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Dean Richards Wiancko
John Carradine narrates five horror tales, each with a comically predictable surprise ending. In the first, "The Witches Clock" (sic), The Farrells have purchased an old mansion in Salem Massachusetts, and are warned by the town doctor, Finchley, of the history of witches in the community, and the old clock which they brought up from the attic. Then an old man named Tristram Halbin comes for a visit. The second story, "King of the Vampires" deals with a slight-figured killer, called the King of the Vampires by Scotland Yard, which sends Brenner to investigate. The third, "Monster Raid," is about a man turned zombie when he OD's on his experimental drug, who returns to avenge his death at the hands of his widow and her lover-now husband. "Spark of Life" deals with a doctor Mendell obsessed with the experiments of a thrown-out professor named Erich von Frankenstein, and two of his students who try to restore a cadaver to life. "Count Alucard" (called "Alucard" by Carradine and "Dracula:... Written by
Of course "Dr. Terror's Gallery of Horrors" is no classic, but I'm fond of David Hewitt's films and everyone seems to be having fun here. John Carradine, in full evening wear, introduces five not-very-scary tales; he also stars in one, while Lon Chaney Jr. stars in another. Other familiar faces include Roger Gentry ("The Wizard of Mars", also directed by Hewitt and co-starring Carradine) and Joey Benson (Al Adamson's "Horror of the Blood Monsters" and "Blood of Ghastly Horror"). Among the highlights of the movie are Carradine's fantastic booming voice, the dreamy soundtrack, and the cheesy, $1.95 special effects. There are some unintentionally funny moments, too, like the extended scenes of a horse-drawn carriage barreling down a dirt road (very obviously taken from Roger Corman's "The Raven"), and the vampire who is trying his hardest to speak with a Hungarian accent but ends up sounding like a Mexican bandito from some cheap western. Every time I watch something like this, I can't help but wonder whatever became of the people who made all those no-budget horror flicks of the '60s and '70s. They worked under such primitive conditions, and I'm sure they would have been doing something else if they'd had their druthers, but they almost always turned out an entertaining product. Now they've disappeared. Mr. Hewitt, Mr. Gentry, Mr. Benson...where are you? :)
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