HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Murders in the Rue Morgue Phantom Of The Grand Guignol
Year: 1971
Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Jason Robards Jr, Herbert Lom, Christine Kaufmann, Adolfo Celi, Maria Perschy, Michael Dunn, Lilli Palmer, Peter Arne, Rosalind Elliot, Marshall Jones, María Martin, Ruth Plattes, Rafael Hernández, Pamela McInnes, Sally Longley, Brooke Adams
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: In this cellar, an ape wrestles with the bars of its cage as he sees his master (Jason Robards Jr) threaten a young woman (Christine Kaufmann) he has trapped there. But somehow the ape gets free and grabs her, only for the police to burst in and shoot it... All very dramatic, and the audience are most impressed, for yes, this is not real life but a stage play at Paris's famed Grand Guignol theatre, where gory entertainments and thrills were the order of the day. However, there is something not quite right about the man in the ape costume, as when he returns to his dressing room he takes off his mask to reveal he is Rene Marot (Herbert Lom) - and he is supposed to be dead!

Not only that, but he has bumped off the actor who was meant to be in the costume, killing him with acid which would be his signature style of execution and one which was implemented a few times over the course of this Poe adaptation. What do you mean you don't remember that happening in the great writer's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, often cited as the first modern detective story? Well, there was a reason for that, as director Gordon Hessler decided everyone knows what happened at the end of that tale, so it would come as no surprise to a savvy audience of the early nineteen-seventies, therefore it was rewritten in a new form to catch that audience out.

The trouble with that was, Poe's twist may have been pretty laboured by 1971, but it was a far more solid idea than anything dreamt up to replace it here, which largely came across as a confusion of flashbacks, dream sequences and bits and bobs of other Poe-era (and later) fiction. For example, you had a premature burial in the form of a sideshow performer getting buried alive for a stunt (rather than accident or malice), or a heavy dose of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, somewhat perversely casting Hammer's Phantom as the stand-in for the villainous, masked Erik, which was what the character was named here as well, but was decidedly not from Poe.

And Leroux went uncredited too, prompting one to ponder what on earth was going through Hessler's mind when he was concocting this undisciplined mishmash. There were those who responded to it, calling it a breath of fresh air into some decidedly dusty plotting, but watching it now it smacks of desperation: the director fully admitted the scripts he was getting at A.I.P. were terrible, and he would go out of his way to conjure up something of value out of the mediocrity he was being ordered to work with. His other efforts for the American studio were no less wayward, and here the whole thing was afflicted with a flat, television movie of the week style of lighting that suffocated any attempts at atmosphere; not much help was a cast who did not seem to be on the same page.

In fact, it rarely came across as if that cast (many of them Spanish - it was shot in Spanish studios) had been given the same script, with Robards in a role that screamed out for a Vincent Price to make sense of it, but wholly unsuited for this kind of pulp, Lom lurking mysteriously behind his mask (and later, makeup) yet still feeling like a third wheel, and Kaufmann swooning and shrieking her way through an interminable amount of nightmares, flashbacks, and nightmares that became flashbacks, to the point of confounding any audience in their willingness to work out why that person we saw killed is now alive, and vice versa. Michael Dunn showed up as (what else?) a sinister dwarf, Maria Perschy was given a decorative contribution, Lilli Palmer found most of her role on the cutting room floor, and the whole air of getting hastily cobbled together to meet a deadline was hard to shake. In its favour, it did achieve a certain delirium, but at the utter expense of any coherence. Music by Waldo de los Rios.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2157 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: