Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Movie Reviews 406 – Private Parts (1972)

September 14, 2019

If you were looking for a review of the Howard Stern biopic, you’re not going to find that here. The Private Parts we’ll be discussing here are quite different, though equally disturbing. Here, we’ll be indulging in director Paul Bartel’s Private Parts (so to speak). While he will forever be closer associated as the director of low brow classics Eating Raoul and Death Race 2000, Private Parts was Bartel’s first feature and shows some of the blemishes due to inexperience. But the film does entertain if you are looking for the niche it fills. Filmed in and around Manhattan’s seedy 42nd Street at the height of it’s sleez era, this rather tame slasher horror delivers more on eccentricity than any scare or comedy it intended.

Cheryl (Ayn Ruymen), a young runaway living with her best friend Judy in Los Angeles has an argument after being caught peeping on Judy and her boyfriend doing the horizontal. With nowhere else to go she heads to the Big Apple where her aunt Martha (Lucille Benson) owns a dilapidated hotel a stones throw from the dingy Peepshows, Adult magazine shops and other sordid dens of sin. Martha only reluctantly agrees to let Cheryl stay, but makes clear her distaste for any wanton lifestyles.

Cheryl encounters some of the eccentric boarders but takes a particular shine to George (John Ventantonio) a photographer loner, the one person her aunt has warned her to stay away from.

As she settles in to her new digs Cheryl continually hears questions about Alice, a former resident who suddenly disappeared. But it’s her developing womanhood that fills her mind and the enigmatic George becomes a lustfull obsession. Instead of being shocked and outraged when she finds peepholes in her room and shower, she purposely poses for her concealed audience.

An electrified key only discovered when Martha’s pet rat accidentally triggers it opens up a new world to Cheryl, those looking for Alice, and a few other mysterious disappearances. But those are nothing compared to be one big secret shared by Martha and George.

While the performances are nothing to write home about, it’s the sheer weirdness that captivates audiences here. Aunt Martha’s penchant to go to funerals – mostly for people she never knew. George’s inflated sex-doll which he fillls with water and to which he has tacked on a picture of Cheryl’s face which he cuddles to sleep. The old eccentric lady walking the halls and the priest who wears the collar by day but transforms in the sadomasochistic, leather bound homosexual by night.

Produced by Gene Corman, the brother of legendary B-movie producer/director Roger Corman, this film doesn’t get as much exposure as it should. While I can’t say it’s “must see” material no matter which genre peaks your interest, as a historical cult curiosity it is still worth a watch.

 

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Death by Umbrella – C. Lombardo & J. Kirschner (2016)

August 20, 2019

You’ve heard of Death by a Thousand Cuts? Well how about death by one hundred horror movie weapons?

Almost since the birth of horror movies themselves have script writers and directors strived to provide yet another novel manner in which people can come to a gruesome end. In Death by Umbrella, authors Chris Lombardo and Jeff Kirschner have taken the pains to document one hundred of their favorite weapons of singular destruction in a range of films that run the gamut from the classics to some of the more obscure titles.

Despite a short bibliography, Lombardo and Kirschner are no mere wannabe scribes being the hosts of the Really Awful Movie Podcast, where they weekly dissect and serve up reviews of all manner of weird, shocking or simply outlandish films both old and new. Along the way they tabulated an assortment of tools, machinery, sporting goods, utensils, and gadgets that have been immortalized on celluloid to elicit screams and shudders as cast members bite the dust.

Whether a fairly knowledgeable giallo afficionado or a horror neophyte, readers will delight in either reliving some of our favorite kills such Damien on his tricycle rampage in The Omen, or discover previously unknown fodder like a shape shifting car in Super Hybrid. Did you know about the shish kebab skewering in Happy Birthday to Me? How about Linnea Quigley’s untimely deer antler demise in Silent Night, Deadly Night? They’re all here, and more. Much more as the authors have graciously added a number of honorable mentions in each of the seven chapters used to categorize the book.

Fittingly Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, one of the masters of low budget death dealing himself provides the foreword as the authors provide witty jokes and astute observations and brief synopsis of the films to accompany the blow by blow of the kills. I was especially glad to see some local favorite films that included Homicycle by Ottawa’s very own Brett Kelly (a film that I happen to be an uncredited extra in) and Crawler by Montreal’s Sv Bell. And yes, there are deaths by umbrella. More than one in fact.

I enjoyed the special emphasis on films featuring multiple odd deaths such as the seven deadly sins enacted by Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes while not spoiling some of the more delectable kills in movies such as Audition. I’ve always wanted to see The Town that Dreaded Sundown but more so now that I know there is a trombone-knife kill in it. Reading this tome also raised a few questions such as how did the authors know that strip clubs are not open on Christmas as per their cataloging of the electrified stripper pole in Santa’s Slay? (Research?)

I highly recommend this for all horror fans and to follow up the madness by tuning in on the Really Awful Movie Podcast in which I hope the authors are making yet another list for another book.

 

Movie Reviews 404 – Lifechanger (2018)

August 10, 2019

Lifechanger is one of those movies that begins in an odd way such that you know something is wrong or different and that you’re going to have to figure out what that premise is before the film really gets going. In this case we begin with a woman waking up in bed next to what appears to be her dead twin or a doppelganger. What throws us off is the nonchalant manner in which the woman reacts to the body, basically waking up and just carrying on. But then the narration from the point of view of the woman is that of a man’s voice and we soon learn what’s really going on.

The ‘woman’ has just adopted the body of the dead woman, much like an Invasion of the Body Snatchers manner. The entity is of course a man, one who has been tormented with an affliction in which he must reluctant kill others in order to survive. This affliction which he has lived with for many years necessitates a new body when the current form begins to rot. But the pace of the rot, long ago one in which he could maintain a body for over a year, has now sped up to the point that a new body is needed within days.

You would think that the affliction is the main point of the film but something overshadows even that in the mind of the suffering man. He is obsessed with Julia (Lora Burke), a woman he once loved but who he simply left in the middle of the night long ago as he needed to assimilate a new body. Unable to confront her with the truth he has been stalking her for years and often drops in the bar she frequents nightly. At times he interacts with her, whether as a male or female, but other times he just quietly sits afar only to observe what she is up to. As his transformations become more frequent and the local police begin to close in, he breaks when he sees she has taken a new boyfriend and decides to osmose the new beau Robert (Jack Foley) and finally confess to her.

I found the plot and pacing, while not altogether completely novel, engaging enough. It was both odd and interesting seeing the lead character (so to speak) taking on a parade of different personas externally if not internally. Those included a detective, an unfaithful doctor, and women at different times. But once the gist of where the film was going was determined the plot blemishes became grating at times. For one thing Julia comes off as a bit of floozy necessitated by the plot point of her regular nightly bar visits. While there clearly was an ongoing police investigation the common focal point of the bar and all it’s patrons seemed all too obvious but to the cops. The film adds a few nice touches like a dog that recognizes the man regardless of which body he inhabits and a minor plot device of how drugs can somewhat alleviate the onset of the rot.

So did this movie (to riff on the title) change my life? No. I wouldn’t call it a must see, but fair enough to warrant of view if you can get it.

Which brings me to the full disclosure of how I in fact got this film myself. It was given to me as a freebie from one of the distributors at a convention when I bought a number of other movies from the vendor and started a conversation that included me mentioning this blog. The film was provided with the promise of an unbiased review. I later fretted that I may hate the movie which would have made this difficult to write. A needless worry as I can honestly say that I enjoyed the film and would have not regretted purchasing it.

 

Movie Reviews 402 – The Thirsty Dead (1974)

July 26, 2019

I’ve reviewed a string a great films for the last little while and decided it was time to get back to cheesy films and so this week we’ll be diving to the bottom of the barrel and review an older Philippine production called The Thirsty Dead. (AKA Blood Hunt)

Four young women are kidnapped off the streets of Manila and brought to a remote jungle subterranean community and while they are not free to leave, they are well treated, almost pampered, while at the same time kept in the dark as to the motivation for their capture. Their stewards are a cult of lithe young people who worship “Raoul” (or Raoum?) which is a man’s head encased in a ruby-red translucent cube which does little more than flinch or grimace on occasion.

One of the men, Baru (John Considine) takes particular notice of Laura (Jennifer Billingsley) who looks a lot like a woman in a number of paintings around the place. Baru describes how the group have become immortal by feasting on the blood of others and begs Laura, the “Chosen One” to join them in immortality. As one can imagine she balks when offered the blood of innocents (so much for the titular “Thirsty”). Of course when they girls decide they’ve had enough the clan is not as acquiescent and their leader Ranu (Tani Guthrie), a ravishing princess with needle-pointed nails that would make Catwoman envious, sends a cadre of silent hulking, loin clothed attendants under her command to stop the group.

