Dementia 13 (USA/Ireland 1963)

Public domain titles from the golden age of schlock, like Dementia 13, tend to live an unloved life in the bargain bins of any self-respecting dvd store. Price will vary from fifty cents up to maybe five bucks if the merchant is feeling lucky. Why this has such a I’m cheap buy me status is baffling to a lover of old schlock like me. This film owes much of its terror from its setting, its imagery and surreal circumstances that have a hint of something otherworldly. [Read more…]

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Tales Of Terror (1962 USA)

The fourth venture into Poe adaptations for Roger Corman and Vincent Price sees them taking on the portmanteau format with a trilogy of creepers.  Somewhat a turning point in the series. Tales of Terror implements a wicked sense of humour for the first time that’ll become more and more a trademark in the later movies. It is usually very difficult to try to adapt Poe stories to film–similar to the difficulty of attempting to adapt H.P. Lovecraft to film. Both authors write very dense, poetic, often abstract prose, and Poe, especially, is sometimes not very plot-oriented. Although each segment in Tales of Terror succeeds in its own way. [Read more…]

The Raven (1963 USA)

raven02An absurd adventure – styled comedy. The plot is thinner than a supermodel’s waistline and even at 85 minutes it outstays its welcome. But I will be kind. Edgar Allen Poe may have turned in his grave, but the rest of us get to have fun as we see horror gods Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, not to mention Jack Nicholson ham it up in style as the weird and wonderful cast of this very silly story of wizards and hocus pocus. [Read more…]

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964/65 UK)

filmAh, those pesky British tea breaks. They drove director Roger Corman up the wall. Why can’t the Yanks understand the Brits love their cuppa, even if they are a film crew working on a set for an exploitation director from Wherever USA.  Instead of taking 15 days to shoot this tepid horror tale, it took 25. Oh, the humanity! We’re lucky a third Anglo – American War didn’t break out. The second one was over tea as well. Tea is an important theme to this blog. If I believe in anything with a religious fervour, its tea. So Mr Corman can take a running jump! [Read more…]

Pit And The Pendulum (1961 USA)

pit and the pendulum The original tale of one man’s descent into torture, madness and near-death at the hands of a bunch of terrifyingly faceless tormentors becomes even more creepy as a ‘whodunit’. It also helped immensely that screenwriter Richard Matheson was on a roll. He breathed new life into Poe’s classic-if-fusty material, giving it a wicked, almost contemporary spin. [Read more…]

HOUSE OF USHER (1960 United States)

b70-3498Written by Richard Matheson, it does a great work at mixing elements of Poe’s short stories in order to create a morbidly tense tale. Since the plot revolves around the characters, enough time is spent developing each one of them, setting the stage for the terrific finale where they’ll face each other in a superb climax. [Read more…]

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