HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
Pyewacket
Disaster Artist, The
God of Cookery, The
Zatoichi and the Chess Player
Ingrid Goes West
Boys from Fengkuei, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
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
   
 
  Macabre Six Feet UnderBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: William Castle
Stars: William Prince, Jim Backus, Christine White, Jacqueline Scott, Susan Morrow, Philip Tonge, Jonathan Kidd, Dorothy Morris, Howard Hoffman, Ellen Corby, Linda Guderman, Voltaire Perkins
Genre: Horror
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The undertaker of this smalltown has called the local police sheriff, Jim Tyloe (Jim Backus), to report the theft of a child's coffin, but the sheriff is not exactly sympathetic thanks to the general belief that the undertaker charges too much for his services. Nevertheless, when they see local doctor, Rod Barrett (William Prince), parking his car across the street, they observe that he'd be better off leaving town thanks to his poor record of saving his patients - including his wife, who died three years before leaving him to bring up their daughter on his own.

So when the little girl goes missing from his home, he is frantic. And why is he reacting so agitatedly? Because his secretary Polly (Jacqueline Scott) recieves a telephone call from a mysterious party who laughs and gloats that he has kidnapped the child, and to make matter worse, he has buried her in that small coffin in the town's graveyard! What happens after that may not have been a classic of the horror movie, but it certainly provided its creator William Castle with fresh territory to explore, as it was the first of his gimmicky, sensationally-advertised horrors after many years toiling in B-movies.

This set him on a new dawn in his career, as now his dream of being as renowned as Alfred Hitchcock, complete with his name prominently featured as a means of selling his movies, was to be realised over the next nearly twenty years. Well, almost - there were few who would place Castle and his exploitative productions up there with as true innovator like Hitchcock, and in truth he rarely reached the heights The Master of Suspense did, not for the length of a whole film, at any rate. But he really did know how to sell his work, usually with some kind of unique proposition inspired by carnival hucksters.

Therefore with Macabre the ploy to get the audiences into the cinemas was to insure them for death by fright, thanks to an arrangement with Lloyds of London, thereby building up the picture's potential for scaring you out of your skin to giddy heights. Not that much in the process of watching it would actually do that, but Castle was willing to go to grimmer places than many directors at the time, so while much of Macabre was leadfooted in effect, there were a couple of moments which could legitimately be said to conjure a genuine jump. Maybe not now, where these conventions are so hackneyed, but back then he managed it.

Even in the film itself we were treated to a narrator setting out the premise of the insurance over the image of a ticking clock above the funeral parlour to emphasise the race against time the characters were forced to conduct, and once more remind audiences that this was going to be the scariest movie they had ever seen. That went pretty well in 1958, as Castle was rewarded with a big hit, but now it plays like one of those contemporary radio plays with a couple of concessions to the visuals - it was actually based on a novel written by a number of mystery authors, one chapter each - though the smalltown mood is nicely conveyed, generating an atmosphere that just about lives up to the title thanks to how much of it takes place around death. It was all over with in barely over an hour, so economy was one of its strong points even if polish was not. Music by Les Baxter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1269 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
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
George White
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
  Rachel Franke
   

 

Last Updated: