainstream” acting role — is actually really good and easily the best actor in the film. There’s also some stock footage from other Roger Corman-produced films, and even though I haven’t seen the movies they came from, the sections stuck out as being completely unrelated to anything else in the movie. The behind-the-scenes story is great, and without a doubt more interesting than the movie itself. Notable low-budget director Jim Wynorski bet that he could remake Corman’s original 1957 film with the same budget (adjusted for inflation) and the same 12-day shooting schedule, and he did it (in 11 days)! As a low-budget experiment, it’s interesting, but as an actual movie it’s kinda boring. It’s not without its delights, though most of them come from Traci Lords and are prurient in nature. I also got a kick out of seeing Roger Lodge, the host of Blind Date, playing Lords’ love interest. Watching this makes me really curious to see the original, as this one is so trashy and ’80s that I have a hard time understanding what the ’50s movie must be like.

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

sororitybabes_4Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)
AKA The Imp, Beast You!

Starring Andras Jones, Linnea Quigley, Robin Stille, Hal Havins, John Stuart Wildman, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Kathi O’Brecht, Carla Baron, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Michael Sonye

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Pretty high.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Hmm… I thought there’d be more bowling. But despite a lack of bowling in a film boasting a “Bowl-O-Rama” in its title, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is an absolute B-Movie gold mine. If you enjoy watching thin ’80s characters run away from demons more hilarious than scary, then this one fits the bill rather nicely. Everyone else will probably not make it past the first few minutes, but I’d say that anyone willfully sitting down to a movie titled Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama probably knows what they’re getting themselves into.

Instead of opening with sorority babes or bowling, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama opens in the dorm room of three dudes that don’t have a whole heck of a lot going on. The ultra nerd, Calvin, is watching Dreamaniac on TV, the fat guy, Jimmie, is laying back with a six-pack of brewskies, and the horny guy, Keith, is deep in an issue of Penthouse. But Keith’s got a secret up his sleeve: the location of the Delta Delta Delta (AKA Felta Delta) sorority initiation and the perfect vantage point to sneak a peek.

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