Cinema Sunday: Tower of London (1962)

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Title: Tower of London

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Writers: Leo Gordon, Edward Small, F. Amos Powell

Director: Roger Corman

Producers: Gene Corman, Edward Small

Starring: Vincent Price, Michael Pate, Joan Freeman, Robert Brown, Charles MacCaulay

Released: October 1962

MPAA: Approved

 

After a brief hiatus (one weekend for a quick vacation!), Cinema Sunday has returned! And of course, with a film starring one of the all time greats (if not the greatest), Vincent Price! This film is one I’ve been dying to see, and now that I’ve watched it two or three times, I’ll be spotlighting it today! In typical Price fashion, we get some very disturbing scenes in this film, and his fabulous portrayal of this sinister character. Listen, not everyone can take a historical setting, elements from the works of Shakespeare, and murder, and turn them into gold. But yes, Vincent Price can do the impossible.

The rest of the cast is good as well, and you should definitely recognize a few faces in this one. Murder, ghosts, and insanity, are all present in this gem! Alright, without further interruption, here we go!

 

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The film begins with a narrator telling the viewer that the Tower of London, and the insanity that went on within the structure. The year is 1483, and Edward IV King of England is on his death-bed. He’s surrounded by his family, which includes his brother, Richard, The Duke of Gloucester (Vincent Price). We see Edward’s two sons as well, and they will take over once they become of age. In the meantime, Edward’s other brother, George (Charles Macaulay), Duke of Clarence, is named as protector of the young boys that will one day rule. The three son’s mother is also there, and she seems suspicious that Edward being weak, puts the throne and England in jeopardy.

 

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Later that night, Richard and George (although Richard and Edward call him Clarence) are having a drink together, as they have not seen each other in many years. The two men compliment each other but Richard seems a bit illusory with his words. George then asks Richard for his help in protecting the boys, and puts out his hands for an embrace. As Richard hugs his brother, he pulls out a knife, and stabs him in the back! He then dumps the body into a barrel of water (to make sure the job is done?).

 

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Richard then retreats to his room, where his wife, Anne (Joan Camden) knows about these plans, and urges Richard to wash the blood off of his hands. The others present then find George murdered, and call for Richard. Once he arrives and acts surprised, everyone notices that the blade bears a certain family crest on it, and it is the family of King Edward’s wife’s family, the Woodville’s. Edward’s wife (Sarah Selby) is present, and can’t believe what her family is being accused of this day. They all go to Edward’s chambers to give him the bad news, and in his grief, he thinks that his wife’s family may have done it, in a power play for the throne. Edward then names Richard as the new protector of the children.

 

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Later that night, Richard is quoting Shakespeare to himself, but all of a sudden he hears a voice nearby. He then sees his dead brother (a ghost), and he tells Richard that there will be a reckoning. Richard tries to explain his actions but George tells him that he’ll die a violent death, and at the hands of a dead man. At this very moment, there’s an explosion (lighting, cannon misfires?), and it sends some rubble from the top of the Tower crashing down, almost killing Richard. George tells him again, that death will come for him soon. Richard scurries to him bedroom, and Anne attempts to calm him down, and he reveals to her that a ghost tried to kill him.

 

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Richard goes to visit Edward one last time, and their mother is by his bedside. She speaks very sharply at Richard, and seems to know him for the malefactor that he has become. She urges him to see his dying brother, and as he bids him goodbye, he kisses him on the forehead. As he backs away, he sees blood where his lips touched his brother. He screams in fear, and his mother tells him she doesn’t see anything, and she accuses him of treachery. He shoots back at her, and blames her for his deformities (apparently he has something along the lines of curvature of the spine, and other physical handicaps).

 

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The Queen then launches a secret investigation into the death of George. At this point, we have two factions in the castle. One loyal to Richard, and the others loyal to the Queen and her family. The aid of Sir Richard Ratcliffe (Michael Pate), helps Richard keep everyone off-balance for a while, but when he tries to coerce the Lady-in-waiting, Mistress Shore (Sandra Knight – image below), and later murders her, things really begin to get out of hand.