Definitely a film of it’s time (and budget), I got a bit of a nostalgic kick with the Manila opening sequence featuring Claire (Judith McConnell) a Go-Go dancer in a smoky lounge just before she gets apprehended. As the token rebel of the group luxuriating in her hosts hospitality, her minor character turned out to be one of the more interesting her otherwise vapid co-abductees. While the clan women are mostly garbed in colorful array of fine fabrics Baru’s wardrobe is something else. When not fitted with his horned collar cape (think Doctor Strange) he wears a gold giant chained pendant that makes him look like a honky rapper years ahead of his time.

But while there are a few interesting brief moments of terror, this thinly veiled exposition of the superiority complex of entitled elite is a bit of a snoozefest at times, even when it attempts to ratchet up the tension. As an example of a failed thrilling scene the spot where a snake wraps itself around the leg of one of the girls. After all the screams and discussion as to what they should do the situation gets resolved when the snake just lumbers away on its own from what I suspect to be boredom (lucky snake!).

Truth be told I would have never even come across this film had it not been included in one of my Vampire themed DVD sets which included Paul Naschy’s The Werewolf VS The Vampire Woman] and Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, both highly more entertaining than this tripe. Wanna know what’s really scary? The next film in the set is yet another Philippine production from the same year in which girls in Manila suddenly start disappearing titled Blood Thirst! Sound familiar?

I may have been parched for a good horror movie but I did not thirst for this one.

Movie Reviews 400 – I’ll Take Your Dead (2018)

July 12, 2019

I was in the midst of writing up a review for a complete different film this week when I got the chance to view a screening of I’ll Take Your Dead compliments of a contest from the folks who run the Blood in the Snow festival. While I avoid trailers before watching movies I was curious enough to look up the IMDB rating (which I usually considered trustworthy) to set my expectations. With that rating in hand and yet another title with the word Dead (come on everyone, having yet another “Dead” title is … dead) I expected a passable feature and not much else. Much to my surprise, what I got was a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat treat from start to finish. As soon as I walked out of that theater I knew that my “review of the week” plans had changed (Sorry Scorsese! Mean Streets will have to wait for another day) so here we are with this instead.

Growing up without a mom can be tough. It’s a little tougher when money is tight. Tougher still when your father has reluctantly become the local disposer of bullet hole riddled bodies for hardened criminals. But things get downright complicated when one of those bodies fails to meet the basic requirement of being dead. I don’t mean that in an un-dead ghostly sense (although this film has that as well), rather just someone who was mistaken for being dead.

Directed by Chad Archibald and written by Jayme Laforest (based on a story by Archibald), the simple premise is that William (Aidan Devine) who lives with his daughter Gloria (Ava Preston) in a remote horse farm has become the drop man for slain victims of area gangs when one particular unwanted drop has another unwelcome surprise, a wounded but very much alive Jackie (Jess Salgueiro). Despite doing his best to shield his daughter from his recently  acquired trade, she is well aware of his activities and even gives him a helping hand when the occasional body have to be schlepped from the road to the barn. When Jackie awakens tied to a bed she predictably befriends young Gloria hoping she will aid her to escape. But when she believes that a rescue party is on the way it turns out to be anything but. Oh, and did I mention that Gloria sees dead people? Those bodies that have come through her father’s disposal duties aren’t quite done yet.

The script is taut and to the point without unnecessary dialogue or distractions. We commiserate with William trying to do what is right for his daughter as he saves his blood stained earnings with dreams of moving to a little house in El Paso. We feel empathy for Jackie caught up in gangland lies and deception. And mostly we get to know wise beyond her age Gloria, mourning a lost mother while holding her dad together despite her own burdens. The acting is top notch across the board but Preston steals the show. Talent that young is hard to come by for even run-of-the-mill roles but here she deftly nails a wide rage beyond the sympathetic, intelligent kid. While online searches is suspiciously scant on her bio, not surprisingly IMDB reveals she is already a seasoned actor with nearly ten years and dozens of roles under her belt.

After watching the film I realized that the horror angle, while not superfluous, could have been eliminated entirely and then with a few changes here and there and the plot would have still been strong enough to stand as simple thriller. A good story is a good story, and when you have the right people working on it you end up with a movie like this.  I’ll be looking forward to catching more films from the entire creative team and will be revisiting this one soon when released on media.

