User Reviews (20)

  • dphelan-120 September 2005
    An unsung classic
    Since they had to use the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn to sell this failed TV pilot, one might make the incorrect assumption that this is a bad film. In fact, it is excellent within its limitations. Patrick O'Neal is superb as Jason - suave, cunning, a devil with the ladies, cruel and absolutely insane. His story is told in a very interesting fragmented style. We know little about him when he is first arrested but as Draco and his associates track him down we learn much. The subject matter and milieu are a bit seamy for television which is why this was released theatrically at first. I never saw it there though I passed a theater where it was playing. For years I had seen it only in black and white. Recently I saw a color TV print and it looks great. O"Neal is a wonderful Vincent Price stand-in with Cesare Danova, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Phillip Bourneuf,Jeanette Nolan and Jose Rene Ruiz ( as Tun Tun) doing great work. Laura Devon has the best line. As she tries to clumsily describe Jason she suddenly bursts out " What am I thinking ? He is the easiest man in the world to identify. He only has one hand!"
  • Christopher T. Chase15 November 2000
    Frightful fun for lovers of classic chills
    Borrowing a page from the playbook of producers like William Castle, Al Adamson, Nicholson and Arkoff at AIP and the like, this was a lot of fun for me as a kid with the hokey gimmicks of the "Fear Flasher" and the "Horror Horn" added to prevent the more squeamish members of the audience from dying of sheer fright, (the goosebump-inducing voice of the Narrator in the "Instructional" sequence was none other than CANNON himself, William Conrad, who actually directed one of these horror potboilers for Warner's, the Dean Jones/Connie Stevens starrer TWO ON A GUILLOTINE.)

    This rehash of the definitely superior HOUSE OF WAX with Vincent Price, gives us the grisly tale of serial strangler Jason Cravette (Patrick O'Neal in a bravura performance), who is finally caught literally red-handed as he ritualistically weds and beds his latest victim, ex mortis.

    His subsequent escape and its gory consequences, (he goes from being caught red-handed to losing one of them), becomes the fodder for a sensational museum of mass murderers run by suave local entrepreneur Anthony Draco (Cesare Danova, one of Warner's second-tier matinee idols.) Once worried about operating in the red, soon Draco and his associates, the marvelous Wilfrid Hyde-White and diminuitive sidekick Tun-Tun (the 'Mini-Me' of his day) are back in business, as the slippery Cravette gives our heroes and the local authorities more red than they know what to do with, cutting a vengeful swath through the ranks of all those responsible for his near-incarceration.

    Hy Averback keeps all the right balls in the air with a speedy and sure sense of direction, and there's much delightful interplay between the lead characters, especially Danova and Hyde-White. Look closely and not only will you see Tony Curtis in an uncredited cameo, but a baby-faced Wayne Rogers as well, as a very unlucky constable (whom Averback would direct years later in episodes of TV's M*A*S* about six-degree associations!)

