25 October 2004 | roddmatsui
Robert Bloch doing his legendary thing.
The script of this ghoulish horror anthology is Robert Bloch at his diabolical best. I only saw this recently; I've wanted to see it for quite some time, but circumstances conspired, and I had to wait for the DVD release. But it was worth it!
This film is cartoonish throughout and constantly winks at the audience, but it also has an unwavering serious side. It's very sparing on special effects (and saves most of what little there is for the last segment), and is much more dependent on its actors. From the beginning, there is an outrageous over-the-top quality that is very reassuring--it's confident that it will deliver the horror its audience wants to see. Even the funniest segment (starring John Pertwee) manages to be rather disturbing. The box says "Rated PG - For Scary Images," and I must say, the sight of a vampiric Ingrid Pitt floating magically through the air towards one of her victims is a very scary image.
One of the things I like most about this movie is the way the humor and horror COEXIST in the film. The humor doesn't "negate" the horror or turn it into a joke. The horror doesn't "spoil" the humor or make it unfunny. Both elements are able to be taken seriously. Many horror comedies, especially modern ones, can't demonstrate such deft handling of their own elements. But this one moves in a sure-footed way, and that's all Robert Bloch. It's clear to me at least that he enjoyed his work, because such clear thinking is a sign the writer is having fun.
A surprisingly effective horror film from the early 70's that still packs a punch today. I have seen the other Amicus anthology films, and they're good, but this, for some reason, is the instant favorite.