Movie Reviews 399 – Night of the Creeps (1986)

July 5, 2019

Nostalgic cinematic moments are usually times when one rewatches old favorite films to relive fond memories or at least now fondly remembered regardless of what we felt during that first viewing. As I had never watched Night of the Creeps until this week I had no such expectations and yet this film managed to make me feel right at home and it was like revisiting an old friend.

While this was marketed (more on that later) as a zombie movie long before the zombie mania of recent years, it is only so in the barest sense. What it is is a cross between a cheesy alien invasion and a high school coming of age story tied in by a cryogenically frozen “patient zero” corpsicle.

The invasion (of sorts) begins in 1959 as a rogue alien ejects a cylinder above Earth as he is chased by his equally diminutive pudgy looking alien companions. The forces unleashed by the contents results in the brutal slaying of a young couple whooping it up at a secluded lovers’ lane.

Now, thirty years later, two outcast buddies Chris Romero (Jason Lively) and J.C (Steve Marshall) are frat pledges and their hazing challenge has them breaking into the secure basement lab of the local morgue where they accidentally unfreeze the body of a teen, a victim of that night long ago. But unbeknownst to the boys they have unleashed the slithering worm-like invaders that were dormant in the body. Soon people are behaving oddly and cadavers are piling up everywhere and it is up to the boys and former cop Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins), who happened to be on duty that night thirty years ago, to save humanity all while Chris tries to charm the lovely Cynthia Cronenberg (Jill Whitlow) a girl he deems out of his league into going to the prom with him.

This film oozes more than the wriggling crawlers which can be seen coming out of heads and orifices. The characters are solidly built up from Atkins’ trench coat and his signature ‘49 Merc to daring to impart J.C. with a physical affliction that has him walking on forearm crutches. In case you haven’t noticed yet (shame on you!) all the character names (Romero! Cameron! Cronenberg!) are homages to great cult directors and if you’re vigilant you’ll pick on other references to films like Jaws, Dead Alive and Plan 9 from Outer Space to name just a few. But more importantly as silly as some of the plot gets there are a number of genuine poignant moments that elevates this film above the din of other films in this category.

IF you can lay your hands on the director’s cut DVD I highly recommend checking out the extra features from which contains interesting recollections and reunions from the stars and writer-director Fred Dekker as well as commentary from one of the producers. The one common thread through all these interviews is how the studio bungled the marketing which resulted in the release being a flop. More unfortunate is how that sting ended up being particularly damaging to Dekker’s career which explains his lack of directorial efforts in the years that followed. A crime if there ever was one if you ask me.

Movie Reviews 398 – Wait Until Dark (1967)

June 28, 2019

The idea of finding yourself suddenly blinded for life can be a pretty terrifying ordeal. But in Wait Until Dark that ordeal becomes orders of magnitude more horrifying when a group of people take advantage of that blindness in a coordinated, deceitful, psychological attack.

Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn) is still coming to grips with her recent blindness after a car accident but seems to be making progress as she navigates her Manhattan ground floor apartment. To help her out she has her loving husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and Gloria the neighbor’s little girl for errands. Little does she know that that blindness will be more than a hindrance to overcome. It will lay the groundwork for a torturous ordeal.

The movie begins with a cache of heroin smuggled in a hand carried doll by Lisa (Samantha Jones) on a plane from Montreal to New York. As Lisa makes her way off the plane she suddenly thrusts the doll in Sam’s hand having just met him on the plane. She makes up some excuse, telling him she will contact him soon to retrieve it. Befuddled, Sam brings the doll home and just as soon forgets about it. Some time later when their apartment is empty two con men, Mike (Richard Crenna) and Carlino (Jack Weston) break into the apartment expecting to meet Lisa. Instead they find Lisa’s body and her gloating killer, one Harry Roat (Alan Arkin). Roat, in fact purposefully lured the two con men to the apartment. Roat makes no bones about killing Lisa, but with Mike and Carlino now having implicated themselves with fingerprints all over, they are forced to help Roat in his quest to find that doll. Mike and Carlino then learn that the apartment they are in is the home of the blind Suzy and she is the last link to that doll.

Roat has already hatched an elaborate plan in which Mike plays one of Sam’s old friends and Carlino plays a cop while Suzy is slowly terrorized by all three men. Roat assumes a few roles in the ruse, even playing a crazed father and son team. Suzy remembers Sam having brought the doll home but cannot find it as Roat gets more impatient and slowly ratchets up pressure. Making matters worse Suzy is led to believe that Sam is having an affair when therefore she relies on Mike to help her deal with the situation. It begins with pressure from Carlito’s supposed investigation of the murdered woman, while other strangers come into the act being played out. But none of the men counted on little Gloria who becomes Suzy eyes and ears.