    With the lush photography provided by master d.p. Richard Kline, and a score by William Lava that reminds us that he wasn't just at Warner's to provide soundtracks for Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, this was about as classy as genre-B pics could get for the mid-'60's, not discounting the efforts of A.I.P. with the Price/Poe films. Not available in any medium that I'm aware of, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled on AMC or TNT late night to catch this worthy rarity.
  • Clarence Abernathy6 June 2000
    William Castle meets Jacques Tourneur at Hammer Studios
    Expecting a low-grade and low budget chiller (you know: good ol' Tony Curtis has a cameo in it...), knowing that it was originally made for TV, and having seen vintage ads of it, announcing gimmicks like the "fear flasher" and the "horror horn" to protect rabbit-hearted viewers from being shocked without warning, this one's a real surprise to watch. Sure, the gimmicks are quite ridiculous, but the rest of the movie -and that is quite a lot- provides tense and moody atmosphere, above average camerawork, gorgeous colour compositions and probably the most gripping performance Mr. Patrick O'Neal -as the demented killer- has ever delivered (well, sure, there have not been many...). It's great fun watching him do scary things with his special wooden hand stump, fitted with a variety of hooks, knives and cleavers. This almost forgotten pic can easily compete with the quality of the Vincent Price Classic "House of Wax" and it's a winner - especially considering the fun factor. The whole thing looks a bit like as if William Castle would have produced and re-edited a classic hammer movie directed by -say- Jacques Tourneur (forgive me, Jacques). Great fun to watch.
  • Woodyanders9 October 2008
    A hugely entertaining 60's fright feature treat
    Warning: Spoilers
    Cunning, deranged and sophisticated wealthy aristocrat Jason Cravatte (superbly played with lip-smacking wicked aplomb by Patrick O'Neal) gets apprehended by the authorities for murder. Jason escapes by cutting off his own hand and replacing it with a hook. He then goes on a grisly killing spree, specifically bumping off those folks responsible for his arrest. Suave wax museum curator Anthony Draco (a fine and charming performance by Cesare Donova) and his jolly partner Harold Blount (delightfully played by Wilfrid Hyde-White) investigate the case. Director Hy Averback, working from a sharp and clever script by Stephen Kandel, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, ably creates a flavorsome misty and spooky 19th century period atmosphere, stages the shock set pieces with considerable flair, and further spices things up with a few amusing moments of witty humor. The sound acting from a tip-top cast qualifies as a significant plus: O'Neal positively shines as the delectably sick and sadistic villain, Donova and Hyde-White make for a very engaging amateur sleuthing duo, plus are are praiseworthy contributions by Laura Devon as Cravatte's unwitting fair damsel accomplice Marie Champlain, Patrice Wymore as alluring restaurant hostess Vivian, Suzy Parker as ravishing rich lass Barbara Dixon, Tun Tun as Blount and Draco's loyal midget assistant Senor Pepe De Reyes, a pre-"M.A.S.H." Wayne Rogers as the amiable Sergeant Jim Albertson, Philip Bourneuf as the bumbling Inspector Matthew Strudwick, Jeanette Nolan as brash, gossipy old shrew Ms. Ewing Perryman, and Marie Windsor as classy brothel Madame Corona. Robert H. Kline's vibrant color cinematography gives the picture an attractive polished look while William Lava's graceful and melodic orchestral score hits the shivery spot. Better still, this film offers a few nicely perverse touches: Cravatte marries the corpse of his freshly strangled fiancé at the movie's beginning and plans on making a composite person out of the severed body parts of his victims. Why, we even get a lovably hokey William Castle-style "horror horn" and "fear flasher" gimmick kicking in every time something particularly horrific is about to happen. Good, ghoulish fun.
  • Scarecrow-888 June 2008
    Chamber of Horrors
    Warning: Spoilers
    An aristocratic, sociopathic strangler, Cravatte(Patrick O'Neal, evoking the spirit of Vincent Price with his quietly mad psychopath and demented eyes)in Baltimore(..who removes his handcuffed hand, which was locked to a steel wheel, with an ax after escaping from a train into the sea below a bridge)hides out in New Orleans under a different name, choosing a stunning streetwalker to assist(..unknown to her;she thinks it's a blackmailing scam)him in a series of vengeful crimes retaliating on the key figures who planned to send the killer to the gallows. The true motivation, besides his insanity, that provides him with the desire to kill is the loss of his hand for which he blames the ones who caught him, for being "responsible" for his trauma.

    The detective team of the debonair, sophisticated sleuth Anthony Draco(Cesare Danova, with his Italian looks and charm)and his protégé, the cerebral criminologist Harold Blount(the delightful, incredibly likable, unflappable Wilfrid Hyde-White), along with side-kick dwarf assistant Pepe(José René Ruiz),will join forces with local law enforcers Inspector Matthew Strudwick(Philip Bourneuf),at first resisting them as mere amateurs until they help capture the killer at the insistence of Cravatte's blustery, cigar chomping Mrs. Perryman(Jeanette Nolan,chewing scenery as a wealthy multi-married voice of authority, whose monetary contributions and prestigious name certainly carry an influence), and Sgt. Jim Albertson(Wayne Rogers). What makes this Holmes/Watson type sleuthing team so unique is, when they aren't helping their peers solve crimes, that they run a wax museum whose exhibits are based on notorious murderers, their victims & devices.

