Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tale of a Mystery Solved

Back in my mid teens a local station used to show surprisingly graphic horror films in the wee hours on Sunday night. I'm talking the very early 80's. 1980, 1981, no later than that. So much time has passed that I couldn't tell you the names of most of those movies. But they were definitely above and beyond what was the standard for broadcast TV back then in terms of violent and sexual explicitness. This was before cable and satellite TV came to my neighborhood. We only had five stations, including the three major network affiliates at the time, the PBS station, and the independent WZTV (now a Fox affiliate). The latter was only a few years old at the time. Logic would seem to suggest the station airing these movies was WZTV, but I'm not positive about that. Some nagging sense at the back of my head makes me feel like it was actually one of the network affiliates. But who the hell knows, really? This was most of my life ago, after all.

Anyway, for decades the only one of these movies positively identified in my head was something called THE NIGHT ANDY CAME HOME. This was a good movie better known under its alternate titles DEAD OF NIGHT and DEATHDREAM. But there was a scene from another of these late night movies that seared itself into my consciousness and has stayed there ever since. I always had the vague impression that it was a vampire movie, but in later years I was only ever able to remember this one scene. In the scene, the bare back of a beautiful woman is shown in a dark setting. Another beautiful woman leans over her and bites her on the neck. A single trickle of red blood then slides down the bare back.

There's a very strong likelihood that one little scene exerted a subconscious influence on the more erotic elements in my own horror tales. As I said, however, later on I could never remember what that movie was or anything else about it. I would frequently ask people about it. No one had a clue. When the Internet came along, I posed the question in various forums, figuring some genre junkie would finally solve the mystery for me, but no one ever did. Most people suggested various early 70's Hammer and Euro horror films as possibilities. Turns out these people were on the right track, at least.

Recently I did a lot of movie browsing and shopping on Amazon, with a focus on obscure horror films from the 70's and 80's. As part of this, I watched a lot of trailers on YouTube. Some of the movies are even available in full on YouTube and I skimmed through several trying to get a feel for what they were like. In the process of doing this, I stumbled across the scene that has haunted me all these years and decades.

The movie is THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE from 1972. There's a relatively cheap DVD edition on Amazon. Oddly, the full film is also available as one of the extra features on the blu-ray of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, another cultish piece of early 70's Euro horror.  I bought the DVD and the DOD blu-ray, because I'm weird like that.  Anyway, this isn't exactly an unknown movie in horror circles. In retrospect, I'm a bit stunned that none of the horror junkies I queried over the years were ever able to identify it for me. But that's beside the point.  I watched THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE last night and was pleased to find I quite enjoyed it. It's wickedly subversive, particularly for its time period.

In closing, it feels a bit weird that a mystery that endured this long should end in so random a way, but I won't argue with it.