Max accepts a wager that he cannot remain in a haunted castle for one hour (11 PM to midnight) without crying for help. As soon as he arrives he encounters strange and nightmarish visions, ... See full summary »
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Max accepts a wager that he cannot remain in a haunted castle for one hour (11 PM to midnight) without crying for help. As soon as he arrives he encounters strange and nightmarish visions, but he is nevertheless on the verge of winning the bet when a phone-call brings startling news . . . Written by
When Max Linder returned to France after working in the US, he bet his friend Abel Gance - known for making big, splashy spectacles - that he couldn't make a movie in less than three days. Gance accepted the bet, and this film is the result. See more »
Typical haunted house comedy with neglected French comic Max Linder (who recalls both Terry-Thomas and Raul Julia!), in which the hero – a dapper member of a social club – is dared to spend an hour in such a place by its current owner. Incidentally, the film itself seems to have been made as a bet between Gance and Linder (of whose films this is my first sample); given its inclusion in the Scary Movie Challenge, it’s ironic that Linder and his wife committed ritual suicide on Halloween Day, 1925!
Anyhow, the ghouls that terrify the hero aren’t just the usual gimmicks such as skeletons or headless/monstrous figures – but also an assortment of reptiles (snakes, crocodiles) and wild animals (tigers, lions)! Despite the obvious danger to his life, Max holds firm...but is finally deterred from keeping up the bet to the very last when his wife calls at the house and tells him she’s being menaced (which is, of course, a nasty trick pulled by the owner to ensure his triumph in the matter!).
While it’s not exactly remarkable in the horror/comedy stakes – and repetitive to boot, not least because it has Max mostly stuck in one room (incidentally, I watched the 23-minute version and not the reportedly longer ‘restored’ one at 40)! – Gance once again lays on the technique (though the image unfortunately suffered from distracting jitters all the way through): especially creative is the scene in which Max is hanging on to a chandelier which, declining under his weight, literally pulls the picture down with it!
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