The Haunting of Morella (1990) Poster

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Not Too Poor But Not Too Poe
ferbs5410 November 2007
If the blind recluse Gideon Locke seems a tad depressed and bewildered in 1990's "The Haunting of Morella," I suppose he's got reasonable enough cause. Seventeen years earlier, his beautiful wife Morella had been crucified and eye-gouged to death for the crime of witchcraft (in an opening scene that still pales in comparison with the similar one in Mario Bava's 1961 horror classic "Black Sunday"), and now, his look-alike daughter Lenora is beginning to show signs of possession. This by-now-familiar storyline has been padded out with gratuitous (but always welcome!) nudity, lesbianism, mucho gore and various gross-out FX to the point where any resemblance to Poe's short short story "Morella" is glancing at best. This being a Roger Corman production, the film has been put together on the cheap, but typical for Corman, still manages to look handsome enough. In her dual roles as Morella and Lenora, Nicole Eggert proves something of a mixed blessing. She is OK in the evil witch role, but hardly seems a proper young 19th century British lass; more like a whiny Valley girl. As her towering and murderess governess, Lana Clarkson literally stands out in this cast. Her nighttime waterfall tryst with servant girl Maria Ford is a hoot and a half, as I'm not certain that Frederick's of Hollywood existed 200 years ago! Best of all, of course, is my main man, David McCallum, as Lenora's reclusive father. Blind, unkempt and constantly rattled, he is here as different a character as can be imagined from supercool U.N.C.L.E. agent Illya Kuryakin. Anyway, while nothing great, "The Haunting of Morella" should prove just fine for an evening's entertainment. Oh...I just love the name of the actor who passes sentence on Morella in the film's opening scene: Clement von Franckenstein!
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Great T&A dramatics/fun from Jim Wynorski
Jimbo5218 September 2005
The late Lana Clarkson is really the star of this one! As the evil lesbian Governess towering over the budding Nicole Eggert, she seeks to reincarnate her long dead lover (Nicole's mother, "Morella") with the blood of virgins! This includes servant girls Maria Ford, Debbie Dutch, Gail Harris, and Miss Eggert herself! Memorable are the bath scenes (a Wynorski trademark) by Lana, Nicole (bathes in blood!), Debbie, and of course the midnight tryst under the waterfall with Lana, Maria, and a very sharp KNIFE! Gorehounds as well as fans of EVIL WOMEN, lesbianism, and unashamed female nudity will enjoy this one! CAUTION: Gory violence, nudity, lesbianism, and other things that make life worth living. :-) Jimbo
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* out of 4.
brandonsites198121 August 2002
Edger Allen Poe gets the Roger Corman treatment in this flick with plenty of naked women and lots of sexual situations. The story involves a witch put to death. 17 years later, her daughter is all grown up and stands to get a good sum of money. Seeing this as the perfect chance to return to life, the mother tries to take over her daughter's body. Film is totally devoid of entertainment, not even all the sex and nudity can help this one out.

Rated R; Violence, Nudity, Sexual Situations.
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Not a bad adaptation...
Huntress-211 March 1999
Not a bad version of Poe's short story. There seemed to be some lesbian overtones I didn't catch in the book, but that's okay. Beautiful women and a fairly spooky plot. I liked it.
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Stupid Stupid Movie
Chrome8430 July 1999
This movie was a total farce. They used Edgar Allen Poe to get several young women out of their clothes. No different then your typical stupid slasher film. The only difference is that it is based off a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. Don't watch this movie
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An Honest Review
generationofswine27 December 2017
Breasts. That is kinda what this movie was about. It was tailor made for a latch-key kid in the 90s to stay up late watching HBO to eventually see breasts.


It delivered that.

There was some plot about an evil witch and breasts. Something about a love affair and breasts. There were a few deaths and breasts and...

...yes, there was a thong despite the fact it takes place a long time ago before there were thongs and...yes, breasts.

What you have here is really a movie about breasts, but, it is a period piece Lovecraftian movie about breasts.

So if you want breasts, this is the movie for you, especially since it really makes no effort whatsoever to pass itself off as anything but a movie about breasts.

