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capkronos

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Zombies... on TV... in 1962 = Awesome!, 5 May 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The popular "Thriller" series hosted by horror legend Boris Karloff ran from Fall 1960 to Spring 1962 on NBC and made an impact on lots of kids during its day, including a young Stephen King, who has called it "the best horror series ever put on TV." Unfortunately, of the 60+ episodes that were made, only six of them were officially released. This, along with "The Grim Reaper," "Masquerade," "The Prediction," "The Premature Burial" and "The Terror in Teakwood" were all issued (separatly) on VHS in 1996 by MCA/Universal. And sadly, that was it. Even though some (bootleg) sites offer the entire series on DVD-R, this has yet to see the legitimate box set release it deserves. "The Incredible Doktor Markesan" (episode 22 of the second season) was based on a story by August Derleth and Mark Schorer and was directed by Robert Florey, who is possibly best known to genre fans for co-scripting the horror masterpiece FRANKENSTEIN (starring Karloff) in 1931. Florey also made his mark on the genre by directing 1932's MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (with Bela Lugosi) and 1946's THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (with Peter Lorre).

Falling on hard times and with just 12 dollars in their pocket, Fred Bancroft (Dick York - "Bewitched") and his wife Molly (Carolyn Kearney) decide to visit Fred's reclusive estranged uncle Konrad Markesan (Boris Karloff), hoping for both a place to stay for a little while and possible connections to finding a new job at the local university where Konrad used to work as a science professor. They arrive at his derelict mansion, with its overgrown front yard and cobweb-strewn interior, and find Konrad looking a little disheveled. He claims he'd just recently returned to the home after a long absence, unsuccessfully tries to pay them to leave and then reluctantly agrees to let them temporarily stay in an upstairs bedroom. The only conditions are that they are to stay locked in their rooms at night, not go into his library and not let anyone know he has returned to his home. Naturally, both Fred and Molly find it rather difficult not to snoop around because of Konrad's strange behavior and the fact they see him sneaking off late at night to a swampland cemetery located behind the house. Turns out Konrad is up to something devious... like using a special serum derived from mold found in graveyards to raise the dead!

Most TV programs of the late 50s/early 60s such as "The Veil," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits" teetered on being fantasy, mystery or science fiction much - if not most - of the time. This one however is straight-up horror, with a mad scientist plot line, creepy old mansion setting, fog, cobwebs, a secret lab, coffins and the like. Best of all is that it has zombies! And they're very creepy, very dead looking kind just like the ones featured in classic b/w chillers like CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)! All three of the lead actors are very good, and Karloff gives a superbly creepy performance in this one.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Quite possibly the worst cannibal movie of them all., 3 May 2009
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For a long time this was mistakenly listed online and in various books as either an alternate title for Jesus Franco's MONDO CANNIBALE (aka WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN), or an entirely different Franco film altogether. It was also mistaken for Franco's DEVIL HUNTER because it basically shares an almost identical kidnappers-stranded-in-cannibal-country premise. However, despite being made by the same production company (Eurociné) around the same time and containing some of the same actors, this isn't a Franco film. I'm not sure he even had anything to do with it despite still being listed in the credits here. And speaking of credits (as if they aren't confusing enough already), the ones in the version I saw list Ilona Kunesova (the script supervisor for MONDO CANNIBALE) as the screenwriter and "Allan W. Steeve" as the director. It says here that "Allan W. Steeve is an alias for Alain Deruelle, yet also lists the films co-star, Olivier Mathot, as well as Spanish actor Julio Pérez Tabernero, as additional uncredited directors. So who the hell actually did make this thing? I can't really answer that, but after watching it, I can't blame everyone for wanting to hide behind a pseudonym.

A trio of "gangsters," Roberto, Lina and Mario (the latter played by Franco movie regular Antonio Mayans) decide to kidnap little Florence (Annabelle) and keep her hostage until her wealthy parents (Silvia Solar and Olivier Mathot) can come up with the ransom money. To ensure an easy escape, the trio decide to drag the little girl across the border into "Indian territory" to hide out with some guy named Antonio and his much-younger wife Manuela (Pamela Stanford). On the way there, their jeep overheats and the female guide is kidnapped by a cannibal tribe, dragged off to their village and is then sliced open and eaten. The kidnappers manage to get the jeep running again and make it to Antonio's home. After Antonio leaves, Mario ties Manuela to a tree and rapes her. When Antonio returns, he ties Mario to a tree and whistles so that a couple of nearby cannibals can come eat him (?!) Everyone else flees into the "jungle" when the parents finally show up looking for their little girl and are picked off one by one by in unexciting ways by the tribe. The end.

I don't even know where to start describing how awful this thing is. I can only say that it's consistent in that everything (the acting, the ridiculous dubbed dialogue, the inappropriate score, badly edited in stock footage, etc.) is awful. It also commits the cardinal trash movie sin of being extremely boring. Aside from just two moments of gore (which are recycled from the aforementioned WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN) and one scene of nudity (provided by Stanford during a hilarious bathing scene where she rapidly tries to scrub her body because she's obviously freezing her ass off outside in the "jungle") this movie is lacking in anything cannibal movie, horror or exploitation fans want to see. The entire grueling first hour consists mostly of people sitting around complaining, while the last half hour consists mostly of people walking around in the "jungle."

Notice I keep putting quotes around "jungle." That's because the "jungle" consists of pine trees, a couple of strategically-placed ferns, gravel roads and a snow-covered mountain backdrop to capture that authentic tropical feel. Even more ridiculous is the "cannibal tribe," which seems to consist of all ethnicities that they try to hide by painting everyone with multi-colored clown makeup. There are Asians, Caucasians, skinny guys, fat guys, little boys and hippies with porkchop sideburns, yet oddly just one female tribe member to populate the entire village. Even if you're a cannibal movie completist, I would think twice about picking this one up.

Madness (1980)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A tepid thriller with maximum nudity but minimal everything else., 2 May 2009
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Fernando Di Leo is best known to us horror nuts for SLAUGHTER HOTEL (1971), a sleazy "giallo" that forgets to be thrilling or horrific and instead concentrates mainly on getting its female cast members naked during gratuitous lesbian and solo sex scenes. This one (which I saw under the title HOLIDAY MASSACRE) is his third foray into the horror/thriller genre and basically follows the same exact formula, cramming as much nudity in as possible but seemingly forgetting about everything else. Ostensibly a thriller taking it's cue from Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (which influenced many concurrent Italian/Euro exploitation films), all this really is is an excuse to have lead actress Lorraine De Selle parade around nude for about 85 minutes. Naturally, if you're a Lorraine fan you'll probably enjoy this for what it is, but if you're going in expecting an actual thriller or horror film you will likely walk away pretty disappointed.

Convicted thief and murderer Joe Brezzi (Joe Dallesandro) escapes from prison, murders a man with a pitchfork, steals his car and then heads off to find 300 million lira he'd stolen and hid in a secluded vacation home right before he was arrested. Before he can get inside and get the loot (which is hidden underneath the fireplace), married couple Sergio (Gianni Macchia) and Liliana (Patrizia Behn) show up looking for a little weekend R&R. Also tagging along is Liliana's self-absorbed and bitchy younger sister Paola (Lorraine De Selle), who is secretly having an affair with Sergio. That evening there's a lengthy sex scene for the couple (and a solo effort from Ms. De Selle on the couch), as Joe patiently waits outside. The next day, Sergio goes hunting, Liliana goes into town get some groceries and Paola decides to stay behind to sunbathe (topless, of course). Joe strikes when the getting's good, knocks out Paola and starts chipping away at the fireplace with a pick axe. When Paola comes to, she's "raped" (well, it starts as a rape...) and then her sister and brother-in-law show up for more of the same.

A pretty low-budget affair, with minimal location change, minimal action and a very small cast, this one lacks suspense and tension and isn't nearly nasty or violent enough to be worth recommending. Dallesandro is the only one who manages to keep his clothes on the entire time (even during the rape scene) and basically coasts through this entire film with an annoying "angered" looking facial expression. Another constant annoyance is a huge poster of John Travolta's grinning mug hanging on a wall in the room where most of the film takes place. And despite the title there really is no "massacre" aside from a little rifle shooting at the very end.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant old murder-mystery with a good cast., 20 April 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the most novel aspects of this low-budget murder-mystery is the opening sequence. It starts with a man being shot near the front entrance of a building before the camera pans around to reveal it's simply a scene being shot in a movie studio. I've seen this same set-up numerous times in other mysteries, thrillers and horror films and don't recall seeing any films predating this one using this film-within-a-film trick at the beginning. But what is supposed to be a simulated murder turns out to be a real one when a member of the cast or crew actually does shoot the actor from somewhere off-screen. The question is, who did it and why? That's what Lt. Sheehan (John Wray) hopes to find out. Usually beating him to the punch though is studio writer Franklyn Drew (David Manners), who decides to play amateur sleuth when the killer tries to implicate his girlfriend - film star Marcia Lane (Adrienne Ames) - in not only the first murder, but also a second one involving a drunk getting battery acid snuck into his liquor.

Horror fans will note that three of the leads from Tod Browning's classic Dracula, made just one year earlier, round out the cast, including Manners in the lead role and Bela Lugosi (playing studio president Joseph Steiner) and Edward Van Sloan (playing director Tom Avery) in supporting roles, both as just a couple of the potential suspects. It's also nice to get a look at a 1930s film studio, including sets and camera and sound equipment. The screenplay depends a bit too much on coincidence, with Manners finding many clumsily-left clues just lying around at various locations and the killer conveniently popping in long enough to conk someone over the head so he/she can destroy evidence, for the mystery aspects to be fully satisfactory. And the comedy elements, primarily the ones involving a dim-witted set security guard (Vince Barnett) are a bit strained at times. Despite that, the film is still pretty entertaining and worth watching.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A rubbery lizard creature and groovy dance moves on your face., 20 April 2009
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At the upscale Tanglewood Beach Resort, a honeymooning couple is found viciously murdered in their room. Or more eloquently put by a copper on the case, "...their neck bones were mutilated to a pulp!" Couldn't have anything to do with the arrival of shady stage hypnotist John Basso (Les Tremayne) and his miserable blonde hottie assistant Doreena (Pat Delaney), could it? Nah! One thing's for sure, pot-bellied resort owner and all around greed-monger Sam Crane (Neil Fletcher) could care less as long as he's getting his piece of the pie. Seeing how popular Basso's act has become, he has decided to promote them and potentially make millions on the side. I mean, who really cares if every once in awhile a couple of necking teens get slaughtered as long as the dough's rolling in? Sam's bland daughter Lynn (Suzanne Roy) is conveniently dating studly "air force parapsychologist" (?) Ted (Aron Kincaid) and he seems to know all about things of the other-worldly nature. He also believes the sudden rash of murders and rubber-lizard-monster-with-ping-pong -ball-eyes-and-over-sized-plastic-fangs sightings may somehow involve the newly hired resort entertainment. And he is correct. It all has something to do with Doreena being the reincarnation of some 17th Century British woman and having a "physical link" to a sea monster. Or something. Lt. Blake (Roger Ready) and company are on the case.

This 16mm effort from Texas-based schlockmeister Larry Buchanan (a color remake of 1956's THE SHE CREATURE that was sold directly to TV by AIP) opens with a five minute pre-credit sequence that makes no sense whatsoever and doesn't really improve much from there. The film is not only bogged down by ultra-low production values (flat and too-dark cinematography, continuity errors galore, ragged edited, etc.), but is also far too slow-moving and talky to maintain much interest. Not only that, but there's precious little sea monster action in this one, the monster costume is completely laughable and the lame ass monster attack scenes all take place completely off screen. There's nothing really to recommend about this once, except...

For two cheesy Beach Party-style musical/dance numbers that came out of nowhere and keep this from scoring an otherwise well-deserved 1. The lead singer is some surfer-looking guy named Scotty McKay, who sings several songs at a beach dance party. The second one is about Batman and pretty cool. The most hilarious moment however is when Scotty sits down on the beach to sing a depressing song about "lonely people" and then suddenly a bunch of smiling teens jump up and start vigorously dancing! Afterward poor Scotty drives off on his motorcycle and gets mauled to death by the creature and we never hear from him again. Sigh.

Horror fans should recognize Tremayne from one of his many horror/sci-fi outings (THE MONOLITH MONSTERS, THE SLIME PEOPLE, etc.) and may also know "Ann McAdams"/Annabelle Weenick (the sanitarium doctor from DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT), who has a supporting role as Sam's wife. And of course "Beach Party" viewers will know Mr. Kincaid. Apparently he tried to sue AIP before finishing out his contract so they forced him in to star in this film.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Substandard romantic melodrama with some (very) slight horror/voodoo content., 19 April 2009
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sweet Harlem girl Sylvia Walton (Ida Smith) has just arrived in Jamaica to take over the family banana plantation after her half-sister Isabelle's (Nina Mae McKinney) disappearance. There she strikes the fancy of two men; upstanding John Lowden (Emmett Wallace) and shady Philip Ramsay (Jack Carter), and eventually finds out her jealous sibling is actually hiding out in the jungle plotting to get revenge. Isabelle doesn't want to be driven from her home. She wants the plantation all to herself, too. And she's especially upset that John - who she's been in love with since she a child - has fallen for Sylvia in the two weeks she's been there. Wanting revenge, Isabelle plots to use voodoo and some special herbal tea to either drive Sylvia away or, worst case scenario, kill her. For some comic relief (and help to pad out the scant run time), a silly subplot involving hustler and servant Percy (Hamtree Harrington) putting his soul into a piglet, has been tacked onto the film.

There's really not much positive to say about this low-budget cheapie from Sack Entertainment. Though filmed on location in Jamaica, the film lacks atmosphere. The script is also pretty bad, with a minimal plot line and bland dialogue, and most of the cast is amateurish. The notable except is McKinney, who gives a commanding performance as the bitter sibling. The climactic voodoo "blood dance" ceremony, which features a catchy song-and-dance number, was probably the highlight of the entire film for me personally. There's also a horse race, a cockfight and one of the most poorly choreographed fist fights you'll ever see. Apparently fifteen minutes are missing from the only available print of this film.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining Hong Kong psycho thriller., 13 April 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fresh from an eight-year prison stint after falsely being convicted of the the murder of her married lover, Fonda Chiu (Fonda Lynn) gets a new job as assistant editor of a newspaper, moves into a nice house in the country and tries to have a fresh start, vowing to keep her criminal background a secret. Everything's looking up for her socially, professionally and romantically, as she's making new friends, doing well at her job and begins dating her nice and understanding boss Simon (Alan Tam). Unfortunately, Fonda has also attracted the attention of a vengeful psycho who goes out of their way to make her life a living hell. Said nutjob is a jealous 17-year-old psycho-bitch named Sheena (Lona Chang), who works for the same newspaper as a secretary, victimizes her wheelchair-bound granny and tortures a male prisoner (the missing newspaper president) in the cellar of her home! Sheena also twists the head off her doll, kills animals (including chopping off chicken heads and hanging Fonda's pet monkey), tries to seduce Fonda's new man, beats someone to death with a flashlight, beats another guy over the head with a wrench, stabs a guy to death with a butcher knife and feeds a child a spring roll laced with broken glass! To make matters worse she's clever enough to implicate Fonda for her crimes, turning friends and coworkers against her.

The version I saw was the one released on one of those 50 movie packs by Mill Creek Entertainment. The dubbing is pretty awful and the picture quality is equally bad, as they used a flat-looking, washed-out VHS-level print. However, the story itself is entertaining enough to make this worth watching regardless. It's also very fast-paced and seldom drags. The weaving of the current storyline with flashbacks is confusing at first, but the film adequately ties up all the loose ends by the end and is done with some competence. In other words, it all starts to makes sense if you hang in there long enough. The film also boasts quite a few entertainingly weird moments, such as when a shrieking monkey appears out of nowhere or when Fonda and a photographer (Jacky Lim) visit a crime scene and are suddenly attacked by some random madwoman with a butcher knife.