Will Richard’s plan to usurp the throne of England come to fruition? Or will the Woodville’s and their accomplices be able to stop him before he kills everyone in his way? Watch to learn the answers!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

As far as films starring Vincent Price go, this is definitely a must see. It’s right up there with House of Wax, Last Man on Earth, The Fly, etc. His performance alone is worth the price of admission, but you do get solid jobs from Michael Pate (he plays a great weasel in this film), and even Charles MacCauly (Blacula) in just a couple of scenes that he has in this one.

The special effects are good, and Price really does an excellent job in the scenes with the ghosts. One scene in particular, which I didn’t mention above, is when one of the ghosts inhabits the body of Price’s wife in the film, and this causes him to go off the deep end even further, and he strangles his own wife, believing she’s the ghost. The sets were convincing for sure, but the music wasn’t anything you’ll remember.

Search this one out, and believe me when I say that it’s definitely worth owning. Even if you’re not a huge Price fan like I am, you’ll be impressed with this one after just one viewing!

 

Click here for a couple of clips!

 

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

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Title: The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake

Distributor: United Artists

Writer: Orville H. Hampton

Director: Edward L. Cahn

Producer: Robert Kent

Starring: Henry Daniell, Grant Richards, Valerie French, Eduard Franz, Paul Cavanaugh

Released: November 1959

MPAA: Approved

 

It’s Sunday, and that means another review of a classic flick! This one is a good one, especially if you’re into witch doctors! Why it has taken me so long to get this one out there, I can’t remember, but anyone that hasn’t seen this movie needs to right away. Things weren’t so great in the 1950’s for UA United Artists), but once the next decade rolled around they got into television, and had some better success. Don’t sleep on this one though, it’s a diamond in the rough! Both Kent (producer) and Cahn (director) had already made some decent horror/sci-fi movies for other companies, and they definitely brought that same kind of feel to this one.

I love the concept of witch doctors in films, probably ever since I saw this guy. No joke! Alright, enough of the foolishness, let’s get right down to this thriller!

 

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The film begins with an older gentleman named Jonathan Drake (Eduard Franz) in his study. He has a book opened, and the passage reads…”the evil that men do lives after them.” We then focus on the man himself, as he’s deep in thought, and obviously afraid of something. In his hand he holds a shrunken head! A strong breeze whips through the room, and the candles are blown out. A young woman enters the room, and we find out that she’s his daughter, Allison (Valerie French). She questions him as to his trance-like state, but he won’t tell her. She tells him that her uncle Kenneth called but she’s having trouble remembering what he said exactly. Jonathan knows something is up, so he sends a message to his brother that he’s on his way to see him (the trip takes two days).

 

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Over at the home of Kenneth Drake (Paul Cavanaugh), we see the servant, Rogers, and Kenneth discussing the arrival of his brother. We then see someone creeping around the outside of his home, and that person hangs a shrunken head in front of the glass doors that lead to the garden. As he attempts to investigate, a witch doctor jumps out of nowhere, and sticks a needle into his neck! The poison tip injects a paralyzing agent into his blood stream, and renders him defenseless. As he’s about to do further damage, Rogers returns, and the witch doctor runs off.

 

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The following day, a police detective shows up, and Lt. Rowan (Grant Richards) tells Rogers he was called by Allison and told to check out the house because she and her father feared there might be trouble. Rogers tells the policeman that the only trouble was that Kenneth died suddenly last night from heart failure. Lt. Rowan tells him that he’ll talk to the family doctor about it and make sure everything is OK. Rowan then meets Dr. Bradford (Howard Wendell), and Dr. Emil Zurich (Henry Daniell), a family friend and noted archaeologist. There’s a long history of heart failure in the family so no one questions the death.

 

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After some talk about the shrunken head, Rowan leaves but is very suspicious. Later that night, Kenneth’s corpse is in a casket at the funeral home, and the witch doctor pops up again. He has a basket and then the scene cuts to the funeral (a bit later or the following day perhaps). Jonathan shows up just in time for the funeral, and questions Dr. Bradford about the cause of death. He doesn’t believe him when he tells him it was heart failure, and needs to see the body to be sure. He opens the casket, and everyone screams in horror as we see the body has been decapitated!