Breasts. You really have to appreciate that honesty.
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Burn the witch! And this film!
The_Void5 December 2006
At the start of The Haunting of Morella, I wondered why it's won itself so many negative reviews. The film has a great Gothic atmosphere, and while the story is highly derivative of a great many other films; it fits well with the tone of the film and leads you to believe that you're in for something decent. However, it soon became clear why this film isn't well liked - and that's because it doesn't really go anywhere. The story is based on a short by the great Edgar Allen Poe, and follows the burning of a witch somewhere in America. She leaves her husband and daughter behind, but promises to return several years later. She plans to do this, of course, by taking over the body of her newly matured daughter. The Gothic atmosphere soon becomes little more than a slight distraction from the dull central plot, and by the end; the film was actually reminding me of a bad music video. Chopping Mall proved that Jim Wynorski isn't the best director, and this film does nothing to disprove that; as the action is dull and sluggish, and a good potential for a nice horror flick is wasted. Overall, this film may appeal to Poe completists (although I doubt it), and everyone else should stay clear!
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"The last time I spoke with her she didn't say a word."(?!) Not much to shout about, unintentionally hilarious dialogue apart.
Paul Andrews5 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Haunting of Morella starts 100's of years ago as Morella (Nicole Eggert) is crucified to a wooden cross, denounced as a witch guilty of witchcraft, blasphemy & murder. Morella's husband Gideon (David McCallum) pleads for mercy but it falls on deaf ears, he holds his & Morella's young daughter Lenora as Morella then has her eyes burnt out & is then left there for a week as she presumably dies. Jump 'Seventeen Years Later' & it's coming up to Lenora's (Nicole Eggert) 18th birthday & a lawyer from a nearby village named Guy Chapman (Christopher Halsted) delivers the news that Lenora will inherit Morella's fortune on her 18th. However being a witch & all that Morella had planned for such small inconveniences as being murdered, Lenora's governess Miss Deveraux (Maria Ford) is in fact a servant of Morella who sacrifices the female servant Ilsa (Gail Harris) & her boyfriend Miles (Brewster Gould) in a blood draining ritual to reincarnate Morella so they can have lesbian sex together & do lots of evil things that witches do I suppose. However, Gideon isn't having any of it & sets out to send his ex-missus to the grave for good...

Directed by Jim Wynorski The Haunting of Morella didn't do much for me, I thought it was the below average low budget straight to video Roger Corman produced cheapie that it so obviously is. The script by R.J. Robertson is supposedly based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe which might be true but if it is I doubt if much of Poe's literary work is prevalent here. To it's credit The Haunting of Morella at least isn't boring, it moves along at a fair pace & has the requisite amount of babes, blood & breasts to stop most genre fans going into comatose state like a lot of low budget crap can seem to do. The character's are basic, the plot & narrative is simplistic & caters for the lowest common denominator, the exploitation elements are average & as a whole the film isn't particularly satisfying although I thought it was an OK watch if your not too demanding (& to be honest you'd better not be!). There really isn't much else I can say about The Haunting of Morella except if you like these cheap blood 'n' breast horror films then you may like this one otherwise there's very little here to recommend.

Director Wynorski doesn't give the film any sort of distinctiveness or style, he's a point & shoot sort of guy isn't he? There is a fair amount of nudity but I was disappointed with the gore content, but then if you think about it it's cheaper & easier to film a naked woman than set up a complex special effect isn't it? A fact that I'm sure the economy conscious Wynorski never overlooks...

Technically the film is average, I must give the filmmakers some credit for trying to make a period piece although at times it looks like a school play with limited sets, bad lighting & cheap costumes. The Haunting of Morella contains one of the cheapest & fake looking slit throats I've seen in a long time & the rest of the so-called special effects aren't much better. The acting is of, shall we say a low standard.

The Haunting of Morella is average at best & low budget rubbish at worst. A must for Wynorski fans, if such an animal exists but for everyone else there are much better horror films out there.
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So String Bikinis Were Actually Invented In The 1800s!
Niro3 June 2000
Hokum involving a deceased witch's coven's attempts to raise her from the dead to inhabit her daughter's rather impressive body (17 years later).

This is absolute rubbish, not even worthy of the great Corman's name. At one pivotal moment, two women disrobe under a waterfall ~ and the prettier one is wearing... string bikini panties!

And those of you looking for the lovely Nicole Eggert's ummm... assets... can rent "Blown Away" (because this one's an obvious body double).

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Witches and Boobs
Michael_Elliott28 December 2017
The Haunting of Morella (1990)

** (out of 4)

Based on the Poe story, Morella (Nicole Eggert) is put to death for being a witch but before dying she passes off a curse in front of her husband and baby daughter. Seventeen years pass and the daughter (also played by Eggert) begins to have strange visions and soon a possession begins.

