IMDb > The Dead Talk Back (1993)

The Dead Talk Back (1993) More at IMDbPro »

The Dead Talk Back -- (1957) A previously unreleased horror film! A young blonde is brutally murdered. An eccentric scientist who sidelines as a criminal investigator has created an apparatus that can communicate with the dead!


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Merle S. Gould (written by)
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Release Date:
1957 (USA) See more »
A psychic researcher attempts to solve a murder by using a radio that enables him to speak with the dead. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A vivid example of the concept of a "Pointless Waste Of Time" See more (23 total) »


  (in credits order)
Aldo Farnese ... Henry Krasker
Scott Douglas ... Lieutenant Lewis
Laura Brock ... Renee Coliveil
Earl Sands ... Harry
Myron Natwick ... Raymond Milburn
Kyle Stanton ... Christy Mattling
Sammy Ray ... Tony Pettini
Curtis Roberts ... Frits Kreuger
Don Parker ... Don Harris
Janeanna Pritchard ... Hope Byington
Rose Gorman ... Alice Corman
Betty Ruth ... Sarah Sthoil
Mat Maracco ... Harold Yonger
Lyn Douglas ... First Photo Receptionist
Eileen Leavitt ... Second Photo Receptionist
Dennis Gould ... Denny Sthoil
Ronnie Gould ... Ronnie Sthoil
Betty Winnick ... Photo Customer
Grace Quinn ... Photographer's Model
Gil Martin ... Policeman
J.S. Serfozo ... Policeman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Don Cheek ... Bongo Player (uncredited)
George Rhoden ... Bongo Player (uncredited)
Janice Smith ... Singer (uncredited)

Directed by
Merle S. Gould 
Writing credits
Merle S. Gould (written by)

Produced by
Merle S. Gould .... producer
Music Department
Don Cheek .... musician: bongo drums
George Rhoden .... musician: bongo drums
Van Phillips .... composer: stock music (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

65 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Shot in 1957, the film was never seen outside of an editing machine until 1993, when it was discovered by Sinister Cinema at the old offices of Headliner Productions. Sinister bought the rights to sell it on video in 1993. It gained the most attention when it was shown on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (1988).See more »
Factual errors: The name "Frits Kreuger" is misspelled, and badly at that. It should read "Fritz Krueger"; as it stands, it would be pronounced "frits KROY-ger".See more »
Christy Mattling:[to Henry Krasker] Tellin' them innocent kids stories about the dead and their hauntings! That's the work of the devil. You'll pay for it. The Devil! That man is the Devil Himself!
Renee Coliveil:Oh shut up, you potentate of righteousness!
See more »


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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
A vivid example of the concept of a "Pointless Waste Of Time", 2 July 2005
Author: lemon_magic from Wavy Wheat, Nebraska

How useless is this movie? Think Ed Wood, without the manic silliness and conviction. Think Coleman Francis without the Americana and the airplanes, but with better sound sync. Think 60's exploitation movies and biker films without the tits, wah-wah guitar licks, and goofy clothes and hair. More competently made than any of these examples, but less energetic or entertaining than all of call this movie 'dreary' is an insult to 'dreary'.

First of all,no one in this film can really 'act', and very few of the players are even able to "be themselves" on camera. The blond murder victim ("Renee") is especially bad in this respect - her line readings are so stiff and flat that you almost cheer when she gets a crossbow bolt in the neck 10 minutes into the film. And it's hard to say how bad Aldo Farnese really is because he plays such a self-important goof-ball in the film, and is given most of the really stupid lines.

Secondly, the people who put this stale jawbreaker of a film together decided to have TWO different narrators - Krassner(Aldo) and the detective - describing the events of the movie, filling in back-story and supplying exposition. So we start out with metaphysical inventor Krassner greeting us and going on at some length about various bizarre concepts, only to have ANOTHER off camera voice-over cut in and start another plot thread (a police procedural/murder mystery) describing the events leading up to the murder of the blond bimbo. After another endless pile of exposition, the 2nd voice-over stops long enough to actually introduce himself as a police detective in charge of the case, but the camera doesn't actually cuts to a closeup of the actor. So structurally and narratively, this movie starts out completely hosed, and pretty much goes downhill from there.

I shudder to think what kind of budget this movie had, or what kind of casting call they used to recruit the players. And I really hesitate to think what this poor bunch of saps were thinking while they were making this thing. The movie has the look of one of those projects where the minor actors never actually got paid. It also has the look of one of those homemade movies where the cast got together on weekends and holidays to shoot the group scenes, and the director settled for the first or second take he could get that had no actual goofs or botched lines. Bela Lugosi in the nadir of his life,in the worst throes of formaldehyde addiction, could have acted everyone here under the table.

Special mention goes to the soundtrack, which sounds as if someone put a gun to the composer's head and forced him to cough up a turgid, lifeless, badly muffled 5 minute loop of trilling flutes and off kilter violins. I am not kidding when I suggest that the movie would have been better off with dead air in most of the scenes in place of this miasma of a soundtrack - all by itself, the music saps any sense of momentum and forward drive from the plot and the action. It's quite a remarkable accomplishment, really.

Background info on this movie says that the producers and editors wisely decided that the original version of the film was better off never being released. This indicates at least SOME good judgment of someone involved with the movie. But one of the cult movie revival outfits got hold of TDTB some years ago, and decided to share it with us. Lucky us.

MST3K brought this movie some notoriety when they savaged it during season six, and it was fertile ground for their brand of pop culture mayhem. If you can't get the MST version, don't bother with it unless you are absolutely STARVED for low-quality pulp from this era, or unless you just plain like this sort of thing. 2.5 stars out of 10 - half a star added for the attempt at a clever ending and HItchcock like final shot of 'The End' spelled out in spilled pencils.

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