How do I even begin to explain last night’s movie, Bell From Hell? I don’t know any of the character’s names or anything that happened. The print was so dark that there were times that I thought the camera lens was made out of mud. I think the sound was recorded on Edison’s cylinder and the microphone was in a cereal box across the room from the actors.
Here’s what I know of the plot, based on the description from the envelope and dialogue I could hear. John is being released from a mental institution by a C. Everett Koop lookalike who never, ever takes off his Ray-Bans. His aunt had him placed there falsely so that she could get the inheritance that his mother left him. This begs the question, wouldn’t it just be easier to kill him and make it look like an accident? I mean, eventually he could be released. John works at a slaughterhouse for one day and then quits saying that he has enough money. And then he rides his motorcycle around for 3/4’s of the movie.
Then, there’s this stringy-haired schoolgirl walking home and there are these old men dressed like hoboes from a Warner Bros. cartoon. They start making jokes about what sex the bird is and sexing the bird and then they start to attack her. She goes into a rowboat in a pond to escape. Ok…so they just light a fire and wait for her to get cold. The hobo-men throw a rope to her and promise to leave her alone so she pulls herself back on shore and they instantly attack her. But John shows up on his motorcycle, which is permanently sewn to his thighs now, and drives away her attackers. Some more stuff, which I honestly couldn’t hear or see and didn’t really care about happened. Then there was a shot of darkness for about five minutes with screaming. When the scene is relit, I guess the lighting budget ran out, some guy has captured John and says he’s going to hang him from the new church bell and his corpse will make the bell toll. Oh, John also at one point tortures his aunt’s daughters but it’s so choppy and ill-miked that you really can’t see or hear anything.
That’s the movie. There’s no music except for endless rounds of children chanting “Frere Jaques” and occasional theremin noodling.
When I ended the movie I felt absolutely nothing except some relief since I was so bored. A day later, I’m enraged that it stole 93 minutes of my life. I would like those minutes back very much.
The really weird part is that I looked this movie up on Wikipedia and IMDB. I discovered that it’s a Spanish movie from the seventies called La Campana del Infierno and it had pretty positive reviews. Also, that my copy is thirteen minutes short of the 106 minute running time. I wonder what those thirteen minutes would add but I really don’t dare watch it again because I just hated it so much. For all of its incompetence, at least I could see and hear the actors in Manos: Hands of Fate. I hated looking at them and what they were saying but, jeezus Beezus, at least I could see and hear them. That’s how I knew to laugh at the granny-panty lady wrasslin’ scene.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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