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Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party's shoes disappear, the remaining shoed camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don't have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend's trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn't want to see them leave the forest alive. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The films wilderness setting 'The Cauldron of the Moon' was shot in a stretch of Ontario wilderness that had been burnt out by a forest fire five years earlier. Plenty of the chard trees left from the fire can be seen in the film. See more »
Towards the end of the film, when Harry's character is dragging the stretcher over rocky terrain, you can clearly see he is wearing boots. They were supposed to have had their boots stolen and had to wrap their feet in plastic tarp. See more »
Hal Holbrook and four other doctors take their yearly vacation off in the deepest woods for uninterrupted fishing and camping. Once there strange occurrences begin to happen. All their boots are stolen. A deer is slaughtered and strung up with a snake crawling down its leg like a caduces. Someone is out there and someone knows these guys are doctors. Well, differing personalities and breaking points get the better of the men. Doctors begin to die...usually through no fault but their own in the beginning. Later the few survivors are hunted and (some) killed prior to reaching the film's resolution. This film is a little diamond in the rough of bad, pointless horror films of the seventies. It has some truly inspired moments of terror. It also has some truly disturbing moments. The deer scene is one such scene, and another scene is where a head of a previous killed doc is mounted on a pole ala Macbeth to greet the surviving doctors after their sleep. The image is horrifying as is the realization that the lives of the living could have been had at any moment by the hunter. Director Peter Carter is good at keeping the pace of the film moving and tight. The editing is the biggest problem as needless cuts and cutaways seem to be all over the place. They may be cuts made for the video distribution way back on the Embassy label. What really separates this film from a mindless slasher film is the heavy use of characterization throughout the film. We just don't see nameless doctors killed, but they are real people with real problems. Each character can be described in more than just appearance. Holbrook gives a very credible performance as a man who has a strong ethical base. Lawrence Dane does a likewise job as a man with a low breaking point. All the acting was very credible. The ending of the film is somewhat slapdash and some things just dont fit perfectly, but budgetary constraints appear to have been at fault for this little Canadian production. Despite, as an earlier reviewer noted, Siskel and Ebert giving it two thumbs down, I enthusiastically recommend the film as an entertaining suspenseful horror film.
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