Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

Vincent 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 “Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)”

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 “The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)”

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 “Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World (1961)”

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 “Zorro contro Maciste (1963)”

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

I’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 “The Dunwich Horror (1970)”

Cry of the Banshee (1970)

This 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 “Cry of the Banshee (1970)”

Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)

Made 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 “Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)”