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Master of Horror (1965)

| Horror | May 1965 (USA)

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Cast overview:
Dr. Eckstrom / John Samivet (archive footage)
Henry Valdemar (archive footage) (as Oswald Pacheco)
Inés Moreno ...
Teresa Samivet (archive footage) (as Inez Moreno)
Maurice Falpront (archive footage)
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador ...
(archive footage)
(archive footage)
The Maid (archive footage)
Fred Card ...
Lisa Tadow ...
Dubbing Voice (voice)
Louis Bright ...
Albert Barr ...
Joseph Press ...
Ralph Star ...
Jules Davis ...
Sylvia Monty ...


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May 1965 (USA)  »

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Edited from Obras maestras del terror (1959) See more »

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THE MASTER OF HORROR {1965 Re-Edited U.S. Version} (Enrique Carreras, 1959) **1/2
2 November 2013 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is another title I happened upon by pure chance on "You Tube": an Argentinian genre effort that was typically retouched and distributed in the U.S. (in its case, by noted exploitationer Jack H. Harris). Still, I was annoyed to learn that – being really a three-part compendium inspired by Edgar Allan Poe stories and, dating from either 1959 or 1960 (depending on which source you read) instead of 1965 (as I had been led to believe) – it actually predates Roger Corman's similar TALES OF TERROR (1962)! It is all the more baffling, then, that the two remaining episodes here, namely "The Case Of Mr. Valdemar" and "A Cask Of Amontillado", also formed part of the afore-mentioned AIP anthology (though the latter adaptation was renamed "The Black Cat" and, obviously, incorporates elements from its famous namesake in the tortured author's canon)! For the record, the dropped third act revolved around "The Tell-Tale Heart", though it is solely available online in unsubtitled Spanish (as is the film in its undiluted form); this led the running-time to be reduced from anywhere between 115 and 122 minutes – the internet proves unreliable on this aspect as well – to a rather brusque 59! I did acquire the uncut version after viewing this and, randomly checking it out, I notice there is additional footage in the other segments, too! Anyway, the end result is not too bad considering, albeit decidedly uneven. The first half is superior: reasonably atmospheric and with star Narciso Ibanez Menta ideally cast (and made-up) as the mesmerist keeping a dying man in a state of suspended animation; the latter's grave (no pun intended) voice is suitably unsettling, too. The second one starts off a bore, with the bland charlatan and his equally insipid romancing – but, as soon as the revenge takes over (even if Menta's look this time around, as the slighted husband, is somewhat unflattering!), it gets back on steady ground; best of all is the very last revelation, involving the fate of the protagonist's faithless wife, an image strong enough to make the film's U.S. poster! Incidentally, I should have recalled Ibanez Menta from THE Dracula SAGA (1973), but I was also surprised to discover that he had starred in a 1952 rendition of Nicholas Blake's pulp thriller "The Beast Must Die"…which would later serve as the basis of arguably Claude Chabrol's masterpiece from 1969! The cast also includes the almost similarly-named Narciso Ibanez Serrador, who would go on to achieve a cult reputation as the director of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969) and WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976)! Finally, I should point out that the movie is framed by sequences featuring a maid left alone in a large house, who chooses to while away the night reading from Poe while a storm rages outside.

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