Perhaps the most startling thing about this film is that if it were indeed made in 1978 then a very famous slasher movie completely ripped off the ending and hasn't been called on it. Ever heard of Friday THE 13TH? Here we get the female lead vs. the psycho on a beach. There's an overturned canoe nearby. They fight with oars. The psycho gets on top of our heroine and starts beating her head into the ground, and finally the leading lady grabs a machete off the ground, runs up to the psycho and chops her head off. The shots, editing and even use of slow-motion are completely identical and Fonda is even seen floating in a canoe the next morning when the police arrive! If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the year for this film is incorrectly listed here. I even think I heard snippets of Pino Donaggio's DRESSED TO KILL (1980) score being used, so this film was likely made sometime in the early 80s as opposed to 1978.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Irritating, nearly-laughless horror-mystery-comedy., 12 April 2009
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A high level of nervous tension is giving overbearing screecher Laura Van Ee (Molly Lamont) some heart problems. Unhappily married to Ward (Roland Varno) and living in a large mansion/clinic with her hubby and his doctor father Josef (George Zucco), Laura believe someone's trying to kill her. And apparently she is correct in her assumption since the film is narrated by her fresh corpse on a morgue slab. The film frequently closes in on her body, the screen goes wavy and the film settles into flashback mode as she narrates her own story. Too bad she isn't even present for the majority of it! Laura, a former singer in Paris, now thinks she is being held prisoner in her home by Ward and her father-in-law. She hears strange noises and someone sends her a dummy head in a package to try to drive her even more bonkers. After that set-up during the first 20 minutes or so, the film seems to forget all about Laura until the very end of the film, when some absurd, out-of-left field explanation is given about how she was literally "scared to death" by someone from her past who has returned to settle an old score.

So what happens during the majority of this film? Unfortunately, it has little to do with Laura's predicament and more to do with a crew of irritating, chattery side characters trying (and usually failing) to be amusing. Nat Pendleton plays an extremely annoying bumbling detective named Bill Raymond, who hangs out in the home hoping someone is killed so he can solve the case and get his old job back (?) There's also put-upon maid Lilly Beth (Gladys Blake), who Bill seems obsessed with and who finds herself clinically dead at one point. Add to the mix reporter Terry Lee (Douglas Fowley), his airhead girlfriend Jane Cornell (Joyce Compton), Josef's estranged hypnotist cousin Professor Leonide (Bela Lugosi), Leonide's deaf-mute dwarf sidekick Indigo (Angelo Rossitto), blackmailer Mrs. Williams (Dorothy Christie) and someone wearing a green expressionless mask peaking in windows from time to time. This film has far too many pointless characters, far too many dull, talky scenes that really have nothing to do with the plot and completely fails at being a horror film, mystery OR comedy.

The film's chief notoriety is being both Lugosi's only starring role in a color feature and his only color horror effort. Unfortunately, Bela is underutilized here and seems to disappear for lengthy stretches, though his presence in general will be enough of an incentive for fans to check this out. Same goes for horror star Zucco, who plays his role completely straight but has almost nothing to do. The run-time is a measly 68 minutes, but that doesn't keep this misfire from dragging on and on and on for what seems like an eternity.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Uneven, but gritty and effectively grim, tale based on an actual "ghost ship" legend., 12 April 2009
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On November 1872, a brigantine merchant ship by the name of The Mary Celeste set sail from New York Harbor carrying a supply of commercial alcohol to be dropped off in Europe. On board were the captain, his wife and 2-year-old daughter and an experienced seven-man crew. Around a month later, the ship was discovered abandoned and floating in the Atlantic Ocean. Everyone on board was gone and none of them were ever seen or heard from again. This eerie tale would go on to become a famous ghost ship legend, inspire stories or be directly referenced by everyone from Arthur Conan Doyle to Stephen King to Dean R. Koontz, be the subject of an article published in Strand Magazine (supposedly written the ship's sole survivor - a stowaway not even listed on the log - and commonly written off as a literary hoax now) and also be the basis for this low-budget British film, which doesn't exactly stick to all the facts. This one drops the child from the story, adds additional crew members and a jilted lover subplot, changes nationalities and eventually provides an explanation for the events on board. It is also noteworthy as the first genre picture from Hammer Film Productions, as well as containing a pretty good performance from classic horror star Bela Lugosi.

As for this film, it begins as Capt. Benjamin Briggs (Arthur Margetson) wins over the affections of Sarah (Shirley Grey) from his friend Capt. Jim Morehead (Clifford McLaglen). Fuming, Jim agrees to help Benjamin fill a vacant spot on the crew with one of his men, and then secretly promises a crewman money and advancement if he causes some trouble on board. Also on board the ship is depressed, penniless, one-armed, hard-drinking Anton Lorenzen (Bela Lugosi), who seems to have fallen on hard times and had a tragic experience last time he was out at sea. The captain, his wife, Anton, gruff first mate Toby Bilson (Edmund Willard) some seaman and a cook/steward all set off to sea and one-by-one end up being mysteriously murdered (most off-screen) until all is explained at the finale. The storyline itself is pretty muddled and confusing and the dark, grimy photography, overbearing lighting and choppy editing splices mix to keep this in "Poverty Row" territory. However, it's still interesting at times, entertaining enough to pass an hour of your time and the confined ship setting creates a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere. The film also has flogging, an attempted rape, suicide, a (hard to make out) shark attack and corpses casually thrown overboard by various crewman, which makes it a bit grittier than usual for this time.