 

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We then see a laboratory with the creepy Dr. Zurich and his accomplice, Zutai (Paul Wexler).  They open the basket we saw Zutai with earlier, and we see he’s the on that cut off Kenneth’s head. Zurich spouts off about a curse, and that Drake had it coming. Rowan then comes over and questions Allison about what she knows, but she’s little help. Back at the laboratory, we see Zutai and Zurich cooking the head of poor Kenneth, after they’ve removed the skull, of course. They make a shrunken head out of Kenneth, and seem very pleased with their work.

 

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Back at the Drake mansion, Jonathan tells Allison about the family curse. He tells her that a few generations ago, their ancestors made a trip into the jungle, and even though it was a peaceful endeavor, but after one of their numbers was kidnapped and beheaded, they slaughtered all the tribal people, except the witch doctor. He managed to get away, and we’re lead to believe that Zutai is that man.

Can Rowan and Allison figure out how to stop this madness or will Jonathan Drake be the next victim!

 

OK, here are my thoughts:

As I stated earlier, UA was going through some tough times financially during this era, but you can’t tell from watching this film. The atmosphere is spectacular, and the actors are on point. No one person stands out but everybody delivers as they should. Wexler and Daniell are especially creepy and play their parts as if they were really into it.

The sets were very good, and helped the atmosphere keep you in suspense. As far as music, Paul Dunlap did a fine job with the score. When it counted, the music was hair-raising! As soon as you see the names Robert Kent and Edward Cahn, you know that the film has two solid men behind it. Cahn’s work for AIP is legendary as is Kent’s with Columbia. And if that wasn’t enough, you get the stunning Valerie French to gaze upon (image below)!

Set aside some time for this thriller, you wont be disappointed!

 

Click here for the trailer!

 

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Cinema Sunday: The Werewolf (1956)

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Title: The Werewolf

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Writer: Robert E. Kent

Director:  Fred F. Sears

Producer:  Sam Katzman

Starring: Don Megowan, Joyce Holden, Steven Ritch, Harry Lauter

Released: July 1956

MPAA: Approved

 

 

OK, so, after a few weeks of giant bugs, then on to more of a classic theme, I’d like to take a look at something a little more off the beaten path this week. And so we shall see The Werewolf, from 1956. There’s a unique spin on this flick, that instead of a wolf bite changing the man, a lab experiment results in the ability to transform. No big stars in this one, so the film had to use the sci-fi/horror craze to try to entice audiences. An experienced crew behind the camera helped get this one off of the ground, and you can see that through the entire film. Alright, let’s get to the film!

 

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The film begins with a voice (Fred Sears), narrating. He tells the viewers about Lycanthropy, and its dangers! Next, we see a man, Duncan Marsh (Steven Ritch – image below) walking down the street, and then he ducks into a pub. He downs a few shots, then heads over to the fireplace to warm his hands. Another man sits at the bar with a creepy look on his face, and he seems to be taking quite an interest in the other man. The man leaves the bar, and the other gentleman goes after him. He stops him in the street and the two exchanges some words. The man who was at the bar first, asks him to buy a couple of drinks because he’s broke and saw the other man had some cash. He then tries to mug the guy and take his money. The scene shifts to the dark alley, and all we hear is some growling and screaming, and only one man exits the alley. An old woman is walking by and sees the man leave, she screams, and the people from the pub come to see what’s wrong. She claims two men were fighting in the alley but only a beast emerged. Deputy Clovey (Harry Lauter) heads in along with the others for a look. They see a dead man with his throat torn out.

 

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The men then head into the forest to hunt this wild animal, and get more than they bargained for when they set out. They see wolf tracks in the snow, and two of the men get scared. Deputy Clovey tells them to head back into town and get the sheriff. A short time later, the sheriff comes back to town with Clovey, and his shirt is ripped into pieces. He was attacked by a wolf, but Sheriff Haines showed up and scared the animal off with his gun. He takes him to the local doctor, and Dr. Gilchrist (Ken Christy – image below) administers some first aid. His niece, Amy Standish (Joyce Holden – image below), is his assistant, and she’s also coincidentally engaged to Sheriff Haines.