This role was the antithesis of light romantic comedy fare we were accustomed to from Hepburn but one she more than convincingly delivers in an Oscar nominating performance. The more versatile Arkin as the heavy is oddly something between a beatnik and bully but the normally sedate Arkin is horrifically intense especially the final moments.

Watch this one in utterly dark room if you can (or dare). In a brilliant move the last few minutes has the screen go completely black allowing the audience to enter the world of the blind and understand Suzy’s dread and become as helpless as she is.

Movie Reviews 395 – When a Stranger Calls (1979)

June 8, 2019

I clearly remember the chilling tag line from the TV trailer ad. “Have you checked the children?” Without context, it is a benign question and bears no terror. But as we learn in When a Stranger Calls when told to a lone babysitter, late at night from an anonymous caller, it is a chilling omen of ill tidings.

Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) is the babysitter who first receives the repeating calls, which progresses from ignoring it as a wrong number, mistaking it as a prank from a friend, becoming concerned enough to put in call to police to finally realizing that the caller is watching her every move. When she learns the calls were traced to the house itself, Jill runs to the door to be shocked not by the killer but by season cop John Clifford (Charles Durning).

But this is curdling sequence all that takes place in the first fifteen minutes or so. We learn that, yes, the children were already far gone by the time those phone calls were made and all Clifford and his team can do is console the sitter and family.

We cut to seven years later and hear how the perpetrator that night was Curt Duncan (Tony Beckley) a lone English sailor, but that he has now escaped. Clifford has retired from the force and is now a private investigator and upon hearing of the escape, the father of the murdered children that night hires him to find Duncan. But Clifford is way ahead on this one. So troubling was the case that he has decided that should he get his hands on Duncan he intends to end the problem once and for all.

Working with information provided by a sympathetic force commander who was also present that night, Clifford learns that Duncan is prowling around a particular neighborhood and has had an odd encounter with a woman he met in bar (Colleen Dewhurst). With that information he enlists her help to nab Duncan but soon finds out that Duncan has not finished with Jill, now socialite and mother of her own. And once a again, Duncan is dialling up a storm.

The problem with this film is that once it has spent it’s dread in those first few minutes it becomes a mediocre police drama. I actually liked the touch that an actor with the middle age physique of Durning was used instead of the stereotypical young and fit cop but that same realism also shatters the credibility when Durning engages in prolonged chase scenes with Duncan. Even some of best parts of this film are really rethreads. The ‘inside the house caller’ schtick was effective in 1974’s Black Christmas. The psycho killer was already masterfully done in Manhunter (the first true Hannibal Lecter film) and … well Psycho. Even the vigilante cop routine had already been cemented long prior by Dirty Harry.

Sorry to say that I don’t share the love of this film that others have plied on it to the point that even a remake was cobbled together in 2006. So my advice on how to deal with this stranger calling is simply to hang up.

Movie Reviews 393 – Prom Night (1980)

May 27, 2019

The high school prom can either be a terrifically exciting event or a dreaded affair depending on an adolescent’s social standing, milieu of friends and most of all, dating status. But in horror films proms take center stage and sovereign standing even greater than any queen and king.

The high school prom was first featured prominently (get it? prom-inently) in Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie, a story about a girl with supernatural abilities. But with the huge success of John Carpenter’s Halloween the 80’s became the decade of slasher horror cinema and one early entrant was Prom Night which also borrowed the services Halloween’s star and newly minted scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.

The film begins with a flashback to four young kids, Wendy, Jude, Kelly, and Nick playing Hide’n’Seek in an abandoned building. We then shift to three other young kids immediately outside, walking to school. When Kim, the eldest of the three, realizes she’s forgotten something back home she urges her siblings to continue the walk without her. Her little sister Robin hears the other kids playing inside and wants to join them while her brother Alex refuses. But once inside, Robin becomes the target of taunting and is chased until she backed against into a second floor window. Her tormentors, pressed by Wendy, persist until the inevitable deadly crash to the pavement. The four kids then take an oath of silence.

Six years later Kim (Curtis) and her brother (Michael Tough) are enduring the usual shenanigans and anxieties as they are about to graduate from high school under the watchful eye of the school principal, their father (Leslie Nielsen).  Robin’s murder was never solved and the guilty kids,now all grown up have gone on to lead regular lives. Kim and Nick are even dating, and Kelly is one of Kim’s best friends. Wendy however is still a bitch, moreso since Nick dumped her before falling for Kim, him never having mustered up the courage to tell Kim he was partially responsible for Robin’s death.

