John Carradine narrates five horror tales with macabre twists. A couple fixes a strange old clock. The Scotland Yard is after a serial killer. A murdered scientist seeks revenge. The last tw... Read allJohn Carradine narrates five horror tales with macabre twists. A couple fixes a strange old clock. The Scotland Yard is after a serial killer. A murdered scientist seeks revenge. The last two stories focus on Frankenstein and Dracula.John Carradine narrates five horror tales with macabre twists. A couple fixes a strange old clock. The Scotland Yard is after a serial killer. A murdered scientist seeks revenge. The last two stories focus on Frankenstein and Dracula.
Lon Chaney Jr.
- Dr. Mendell
- (as Lon Chaney)
- Londoner killed by Mob
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1972
What first began life in 1966 as "Dr. Terror's Gallery of Horror" evolved over the years with new titles for cinema ("The Blood Suckers") and television ("Return from the Past"), easily available today under the shortened title "Gallery of Horror." John Carradine had earlier garnered the title role in "The Wizard of Mars" for director/special effects maven David L. Hewitt, who here managed to corral Lon Chaney and Rochelle Hudson to add greater marquee value to what arguably appears to be his masterwork. Rather than science fiction, truly impossible on such chintzy budgets, we have traditional, old fashioned horror, an anthology film inspired (as one can guess by the title) by the 1964 Amicus feature "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors" (one character even named after Peter Cushing!). Conceived by CREEPY editor Russ Jones, an expert in short stories, Hewitt spent approximately $20,000 on a super fast 5 day schedule at Ray Dorn's Hollywood Stage that left the actors breathless, and audiences speechless (Al Adamson and John Carradine filmed "Blood of Dracula's Castle" there around that same time). Virtually all the stock footage is culled from AIP's Roger Corman/Poe films (plus "The Terror"), its main musical theme cribbed from 1960's "The Hypnotic Eye." Carradine is the unnamed narrator, introducing on screen all five stories but only appearing in the opener, "The Witches Clock" (13 minutes), in which a young couple move into a New England castle that 300 years before housed a Salem witch, with an enchanted clock that revives the spirit of Carradine's Tristram Halbin (little characterization in just two scenes). Second, and perhaps weakest, is "King Vampire" (12 minutes), feebly depicting Scotland Yard's hunt for a vampire that supposedly has the face of a corpse, and how they've detained all suspects that fit that description! Next is another poorly executed story, "Monster Raid" (16 minutes), with Rochelle Hudson's adulterous wife getting her comeuppance from her dead husband, whose resurrection was made possible by his own curiously vague formula. Fourth, "Spark of Life" (15 minutes) casts top billed Lon Chaney as Dr. Mendell, the only mad scientist of his entire career, a colleague of Hamburg's Baron Erik Von Frankenstein, continuing experiments that involve bringing the dead back to life via electricity. His greatest mistake is in choosing the corpse of an executed murderer out for revenge, but Chaney really acts up a storm, running the gamut from elation to disappointment, deadly serious as he attempts to undo his success, with predictable results. Last is "Count Dracula" (13 minutes), a seriously crippled retread of Stoker's familiar tale, featuring a woefully inadequate Mitch Evans in place of Carradine as Dracula. As bad as it undoubtedly is, this film remains ideal for younger audiences who favor harmless terror for late night viewing, which was how this monster kid saw it on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater on four occasions: Nov 11 1972 (paired with first feature "Son of Frankenstein"), Dec 29 1973 (paired with second feature "Monster on the Campus"), Nov 30 1974 (paired with first feature "The Horror of Frankenstein"), and Jan 7 1978 (paired with first feature "Count Dracula").
- Dec 3, 2014
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