 

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The next day, Marsh waking up out in the woods. He’s extremely disoriented, and in pain. For some reason his shoes are missing, and it’s very cold outside. He cries out in agony, as it seems he remembers what he did while he was “changed.” Back in town, the sheriff informs the townspeople that no one is allowed in the woods until further notice. This upsets all the local hunters, but he tells them too bad. Some reporters make their way from the big city to Mountaincrest after they heard about the murder. The sheriff initially keeps them out, but then decides to let them through to try to find the story. Over at the doctor’s house, Amy is startled by Marsh, who’s come to get some help with his amnesia. he goes inside, and tells the two of them that he can’t remember anything about his past except a car accident, and two doctors taking him in to a room. He then confesses to the murder from the night before. The doctor and Amy look puzzled, and then try to give him something to calm him down, but he slaps it away and runs off.

 

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Back in town, Amy and the doc tell the sheriff what happened. They ask him to not kill the guy because he’s out of his mind. The scene changes to a mad scientist-type laboratory. One man is working on a machine, and then another calls to him, and refers to him as “Morgan” (George Lynn). He and the other man, Emery (S. John Launer), read a newspaper and realize that the man they worked on has committed this murder. These two doctors have apparently been running experiments using a formula containing radiation. A ring at the door interrupts their conversation about what to do with Marsh. As Morgan answers the door, he’s greeted by Mrs. Marsh (Eleanore Tanin), and she’s wondering where her husband is since she hasn’t seen him since the car accident. Morgan lies and tells her that after they treated him, he took off and they haven’t seen him since.

 

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Out in the wilderness, the hunting party isn’t having any luck finding this ravenous beast or Marsh. Morgan and Emery set out to try to find him as well, and have better results because they think like an animal. Emery finds him, but once Marsh realizes they’re here to kill him, he wolfs out, and tries to kill them. The sheriff and his posse show up and shoot at the beast, and he runs away. They question the two doctors, and their story is kind of shady, but they allow them to stay. The sheriff and his men then head back to town, and then post guards around town to stop any more slayings. The werewolf then turns to killing sheep, and the sheriff warns all the local farmers to get into town as quickly as possible. Amy is still trying to convince the sheriff that Marsh needs help, and not to be killed.

 

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The sheriff and his men begin to set traps around the perimeter of town, in hopes of capturing the beast. Another problem arises when Mrs. Marsh and her son are on their way to Mountaincrest as well. Will the sheriff and his men be able to capture the beat or will they have to put him down…if they can!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

For a low-budget flick, this is a pretty solid film. Yeah, it’s mostly your standard fare from the 1950’s, but the angle of science creating the werewolf, and not a wolf bite was pretty cool. Having the two doctors get crazy and try to kill the werewolf was very different as well. Typically the doctors want to capture the beast, dissect it, and figure out how to do it better next time. Not here though. As far as the acting goes, most of the roles were pretty good, and even though none of the faces/names were familiar to me, I’m definitely going to seek out more from this crew! Well, definitely Joyce Holden (image below)!

The sets were OK, but nothing spectacular. The outdoor scenes were are alright, and the town settings were slightly better. The lighting was kind of low at a few points when they were filming indoors, but overall, it was nothing terrible. The music score didn’t do the film any favors, but had one or two high points. Producer/Director Sam Katzman has a list of credits a mile long, and when you look at it, his status in the industry is well deserved. Fred Sears (Director) is no slouch either, and made his mark in the film industry with some other solid movie credits. One note about the cast. The sheriff, Don Megowan, was also the Gill-Man in the third Creature from the Black Lagoon film!

 

Click here for the trailer!

