I’m really getting my money out of Netflix streaming service. Over the weekend, in honor of my old favorite “Creature Double Feature” which aired on Channel 48 WKBS in the 70’s, I checkout out a couple ridiculous horror movies and loved every minute of it.
The first of these is the horrendous Dracula A.D. 1972. In swinging London, kids seeking a thrill beyond the ordinary party crashing and fashionable chemical stimulus turn to the dark arts to bring back poor old Christopher Lee as the Prince of Darkness himself. It would have been nice for Lee to get a little more screen time in the title roles, but the hot pants were easy on the eyes, so I’m not complaining too much. Of course, the best part is Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. Even in this schlock, there is never a time when Cushing is not perfectly smooth, in control, debonair and stunning to look at. We’re talking serious man-crush here. His wardrobe was impeccable and he smokes with such precision, it was hard for me to remember how the old Grand Moff himself could have been so cool without his Silk Cuts.
After the buffoonery of Lee and Cushing cashing in, all I wanted was to see their glory days in the late fifties. The Horror of Dracula is available for streaming, but I decided to stay in the 70’s for another, more psychotic selection.
The second part of my double feature was Phantasm. This mind-bender from 1979 is proof that a movie with no coherent plot can still be a drop-dead classic. Much of the credit must go to the film’s extraordinary visual presentation. The set at the funeral home, especially the white marble mausoleum is particularly striking. The film does not shy away from showing extreme gore (it is tame by today’s standards, but it originally got an X rating) in well-lit conditions. That’s a nice touch. Angus Scrimm as the tall man is all gravitas and evil presence. He is often shot in slow motion, with his hair bobbing in the breeze and he makes his relentless approach. It is a chilling effect. And of course, there is the silver ball, which is a stroke of genius as a prop and has now become an institution unto itself. Extra credit for the triple black 1971 Plymouth HemiCuda 340, which is almost as bad ass as Scrimm’s “the Tall Man”.