The Loreley's Grasp
In Amando de Ossorio's 1974 fantasy film, The Loreley's Grasp, half the characters seem to be making the best of it circa 1900, while at the nearby all-girls' boarding school, they're listening to 70s groove, and giggling around the pool in string bikinis. I cannot explain this—and it doesn't matter—in this gothic/gore/swinger/monster movie from the creator of the Blind Dead series. An ageless beauty menaces both the young lovelies at the school and the earnest townspeople indiscriminately, for she's actually a Rubbermaid®-glove-clad sea monster who must murder constantly to perpetuate her existence. Not exactly a spoiler there. I just watched this recently, and it's a mind-muncher—I have to see it again just to wrap my head around all the boobs, gore and ersatz-mosphere.
Dracula vs. Frankenstein
How could I not love my wife even more after she referred to Zandor Vorkov's awkward portrayal of the legendary Count as "the exposition vampire"? Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) is not so much a horror movie, as it is a meta-charming, somewhat slightly self-aware B film, with crummy effects and loads of day-for-night hospitality. An added bonus is a small appearance by late Famous Monsters of Filmland publisher Forrest J. Ackerman, whose attitude and magazine shaped my young mind immeasurably and irreversibly. (Forry recently answered my Facebook friend request, so apparently he continues to snicker from beyond the grave!) Initially released on DVD in 2001 by Troma (there have been other editions since), Dracula vs. Frankenstein is also of note for being the last film appearance for both J. Carrol Naish and Lon Chaney Jr. Ignore the low ratings out there for this one—DvF is a corker!
Vengeance of the Zombies
Hinduism, trendy spiritualism, full-body paint, the living dead and cheesy sex scenes all go together, right? They do in this atmospheric romp from auteur Paul Naschy (aka the Spanish Lon Chaney) and director Leon Klimóvsky. Klimóvsky, an Argentinean, was a Spanish exploitation-film legend, and directed some of Naschy's finest films, including Werewolf Shadow and Dr. Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo. Vengeance... is an occult/living dead/revenge construct that's satisfying on every level—providing that your levels include lurid color, wooden acting, a crazily meandering plot, and semi-nude female zombies moving in perpetual slo-mo. The film is also the most genuinely horrifying of the three titles mentioned here, with several brutal killings and creepy ideas in abundance. An added bonus is Juan Carlos Calderón's wonderful score, reminiscent of Piero Umiliani at times, or a psych-rock Morricone circa Malamondo. Here is a link to download the score (as one, long mp3 file) at my full-time Web home, My Castle of Quiet.