One thing that has harmed the film (other than the highly uneven technical credits) is that many scenes have been removed. Apparently, some court room scenes bookended the film, and footage was also shot of some of the characters escaping to an island. All of that is now missing and believed to be lost, but it may have helped clarify some of the muddier plot points. The fact that the two lead characters simply vanish from the film, only to be briefly discussed later as if of little importance, is also pretty unsatisfying. Fans of Lugosi will definitely enjoy his work here though, and this movie will likely be of most interest to the actor's fans.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Veteran character actors punch home familiar material., 12 April 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The second big screen version of Agatha Christie's famous tale follows the popular 1943 stage play, Rene Clair's classic 1945 film version (AND THEN THERE WERE NONE), as well as several TV adaptations. While not as good as Clair's version, and almost completely missing that film's wit and subtlety, this one is still miles better than most of the later films based on the same novel. Producer/writer Harry Alan Towers would back no less than three of these, including versions in 1974 (which takes place at a Middle Eastern hotel) and 1989 (which takes place during an African safari). This one also has a location change, a few character alterations and a different ending, but at least two of these changes work fairly well, and the cast is full of talented and familiar veteran character actors who keep the film highly watchable despite the flaws.

Ten people are invited to a dinner party by Mr. U.N. Owen, who lives atop a mountain in a huge mansion accessible only by cable car. Once they arrive and start settling in, they discover that none of them has actually met their mysterious unseen host before. However, an audio tape (voiced by an unbilled Christopher Lee) is played during dinner accusing each and every one of the ten guests of being a murderer, rightfully so in most cases, and from then on out the guest start dropping like flies in a variety of different ways.

Everyone's a suspect. Hugh Lombard (Hugh O'Brien) is an engineer who caused the death of a pregnant former lover. Shirley Eaton (Ann Clyde), lured under the auspices of a secretarial position, killed her sister's fiancé. Obnoxious young singer Michael Raven (Fabian) killed someone during a drunk driving accident. Glamorous actress Ilona Bergen's (Daliah Lavi) heartless behavior led a former husband's suicide. Gen. John Mandrake (Leo Genn) took an undeserved promotion after accidentally getting five men killed. Det. William Henry Blore's (Stanley Holloway) testimony sent an innocent man to prison, where he was later murdered. Judge Arthur Cannon (Wilfrid Hyde-White) sentenced an innocent man to death. Dr. Edward Armstrong (Dennis Price) killed a patient while operating on her drunk. Hell, even the hired help; Joseph (Mario Adorf) and Elsa Grohmann (Marianne Hoppe) had previously killed a wealthy, elderly employer. Any of these people might be the killer and the only way to really check any of them off your list is when they turn up dead. And even that's a maybe.

Speaking of turning up dead, this version (unlike the Clair version) actually visualizes most of the murders. The real standouts are two excellent set pieces that both take place outdoors. The first involves a cable car falling and crashing over a cliff. The second involves one of the characters attempting to climb down the mountain, having their rope cut and then tumbling down a rocky embankment. Other murders are committed with a knife, a gun, a syringe and poison. How each of the victims find themselves alone long enough to be murdered (as well as how the killer manages to frequently sneak off to actually murder them) relies on a high amount of sheer luck and it's this ridiculous level of coincidence that hampers the film the most. I also didn't care much for the music score, which seemed too lightweight and elevator-esquire for this material.

Cast-wise, the old pros (Genn, Price, Hyde-White and Holloway) clearly provide the best moments in this film, while the younger cast are around solely to inject some sex/youth appeal into the proceedings, as clearly evidenced by Eaton's frequent clothes changing scenes. Fabian proves he was just as awful an actor as he was a singer, but he's really not around long enough to cause any major damage. The rest of the actors was adequate, if not good, in their roles. So for the cast, the setting and some good set-pieces (plus an effective surprise ending), this is worth a look for mystery fans. It's nicely shot in black-and-white, too.


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