Gallery of Horror (1967) Poster

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The Cinema Art of David L. Hewitt
madsagittarian16 October 2002
Okay, there's one thing about the 80's that I miss. At 4AM, one used to be able to see Grade Z gems like this on TV. Now it's nothing but those rotten Infomercials. You could say that Ted Turner killed film culture, but I would argue that it was Anthony Robbins. In fact, during that golden hour of the day/night, one could see many films unleashed by the maverick no-budget director David L. Hewitt. THE MIGHTY GORGA, WIZARD OF MARS and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME used to tickle many a bad-film lover (or torture an unsuspecting insomniac) who tuned in.

This film, which I saw under the title RETURN FROM THE PAST, is a gloriously inept, amazingly miserable cash-in on the then-popular trend of horror anthology movies (in which a few short, separate tales of horrific irony are strung together by an onscreen narrator). All the hallmarks of Hewitt's unmistakable authorship are in abundance here.

First, there is the hiring of once-great, "anything for a buck" actors; in this case, John Carradine (naturally) and Lon Chaney Jr, in small roles which nonetheless gave the theater owners a name to put in the marquee. Secondly, Hewitt once again fills the cast with his oddball stock company of dreary, nasal-sounding "actors" (who is this Roger Gentry, anyway?). As well, the director's sterling use of half-finished sets, or plain black backgrounds (when there were none at all!) is such a feat that would even make Ed Wood blush if he worked under such insane conditions. Add to this, the surprisingly ambitious writing (for bargain-basement cinema, anyway) which paradoxes the miserable attempts at mise en scene. For such a bottom-of-the-barrel project as a Dave Hewitt film, one wonders why he bothered with such an adventurous screenplay (like WIZARD OF MARS or JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME, especially), when the insultingly bad production values would work against the ambition of the writing anyway. Thus, therein lies the strange dichotomy of Hewitt's work as a director. With a thrift-store budget, he really tried to make something out of nothing. Who can blame him if he didn't succeed?

Add some haphazard dubbing, some great juvenile cartoon blood dripping on the screen, and you have a truly beguiling piece of work. Anyone who insists on making tired, threadbare projects like this has to get a medal for bravery alone.
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It must be seeen to be believed!
Ray Faiola18 May 2001
I've had a ball with this film since WPIX started running it on Chiller Theatre. This film has more great gaffs and laugh lines than ANY Ed Wood picture. To begin, John Carradine in his rented tux with crooked tie really sets the proceedings - especially with him standing in front of a blue screen that is only one-half matted with a still frame from a Roger Corman castle! After Carradine babbles for about 5 minutes, we get to the first Tale - Starring J.C. Roger Gentry as the husband and Vic Magee as "Doctor Varnsely Finchley" give performances that can only be described as indescribable. Soon we get to Chaney's scene. He is a medical professor in Scotland in the 1880's. Unfortunately, the Westrex desk phone rings, Lon looks at his wristwatch, and he rushes off to classes while Ron Doyle and Joey Benson contemplate reviving Murderous Magee (Old Vic), an executed killer. Don't let this one get away. And have a bottle of port handy. And a couple of cheap cigars.
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So bad it is an epic masterpiece of great entertainment
rufasff10 January 2002
Look, I'll be brief. If you have ANY taste for the so-bad-they're-great classics (Plan 9, Robot Monster, Brain That Wouldn't Die), hunt down a copy of this, the most overlooked member of the club. Amazingly, this was put out in letterboxed form; but anyway you can find it, WATCH THIS MOVIE. It is fantastic
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Not as bad as its reputation suggests, really...
InjunNose31 May 2004
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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Actually can be quite a lot of fun
phasedin28 November 2005
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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So Bad It's Good
Rainey Dawn29 October 2014
"So Bad It's Good" yes it's one of those type of films. I have not a clue if the viewer is suppose to take the movie as a 'serious' horror film or if the filmmakers deliberately made this a tongue-in-cheek flick. Whichever it is, the movie is a bit camp. No it's not a good film yet it is a good film.

