Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'80s Horror: Night of Death!

Who says that the French are always classy?  Today's film is Night of Death, another film that finally escaped the limbo that it is my Queue.  After so many weird and incomprehensible Jean Rollin films, I was wary.  Plus, The Night of the Hunted didn't help either.  Future Project Terrible material perhaps?  This film is an interesting twist on the usual French fare and actually tells the story with a unique little twist.  The story is about a woman who gets a job at an eccentric Manor house for the Elderly, but there's a secret.  You actually find it out pretty quickly, making the film more of a ticking clock scenario than most.  It's usually an hour or so of build-up to the twist- i.e. Skeleton Key.  If used sparingly (which it seems to be), I kind of like this method.  This film is a mix of dark, gory and random humor.  To find out how this souffle tastes, read on...
A woman goes to work at this lovely Manor House.  Apparently, the Director decided that this shot was the best place to put his Credit- five minutes into the film.
There is something weird going on in this House.  You can't make phone calls, you can't leave for two months and everyone is clearly hiding something.  But what is it?
About twenty minutes in, you learn.  The residents kill and eat their Employees every two months in order to maintain their long lives.

As long as they're Arby's employees, I'm game!
So the rest of the movie is our heroine looking into the odd events and asking questions.  All the while, the residents plot their next move and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
 In a bit right out of Highlander III, the Head Mistress leaves evidence around showing that she's immortal.  At least she put it in a drawer and didn't decorate her house with it like Lambert did!
Finally, our heroine figures out the truth and fights for her life.  Second Wind!  Second Wind!

Oh and she finds out that her boyfriend works for the old people.  Betrayal!
If you ever wanted to see dramatic scenes of a young woman stabbing old people to death, you're in luck!  You're also in need of some therapy.  Get some help!
Apparently the deadline for feasting on young people flesh is very exact.  When our heroine escapes, the Head Mistress instantly turns into Carol Kane from The Princess Bride.  Holy Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Batman!
In an extra bit of darkness, our heroine is stabbed to death and carried back before she can truly escape.

The problem: none of the people that were feasting on the young people flesh are alive anymore.  What was the point?  The End.
On the plus side, I understood everything in this movie.  In all seriousness, this is not a bad movie.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  As it turns out, I kind of liked it.  Giving the twist away early and making the film more about suspense was a neat touch.  Like I said earlier, it's a neat idea if done in moderation.  Here it works because it allows them to show you the residents being all sorts of evil and plotting.  If they hadn't done it, it would have been a slower film that would have just been trying to build up some sort of mystery.  I wouldn't have liked that movie.  That said, the random gore is...well, random.  I would also have liked some more clarity on how far the plan goes.  At one point, our heroine meets up with two random people and asks for help, only to be pulled away by the boyfriend.  So...were they in on it or is this just lazy writing?  As a whole, this is a neat little French film.  If you seen one film about cannibalistic French people, make it this one.  If nothing else, it has this...
Next up, I return to Lucio Fulci territory with one of his more obscure Slasher films.  If someone is trying to kill you, dance dance DANCE!  Stay tuned...

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