 

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Cinema Sunday: Diary of a Madman (1963)

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Title: Diary of a Madman

Distributor: United Artists

Writer: Robert E. Kent

Director: Reginald Le Borg

Producers: Robert E. Kent, Edward Small

Starring: Vincent Price, Nancy Kovack, Lewis Martin, Chris Warfield, Ian Wolfe

Released: March 1963

MPAA: Approved

 

It’s no secret I think Vincent Price is one of the bet film stars of all time. Not just in the horror genre, but all of them. You can debate if you’d like, but I promise you that the people who will debate most wholeheartedly are the ones that haven’t seen many (if any) of his films. He’s definitely one the top horror icons, and along with Cushing, Lee, Lugosi, Karloff, & Chaney, his place is forever cemented in the industry.

This film has Price, but no other really bankable stars (Ian Wolfe was established, but not a household name), so when you watch this one, you really get a sense that he brought everyone else up to his lofty standards for acting. The film is another gem from Price, and everyone that’s a fan needs to see it. Alright, let us journey into the past…

 

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The film begins with a funeral for a man named Simon Cordier (Vincent Price). His family and friends stand by and watch the priest finish the service, and one woman remarks that she’s glad he’s dead. The same small group of people meet at an art gallery, and read the last wishes of Simon Cordier. The diary tells them that Cordier believed he was possessed by an evil spirit, called “horla,” and it forced him and others to commit unspeakable acts. We then flashback to when Cordier first encountered the horla…

 

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We learn that Cordier was a magistrate, and that his first saw evidence of this abomination, it was while visiting a prisoner (image above) that was only days away from execution. The prisoner pleads with Cordier, telling him that he didn’t really want to murder people, but that an evil spirit forced him to do it. At first, Cordier doesn’t believe him, but then the man’s eyes begin to glow with a green hue, and the man savagely attacks Cordier. They struggle for a moment, but then Cordier manages to push him away. The guards come running in, and discover that the prisoner died when he hit his head against the stone wall. Cordier is in shock over what he’s seen and done.

 

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The following day, Cordier is upstairs in his home, and he sees a picture of a woman and a boy (apparently his wife and son that are deceased). He freaks out, and calls his butler, Pierre (Ian Wolfe), about the picture. Pierre explains that he doesn’t know how the picture came to be there (it had previously been stored away). Pierre then calls to Louise (Mary Adams), the cook, and questions her about the matter. In the next moment, Cordier sees some writing on a dusty shelf in the same room that reads…”hatred is evil.” These are the same words that the prisoner spoke before he attempted to kill Cordier. Cordier thinks he sleep walked, and did these things.

 

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The following day, Cordier goes to his office, and finds the case file for the recently deceased prisoner. He doesn’t remember leaving it there, and can’t figure out why it’s there. He then hears a voice call out to him, warning him that because he killed the prisoner, he will now be the host for this specter. After excusing himself from the court that day, he begins to write in his diary about the strange goings-on. Once again, the voice calls out to him, and then possesses him. It tells him that he must kill his pet bird, and he does. The spirit then leaves, and Cordier sees what he’s done.

 

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In the next scene, Cordier is visiting a psychiatrist about his troubles. The doctor believes that the strain of work, and the death’s of his family have driven him to this problem. He tells Cordier to return to his hobby of sculpting, take a vacation, and to immerse himself in art. He does just that, and walks around a neighborhood, looking at art. He’s approached by a beautiful woman, Odette Mallotte DuClasse (Nancy Kovack – image above), who asks him to buy the portrait of her. They strike up some conversation and he tells her that he’s a sculptor. One thing leads to another, and she agrees to pose for him later that night. Odette heads inside to see her husband, Paul DuClasse (Chris Warfield), the artist. She tells him that she’s going to pose for another artist, and her husband gets jealous. She tells him that her lifestyle needs more income, so she’s taking the job, to the dismay of her husband.

 

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That night, Odette travels to the home of Cordier to pose for him, and after a quick conversation, the two head upstairs to the studio. Pierre and Louise are overjoyed that Cordier is happy again. In the studio, Odette asks if she needs to “disrobe” but Cordier tells her it’s not a nude. She seems slightly disappointed for a split second, and then tells him that nothing should distract from the face, and he agrees. Cordier compliments her on her beauty, and she smiles.

