Movie Reviews

Count Yorga, Vampire

Written and directed by Bob Kelljan.
1970.

Count Yorga, Vampire has all the hallmarks of an exploitation picture aping a Hammer film, but it never feels uninspired. What’s more, it even has things to say about men, women, science, etc. None of what it says is particularly new or original, but there’s an energy to the movie that suggests it wasn’t just a copycat production, at least not for its writer-director. The standout character is Erica, played by Judy Lang, who balances the outlandish (eating a kitten) with the cool. (Lang’s bio on IMDB is shockingly short.) The good folks at Twilight Time, that red-headed stepchild to Criterion, are doing their part.

Its powers were many. It could see in the dark, which was no small ability in a world half-veiled from light.

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Carnival of Souls

carnival_of_souls

Written by John Clifford.
Directed by Herk Harvey.
1962.

The highest compliment I can pay Carnival of Souls is to give it three bananas, that rating reserved for, alternately, the average and the B-picture. Souls is hardly average, but it is the latter, and it revels in its B-ness, so much so that giving it four bananas — my impulse — would be a kind of betrayal. But it’s startling in its creepiness, in its sexless heroine, in its oftentimes Felliniesque evocation of place and people. Great locations may be all you need for an excuse to tell a story, and Carnival of Souls is nothing if not an ode to such striking, scary places.

“It’s funny. The world is so different in the daylight. In the dark, your fantasies get so out of hand. But in the daylight everything falls back into place again.” — Mary Henry

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