Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chamber of Horrors

This 1966 film is something of an oddity.  Filled with actors like Wayne Rogers (also in MASH) and Wilfred Hyde-White, it has an odd hybrid feel to it.  It doesn't seem quite a motion picture.  Indeed, when you look at the production history it turns out this was at first design a pilot for a TV show.  It was deemed too horrifying for TV (unlike most pilots which are too horrible for TV), and retooled into a film.  Shame really, I would have watched a TV show about detectives/wax museum owners.

The plot has a dastardly killer who is captured by our detectives and their dwarf assistant.  The villain escapes but loses his hand.  Everyone thinks he's dead, but of course that is wishful thinking.  He comes back later now adorned with a fake hand that can change out to various weapons.  His goal is nothing less than the perfect vengeance against all who crossed him.  Judges, doctors, our heroes... no one is safe.  Can our detectives find the madman first?

This is a fine gothic melodrama that is slightly spoiled by a TV budget, and by a cheap gimmick.  Whenever something "horrible" is about to happen the screen flashes read and a horn sounds off.  Cheap, but also good fun.  I like some of the writing.  There are choice bets of dialogue.  I love how a judge is described as having "High standards for low wenches."

Definitely worth watching for old timey horror.

No comments:

Post a Comment