A gruesome tale of revenge and bloodshed, from the Shock King of Staten Island, cult director, Andy Milligan. This super-cheap horror film story is set in an eerie Victorian mansion where a family has gathered for a will-reading. Three couples must spend the night there to inherit a fortune according to the will. Then they start dying one by one, as people are impaled with pitchforks, decapitated, dismembered, and have their throats hacked open with knives. There is a lot of disgusting gore including a scene where a hunchbacked cretin eats live rabbits. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Horror author Stephen King claims in his book "Danse Macabre" that this film is "the work of morons with cameras". See more »
In several of the fight scenes of the film, the crew and their cameras and sound equipment are visible. There are also moments when the director can be heard softly reminding the actors of their lines. See more »
The first gore film from Staten Island's own auteur.
Whether you love Andy Milligan's films or hate them everyone is in agreement; they are a genre unto themselves! You know you are in some paralell universe in the opening minutes of this film when a mad killer attacks a couple having a picnic on a private island. The maniac gouges out the eye of the man and then turns to the camera holding up a tennis ball sized object that is meant to be the eye! If you listen carefully during the murder scene you can even hear Andy Milligan's voice calling out "Cutting away, move!" to the actors! When I met Andy in the late 70's he confided to me that whenever an enucleated eye was needed he found Hostess Sno-Balls not only filled the bill nicely but also provided an impromptu snack for his performers. The plot involves the gathering of heirs on a lonely island to hear the will of the rich, eccentric father. Andy knew that plot had a long white beard well before 1969 so he loaded his movie was sado-masochism, marital rape, homosexual incest, a hooded killer that you'd have to be deaf and blind not to know was stalking you, and of course the bargain basement gore that made him so (in)famous to the people who gathered at drive-ins to watch his movies. THE GHASTLY ONES was his first gore film. After doing soft core movies like THE NAKED TEMPTRESS, GUTTER TRASH and FLESHPOT he saw the market movie away from soft to hardcore and decided to move into the terror genre. Actually this film offers some interesting things. Neal Flanagan, one of his stock company, plays a withered ancient lawyer who appears to have stepped out of a Charles Dickens novel. Haal Borske,a writer and director of several plays, plays the first of many idiot characters in Andy's films. His character of Colin appears to have been the killer in the opening scenes and he looks perfectly normal (apart from being a total sociopath, that is) yet later in the film he has becomes a hunchbacked, snaggletoothed halfwit who eats raw meat. Maggie Rogers also appears in SEEDS OF SIN and TORTURE DUNGEON and her acting is actually several notches above what is expected in a Milligan film. Gore is very . . .well . . .unusual. Bloody scenes include a pitchfork to the throat, a man cut in half with a bandsaw, a hand chopped off, a head in a roasting pan and wait'll you see what happens to the killer at the end! Andy remade this movie a few years later as LEGACY OF BLOOD with a different cast but the same plot and effects. To further confuse matters there is another movie called LEGACY OF BLOOD that stars John Carradine, Faith Domergue and Rex Reason that offers a similar plot but more sex and better effects. Don't worry it will be impossible for you to confuse these movies; an Andy Milligan film is like no other. Back in '69 THE GHASTLY ONES played on a double bill with Kent Bateman's HEADLESS EYES. If I had not been only 4 back then I sure would have paid to catch a programme like that!
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