Although he played a major character in the film, Patrick O'Neal's name does not appear in the ending credits. See more »
Produced as a TV series pilot, this film was determined to be too violent for the small screen and given theatrical distribution instead. Added for this release was an exploitation device called the "Fear Flasher/Horror Horn", ostensibly to warn the audience of the "Four Supreme Fright Points" (although it was not applied to the picture's most explicitly violent moment, the climactic fate of the villain). This device was explained in an introductory sequence narrated by William Conrad. Upon first showing on US network television, both the device and its explanation were deleted, but in subsequent syndication to local stations in the 1970s and '80s, some such prints were seen. See more »
An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 (On the Beautiful Blue Danube)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the party See more »
Frightful fun for lovers of classic chills
Borrowing a page from the playbook of producers like William Castle, Al Adamson, Nicholson and Arkoff at AIP and the like, this was a lot of fun for me as a kid with the hokey gimmicks of the "Fear Flasher" and the "Horror Horn" added to prevent the more squeamish members of the audience from dying of sheer fright, (the goosebump-inducing voice of the Narrator in the "Instructional" sequence was none other than CANNON himself, William Conrad, who actually directed one of these horror potboilers for Warner's, the Dean Jones/Connie Stevens starrer TWO ON A GUILLOTINE.)
This rehash of the definitely superior HOUSE OF WAX with Vincent Price, gives us the grisly tale of serial strangler Jason Cravette (Patrick O'Neal in a bravura performance), who is finally caught literally red-handed as he ritualistically weds and beds his latest victim, ex mortis.
His subsequent escape and its gory consequences, (he goes from being caught red-handed to losing one of them), becomes the fodder for a sensational museum of mass murderers run by suave local entrepreneur Anthony Draco (Cesare Danova, one of Warner's second-tier matinee idols.) Once worried about operating in the red, soon Draco and his associates, the marvelous Wilfrid Hyde-White and diminuitive sidekick Tun-Tun (the 'Mini-Me' of his day) are back in business, as the slippery Cravette gives our heroes and the local authorities more red than they know what to do with, cutting a vengeful swath through the ranks of all those responsible for his near-incarceration.
Hy Averback keeps all the right balls in the air with a speedy and sure sense of direction, and there's much delightful interplay between the lead characters, especially Danova and Hyde-White. Look closely and not only will you see Tony Curtis in an uncredited cameo, but a baby-faced Wayne Rogers as well, as a very unlucky constable (whom Averback would direct years later in episodes of TV's M*A*S*H...talk about six-degree associations!)
With the lush photography provided by master d.p. Richard Kline, and a score by William Lava that reminds us that he wasn't just at Warner's to provide soundtracks for Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, this was about as classy as genre-B pics could get for the mid-'60's, not discounting the efforts of A.I.P. with the Price/Poe films. Not available in any medium that I'm aware of, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled on AMC or TNT late night to catch this worthy rarity.
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