Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 2

This edition of Adventures in B-Movie Horrors offers some throwbacks. On top of them being decades old, they also all feature things of a time gone by.

One of them takes inspiration from the classic “Frankenstein” story, another is a callback to 50s monster flicks and the third includes horror retellings of old fairy tales.

The Body Shop (1972)

Bodyshopblog
We have Bride of Frankenstein at home. Bride of Frankenstein at home:

The posters pictured above for “The Body Shop,” also known as “Doctor Gore,” make the movie appear much more intense than it actually is. There are in fact gory moments, and they give the movie some entertainment value, but they take up just a fraction of the runtime.

More or less, the movie is a “Frankenstein” tale. A doctor whose wife died wants to recreate his lost love. After reanimating her corpse fails, the doctor comes up with a new idea, which is collecting body parts from other women and assembling them into a new being to be his wife.

The movie’s gore mainly comes from the scenes where the doctor is dismembering the victims, which get pretty gruesome. Viewers of Hammer Films should find themselves in familiar territory, with the blood being a bright, vibrant red. The film’s main setting is also Hammer-esc, featuring a Gothic laboratory.

Outside of those elements, though, this one is largely a bore, and at times, a bit annoying. Regarding the latter, the movie for whatever reason has the doctor working with a hunchbacked henchman, who for some reason can only grunt? His constant grunts in place of speech are tedious rather than creepy.

The music is another issue. There are several scenes where the film uses this short instrumental jingle from a music box. It could be creepy if just used once or twice. But it’s played over and over and over again, to where it’s grating.

Also for some reason, my guess is to pad the runtime, the movie gives a lot of time to a country singer’s performance at a night club.

Those issues could have been forgiven, though, had the rest of the movie not been so dull. The latter half is just this weird montage with the doctor and his new creation, followed by a jumbled ending.

1.5 out of 3 chopped off hands.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

chudblog
Not to be confused with a Ninja Turtle.

For those wondering, C.H.U.D. stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller, but the humanoid part is pretty loose. Regardless of how humanoid the monsters, are, though, the movie as a whole is a real gem.

One pleasant surprise right off the bat are the familiar faces. For example, the movie features John Heard and Daniel Stern, who played Peter McCallister and Marv, respectively, in the “Home Alone” films. “C.H.U.D.” also has a short appearance by John Goodman. In fact, it was just his seventh acting role.

The known performers aren’t the only highlight, though. “C.H.U.D.” earns points for how it feels like a true throwback to monster movies of the 50s.

There’s a project that went wrong, being covered up by the government and now some scrappy heroes have to clean up the mess. It makes for a pretty fun experience.

The highlight of the picture is Stern’s character A.J., who has a sharp mouth and runs a soup kitchen, teaming up with a grizzled police captain played by Christopher Curry. The two have a fun buddy dynamic.

The monsters themselves have an old school charm to them as well. The rubber suits with gnarly faces work, as do the glowing yellow eyes they have.

Gore fans will probably come away from this one largely disappointed. Many of the kills are off screen and not all that gruesome.

However, the movie is still a completely enjoyable, campy B-movie. The characters are fun and the monsters are classic.

3 out of 3 chemical spills.

DeadTime Stories (1986)

deadstoriesblog
A more intense version of Goldilocks.

When it comes to anthology movies for this series, both 2019 and 2020 fared better, as both 1983’s “Screamtime” and 1991’s “Campfire Tales” easily exceed this 1986 flick. The movie’s genres on IMDB are listed as horror and comedy, but it leans way too heavily on the latter.

Two of the three stories featured in the anthology are based on fairy tales. One of them has similarities to “Little Red Riding Hood” and the other being a take on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Making tales like those into horror shorts isn’t a bad idea, but the execution is remarkably poor.

It’s not because of the super low budget either. The grainy look of the film as well as the creative practical effects and props, give this film a good B-movie appeal.

The writing is where the movie stumbles. The comedy is abysmal, with few, if any funny lines. Most of the attempts at humor are just lame slapstick, which doesn’t exactly work in a horror comedy. The humor gets especially bad during the “Goldilocks” story.

The horror aspect isn’t treated much better. The only memorable moment in that regard is where a skeleton is reformed into a full person. It’s a pretty cool effect. Yet that’s really all the movie has to offer. There’s little blood and spilled and zero tension built.

1 out of 3 resurrection spells.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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