As we cross that invisible line from 2012 into 2013, time is very much on my mind. Most of us would like to be able to travel backwards in time to change something we did wrong, or at least make something good into something even better. But in this world, as far as we know, we can’t. We can only go forward. I’m especially thinking about time tonight because on January 8th I have a birthday, and it’s one of those birthdays that is getting uncomfortably close to one of those major, angst-ridden birthdays. Is it any wonder that movies about time travel are so popular? Of course, when it comes to horror movies about time travel, maybe they do more to make us feel fortunate that we’re stuck in our own time.
Burned at the Stake – The descendant of a girl who falsely accused two others of witchcraft in the 1600s, resulting in their executions, is pursued by the executed girls’ father through modern day Salem after a school field trip to the witch trial museum somehow allows him to travel through time via the exhibit where he is represented by a mannequin. It appears to me that time traveling could be considered suspicious behavior to those who hunt witches, but what the hell do I know?
Night of Dark Shadows - A member of the Collins family from a different branch than the Barnabas Collinses moves into Collinwood, only to find that he lived there lifetimes ago, and (to his current wife’s horror) not only is his old love from that life traveling to the current one to reclaim him, he is also spending time in the past as his ancestor and former self. Lesson, as always: don’t move with your spouse if they inherit a family mansion, or you’ll rue the day!
Waxwork - Visitors to an evil wax museum find themselves transported back in time into the lairs of various old timey murderers when they step into the exhibits. Hey, if you are a character in a horror movie, stay on this side of the velvet rope, assholes! Or, better yet, stay out of murder museums.
Warlock - An ancient warlock finds a way to travel to the 80s, and a witch hunter chases him through the hole in time so they can do battle in modern day Boston with the help of that really wild chick from Footloose. This goofy B picture spawned umpteen sequels, and Julian Sands looks mighty fine as the warlock. I’d chase him to the 80s too!
Frankenstein Unbound – Speaking of those who were looking mighty fine in the movies, Michael Hutchence appears in this one as Percy Shelley. John Hurt plays a scientist who invents a weapon that accidentally sends him back to the Romantic period where he meets Frankenstein and pals. The Shelleys and Byron exist along with Frankenstein and his monster in the same reality here, as Mary Shelley gets her idea for the book by sitting and taking notes during a real (real in the film, that is) trial.
Sandman – The unfortunate director and star of this film, who died during filming, plays a man who moves into a new house with his little girl looking for a new life, but finds that the house is haunted and is a gateway to the past. Look for a full review of this oddity to show up on 90s Horror Movies very soon.
Saint Sinner – In this not-terrible TV adaptation of a Clive Barker story, a monk acquires the power of time travel in order to fight demons. They never quite get a Barker movie right, do they? In the future, when stories are beamed directly into our brains, they should have the problem fixed, since we’ll be able to see exactly what the author envisioned for the film, right?
Frenchman’s Farm - In this intriguing “Ozsploitation” 80s mystery, a woman is transported to the 40s where she witnesses a murder, then sets about solving it after she gets back to the 80s. Recommended, as a curiosity, for those who don’t mind that this is more of a drama with horror elements than a straight horror film.
Stigma - You might remember this one from José Ramón Larraz month earlier this year. A creepy young man with deadly psychic powers feels drawn to an old house, about which he experiences visions. Eventually he visits the house, where he learns that his intrusive visions are actually memories: he then temporarily goes back in time to his former life there as someone else.
Bloody New Year – Horny teens go to an abandoned hotel on an island, but they are not alone. Not only are there ghosts there, the ghosts pull them back into their time which seems to be some twisted version of the 50s. This is an uneven but fun and trippy movie, notable for being, along with New Year’s Evil, Ghostkeeper, and Terror Train, one of the only New Year’s horror movies. Actually, now that I think about it, this is probably a total ripoff of Ghostkeeper, which is a better movie that was filmed and set in Canada a few years before. But who cares? Not I. I reviewed this one earlier this year for my Thursday night B movie series.