We then get some more from the diary, as Cordier writes down how happy he is, with his work, sculpting, and that his nightmares are gone. Days pass, and things seem fine, and he finishes the sculpture. There’s some mild flirtation between the two, and then she leaves. Cordier is left alone, but then suddenly, he hears the voice of the specter once again. The two have a conversation about good and evil. The spirit implies that Cordier drove his wife to commit suicide, and that he basically is a murderer. The spirit tells him that he wants his soul, and he knows that Odette is truly evil. Cordier wont believe it, and as he cries out, the spirit leaves the room. Cordier contemplates the reason for this spirit’s existence, but as he does, the spirit shows up, and tortures him some more. The spirit tells him that Odette is evil, and that he’ll force him to punish her if he’ll keep denying the fact.

 

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After a day or so, we see that indeed Cordier is courting Odette, and that has plans for her, or the spirit does. Cordier gives her a brooch and tells her that it belonged to his wife. We then cut to a scene where Odette’s husband, Paul, is telling his woes to another woman, Jean D’Arville (Elaine Devry). He tells the woman that Odette has moved out and into her own apartment. They both surmise that she is stepping out with Cordier because he has money, and power. Paul decides he’s going to go to Cordier’s home, and confront him about the matter. As the two meet, Paul is enraged that Cordier wont stop pursuing his wife, but Cordier doesn’t care. Paul then threatens to make the affair public, and storms out. The spirit tells Cordier that Paul must be killed, but he refuses.

 

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Cordier tells Odette that they’re going to run away, and marry overseas. He thinks he can avoid the spirit’s influence, but the spirit tells him otherwise. Cordier pulls out a gun, and tries to kill the spirit, but to no avail. The spirit then possesses Cordier, and orders him to murder Odette. Paul shows up at the apartment, and gets rough with Odette but she convinces him to leave. Moments later, Cordier shows up and brutally murders Odette. He returns home, and wakes up from the trance, aware of nothing. Paul gets the blame, and the spirit is just getting started!

Will Cordier be able to stop the spirit, or will he also be a victim of its insanity!

 

OK, here are my thoughts:

This film is a must-see for any fans of Price, horror, or just classic cinema. Price was excellent in this film, and really commanded every scene. Nancy Kovack was brilliantly evil in this one, and really matched up well with him. Their on-screen chemistry was something special. The other cast members were solid as well, especially the butler, played by Ian Wolfe.

The most remarkable thing about this film (other than Price), was the outstanding sets. Whether it was the home of Cordier (Price), where most of the film seemed to take place, his office, the street, or even the other houses/apartments in the film, the sets were great (Victor A. Gangelin). The costumes, music, and makeup were all spot on, and really delivered.

Definitely look this one up, you wont be disappointed. After all, it is Vincent Price!

 

Click here for the trailer!

 

Cinema Sunday: Invisible Invaders (1959)

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Title: Invisible Invaders

Distributor: United Artists

Writer: Samuel Newman

Director: Edward L. Cahn

Producer: Robert E. Kent

Starring: John Agar, John Carradine, Jean Byron

Released: May 15th, 1959

MPAA: PG

 

Another Sunday, and another sci-fi flick! This classic from 1959, stars the awesome John Agar, and if that wasn’t enough, we get another titan from the sci-fi/horror industry in John Carradine, as well! Both of these men had extensive careers in the film industry (especially Carradine), and have some fantastic credits on their filmography lists. During this decade, the explosion of “alien” films was crazy, and some are just terrible. Most didn’t have the luxury of having big names like these two, so it made the films seem bad because we know the budget for special effects wasn’t going to wow anybody. Alright, enough about that already, let’s get down to the movie!

 

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The film begins with an experiment gone wrong, and the person that loses his life, is Dr. Karol Noyman (John Carradine – image above). The scene turns to Dr. Penner (Philip Tonge) discusses the accident with officials at the Pentagon. He wants to stop using nuclear tests for science. The Pentagon scoffs at him, and tells him it will continue. Penner leaves, and then gets a visit later that night at home. The dead Dr. Noyman comes for a visit, and tells him that he’s actually an alien invader that has reanimated the corpse of Dr. Noyman, and that the Earth must submit, or there will be a war. He also informs the good doctor that their ships are invisible, so the military will have no chance of stopping them. He even gives him a demonstration of the material that they use for the ships, and it is indeed invisible. Penner tells him that they won’t listen to him, but the alien tells him he’d better find a way or else! Then he exits the house.

