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  Orgy of the Dead Dancing In The Moonlight
Year: 1965
Director: Stephen J. Apostolof
Stars: Criswell, Pat Barrington, William Bates, Fawn Silver, Various
Genre: Horror, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: We enter the crypt and the lid is lifted from the coffin to reveal none other than Criswell who has another story to tell us. A story of the supernatural, a story about horror fiction writer Bob (William Bates) and his girlfriend Shirley (Pat Barrington) who were out driving one night (at least I think it was night) in the countryside. Bob was on the search for inspiration, and had decided that the cemetery was just the thing to get his creative juices flowing, but Shirley had other ideas and was none too pleased at spending the evening in such a place. She eventually persuaded him to turn back, but as he sped the car towards an area where he could turn, the vehicle flew off the road and the couple were thrown to the ground - and into a nightmare...

A nightmare of boredom, as it transpires. The famed for the wrong reasons Edward D. Wood Jr wrote the script for Orgy of the Dead, and he really had fallen a long way since Plan 9 from Outer Space which is saying a lot. It's also saying a lot to say he had even further to fall, and one wonders whether his heart was really in this, as there isn't one mention of angora in the whole film, just a brief example of fluff which probably wasn't angora anyway. This film is actually less a horror movie than a nudie movie, a harmless but deeply undemanding genre which stood in for porn in the fifties and sixties if the patrons didn't have the stomach for a full blown stag film.

What happens is that Bob and Shirley wake up and see they are in the cemetery, where some kind of ceremony is going on. The leader of this ceremony is our old friend from the prologue, Criswell, complete with cape and his trademark yellow, wavy hair and he is accompanied by a Vampira looky likey (Fawn Silver), although unlike Vampira in Plan 9 she talks in this film. Despite Criswell's obvious reading from a cue card at the start of the proceedings, he appears to have learned his lines for the main feature, such as they are. And the entertainment for this denizen of darkness? A bunch of strippers accompanied by incessant lounge music score - no one wants to see men dancing, as Cris astutely points out.

While it would be nice to imagine this is exactly the way that the popular psychic liked to let his yellow, wavy hair down of an evening, he seems to be having a much better time than you will. "Torture! Torture! It pleasures me!" he calls at one point, which may explain his excitement. And so the viewer is faced with a succession of women prancing around in g-strings and little else, performing dances that suggest Ginger Rogers and Cyd Charisse had nothing to worry about. There is also a wolfman and a mummy as henchmen to the cackling Criswell who capture Bob and Shirl and tie them up, all the better to watch the show. And let's not forget the smoke machine which pumps out fog for atmosphere and frequently obscures the acts. I guess ennui can have a hypnotic quality, but aside from the ridiculous dialogue Orgy of the Dead is a sad little film where you can imagine most of those involved would rather have been doing something more prestigious.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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