In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: The Black Room (1982)

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, there are indeed TWO movies logged in The Guide called The Black Room, this one helmed by Norman Thaddeus Vane & Elly Kenner from the early eighties. Apart from the vague recollection of the coverbox, I had about as much knowledge of this one as I did its thirties namesake.

A married man named Jason (Stephen Knight) rents a room to use as a secret sex den, but doesn't realize his landlord Larry (Jimmy Stithis) has his own nefarious plans.

This Black Room is an odd duck. I can't say that I've ever seen anything quite like it. 

I guess what I found most baffling were the character reactions. First off, there's Jason who when viewing the room doesn't seem to bat an eye that the room is totally blacked out and only lit with candles. I mean, I GUESS he's only there to fuck, and his landlord does offer to pre-pour the wine and put on smooth classical jams. How about some Chopin this time?  

But then, there's the wife (Clara Perryman) who seems to oh pshaw her husband every time he openly talks about his sex den. It's only when she finds the keys in Act Two, she's like “wait, he was being serious”? And her reaction? “Well, I'm gonna start using it too”. I'm going to take a wild guess and say the whole Swingers movement was in full swing in 1982. :P

However, the joke's on them because Larry and his sister Bridget (Cassandra Gava) are murdering their visitors ala H.H. Holmes and harvesting their blood to treat his aggressive anemia. I was onboard with this movie's unique take on vampirism (not unlike Romero's film Martin five years earlier), but they sure did get their money's worth out of those transfusion scenes.

This film probably cost very little to make and they did a few things to up their game, like finding a nice Hollywood Hills house location and some well shot Steadicam footage. They unfortunately couldn't afford that Super camera from Barry Lyndon because that would've helped with those Black Room scenes. I'll blame some of this on my muddy YT rip, but this movie was dark as hell, to the point I had to take the moans and groans as proof the characters were having sex.

I also kept waiting for Linnea Quigley to show up - she was seventh billed at the hop - only to find that she had even less to do in this than she did Silent Night, Deadly Night and Graduation Day.

The Black Room was palatable fare, but this may be the first time that the Guide liked a movie more than I did. I'm willing to bet they were sick of the overabundance of the slashers flooding the market at the time and they found this “adult” material a breath of fresh air.

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