But there is another card being played by a mysterious killer who has been phoning the four perpetrators. Could it be the sexual predator who took the fall for the murder, now having just escaped from prison? Perhaps it’s the creepy looking janitor?

This film was one that tried to capitalize on the Disco dancing craze with the horror slasher motif and frankly it was an odd mix then, and stands out like a sore thumb now. Even the surprise ending isn’t all that hard to figure out when looking back on certain emphasized scenes. But it does deliver on a few good true to form ‘slashes’ and even a gloriously fake plastic head decapitation under the rays of a disco mirror ball.

For what it’s worth, many horror fans regard Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II one of those rare instances where the sequel is even better than the original. I’ll soon find out as I’ve got the Prom Night Collection box set with the four movies in the arc. I’ve never picked up the 2008 remake, but from what I hear, that is probably a good thing.

Movie Reviews 390 – The Shuttered Room (1967)

May 3, 2019

Did you ever remember a movie from your childhood where you can vividly recollect a number of particular scenes and the gist of the film and yet the title totally eludes you? Worse yet, any attempt to question others in search of an answer elicits nothing but blank stares? A few months ago my brother brought up such a film that we both saw as kids long, long ago which was terrifying enough to that we still remembered certain scenes. Being so young at the time neither of us had even an inkling of a title. But as the cinephile in the family (and more than a bit familiar with classic horror as this blog hopefully has proven)  I thought I should be able to deduce that fleeting title fairly quickly with a few well crafted internet searches. My first attempts were fruitless and the title dogged me for more than a month and after talking about it with my brother on a second visit I was determined to track that sucker down.

I didn’t have much to go on. We both remembered some feral woman either peeking through a barbed hole and otherwise spying on people, the main object of her prying eyes being another woman, her lovely sister. The only other thing I could remember was a haggard looking grey haired elderly lady and that in the finale she and the wild woman burn among the flames of a building fire.

It took awhile but I finally came up with a title – The Shuttered Room – and promptly managed to secure a copy.  In the back of my mind I worried that watching the film today would not live up to my childhood memories and that I may regret finding a turd erasing my fond recollection. My only glimmer of hope was seeing Oliver Reed as one of the stars.

The story is basically about a newlywed (Carol Lynley) reluctantly returning to her childhood home at the urging of her husband (Gig Young).  Sarah Whately has only vague memories of the place and even her parents, never having understood the circumstances in which she was ushered away as a child to be reared in a foster home. Almost as soon as the couple arrive on the island on which her ancestral home is located and Sarah’s identity is revealed to the locals the couple receive a frosty welcome with dire warnings to pack up and leave immediately for their own good. A chance encounter with a bunch of rowdy youths led by Ethan (Reed), Sarah’s cousin, is no more cordial but does come with an invitation to visit her aunt Agatha (Flora Robson) who basically gives the same warning, claiming a “Whately Curse” that has claimed many victims.

But the couple are determined to stay overnight in the mill house despite Sarah’s sporadic feelings of unease. Before long victims do surface as the mysterious individual keeps a keen eye on Sarah and other visitors. Before the couple end up as victims themselves aunt Agatha fesses up to the truth and takes matters into her own hands to end the ‘curse’.

Not only did this movie live up to my memories but I can honestly say that as I watched it and other memories clicked in my mind, it deepened my appreciation for this forgotten jewel of a thriller. Based on a short story by horror heavyweights H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, the film is rife with rattling scenes. From the very beginning in which a man is riding a pallet dragged by a pickup truck next to a barbed wire fence to it’s chilling frankensteinian ending, this film will chill and tingle. The ambiance of the gloomy English coast – I didn’t buy into the notion that this was supposed to be somewhere in Massachusetts – is a perfect setting. While there are little things like a focus on Sarah’s old doll house and Agatha’s servant’s infatuation by hosiery that add to the atmosphere, Reed of course caps all the performances as he was at the peak of his ‘bad boy’ years with the real life facial scars – prominent here – to prove it.

This is not a perfect movie by any means. The prelude to the film gives us a pretty good idea to who and what is up in that attic but leaves just enough to entice us to get the details.Gig was well beyond Lynley in age to their relationship being even remotely believable even as a May-December romance. But the parts that do work do so remarkably. It’s time this movie gets the credit it deserves and that starts by giving it your attention.