Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gallery of Horrors – review

Directed by: David L Hewitt

Release date: 1966 (on DVD, 1967 on imdb)

Contains spoilers

This is an anthology of stories, five in all, crammed into 82 minutes and two of them are vampire tales. Normally we only get one vampire tale in this sort of film and I score that, the score reflecting that segment and not the film as a whole. In this case there will be one score as the two vampire segments are as awful as each other, and as awful as the rest of the film. Despite the presence of John Carradine, who narrates the film and appears in the first story and Lon Chaney Jr we are in territory that would cause Ed Wood to blush.

Just to mention that the other three tales concern witchcraft, a serum that causes someone
to return as a rotting undead and a poor Frankenstein rip off (the one with Chaney). Each tale is introduced by John Caradine standing before a blue screen only half covered with a castle. We are in the land of wobbly sets, acting so wooden you could sell this to Ikea and plot twists that are, in fairness, sometimes astounding as they are so implausible that you’d never see them coming.

The first vampire tale is King Vampire.
The residents of old London town (and don’t get me started on the accents) are being terrorised by a killer dubbed by the press as King Vampire. The victims (13 as the film starts) are all women, have puncture wounds and are left for the rats. The police inspector calls in Detective Brenner (Ron Doyle, who takes on 3 roles in the film) to investigate. He gets a vague description of the attacker but his witness, Mrs O’Shea (Margaret Moore), is the next victim.

A mob, led by a man played by Roger Gentry in one of his four roles, grab a guy they believe to be king vampire. After all he is wearing evening dress and has blood on his glove. He says the blood came from a mad dog he killed, they beat him to death. Following this there are 3 more attacks. Brenner is transferred but leaves the inspector with the thought that the vampire might be a woman. Preposterous suggests the inspector and is attacked by his secretary who is the vampire.

The second tale is a serious attempt to destroy the Dracula story and is titled in the credits as Count Dracula, though introduced by Caradine as Count Alucard. Harker (Roger Gentry) is on route to Castle Dracula. Don’t go there, says the horse and trap driver, as it is an evil place. He goes anyway.

Once there he sits down to dinner as the Count (Mitch Evans) peruses the papers for Carfax. Business cannot be done in the morning as the
Count suffers from an ancestral malady that means he sleep through the day. Once in bed, Harker is approached by Medina (Karen Joy) who gets into the bed and bears fangs. There is a commotion outside and he runs downstairs, meeting the Count on route who notices he has cut his neck. An angry mob is there. They’ve followed the murderer of a child to the castle. A woman in white. The Burgermeister is relieved that the Count is okay! Harker agrees to hunt the woman with them.

They get to a graveyard and one of the mob is killed by Melina. Harker and two others enter a tomb. Harker has a bag of stakes – he knew about vampires as his family was killed by one. They stake one coffin occupant but the other is empty. They hide, Melina comes in, stake…

Back at the castle Harker tells the Count that they have killed two vampires and then says that he knows who the third is. The Count attacks but Harker has turned into a werewolf and wants the blood of the villagers for himself. Fin.

They are as bad as they sound and wait till you hear about the almost Batman TV show-esque dissolves using animated blood and bats and the fact that screen goes bright red at times to stop us seeing anything disturbing, like a staking.

Bad, bad, bad… but in a funny sort of way in the right mood with the right amount of alcohol fogging cognisant thought. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


The T said...

This is a movie I have to see lol.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

The T, I trust you will remember the low, low score once you have watched it! :)

The T said...

It seems that it's one of those movies like Billy The Kid vs Dracula that have some magic in their atrociousness... lol. I'll keep the score in mind!