I caught an interesting horror flick on TV the other night called "Horrors of the Black Museum" (1959) and all I could ask was WHERE IS VINCENT PRICE? Why? Starting with first things first, let's examine the opening of the movie. A gimmick called "Hypnovista" is employed. Hynovista? Yes, Hypnovista. Before the film starts, a "psychologist" with a specialty of Hypnotism appears. He leads the audience through numerous hypnotic suggestions. Starting out by demonstrating just how contagious a yawn can be, he goes on to "Hypnotize" the audience with the power of suggestion that they are feeling cold ( blue tinted screen / sound of an icy storm) and feeling hot (orange tinted screen / sound of flames). Guess what? It works! OK, well kinda. Ok It doesn't! Presto chango, he announces you are hypnotized and will experience the movie as though you are actually there! Gee, why does this remind me of a William Castle film gimmick? (William Castle is the same guy who devised those amazing movie house gimmicks for Vincent Price films "House on Haunted Hill" and "The Tingler").
Ok kiddies, hang on, that's not all! Now let's consider "The Phibes Factor" NOTE: The Abominable Doc doesn't make the movie scene till 1971. The plot of this movie has a demented crime writer hypnotizing an assistant and sending him out to kill people with torturous and bizarre methods, just to prove he can. Death by binoculars with spikes NOTE: This particular device was inspired by an actual device that exists in a Scotland Yard Museum, Ice tongs through the neck, guillotine, knife in the heart whilst in the tunnel of love, electrocution ray and last but not least, death via vat of acid. What kind of a hill did you say that house was on?
Finally, let us examine the mad crime writer's hobby. Can you guess what it might be? He just happens to be the curator of a very private museum of wax figures, the figures of famous murderers!
Not to discount Michael Gough as mad writer, Edmond Bancroft. Gough, who has appeared in numerous horror films, such as: "Horror of Dracula (1958), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Black Zoo (1963), Berserk (1967), Horror Hospital (1972) and in a series of mad-scientist roles, Konga (1961), The Skull (1965), and They Came From Beyond Space (1967) and many more, does a marvelous job in the role. But there is no denying it would have been wonderful fun to see Vincent Price as the mad Edmond Bancroft. Upon viewing this film, it becomes obvious why he was so wonderful in roles with similar themes like "House of Wax", "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and "House on Haunted Hill". Woulda, coulda, shoulda considered, "Horrors of the Black Museum" is a wonderful film. It should NOT be missed by any fan of this type film.
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