In a dilapidated rural mansion, the last generation of the degenerate, inbred Merrye family lives with the inherited curse of a disease that causes them to mentally regress from the age of 10 or so on as they physically develop. The family chauffeur looks out for them and covers up their indiscretions. Trouble comes when greedy distant relatives and their lawyer arrive to dispossess the family of its home.Written by
D.A. Kellough <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Shot in 12 days in the August of 1964. Many days were extremely hot on a small stage with no air conditioning. Lon Chaney Jr. frequently had to be wiped down between every take on some days. See more »
As Virginia and Elizabeth run down the stairs from the second story of their house, the silhouette of a crew member can be seen walking around the room to the left of the staircase. See more »
[opening titles; sung]
Bruno, The Chauffeur:
Screams and moans and bats and bones / Teenage monsters in haunted homes / The ghosts on the stair / The vampires bite / Better beware, there's a full moon tonight / Cannibal spiders creep and crawl / Boys and ghouls having a ball / Frankenstein, Dracula and even the Mummy / Are sure to end up in somebody's tummy / Take a fresh rodent, some toadstools and weeds / And add an old owl and the young one she breeds / Mix in seven legs from an eight-legged beast / And then ...
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As the film ends, "THE END" appears on the screen, then suddenly changes to "THE END ?". See more »
A special home video version, released by Video Treasures in 1994, features a remastered print of the film (all previous versions being of very dubious quality). This version is also widescreened and features footage (after the film) of a cast/crew reunion at a midnight showing of the film. See more »
Apparently you either love this film or hate it. I happen to love it.
I am amazed at some of the earlier comments on this board concerning this picture. One wonders why the people who hate it with such a passion bothered to contribute to the comments at all? This film is an acquired taste to be sure but I happen to like movies of this sort.
Admittedly Lon Chaney did very few things in the 60's that could be called "memorable". THE HAUNTED PALACE and WITCHCRAFT are the only things that come to mind. (Let us forget about FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF entirely and that story about Edward D. Wood directing the scene of Chaney climbing the outside of the building is probably hooey.)
Any movie that opens with Lon singing the title song (it was released as a .45 with Bobby Pickett's 'Monsters Holiday' on the "A" side)moves on to a cameo by Mantan Moreland who pops up long enough to get himself killed and which quickly segues to Chaney as surrogate patriarch to a totally insane family can't be all bad. The Merrye Family is definitely one that you would not want to live nextdoor to. I get the feeling Rhoda Penmark from THE BAD SEED would enjoy hanging around with the 2 sisters (Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner) and Ralph (Sid Haig) can cause shudders just by entering a room.
Is this movie a cult classic? Yes! Some people will not take to it right away (qv, some of the other comments on this board) but if you go into it expecting black comedy you will not be disappointed. Sure go ahead and rent this one. It may take more than one viewing but I think, if you keep an open mind, you might learn to like it.
PS: If you want to catch one of Beverly Washburn's earliest performances check out SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN. She is the little girl whose home is visited by the creatures from beneath the Earth. If you want to see more of Jill Banner, start watching reruns of 'Dragnet'.
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