Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Black Room, The (1982)

Directed by:
Elly Kenner
Norman Thaddeus Vane

Very interesting low-budget American horror film; this is definitely worth a look for fans of the bizarre. Myster-ious, sexy siblings Jason (Stephen Knight) and Bridget (exotic-looking Cassandra Gava - as "Cassandra Gaviola" - who is best remembered for her small role in CONAN THE BARBARIAN) lure swingers to their Beverly Hills mansion; seducing victims with the prospect of kinky sexual games, they lead them into the title room and kill them. It turns out they both suffer from a rare genetic disease and need fresh blood to survive, which they obtain by hooking victims up to a machine with clear tubes that drain their victims dry. Thrown into the mix are Larry (Jimmy Stathis), a married everyman with kids, who rents a room off the deadly duo following the mysterious murder of its previous tenant, and his sweet, but a little too trustworthy wife Robin (the very appealing Clara Perryman), who starts snooping around the home when she suspects he's being unfaithful.
While not really 'great' in the traditional sense, this obscure and seldom-discussed film is still oddly engrossing. It's plenty bloody, darkly sexual, the four lead performances are all solid, there's a sick/perverse angle to the plot and the rough-around-the-edges production complete with dim lighting, seedy-looking sets and grainy photography add to the gritty, effective low-budget ambience. The ending may take you by surprise, but it's still a bit hard to swallow. Plus be on the lookout for small roles played by familiar character actor Christopher McDonald (THE FACULTY, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) and famous Scream Queen Linnea Quigley (as a babysitter). It was filmed in 1981, but not released until 1984.


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