 

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Even later that evening, Penner’s daughter, Phyllis (Jean Byron) and her date, Dr. John Lamont (Robert Hutton) return home. Her father explains what has happened, but they think he’s had a nervous breakdown. He insists it happened, and begs Dr. Lamont to go to Washington D.C. and tell them of the impending doom. Dr. Lamont begrudgingly agrees to tell them, but we soon see newspaper headlines that make him out to be a kook. Dr. Penner is watching the clock, and wondering when the aliens will attack. He then prays to God, begging that this experience was all a dream. Dr. Lamont and Phyllis return, and give him the bad news. Dr. Lamont is kind of wiener about the situation, but soon, he’ll be a believer.

Dr. Lamont suggests that they try to contact the aliens and ask for more time. The all agree to head over to the cemetery and seek out the aliens inhabiting the corpses. Dr. Penner calls out to the aliens, and suddenly, they hear a growling noise. Something pushes its way through the brush, and then makes tracks in the soil. It’s at this time, that Phyllis and Dr. Lamont become believers. The alien then speaks to him, and he tells the alien that he failed and that no one will listen. He begs to get more time to try again, but the aliens refuse, and tell him that they will give one more warning to the people of Earth. The three of them realize they can do nothing to stop this, so they head for home.

 

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The aliens then inhabit the body of a pilot who crashed his plane. He heads to a hockey game (don’t ask), and knocks out the announcers, and gets on the mic, and warns them of their impending doom. The people scatter like a bunch of ants. The alien then leaves the body of the corpse, and opens the door, leaving the room. The announcers wake up and are stunned to see this going on. Over in California, a car accident victim is possessed, and heads over to a large stadium and makes the same ominous warning. Again, people run away, and head for the hills!

 

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Shortly thereafter, the aliens begin their invasion. They destroy bridges and roads, buildings and everything else in their path. They also start to possess every dead person on Earth. More people are killed in the chaos, and police cannot control the mobs that are going berserk. Washington D.C. then breaks into the news coverage, and tells everyone that Dr. Penner has agreed to rejoin the nuke project, and Major Bruce Jay (John Agar), is assigned to bring him in to the underground bunker. While on their way, a man with a shotgun holds them up, and attempts to steal their jeep. There are aliens (zombies) everywhere, and the man wants out. The next thing you know, something is stirring in the bushes nearby, and the man is distracted. Major Jay uses this opportunity to shoot the man in the head, killing him instantly. An alien then sneaks over and possesses the man.

 

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Once they get to the bunker, Dr. Penner, Major Jay, and Dr. Lamont, head over to the lab, and begin to try to formulate a plan. The outside world is being decimated, corpse after corpse is being inhabited, and it looks as if there is no hope for humanity. Can this small group somehow find a way to stop the alien invasion? Watch it and find out!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

This is one of those movies that any fan of the genre must see. No excuses, get out and grab or stream it on Netflix. Carradine is creepy as a zombie, and Tonge is quite good as well. Of course, you get an awesome “tough guy” from John Agar, and you can really see why he fits this mold very well. He’s a great action hero for this time period, and really commands the scenes that he appears in during the film. Of course the nuclear angle is something used HEAVILY in this time period, but it doesn’t detract from the cool factor of this flick.

The shots of the destruction are pretty cool, but the ones of the people running around are quite cheesy, and are most likely stock footage of something completely unrelated. Other than that, the film is pretty solid, and is a good representation of the time/genre. The revelation of what the invisible aliens actually look like is pretty cool too, and as I said before, the special effects obviously didn’t consume a good chunk of the budget, but they were good nonetheless. I try to imagine some of these older films in color, but honestly, this one is perfect in black and white. This is a must watch for movie fans of the genre, plain and simple.

 

Click here for the trailer!