Wednesday, October 6, 2021

warlock homes.

Todays 31 Days of Horror story opens in an - amateurishly lit - school corridor with sound recording that appears to have been done in - and on - an eggbox where an unnamed girl (Zerrienis...bless you) is wandering around in a tiny skirt whilst clutching the worlds brightest candle before being brutally slain by a weirdy beardy with an axe.

And cue spooky music cos it's time for.....

Warlock Moon (1973).
Dir: William Herbert.
Cast:  Laurie Walters, Joe Spano, Edna MacAfee, Harry Bauer, Joan Zerrien, Charles Raino, Ray K. Goman, Steve Solinsky and Richard Vielle.

"It's an old family recipe. I call it hunter's stew. It'd spoil all the fun if I told you how I made it."

Cutesy college student Jenny Macallister (The 'Slim, pretty, and appealing' Walters - well that's how IMDB describes her - who once appeared in a bathtub with Don Johnson in “The Harrad Experiment”, they were both naked fact fans) is wandering the campus minding her own business after spending a busy morning studying deviance's such as homosexuality and cannibalism when she's approached by an bowl-haircutted wannabe newshound wearing a creepy mask and a flasher mac named John (Spano from top TV tec trailblazer Hill Street Blues looking for all the world like John Amplas with a Greggs fetish).

By the way I mean he's named John, not the coat.

Following her around campus - in a totally non-freaky way obviously - whilst regaling her with amusing jokes in a variety of comedy accents is enough to wear her down enough to accept a picnic date with him and the pair are soon driving off thru' the countryside ready for a slap up feast of egg sandwiches, fizzy pop and pickled onion Monster Munch.

He's a smooth operator and no mistaking.

"Do you wanna come sit in me motor so I can bite you?"

After a lovely afternoon snacking n' chatting and being stuffed to the gills and drunk on fun the pair decide to call it a day and head home but a wrong turn leads them to an eerie old rundown spa.

As in a health club cum holiday camp, not the supermarket.

Which is actually spelled differently.

Anyway being a horror movie they decide to explore it.

As they wander thru' the dilapidated buildings they soon come across (in a non-sexual way obviously) an old woman by the name of Agnes Abercrombi (creator of that anti-virus software and star of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, MacAfee) who still lives in the abandoned spa.

Sounds legit.

Not you.

Being a total and utter not at all sinister old lady, she invites the young couple to stay for tea and biscuits but as soon as Jenny takes a sip she begins to feel unwell and has to lie down, leaving John and Agnes to take the tour of the building alone whilst the poor girl lounges on the sofa, grabbing her tummy and farting.

Which if I'm honest sounds like a normal night in.

As the pair rummage around in the old ladies rooms Jenny amuses herself by cheekily rifling thru' Agnes' drawers where she discovers a shed load - well drawer load - of medical paraphernalia including syringes and vials of 'special' medicine.

Which is nice.

As she continues raking thru' a strangers possessions (and a stranger that's been dead nice to her seeing as she was caught wandering around her house, how's that for grateful?) Jenny is suddenly shocked - well as suddenly shocked as a very thin person can be -  to see the ghostly apparition of a woman in a wedding dress float passed the window below.

"Would you like to put it in me?"

Say what you want about the overall quality of this movie (yup, it's crap) but they're not skimping on the plot points.

Despite all the weirdness going down, John manages to persuade her to return the next week as his editor thinks an interview with dear old Agnes might be of some enjoyment to the readers.

Or at the very least some - tasteful - snatch shots.

Say what you want about John's fright-fright and piggy eyes, his persuasive pulling powers are second to none so I reckon he could convince her.
Arriving before him (hey he let the lady come first, what a guy) Jenny decides to go and find Agnes but is surprised that there's no sign old woman or of any of her belongings.

Even the faint smell of piss and gin has gone.

Suddenly an old man with a shotgun pops out from behind a tree and introduces himself, he's local postman cum part-time hunter Bernard Sexington (Bauer, I can't be arsed checking if he was in owt else sorry) who - in a stunning infodump -  informs Jenny that the resort was closed down in the 1930s in tragic circumstances.

It seems that the owners had decided to host a ball for their newly married daughter but she went missing just before the party.

Presuming that she was away having 'the sex; with her new hubbie the guests started the party without her and proceeded to enjoy the slap up nosh served by the (female) chef.

It was only much later (well around the cheese board) that everyone realised that the chef was in fact a mentalist who had killed the bride and used her body as part of the main course.

Obviously they didn't eat her whole as they spat that bit out.

I thank you.

Noticing how upset the story makes Jenny he decides to tell her it's all bollocks, bids his farewells and leaves.

Only to be killed by a mad axeman a few minutes later safe in the knowledge that his job of filling in the backstory of the spa is done.

"Blood in mah mooth!"

 Jenny misses all of this tho' as she's finally found John and Agnes who has reappeared alongside all her stuff.

 Confused by this and after John convinces her that she's imagining things Jenny meekly sits down for a cup of Mrs. Abercrombi's tea,  only to start feeling a wee bit woozy again almost immediately after.


As John and Agnes retire to the garden to conduct the interview Jenny suddenly hears the spooky voice of the ghostly bride calling to her, she follows and is led  to a room with a creepy sacrificial altar laid out in its centre.

You know, just like the one in your Auntie Jean's basement.

That's not all tho' for as she's examining it closer who should appear but the scary bearded bloke form earlier, swinging his mighty chopper around with gay abandon as he tries to stick it in poor Jenny.

Much chasing ensues and what sounds like the noise of a tortured cat is played on the soundtrack before Jenny - being a mere girl - faints.

Inside Prince Andrew's mind.

 Mrs. Abercrombi and John soon find her tho' (well it is nearly the end of the film) and are shocked to hear that there's a mad bloke running around killing folk but when they go to investigate there's no sign of anyone else around.

Jenny tho' is convinced but both Agnes and John put it down to her feeling unwell, insisting that the best thing for her is to stay overnight in Mrs Abercrombi's house.

But first it's time for dinner.

And another cup of her sweet smelling tea......

From writer/director/producer William Herbert comes this little seen lo-fi classic of creepy cults and cannibalism that belays it's pound shop roots with some (slightly over the) toptastic performances and a general air of menace not usually found in what would normally be the bottom half of a drive-in double bill.

And whilst it is admittedly  a wee bit shaky at times with sound quality verging  on the indecipherable the performances from the leads pull it back from the brink and make it such a joy to watch with some great (semi) improvised stuff that's as hypnotic as it is bizarre.

Take for instance the scene where John - in an attempt to woo Jenny - performs a one-man horror movie of the mind where he plays both monster and hero, defeating himself before planting a kiss on Jenny's lips and then, without warning flips again as he menacingly stalks Jenny armed with nothing but a big stick and a scary stare.

On paper this sounds ludicrous whereas on screen it's electrifying.

Your Nan's cum face (trust me I know).

Also worth the admission price is Edna MacAfee's almost Warholian non-performance as Agnes Abercrombi.

All pursed lips and pinched cheeks it's almost as if they just plucked a mad bag lady off the streets and let her loose.

Similar in ideas - if not in execution - to it's - slightly - more famous contemporary 'Folks At Red Wolf Inn' (release a year earlier), Warlock Moon straddles that fine line 'tween B movie drive-in fodder like Blood Feast and the oncoming storm of cinema-verite violence ushered in by the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's influence can be seen everywhere from the Ti West Classic House of The Devil to most of Rob Zombies output.

Which is a shame but there you go.

Well worth a looksie.

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