A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more ...
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Dr. Warren Chapin is a pathologist who regularly conducts autopsies on executed prisoners at the State prison. He has a theory that fear is the result of a creature that inhabits all of us.... See full summary »
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A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more grotesque results! The audience gets an opportunity to vote--via the "Punishment Poll"--for the penalty Sardonicus must pay for his deeds... Written by
I recall this film from my early youth on WGN's Creature Features. Sardonicus' father reminded me of my own grandfather (a German immigrant) and his evilness was unique. When I got older, I saw this again and got some of the more subtle character interactions.
This was, of course, the product of William Castle, the Gimmick King. His gimmick this time was that he allegedly shot two endings, and gave audiences the option of voting on which ending they wanted by holding up a glow-in-the-dark ballot. (The Creature Features version skipped the polling part.) Most movie sources say that there was only one ending ever shot, but modern versions have the "polling" scene anyway.
Personally, I think the film works better without the gimmick. Of course, Sardonicus is evil, ungrateful and cruel and he deserves the betrayal at the end of the film he gets.
In some ways, it was getting around the Hayes code, since the wife wants to cheat on her husband her loveless marriage. Overall, it's quite the Gothic horror film and is highly underrated.
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