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Crucible of Terror (1971)

An obsessed sculptor kills a young woman to make a perfect bronze sculpture of her. Years later at his secluded home a number of people become trapped in a web of revenge, murder and horror.



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Credited cast:
Victor Clare
John Davies
Mary Maude ...
Michael Clare
Betty Alberge ...
Dorothy Clare
Beth Morris ...
Jane Clare
Judy Matheson ...
Joanna Brent
Kenneth Keeling ...
George Brent
Chi-San (as Me Me Lay)
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An obsessed sculptor kills a young woman to make a perfect bronze sculpture of her. Years later at his secluded home a number of people become trapped in a web of revenge, murder and horror.

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Plot Keywords:

murder | model | mad family | artist | acid | See All (6) »


The art of murder.


Drama | Horror


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Release Date:

September 1985 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Unholy Terror  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


At c. 53 minutes, as the Rolls-Royce is about to be driven off, there is a badly parked black car directly in front of it, well away from the pavement. However, when the Rolls-Royce moves away in the next shot the black car is suddenly perfectly parked. See more »


Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

CRUCIBLE OF TERROR (Ted Hooker, 1971) **1/2
14 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I only heard about this one when recently re-issued on DVD by Severin. I was mainly familiar with its star (former pirate-radio DJ Mike Raven) via his notorious stint in the same year's LUST FOR A VAMPIRE for Hammer – in any case, he only made 4 films (the others being Amicus' I, MONSTER {1971}) and the even more obscure (to say nothing of maligned) DISCIPLE OF DEATH (1972). The movie (which should not be confused with CRUCIBLE OF HORROR aka THE CORPSE {also 1971}, starring Michael Gough – yet another shocker that seems to have fallen through the cracks, though I did catch it on Cable TV some years back) perhaps owes its central premise to "Wax Museum"-type efforts, since Raven's painter/sculptor uses live models for the latter (though he only resorts to it when inspired) – beginning with the pre-credits sequence! Apparently, Raven had a genuine interest in the occult, hence his attempt to make it as the next big British horror star in the wake of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (interestingly, he got to appear alongside the pair in I. MONSTER) and famously had his eyes 'dubbed' by stock footage of Lee as Dracula in LUST FOR A VAMPIRE!. Another link to a horror legend and fellow countryman is the fact that, like the great Boris Karloff, Raven has a pronounced lisp – which occasions several instances of amusement here, as the script seems hellbent on handing him a plethora of "s"s to deliver in any one given speech!

His character is anything but a commercial artist since he admits to make his handiwork for his own satisfaction. However, his son (Ronald Lacey) has other plans and steals a couple of exhibits which are the surprise hits at an otherwise dismal show (sponsored by Melissa Stribling from HORROR OF Dracula {1958} and managed by James Bolam, with the former more interested in learning that he fancies her!) – Stribling's spouse develops a passion for the aforementioned sculpture and is furious when told that it has already been sold: trying to make away with it at night, he is suffocated to death with a plastic bag! In the meantime, Bolam's girlfriend (lovely Mary Maude, who had appeared in the fine Spanish horror THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED {1969}) is going through market-stalls looking for a nightgown and happens upon the very same yellow kimono worn by the victim of the first murder (all the while being suspiciously-eyed by an Asian bloke sporting shades and who vanishes from the proceedings soon after). Anyway, Bolam sees the value of Raven's work and persuades Lacey to set up a meeting. This is to take place over the weekend at his country retreat, the site of a tin-mine disaster and thus conveniently equipped with a still operational forge. Bolam takes Maude along for the ride (as does Lacey his blonde wife), and Raven naturally instantly sees the possibilities in her. Also living there are his wife who, through Raven's neglect once her beauty had faded has effectively regressed to a childhood state (she is constantly carrying soft toys and dolls around), a middle-aged man who is devoted to the latter (he had wanted to marry her but she preferred Raven, who then squanders her fortune financing his creative output) and – as Lacey puts it – his father's only friend, and the artist's latest model/lover (who, it transpires harbors an unrequited lesbian affection for Maude).

As you can see, that's quite a brimful of hang-ups (beginning with an awkward dinner-table sequence where Raven constantly belittles his son and verbally lashes at his wife for her undignified behavior!) and, before long, the murders start: first Lacey's wife, then himself, then the model At first, I thought the killer would be Lacey (since he had threatened his spouse to show the world that he is every bit as good as his father, to which she contemptuously quips "Yeah, what at?"), then I was sure the film-makers were going the obvious route and reveal Raven as the typical mad artist (sure enough, he had persistently harassed Maude, down to following her through a set of caves which somehow lead back to his own house and which is where the old woman herself goes to in order to get away from Raven's vitriol)…but even he becomes a victim! Maude had been plagued by nightmares involving someone wearing a scary Japanese mask and brandishing a white-hilted sword (when the latter is found in possession of Raven's pal, it is obvious we are supposed to suspect him too) and she had been rendered queasy by the presence of a vase (presumably the titular container) Raven uses in his molding practices. Anyway, as he is about to immortalize her in bronze, she turns on him, unaccountably displaying hideous features which, as later explained by the artist's former rival in love (one wonders just how he knew), results in her having been taken over – via the kimono, get it? – by the revenge-seeking Asian woman we saw murdered at the very start of the picture (to stress the point further, here we also get a replay of all the deaths, with the unseen assailant now revealed to have been Maude all along)!

To be sure, I was unfamiliar with and not a little amused by the director's name but I cannot say to regretting having included it in this "Halloween Challenge": if anything, CRUCIBLE OF TERROR proves quite good to look at (no surprises there, since it is lensed by the distinguished Peter Newbrook), the set-pieces are tolerably well-handled and certainly grisly enough and, for better or worse, Raven's niche in horror-film history (even if he never comes close to scaling the heights of his progenitors and peers) is assured.

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