    If you want a proper description of what the film looks and feels like, imagine if William Castle directed a Hammer film. Baltimore is akin to the fog-infested, cobble-stone streets of London . With macabre humor, some lurid elements regarding Cravatte's dwelling places and selection of "adventuress" women, the deranged methods for which the killer does in his victims(..Cravatte uses an assortment of weapons, such as a meat cleaver, surgical knife, and gun, hooked on to a device he ordered connecting to where his missing hand use to be) , the House of Wax setting which never gets old, and a spirited cast who add extra fun to the sordid atmosphere of the premise. For a film made for a television audience, this is a good looking production....great sets, costumes, use of shadow, and professional camera-work. Director Hy Averback might be looked at as a hack, because his film seems so similar to other directors and companies churning out these type of films at the time but his smörgåsbord of ideas and styles impressed the hell out of me. I think a lot of horror aficionado/buffs will have fun with this one.

    I think some might penalize this for not being too original. The "House of Wax" setting, which I've always been a fan of, really provides some very amusing bits not to mention the final showdown between our hero and the killer, especially in how Cravatte meets his end. But, the setting has been used before. The killer's affliction, by his own hand, and how he murders folks, has been seen before..the idea of a hook-handed killer doesn't exactly seem fresh, even at that time in 1966. And, many might find the two gimmicks of the "fear flash" and "horror horn", which were all the rage back then, rather hokey. I dunno..I find these gimmicks an amusing part of a cinema from yesteryear. While the story is indeed a wicked one, it's still a film made with a television's audience in mind, so sadly the violent elements are tame, off-screen stuff. Marie Windsor, as a brothel's Madame who lends her place to Cravatte as a hideout because he pays well, and Tony Curtis as a card-playing client in the Red Light District, have small roles.
  • penguiy7 November 2008
    Bizarre in supreme form
    This is one of my 4 most favorite vintage horror movies of all time It's listed under Thriller, but his tortuous style and murders along with the Horn and Flasher always sent a chill up my spine Patrick O'Neal is in his best form although I haven't seen all his movies, but playing Jason the homicidal maniac had to be his most memorable He was so devilish and down right cruel that yes, it was really scary to watch He had that soft spoken demon in his vocals and knew just how to use his eyes, which is highlighted in the climax His ambush ingenious can well be compared to Vincent Price in "Theatre of Blood" They both knew how to make their victims beg for their lives Jeanette Nolan's portrayal of Jason's blue-blood aunt describing to Anthony Draco her nephew's madness and what drove him to it is spell binding She is indeed a strong actress and interesting to hear her rattle off the humorous one-liners The use of attachment instruments for his missing hand is clever and vile and what he does to the Sargent in the alley will grab you It's one of those acts you don't see coming Jason's fate in the climax makes a true chamber statement The whole cast was strong and lots of witty lines Sherlock Holmes fans will marvel in the detective techniques and the beautiful women will make for eloquent eye candy to men This movie is full of shivers and surprises
  • drystyx10 March 2007
    delightful horror far-what other horror movies want to be
    This is what other horror movies want to be. It might even be classified best under "cult classic". It isn't surreal, but it does start with carbon copy looking characters and manifest them into deeper beings. The central character becomes the murderer, a man of noble birth who just has evil inside of him. He escapes execution by diving into a river in chains, so he is dead now. Or is he? You know better than that. But unlike the goofy ogres of later movies who just can't die, he engineers a way out of his dilemma which makes him very easy to identify later, but which also gives him an idea for building an arsenal of weapons. He continues his killings, but this time he's out for revenge. The good guys are a true delight. In the manner of most great camp science fiction (and unfortunately true to life in the case of law enforcement), the police are bumbling fools, and the real heroes are a trio of wax museum owners. Great atmosphere make this a great movie, and the casting of Hyde-White (My Fair Lady), is inspirational. One wonders why this super talent wasn't in more films. He gives the film an extra point or two in the rating. Trapper John also appears, as a policeman. Some day, this film will come out again to show what a great horror movie should be.
  • MartinHafer3 March 2011
    A thrilling film with occasional lapses in the writing...but it's still well worth seeing.
    "Chamber of Horrors" sure reminds me of some of William Castle's films, as it begins with a prologue narrated by William Conrad. It explains how scary the film is but as a special service to the squeamish in the audience, a red light will flash and weird music will go off when one of four horrifying moments are about to begin! This is cheesy but also fills the movie with kitschy fun.

