Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 3

This year’s B-movie odyssey will come to a close with two niche horror genres.

One is a stylized Italian horror film, also known as a Giallo. The other is a shot on video, or SOV, movie, which were hyper low budget flicks often made with simpler cameras.

While both movies have quite a bit of blood shed, the two couldn’t be more different in terms of camera work.

StageFright (1987)

stagefrightblog
How many cuts does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

While this movie was made by an Italian filmmaker, it all takes place in English. The premise is simple enough, there’s a murderer on the loose, he ends up at a theater where rehearsals for a play are taking place, and starts attacking the cast.

While the film has a straightforward slasher approach, complete with the killer wearing headgear, the Giallo elements make it a more unique, atmospheric experience. The cinematography, for example, is quite good, with some dynamic shots being included, as well as a few solid tracking shots.

The lighting and set design also play a role, with much of the movie having a dreamlike aesthetic, which really adds to the visual quality.

Like most in the Giallo genre, there is a mystery at play in “StageFright.” In this case, the characters are all locked inside the building, and the key is missing. While one wonders how a modern building can’t be unlocked easily from the inside, it does give a good enough reason for the movie to happen and provides a goal for the characters to accomplish in a confined space.

I’d say “StageFright” also competes with “C.H.U.D.” for having the best performances in this year’s Adventures in B-Movies. The actors all take the material seriously, yet the characters never come across as being overly serious. A bit over dramatic at times, yes, but the level of drama the actors bring to the table works with the mood the film is going for.

The movie, after a while, also delivers on the kills. It takes a bit, as the first couple deaths aren’t that intense.

However, about halfway through, a character is killed by a giant drill (seems to be a theme this year) and the blood really starts to pour. From there, the deaths get more entertaining.

3 out of 3 owl masks.

Addicted to Murder (1995)

addmurdblog
Who new having a vampire girlfriend would be so troublesome?

When “Addicted to Murder” started, I wasn’t expecting a pseudo-character study of a killer with vampiric elements. But, here we are.

The movie is framed in a sort of mockumentary format, with several characters and experts giving interviews about the main character, who turned out to be a killer. As the audience learns, he was inspired to kill by his high school girlfriend, who happened to be a vampire.

“Addicted” has some flat cinematography, and the camera quality, being an SOV, obviously leaves some visual quality to be desired. The acting in some cases is also pretty rough, especially with the lead performer.

Still, there’s something admirable about how ambitious this project was. Writer and director Kevin Lindenmuth clearly wanted to make a more complex movie than just a standard vampire monster entry.

The movie came out a year after “Interview with a Vampire” was released, so a more refined take with the monster genre wasn’t out of the question. But still, points for creativity here.

The problem, though, is “Addicted to Murder” doesn’t boast the script to back up its earnest story ideas. The film’s concept is let down by its poor pacing and dialogue.

It also doesn’t help that the technical details fall short, too. It’s hard to understand what people are saying, since the audio quality is poor, and the editing is choppy at times.

Despite that, and the noticeable lack of onscreen kills, this movie has a weird charm. The quirky framing device with the mockumentary, along with the effort to do something different and a really fun final scene gives this some points.

2 out of 3 murder experts in a documentary.

Happy Halloween! Check out the previous entries from this year:

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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