Heaven knows I'm bogged down with about 30 movies that I haven't watched yet - before graduate school I used to keep up - maybe in the near future -with school almost done (!) I'll be able to catch back up.
But instead of going with something unknown tonight, I wanted to take time to watch one of my Halloween standbys - films I crave every October. And one of them is this relatively unknown little gem:
I don't think this film is as well known as I think it should be - and I really think it should be seen and talked about more. It's just so deliciously creepy and out there - there's really nothing else like it. I had never even heard of it until it was released on DVD a few years ago - and the description of it sounded so wonderful that I bought it without as seeing so much as a trailer. And I wasn't disappointed.
The movie is about a girl named Lila Lee - whose father killed her mother (and her lover) when he found her cheating on him. Since then, Lila has been raised by the local Reverend and has become revered for her heavenly singing voice. When Lila receives a letter from a mysterious Lemora (calling herself a 'fellow Christian'), who says that she has Lila's father and that she must come and see him before he dies - and also to tell no one about what she is doing or where she is going.
Lila takes off for the strange town of Astaroth, and ends up taking a very creepy bus ride that ends up being attacked - and ends with her waking up a prisoner in a little stone house, with this weird old lady calling her 'Mary Jo' (claiming Lila looks just like her) and singing creepy songs to her:
Lila escapes and crawls under the house, where she overhears a conversation between her father and a woman she will soon meet, Lemora. Lemora finds Lila and brings her into the house and gives her a room:
Soon we're introduced to Lemora's five 'adopted' children, none of whom look very healthy. They all pass around a goblet of something that looks very suspicious:
It's soon apparent that Lemora has some kind of plans for Lila - plans which won't come as much of a surprise to horror fans - but the way that the movie is executed is so bizarre, sensual, and creepy - it's really a feast for the eyes.
There's a lot of talk from Lila about what is 'sinful' (drinking wine, vanity) and how Lemora attempts to convince her otherwise. It's also evident that Lemora has tried to recruit other young women (the infamous Mary Jo, whose diary is found by Lila) and has failed in the past.
The rest of the movie is a wonderful gothic mix of vampirism, witchcraft, and some not so subtle overtures from Lemora towards Lila. Will Lila succumb to Lemora's spell? If you're a fan of horror from the 60s or 70s, I really suggest you check this morsel out and find out for yourself.....