    The film begins with a truly horrifying and wonderful scene in which a total psycho (Patrick O'Neal) forces a minister to marry a dead woman!! The guy is 100% nuts but clever--and manages to elude the police for some times after this. Eventually, when he is captured, he manages to escape both times--and I won't go in to detail about it, but the second time is a doozy and everyone assumes he's dead! And, from here on, the film bears a lot of similarity to the wonderful film "House of Wax" (the Vincent Price version, not the new crappy one) as well as the Dr. Phibes films--some amazingly gory murders, all in the name of revenge. This portion of the film is pretty good, albeit a bit slow at times.

    What intrigued me about this film was seeing Patrick O'Neal in a role totally unlike his other film and TV appearances. He was good, mind you--but NOT the typical sort of O'Neal! Also I appreciated that although the subject matter was grisly, it was not at all explicit--and the red flashing lights really weren't necessary. I am thrilled, as I think many horror films just go too far.

    Overall, I liked this film very much--O'Neal's character was great and the story quite exciting. The only serious problems were the occasional bad writing, as intended victims just acted too dumb at times--such as the cop (Wayne Rogers) who chose to look for a serial killer out to kill him TOTALLY ALONE! When this character found O'Neal, instead of shooting him on sight, he allowed him to get close to him...too close. Another case of bad writing involved the assistant, Pepe, who hears a noise and TELLS NO ONE--going to investigate it himself!! Too dumb--and sad because otherwise it was a thrilling little movie.

    By the way, the way the film ended it seemed apparent this was meant as either a TV pilot or the first in a series. Sadly, this was not to be.
  • Neil Doyle7 November 2012
    Polished color photography and great atmosphere give it an above B-level look...
    There's a lot to like in CHAMBER OF HORRORS, if you can forgive the copycat style that makes it look like a rip-off of HOUSE OF WAX at times. But the plot, involving a killer (Patrick O'Neal) taking revenge on those who punished him for his crimes, moves swiftly amid some handsome color settings and should keep fright fans interested. O'Neal is very persuasive in the central role.

    Less can be said of others in the cast--including Marie Windsor who is mainly wasted in a supporting role, Suzy Parker whose role has no depth at all and Patrice Wymore.

    Laura Devon is a stunning blond beauty and makes the most of her decorative assignment as the woman who sets up the men targeted for gruesome killings. The wax museum itself is an intriguing setting but the script is not up to the standards of the Vincent Price film with a somewhat similar storyline. Wilfrid Hyde-White and Cesare Danova are effective enough as the men who want to trap the killer.

    Recommended mainly for its excellent use of Victorian atmosphere and crisp, clear Technicolor.
  • preppy-37 November 2012
    Silly but enjoyable
    This takes place in the 1800s. Patrick O'Neal (having a REAL good time) plays a killer who is sentenced to jail for killing his wife and then marrying the corpse! He escapes from the train taking him to jail and is believed dead. However he's alive. He also lost his hand in the escape and has a variety of attachments (among them a hook and a meat cleaver) and sets out to kill the men who convicted him.

    This was originally made for TV but was considered too gruesome (at the time) and released to theatres. It was also put on with a VERY fun gimmick--the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn. When the supposedly gruesome parts were coming the frame froze, flashed red and a horn sounded to warn people! The "gruesome" parts are ridiculously tame by todays standards and wouldn't scare a child. In fact I originally saw this on TV uncut during the afternoon in the 1970s when I was in grade school! Didn't scare me at all. Still the acting is good, the atmosphere is spooky and it moves at a fast clip. Silly but fun. I give it a 7.
  • BaronBl00d20 December 2009
    Horror Delight Despite the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn
    This is above all a fun horror film about two criminologists in the late 19th century Baltimore area(one decidedly English - Wilfred Hyde-White and the other decidedly Italian - Cesare Danova)working in a wax museum and uncovering crimes for/with the police. Apparently it was to be a pilot for a television series, and it is very unfortunate it never progressed that far. Hyde-White is always a treat and Danova is rather good too. This story deals with capturing Jason Cravatte - a local aristocrat with a fetish for girls in wedding gowns - dead or alive. Patrick O'Neal gives one of his best screen performances in the role of this psychotic, deranged killer who loses his hand and replaces it with all kinds of cutlery(ax, sword, scalpel, etc...) The film also boast the two gimmicks of the Fear Flasher when the screen will flash with green to let the viewer know something terrifying is about to happen and is preceded by the Horror Horn announcing its arrival. We are told in the beginning of the film that this will occur four times and none of those times are scary in the least bit. What makes this film work is the acting by Hyde-White, Danova, O'Neal, and people like Wayne Rogers as a constable, Jose Rene Ruiz as Pepe the dwarfish assistant, a cameo by Tony Curtis helps out, and all the acting is workmanlike and credible. Hy Averback , a television director of repute and ability, gives the film a very stylish feel with its Victorian-like atmosphere, swirling fogs, and seedy locales when needed. The wax museum itself is indeed impressive as well as is the denouement of the film. This "little" film - judging by its limited audience - is much better than one might at first expect given the gimmicks and story.
  • jdwfoo1729 June 2007
    A neat little horror movie that seems to go unrecognized
    Warning: Spoilers
    This comes across as a superb vehicle for O'Neal, Hyde-White and the rest of the cast. Casting Tun Tun as the assistant was inspired. It's well staged, has good set decoration and it's a worthy addition to the various House of Wax films - possibly the best of the bunch. The ending has a surprise twist when Jason is killed by being impaled on his own wax figure in the was museum. The only weakness from a cinematic point of view is the kooky Fear Flasher and Horror Horn gimmick. The film survives even that, though. Best line in the dialog - after being thought dead, Jason returns to wreak vengeance on the judge who sentenced him and the judge says "But you're dead". Jason's response - "Yes. Won't you join me?".
  • jplenton22 January 2001
    Fair (5.0-6.0/10)
    Warning: Spoilers

    In the pre-credits sequence the viewer is given a stern warning about the gruesome nature of the subsequent film. For our benefit the filmmakers have added two features which alert viewers to the four horrific moments in the film. The two delightful features are the `Fear Flash' (the screen flashes red) and the `Horror Horn' (self-explanatory). The gimmicks are worthy of William Castle - the viewer has the option to `turn away' or `close their eyes' to avoid the onscreen terror. Problem is only one of the four moments is the least bit bloody, the rest are rather anaemic. Although the Horn and Flash certainly add to the film, they make a predictable moment even more so and also falsely raise your expectations about the ensuing scene. Still, the introductory warning is the highlight of the film.

    The film opens promisingly with a macabre wedding ceremony. A priest is being forced at gunpoint to marry a couple. The bride is a corpse and the groom the gun wielding murderer, Jason Cravette. Afterwards the priest flees to the police whose subsequent investigations are fruitless. That is until they are forced to enlist the help of a pair of `amateur criminologists' who also run a morbid waxworks exhibition - the titular `Chamber of Horrors'. The duo, the elderly and urbane Englishman Harold Blount, and the 'suave' Frenchman Anthony Draco, pursue the case whilst in tandem exploiting it to the full in their waxworks exhibition.

    Chamber Of Horrors wants to be like the Fifties classic House Of Wax so much it hurts. From the villain donning a black cape and hat, the 'living' head on a shelf holding wax busts, to the cinematic style and period setting. Even the sets used for the exhibitions foyer/exterior and its main display room look identical (including the camera perspectives used), and probably are. Although Patrick O'Neal has the best role as the villain, he is not as memorable as Vincent Price. Although at the finale I was 'cheering' on the villain. The remainder of the cast, especially veteran British actor Wilfred Hyde-White, camp it up admirably.

    Some of the films clichés certainly grate. These include the inadequacy of the local constabulary, and Draco having an old flame in practically every bar. Happily, the film never takes itself seriously and the plot is, overall, much different from House Of Wax. The killer has an interesting murder weapon(s), a range of detachable hooks, saws, etc., on the stump of his right arm. He is a progenitor, of sorts, to Trap-Jaw in the Masters of the Universe cartoon.

    The waxen murders on display in the 'chamber of Horrors' is, however, more interesting than the killer's. Initially I suspected the murders would mimic them. The fact that the 'heroes' have a replica of the various murders on display before the body has had a chance to cool in the morgue is totally unrealistic. Wouldn't the police, media, and relations of the deceased object to this tasteless exploitation. The criminologists are more like ghouls (just like me, the viewer, then).

    *Big spoiler for both this film and Tenebrae (1982)*

    Finally, the killer's fate reminded me of a similar death in Dario Argento's Tenebrae. Cravette is skewered on the weapon held by a waxen replica of himself. In Tenebrae a novelist is skewered by a piece of ornamentation/modern art. There is a certain irony and poetic justice in the artist's inspiration and a novelist (considering literature as an artform) being killed by a work of art.
  • GL848 November 2012
    Solid if flawed entry
    Chamber of Horrors-After escaping custody and presumed dead, a deranged madman starts a rampage of revenge against those he believed wrong him in sending him to jail, forcing a pair of wax museum attendees to help solve the case before his rampage is complete.

    A somewhat decent and enjoyable film, though this one does have it's problems. The first and most obvious one is the gimmick of the flashing red screen and siren used to indicate a potentially frightening scene, yet neither the sequence itself shows anything remotely frightening nor is the warning useful as it intrudes on the frozen frame and looks cheesy and quite fake. Onto the film itself, the biggest problem is the fact that the majority of the film is devoted to an investigation angle that's not conducted by the police but rather his friends in the wax museum as they construct an exhibit on the madman's rampage, which feels quite lame as well as intrusive to the pacing as there's not a whole lot of kills to really work this one over. That said, there's some good stuff here as the frequent trips to the wax museum give it a pretty chilly air at times, several of the stalking scenes are undertaken during a heavy fog that provides a pretty rich atmosphere during the better moments in the film and it has a fairly fun finale that certainly has it's fair share of action. It's enough to make it entertaining, but its held down by it's flaws.

    Today's Rating/PG: Violence.
  • DKosty1237 November 2012
    Top Notch Television Production
    Warning: Spoilers
    This was originally intended as a pilot for a series. It even ends with a teaser for the next episode. It rises above average TV as it has a lot of good acting in the cast. Patrick O'Neal is in top form as the slasher/murderer. This is a full 9 years before he would be a sinister husband of robots in the Stepford Wives, but this role proves he could bring off sinister roles very well.

    Wilfred Hyde-White brings off his role as a criminologist very well and his presence beings a respect to the proceedings. For a television production, this has a large cast with the lovely Laura Devon as the main accomplice for O'Neal. She looks great including a still rare shot at this time period for television of her lovely backside walking away from the camera.(Fully Dressed of Course).

    The plot is predictable but gruesome as a condemned man tries to avenge his enemies. Still the setting of the House of Wax (sort of borrowed from 2 earlier movies) works quite well. The premise of this would still work today as a series with the right cast. Amazingly most of this cast is no longer around.

    Hy Averback, a veteran TV director is the reason it plays so well. Several members of the cast including Wayne Rogers worked with him often and that might be one of the reasons this one works so well.

    The special effects are done slickly and cheaply which is not unusual during 1960's television because at this same time the Star Trek production crew was dumpster diving at Desilu to create the sets for that series. The period sets here are impressive though they existed and were used in other series such as The Wild Wild West.
  • moonspinner553 July 2017
    Ladies and gentleman, you have been warned!
    Police inspectors in 1880s Baltimore seek the assistance of two "amateur" criminologists--who are about to open a wax museum devoted to history's most notorious murderers!--to track down an escaped killer who has a fetish for blondes. The maniac is eventually caught but escapes captivity, chopping off his own right hand in the process. Handsomely-produced and shot thriller from Warner Bros. was originally meant as the pilot for a proposed "House of Wax" TV series. The fright warning gimmicks at the beginning owe a small debt to William Castle, while the wax museum milieu owes a little extra to Vincent Price. The B-cast glides through it bemusedly, while the film's technical elements (from the costumes and music scoring to Richard Kline's cinematography) are top-notch. There's even a movie star cameo included for fun. ** from ****
  • adriangr1 December 2015
    Mild thrills but a bit of a con
    Warning: Spoilers
    This little known 1966 movie tells of a murderer taking revenge on those responsible for his capture in various warped ways. His gimmick is that he has a missing hand, and is able to screw various weapons of death into the stump in order to carry out his executions. Trying to catch him are the police plus two amateur detectives who run a wax museum. Incidentally, the inclusion of the wax museum seems to be a mere side line of the plot, as it serves no real dramatic purpose except to provide some visual interest.

    The film is nicely shot, although it does look like a polished and extended episode of a TV show - which according to most sources, is what it was originally intended to be. The acting is pretty good, the period details is as good as any TV series from the 1960's could get away with on a limited budget. The story is interesting and entertaining, and the climactic scene is fun.

