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 ... See full summary »
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
I too originally caught this sometime between 1969-1971 on WPIX NY on Saturday night's "Chiller Theatre" as a youngster, where it played under one of it's alternate titles "Return From The Past".
The first time it aired that I recall was a few weeks before Xmas that year. Naturally, I had never heard of it-even being a big fan of horror movies and "Famous Monsters" magazine. At that young age I didn't notice the low budget sets and I did like the movie right off the bat, as well as already being familiar with John Carradine and Lon Chaney. Though I must say that there is something about this film I really enjoy still to this day, though it may be from my nostalgic memories of the time coloring my opinion. Now, this hasn't aired in this part of the country very much at all in the last 30-some odd years, so your chance of seeing it I guess is pretty slim. Yeah, there's no real action. Some of the acting is questionable. The castle used in all the tales is from a Roger Corman movie (as well as the horse drawn carriage scenes). The endings can sometimes be predictable (except perhaps the last twist of the last tale "Count Alucard"), but I still love it. "The Witch's Clock" tale which also has John Carradine starring,is actually a pretty good story (with the constant echoed tick-tocking of the old clock after it's re-started being very effective). This is certainly not for fans of newer post 70's films, but for us older fans perhaps horror from the 1940's to 1960's this can be enjoyable. I watch this film as if it's a stage play-the very minimal background sets certainly give off that feeling (especially in the Lon Chaney tale as well as the outdoor mob scenes in "King Vampire"). But, hell, it can be allot of fun if you're in the right frame of mind. I believe Lon Chaney only made one other movie after this-the truly awful "Dracula vs Frankenstein" by hack Al Adamson-if you think this THIS is bad, try watching that sometime (or any Adamson film, for that matter)! There's something odd about the mood of some of director David L Hewitt's better films that I quite like. "The Wizard Of Mars"-another film of his from around this same time with many of the same cast has a quite odd mood as well. I wish that would come to DVD. Hewitt's better know film-"Journey To The Center Of Time" looks a bit more like a mainstream movie, but I enjoy it less than these other 2 films of his. I wonder what ever happened to Mr Hewitt? Anybody out there know?
Anyway, my main reason for adding this at this time is because it's been announced that, yes, the DVD of this is finally being released Jan 17 2006, for those who care (and, yes, I have already pre-ordered my copy). I hope they use a good, restored print. I actually have 2 videocassette versions of this (one of them in widescreen that looks pretty decent). Certainly not a film for all. But for those who caught this in their youth and enjoyed it, quite a fun film.
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