HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ghoul, The Back To Haunt You
Year: 1975
Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Peter Cushing, John Hurt, Alexandra Bastedo, Gwen Watford, Veronica Carlson, Don Henderson, Ian McCulloch, Stewart Bevan, John D. Collins, Dan Meaden
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Britain in the 1920s and a group of upper class partygoers are making their own entertainment, at the moment by trying to make the women scream by scaring them. After an elaborate game which sees Daphne (Veronica Carlson) manage not to cry out when she creeps upstairs in the darkened mansion and witnesses a friend apparently hanging himself, their host, Angela (Alexandra Bastedo), suggests that they begin dancing to the wind up gramophone instead. But then a new proposition arises: how about a race to Land's End and back before the night is over? Not such a good idea...

The Ghoul, not to be confused with the Boris Karloff horror movie of the thirties, was one of the first productions from would-be Hammer and Amicus rivals Tyburn, but they set up their company just at the time when the British film inudstry and its distinguished run of horror movies were going seriously out of fashion, so ended up rather neglected, not even securing a distribution deal in the United States. As a result, its reputation has been poor, and while it regularly turns up on late night television in its home country, there are few who feel much affection towards it.

A lot of this is to do with how desolate this little film feels, with one of the most downbeat endings of its decade, and the script by Hammer's Anthony Hinds (using his John Elder pen name) barely lets up the gloom for the whole of its nearly hour and a half running time. It may begin with the bright young things of the Charleston generation, but once those four of their number set out on the road, it all turns very bleak. Events conspire to split up the racing couples and when Daphne's car runs out of petrol, she sends her partner off to fetch some more only to venture out into the fog herself when she loses patience.

Of course, she should have waited in the car, but then there wouldn't be a story and Daphne is soon picked up by local handyman Tom (John Hurt) - literally, as he has knocked her out and taken her to his cabin. Escaping from his clutches she ends up at the nearby country pile, where owner and ex-priest Dr Lawrence (Peter Cushing) lives almost alone with his Indian housekeeper Ayah (Gwen Watford, none too convincing in the role). Or are they entirely alone? No, they are not, for predictably the house contains a dark secret, a curse from India that underlines the sense of white man's guilt that pervades the film.

Needless to say, the best aspect of this is Cushing, who brings a deep well of melancholy to a film that could have simply been another run of the mill potboiler. This is often attributed to the star losing his wife in the early seventies, and bringing his overwhelming grief to his role here actually makes the viewer uncomfortable, as if the actor is revealing too much of his inner turmoil. Whatever your reaction, he works wonders for a minor horror effort in anyone's book, and when you can believe that Lawrence is genuinely distraught then you can go some way to accepting the rest of the film. Really, The Ghoul isn't so bad, it's just that it's unrelentingly grim, and given what happens to most of the characters it's a fact that this is going to cheer nobody up. Yet if you're in the mood for being morose, this has a lot going for it. Music by Harry Robertson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3585 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Freddie Francis  (1917 - 2007)

A much respected cinematographer for decades, British Francis made his way up from camera operator on films like The Small Back Room, Outcast of the Islands and Beat the Devil to fully fledged cinematographer on such films as Room at the Top, Sons and Lovers (for which he won his first Oscar), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and The Innocents (a masterpiece of his art).

He then turned to direction, mostly in the horror genre, with familiar titles like Paranoiac, Nightmare, The Evil of Frankenstein, Dr Terror's House of Horrors (the first recognisable Amicus chiller anthology), The Skull, The Psychopath, Torture Garden, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, camp favourite Trog, Tales from the Crypt, The Creeping Flesh, Tales that Witness Madness, Legend of the Werewolf and The Ghoul.

Late in his career, he returned to cinematography with David Lynch's The Elephant Man, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Dune, Glory (winning his second Oscar), the Cape Fear remake and The Straight Story, his final work and one of his greatest.

 
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
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: