HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Terror Creatures from Beyond the Grave They're coming to get you BarbaraBuy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Massimo Pupillo
Stars: Barbara Steele, Walter Brandi, Mirella Maravidi, Alfredo Rizzo, Luciano Pigozzi, Tilde Till, Ennio Balbo, Riccardo Garrone
Genre: Horror
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Known in Italian as Cinque tombe per un medium, and by the alternate drive-in title of Cemetery of the Living Dead, this stands along with Giuseppe Vari’s War of the Zombies (1964) as one of the forerunners of the Italian zombie genre. We open as a man fleeing into the night is stomped to death by his own horse, complete with close-ups on his bloody eyeball. The incident is never referred to again since, typically for the period, this scene was shot solely to give American drive-in audiences a reason to stay in their seats.

The actual plot begins with lawyer Albert Kobac (Walter Brandi) summoned to the creepy castle of the late Dr. Jeronimus Hauff. His beautiful daughter Corrine (Mirella Maravidi) maintains her father dabbled in occultism, something strenuously denied by her stepmother Cleo Hauff (Barbara Steele). A string of mysterious deaths occur throughout the local village until Kobac eventually discovers the good doctor is wreaking revenge on his betrayers from beyond the grave.

Although she squeezed in a respectable turn for Federico Fellini in (1963), throughout this busy period in her career Barbara Steele was foremost the queen of Italian gothic horror. After being immortalized in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960), she worked with major players like Riccardo Freda (The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock (1962) and its semi-sequel The Ghost (1963)) and Antonio Margheriti (Castle of Blood (1964) and The Long Hair of Death (1964), as well as genre-hoppers like Mario Caiano (Nightmare Castle (1965)) and here, onetime child actor Massimo Pupillo making his feature debut. Pupillo grants Steele a classic movie star intro when his camera pans across to soak in that famous piercing gaze, but the plot gives her too little to do when compared with Bava and Freda’s efforts.

Pupillo, who made the loopy Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) that same year, was unhappy with the finished film and let producer Ralph Zucker assume directorial credit on English language prints. But the film is far from bad and quite arresting in parts: Dr. Hauff’s voice croaking on a phonograph record; the unsettling image of flowers slowly wilting in glass bowl; and the eerily beautiful children’s lullaby that clues the heroes how to survive the horror (“Remember the water will save you. This warning’s for you!”). Pupillo undercuts the eerie mood with chattering narration from his dopey hero (even after we see Hauff’s empty grave, Kobac is compelled to spell things out: “The grave is empty.” Well, duh!) and seems preoccupied with composing cheesecake shots (Maravidi nude in silhouette behind a screen; Steele reflected naked in a bathroom mirror), but stages a host of striking set-pieces with great gusto.

The most harrowing scene has crippled conspirator Stinel (Ennio Balbo) impale himself on a sword rather than face the vengeful dead. A rotting hand clutches at the corpse before guts spill out from his lifeless body. Steele’s romantic scene is surprisingly sensual interlude wherein the camera segues from the couple’s passionate lovemaking to a mural swirling above their bed. This marks an early cinematography credit for Carlo Di Palma who worked for Michelangelo Antonioni and Woody Allen. His luxuriant, velvety monochrome photography draws a certain dread from the nightmarish forest of gnarled black trees and the cobwebbed crypt where manservant Kurt (Luciano Pigozzi) soliloquises to his dead master. Florid touches like the thunderclap that happens whenever someone mentions Hauff by name (a gag Mel Brooks repeated in Young Frankenstein (1974)) and the admittedly cheesy dubbing stray close to camp, while the revenge angle flounders when innocents like the young maid (Tilde Till) and friendly doctor (Alfredo Rizzo) become targets. But the finale is wonderful: clocks come alive counting down to the hour of vengeance; severed hands start twitching; hearts in jars start beating; zombies crawl out of open graves and claws clutch at our fleeing heroes. End credits claiming this was based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2040 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: