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 ... See full summary »
A skeptical college professor discovers that his wife has been practicing magic for years. Like the learned, rational fellow he is, he forces her to destroy all her magical charms and ... See full summary »
An earthquake releases a strain of mutant cockroaches with the ability to start fires, which proceed to cause destructive chaos in a small town. The studies carried out by scientist James ... See full summary »
A 12-year-old orphan who has just inherited a fortune is trapped on an island with his uncle, a former British intelligence commander who intends to kill him. A young girl is the boy's only... See full summary »
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
During its initial theatrical release, attendees were given small white cards with luminous thumbs with which to vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down. See more »
Sir Robert "invents" the hypodermic needle, despite its having been invented decades earlier than the film's 1880 setting. See more »
What I had not forseen was that the face of my father, the muscles stretched by a terrible death recoil, would look directly and hideously upon me, the dead lips drawn back in a constant and soul-shattering smile.
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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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