Jim Wynorski's THE HAUNTING OF MORELLA deserves a lot of credit. It was a Roger Corman produced cheapie but you have to give it credit for at least looking like an authentic period piece. I must admit that I was really shocked to see how good the film looked. More times than not these low-budget movies update the setting to where they don't have to worry about costumes and other things like that but that's not the case here. I thought the director did a very good job at delivering a nice atmosphere and the setting was perfect.

As far as the film goes, I wouldn't call it a complete success but there are enough interesting moments to make it worth sitting through. As you should expect from the director, the horror elements often take a back seat to the nudity and sexuality. There's plenty of both here but the horror elements aren't too bad for what they are. There are a couple bloody moments that will have fans of the genre happy.

David McCallum offers up a good performance in his role. Eggert is simply okay in her part. Lana Clarkson stands out in the role of the friend and you've also got Gail Thackray in a small part. THE HAUNTING OF MORELLA isn't a complete success but it's certainly entertaining enough to make it worth watching.
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The sound you hear now is Edgar Allen Poe spinning in his grave
preppy-311 January 2008
Absolutely atrocious "horror" movie. A witch is put to death in colonial America leaving behind an infant daughter. 17 years later she tries to return through the body of her now grown up kid.

As you can see this has nothing to do with Poe's classic short story. This is a very obvious story full of bad acting and unintentionally hilarious dialogue. The only reason this was made was to show as much female nudity as possible in a R rated film. The women are truly beautiful here but have zero acting ability. When see a horror movie I expect to see just that--not a skin flick. Lousy sets too. The crypt at the end looks like it was made out of cardboard! It's really sad to see a talented actor like David McCallum reduced to making dreck like this. I guess he was desperate for work. Boring and stupid and an insult to Poe. Even the VERY frequent nude scenes can't save this. A 1 all the way.
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Worst movie I've ever seen
gschrive8725 March 2004
On my list of top ten worst movies of all time, it's debatable between Superman III and The Haunting of Morella, but I'd put this as #1 worst. Stupid movie. Not only morally bankrupt, but from what I have understood, bore no resemblance whatsoever to the Edgar Allen Poe story. They seemed to keep adding character after character to the point where it became difficult to keep all of the characters straight. I went with a group of friends, and we resoundingly agreed that this one stunk. The plot was so convoluted that I couldn't even follow what exactly was going on half the time. This seemed like a bad B movie that they stuck Edgar Allen Poe's name on to give it some clout, but Poe would probably turn over in his grave on this one.
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Slick but slow moving without enough scares.
loomis78-815-9890349 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Morella (Eggert) is found guilty of witchcraft and murder after she ritually kills her staff. The town people capture her and crucify her but not before she vows to return. 17 years later, her daughter Lenora (Eggert in a dual role) begins acting strange as the spirit of her mother invades her soul and takes over. This period piece boasts some impressive sets and design as Roger Corman's company makes the movie look good. The slow moving tale doesn't do anything with the slick look of the film and not much action or terror is achieved. Characters are introduced simply to be slaughtered. Over flowing with tons of nudity from great looking women, this movie is easy to watch but unsatisfying as a horror film. Nicole Eggert handles her dual role well, but when the film has to rely on a cat jumping in the window for a jump scare, you know you're in trouble.
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Poverty row Poe
udar5516 October 2012
Morella (Nicole Eggert) is killed in the opening minutes for murder and witchcraft as her husband Gideon (David McCallum) looks on with their infant child. 17 years later, the child Lenora (Eggert again) is all grown up and soon to receive an sizable trust fund on her 18th birthday. But she is also the target of her teacher Coel (Lana Clarkson), who was Morella's accomplice back in the day, and hopes to put her old friend's soul in this new body. Loosely based on Poe's "Morella" short story, this feature runs only 82-minutes (the film ends at 78 minutes) but seems to go on a lot longer than that. Director Jim Wynorski gives the story what every critic of Poe thought it was missing - lots of topless women running around. To be fair, it succeeds on an exploitation level, but you'll never confuse this with a 1960s Corman Poe adaptation. And it is a nice looking production because this is back when Wynorski gave a damn. Eggert was "hot" off CHARLES IN CHARGE at the time so this must have seemed edgy for her. Regardless, she uses an obvious body double during her nude scenes. It is hilarious seeing her and Clarkson on screen as there is over a foot height differential, which leaves Eggert level with Clarkson's chest. Concorde staple Maria Ford has a smaller role as a servant. The film ends with the ridiculous on screen words "I still live!"
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