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A sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Vietnam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old army buddy.
Francis Ford Coppola
James Earl Jones
When her husband John has a heart attack while out in a rowboat on the lake, Louise Haloran throws his body overboard and later tells the family that he has left on an urgent business trip. Her main concern is that she can only inherit a part of the family fortune if if her husband is alive. The Halorans are a strange family, still grieving over the death of the youngest daughter Kathleen who drowned in a pond when she was just a child. They hold an annual ceremony of remembrance every year on the anniversary of her death. This year however, someone is wielding an ax intent on murder. Written by
Ludicrous script, but some good scenes make this reasonably tense
Francis Ford Coppola's debut horror flick is sometimes hailed as a kind of forgotten masterpiece, which is downright preposterous. Bored with his work as an assistant director on THE YOUNG RACERS he wrote a screenplay, and asked Corman for $22,000 to let him film it on the same sets used for THE YOUNG RACERS. He shot the film in two weeks and the shooting of the two films at the same sets simultaneously only worsened the quality of the film. I must admit, made with this 99 cent budget, it's a comparatively well crafted horror mystery with some good scenes but overall pretty dull with a story that makes little sense.
The members of the Haloran family gather at their ancestral Irish castle to attend the annual commemoration of the death of Kathleen, the daughter of the family who drowned in the lake on their estate six years earlier. One of the sons in the family, John Haloran, dies of a heart-attack while listening to Elvis on the radio. His gold-digging wife Louise then dumps the body in the pond and pretends he has returned to New York, because she only gets part of the family inheritance when her husband is alive. When staying at the castle she begins an elaborate ruse to convince Lady Haloran that her drowned daughter Kathleen is still alive, but soon, she is killed by an axe-murderer, who proceeds to kill of the rest of the family one by one. What follows is: who's the psycho? Much inspired by Hitchcock's PSYCHO, it bears little relation plotwise, let alone in suspense. Coppola puts more emphasis on graphic violence than suspense and the story doesn't make much sense. With some good scenes it kept me watching till the end, but that's about it.
Not a complete waste of time though, as Coppola met his future wife Eleonor Neil on the set.
Camera Obscura --- 6/10
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