    But the reason for my gripe about it being a con is it's very core gimmick: the Horror Horn and the Fear Flasher. The film takes great pains to point out that these warnings will alert the audience to look away whenever a horrible thing is about to happen on screen - but every time the alarm goes off, not one damn horrible thing happens on screen! The action immediately fades out or cuts away to another scene as soon as the alarms has ended - no blood, no special effects, nothing - which makes for the lamest, weakest excuse for horror I have ever seen. At least William Castle delivered on his gimmicks. This film has absolutely no payoffs for it's promises.

    Gripe over, as I said earlier it's entertaining enough, but the alarm gimmick is a serious disappointment. Maybe it was added after the filming was complete, and the movie was never intended to be graphic. You could watch this on a Saturday morning and not raise a single goose-bump. Shame.
  • Lee Eisenberg30 May 2006
    "Mayor Carmine, I don't think it's right that you should extort money from the college"...but do act in horror flicks
    "Chamber of Horrors" is one those obscure movies, probably available only at Portland video/DVD store Movie Madness. It portrays serial killer Jason Cravette (Patrick O'Neal) on his way to jail when he has to cut off his hand to escape. So, he returns to Baltimore and resumes his murders.

    Yes, the plot is pretty routine, but this movie is unique. The star is Cesare Danova, better known as Mayor Carmine DePasto in "Animal House". Does that give the movie a feeling of silliness? Maybe, but the movie mostly feels very neat. Also, the judge is played by Vinton Hayworth, aka Gen. Schaeffer on "I Dream of Jeannie". So Bluto Blutarsky and Jeannie are linked by a hook-handed maniac! Go figure! But overall, this movie is a real treat. Fans of 1960s camp will surely love it. And it might just save your life one day...

    A murder mystery in Baltimore. I try to imagine if one or both of Baltimore's two famous sons (by whom I mean Barry Levinson and John Waters) had directed this movie. Hmmm...
  • MARIO GAUCI23 January 2010
    CHAMBER OF HORRORS (Hy Averback, 1966) **1/2
    This chiller is universally lambasted – mainly for its derivative plot and the fact that it was originally intended for TV – but the result is fairly stylish nonetheless (thanks largely to its evocative period setting)…though decked-out with the unnecessary, indeed ludicrous, gimmick combo of "Fear Flasher" and "Horror Horn" (warning signs of very little at all!). Patrick O'Neal zestily hams it up as the suave madman villain (we first see him pulling a gun on a preacher in order to perform a wedding ceremony involving his deceased cheating fiancée!) and who, after the self-mutilation – under water! – of his own hand during the train journey to the penitentiary, replaces it with assorted deadly weapons (most memorably, a synthetic hand exploding to reveal a gun underneath)…which, naturally, come in handy {sic} when he embarks upon a vengeful crusade of terror against the people who condemned him; more than 15 years before PIECES (1983), he intends to create a human composite from their various body parts! In hindsight, the "House Of Wax" subplot – allowing amateur criminologists Cesare Danova and Wilfrid Hyde-White (having a ball as always) to do their own sleuthing on the side – is quite redundant, but it does make for a rather nice climax in which O'Neal's own figure acts as "deus ex machina" in his eventual come-uppance. By the way, Tony Curtis' split-second 'gag' appearance is a genuine head-scratcher: just what was the point of it – did he simply happen to be on the premises or, perhaps, owe a favor to the studio?
  • JoeKarlosi22 February 2009
    Chamber of Horrors (1966) **1/2
    Dull for most of its running time, though it has its moments and things do perk up later and the climax isn't bad. It's about a crazed criminal in Victorian times (Patrick O'Neal) who is condemned and escapes, losing a hand in the process. Then he returns with a variety of different detachable gadgets (a hook, a cleaver, a knife, etc.) to place onto his limb to achieve his revenge. He enlists the aid of a prostitute (Laura Devon) to help him in his plan. Wayne Rogers (later of M.A.S.H fame) seems completely out of place here, and so does Miss Devon who's awkward in her part. I bought this as a 'semi' blind-buy, because I remember seeing this in prime time when I was a little kid around 1970 and thinking it was sooooooo sick and depraved (way before Friday THE 13th came along). Of course, these days it turned out to be weak tea and a disappointment. Just goes to show you that the mind is a powerful thing and a very old recollection can often trick you. I did have fun with the "Fear Flasher" gimmick, reminiscent of William Castle. **1/2 out of ****