Category Archives: American International Pictures

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

murders-in-the-rue-morgue-posterVincent Price may have appeared in virtually all the American International-Edgar Allan Poe movies known to man (except for that contractual snafu that allowed Ray Milland to sneak onto the set of The Premature Burial and steal his spot in that one), but even Price couldn’t be hornswoggled into starring in this stiff about some killings afflicting a troupe of actors in France (filmed entirely on location in Spain which is apparently a lot cheaper than France).

Jason Robards was drafted to replace Price and the way that Mr. Robards conducts himself for the duration of this exercise in slasher tedium, “drafted” would appear to be an apt description of his enthusiasm in playing the director of the acting company besieged by a vengeful Herbert Lom. Continue reading

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

pitandthependulumposterVincent Price, Roger Corman, and Edgar Allan Poe rebound nicely in their second teaming after the deadly dull House Of Usher that came out the year before with a picture that finally delivers on the whole “haunted castle” gimmick. It isn’t really haunted of course, but you’ve got deception, betrayal, madness, secret passages, and most importantly of all, a working torture chamber down in the basement! Continue reading

Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World (1961)

Samson7MiraclesPosterEnglishThis is another one of those muscleman epics that seems alternately obsessed with displaying the rippling back muscles of star Gordon Scott (Hercules Vs. The Moloch) and with the palace intrigue in old time China.

The fact that the version I saw only ran 77 minutes was both a blessing and a curse. Cursed because everything happened in a rather hasty manner with entire sequences that could have explained exactly how characters went from doing one thing to the next mysteriously missing. Blessed though since it was still 77 minutes of Gordon perpetually greased up and standing around posing like an adult baby in a red diaper whose next appearance would be on Sean Connery in Zardoz. Continue reading

Zorro contro Maciste (1963)

Zorro Contro Maciste Spanish PosterThe gimmick in Zorro contro Maciste (aka Samson and the Slave Queen) of course makes zero sense. Zorro is a crime fighting super hero who hassles corrupt fat government officials usually named something along the lines of Don Diego way back in the pre-United States California of the 16th Century. He’s a sly devil who delights in carving the letter “Z” all over the countryside, including the occasional ass of some unsuspecting evil doer. He is also a snazzy dresser, favoring an all black ensemble including hat, mask, and cape. Continue reading

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Dunwich Horror PosterI’ve read a good portion of H.P. Lovecraft’s writing in my time and for the most part, I’ve found it enjoyable, in spite of the often times purple prose. Once upon a time I even read The Dunwich Horror story that this movie is based on. I don’t recall all the details of the story, but I’m confident that as I was reading it I never thought “this would make a great movie with Dean Stockwell and Sandra Dee!” Continue reading

Cry of the Banshee (1970)

Cry of the Banshee PosterThis was a great movie. When it was The Conqueror Worm.

To give Cry Of The Banshee credit where credit is due, it didn’t completely steal everything from its superior forerunner. Whereas in The Conqueror Worm, there was an Edgar Allan Poe verse read by Vincent Price at the conclusion of the film, Cry Of The Banshee had a verse by Poe up on the screen at the beginning of the movie. Continue reading

Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)

Goliath and the Barbarians PosterMade very early in the sword and sandal cycle of the late 1950s and early to mid 1960s, Goliath and the Barbarians attempts to get by solely on the fact that the biggest name in the genre, Steve Reeves, is the featured player. The movie fails to rise above “forgettable strongman epic” but the fault in no way lies with big Steve.

Steve and his Goliath-sized guns grunt and groan mightily in an effort to heave this movie into something approaching interesting, but even his mammoth chest, no matter how much it’s glistening with hunk-sweat, can’t overcome the dull story of barbarians harassing Steve’s lower class village. Continue reading

Assignment: Outer Space (1960)

Assignment Outer Space Italian PosterHindsight being what it is, I don’t imagine that I should have ever thought that a movie starring people named Rik Von Nutter and Gaby Farinon would be anything above “worst movie about a runaway space station ever” status. If Rik and Gaby never had the good sense to change their names to something that didn’t immediately make me think that this was some type of send up of movies about runaway space stations, then why would I think they had any ability to judge scripts? Continue reading

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

MasqueOfTheRedDeathPosterAmong the Roger Corman adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s various works, The Masque Of The Red Death stands out as one of the best, featuring superior production values (they flew over to England for a tax break and apparently ended up re-using the sets from Beckett), an appropriately vile performance by Vincent Price as Prince Prospero, and a story that was more than the standard old dark house with degenerate families story that seemed to permeate these productions like the stench of a corpse moldering in a secret chamber somewhere in the living room walls. It didn’t hurt this movie any either when this midget burned alive a guy in a gorilla suit. Continue reading

The Premature Burial (1962)

PrematureBurialPosterWay back in the 1800s, man’s greatest fear was being buried alive. Medical science wasn’t as evolved as it is today, so the ignorant masses were afraid that when they took an afternoon siesta after a particularly large tankard of ale and gruel, their overeager relatives would see this as a chance to get their mitts on all their worldly possessions (lice-infested cloak, rusty shovel, and empty tankard – stuff like that no doubt), proclaim the unfortunate chap dead and have the little bugger all buried just before he wakes up wondering why the devil his mouth is full of dirt and maggots are trying to move in on his soft parts. Continue reading