November 18th, 2012


The Witches' Mountain

The Witches' Mountain
VII A.S. Made in Spain. Written & Directed by Raúl Artigot. Starring Patty Shepard {Delia}, Cihangir Gaffari {Mario, as John Gaffari), Mónica Randall {Carla}, Guillermo Bredeston, Soledad Silveyra. Genre: Horror.

An odd little movie about a couple traveling across the Spanish countryside. He, a photographer with a thick, handlebar mustache and deeply cleft chin; she, a pretty, wealthy, young lady with long black hair and beautiful exotic eyes.

On the way, they stay at an inn with a strange keeper resembling a cross between Igor from Young Frankenstein and Riffraff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, buggy wandering eyes and all, who also happens to be hard of hearing. While taking in the sights, their car is mysteriously stolen and taken a relatively short distance, which they fortunately retrieve.

Further down the road, they meet up with an old lady living in a charming house who takes them in for the night. In order to take advantage of the scenic environment, he ventures out into the wilderness where he becomes lost in the night fog, where he witnesses a group of black-clad women in the woods. He actually managed to capture their images onto film, displaying some odd anomalies, which he develops with his portable 'dark room'. He discovers the coven house, complete with various ingredients, relics, a black cat {of course}, and... her photo. They soon discover these are actually a coven of witches who take a shine to his companion, desiring to have her wed.

During certain manifestations, a haunting, echoing aria pervades, like a musical spell, until they finally confront the coven, at which point the aria includes tribal drumming, complete with a bale fire and undulating celebrants.

In an effort to escape, she plunges to her death down into a mountain gorge, but again reappears as part of the coven, while shackles await him. They were the whole time wrapped up in their influence, being led to their destination and fate by The Witches' desires.

With a distinctive European flavor, the film begins at a rather slow pace, & ends abruptly. There are many wide scenic shots of the forest area and nearby lake, through which a perpetual spectral wind blows, creating an eerie atmosphere throughout. ∞


The Last Man On Earth

The Last Man On Earth
Directed by Ubaldo Ragona. Written by William F. Leicester (screenplay), Richard Matheson. Starring Vincent Price {Dr. Robert Morgan}, Franca Bettoia {Ruth Collins}, Emma Danieli {Virginia Morgan}, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart {Ben Cortman}, Umberto Raho {Dr. Mercer, as Umberto Rau), Christi Courtland {Kathy Morgan}. Genre: Horror.

Dr. Robert Morgan just wants to be left alone, a scientist trying to find a cure for an air-born pathogen that transforms living people into zombie vampires, who is now just trying to survive. Existing in a monotonous situation, he gets up at dawn, prepares his implements, and heads off in his black hearse-like station wagon for the burning pit where he disposes of zombie bodies littering the city in the daylight.

The mysterious atmospheric plague has traveled across the world finally reaching this city, where his wife Virginia and daughter become effected. However, he is strangely immune, through a most interestingly fortuitous set of circumstances.

He is seemingly all alone in the world, except for these ghouls pounding at his walls after sundown, until he one day-spots another day-dwelling creature, a black dog, eventually leading him to meet a woman in the midst of this post-apocalyptic world of nightmares. Reminds this writer of the song "If You Were The Only Girl".*

Apparently, another opportunity to re-populate the earth with living creatures; but she is not what she seems, thus unleashing another threat to his safety with these other creatures, veritable zombie slayers themselves existing between the living and the dead.

This presentation has a very The Twilight Zone feel to it, reminiscent of "Time Enough at Last". Most of the introduction is Robert thinking to himself, eventually merging into communication with Ruth. Still, bestowed the knowledge of new creation thanks to his ingenious & exhaustive study & experimentation, a new world may be formed, with his legacy becoming legendary.

No Pollyanna "happy ending" here, either, but perhaps a more realistic conclusion of what may occur in such a hypothetical apocalyptic scenario. ∞

* Listen to Magus LaVey's version here: {Satan Takes a Holiday}.