I think each story was better than the last - and the very last story is Count Alucard (Dracula spelled backwards) is quite comical. They really did save the best for last.

OK, so what if it's a bad film - it's great for those of us who love campy classic B-rated horror movies. I found the film quite entertaining.

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The overall IMDb score of 2.1 it's not THAT good!
MartinHafer3 February 2011
This is a terrible film and any star, other than John Carradine, would have been embarrassed to be in this mess. After all, that is truly horrible in every way. I am not exaggerating to say that it looks like a particularly bad local community theater had tryouts. Those who did not make the cut were then put in this film!! There are many actors attempting (horribly) English accents--some of which would be worse than if you had Jay Silverheels or Zha Zha Gabor try English accents!! And many could not even read their lines--annunciating the wrong syllables and badly reading the cue cards. In addition, while it's supposed to be a horror anthology, I think they really intended to make it a horrible anthology, as none of the stories are the least bit scary or ironic or intelligently written. I am NOT exaggerating to say that I think "Dr. Terror's Gallery of Horrors(?)" is every bit as bad, if not worse, than the worse Ed Wood film! Because of this, it might make great viewing by bad movie freaks--all others, however, should avoid it like the plague! the bottom line is that nothing about this film works and it is so completely amateurish and banal that it flabbergasted me! Why hadn't I heard about a film this bad sooner?!
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I saw this under an alternate title on TV!
John Bender28 March 2013
I also saw this in the late 1960s and/or 1970s on Chiller Theater here in Pittsburgh (WIIC Channel 11 NBC affiliate). I only ever saw this on Chiller Theater - never anywhere else. The title it had when I saw it on Chiller Theater was "King Vampire". The title refers to one of the episodes. This film utterly amazed me in that it so completely had all the production values of a high school play! This thing makes Ed Wood look like a big-budget A-list director! I kept thinking that any minute Chilly Billy was going to break in and announce that the movie was a joke, a phony production slapped together by the Channel 11 guys. You have got to see this to believe it.
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a deadly weapon
jonathan-57724 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Hewitt's trademark is vaulting ambition approached with the scantest possible means, and when he applies himself to a horror anthology format the result is gruesome and calamitous, and kind of fascinating for it. The first story relates to a bewitched grandfather clock and just about the whole damn thing is shot from a single camera setup. The second tackles vampirism, first from a police HQ with the unmistakable acoustics of an empty warehouse, then from a streetside crowd scene almost entirely composed of offscreen murmurs; the louts who do wander into frame offer the most fascinatingly various and mangled British accents on record. Volume three mainly features the rantings of a corpse over some looped footage borrowed from Roger Corman, to whose bountiful resources Hewitt can only aspire longingly, with the added bonus of Rochelle Hudson (James Dean's mom in Rebel Without a Cause!) playing one seriously antiquated love interest. Lon Chaney Jr. stumbles on set for part four, a Frankenstein variant whose loutish flatness does actually take on a certain lovable aspect in this company, especially the two lab guys with their frat boy impersonations. Finally we return to the vampire theme in part five, accompanied by the dumbest twist ending of the lot, not to mention the most haphazard pan-and-scan job in a crowded field. Toastmaster John Carradine shows up once in a while and mumbles into his sleeve.
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One of the All Time Worst
Michael_Elliott28 February 2008
Gallery of Horror (1966)

BOMB (out of 4)

John Carradine hosts five different horror stories in this incredibly poor cash-in on Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. This here is another contender for one of the worst films ever made but thankfully it's so bad that you can laugh at it. Carradine stars in the first story, which is probably the best one. Lon Chaney, Jr., sadly showing signs of his alcoholism, turns in the worst performance of his career and it's rather hard not to laugh. All five stories end with dramatic music at their "shock endings", which are all stupid and lame.
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