Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Terror Creatures From The Grave (1965)

I am an absolute sucker for these old films with outrageous titles.  I mean come on!  What self respecting Midnite Cinephile wouldn't want to watch a film called Terror Creatures From The Grave???  It just sounds so friggin awesome! the title is a bit misleading, but it's still a pretty solid flick!

An attorney (Walter Brandi) goes to settle the estate of one Jeronimus Hauff after his demise.  Upon arrival, he discovers that all is not well at Castle Hauff.  His wife (Barbara Steele ) and daughter (Mirella Maravidi ) tell of Hauffs bizarre ability to communicate with and possibly summon the spirits of victims that had died of the plague....  There is actually a terrific scene in which we hear the deceased man speaking of his ability to see and communicate with the dead via a phonograph.....which is a very eerie and atmospheric. 

Besides this fact, he is also informed that his spirit is wandering the castle.  His daughter, Corinne is starting to see him constantly and it seems as though he is trying to tell her something, though his wife, Cleo denies there is any such thing of the sort going on.  There is also some talk of the water being able to save them....but I'll be damned if I could figure out what the hell they were talking about!  Oh yeah and there's a case of severed arms from plague victims in the foyer. 

People beging to die in mysterious and gruesome ways, and it appears that people who are dying are the five men who allegedly witnessed the accident that claimed the life of Mr Hauff.  The death scene of Oskar Stinner (the paralytic in a wheelchair) is terrific and drips with a Gothic eeriness. 

The plot slows down a bit towards the middle and it gets quite talky....but the ending is great.  I won't ruin it for you, but I will say that things get alot worse for the group in the castle and poetic justice is served! 

Now, this film is allegedly based off of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, but I haven't the slightest clue what.  The best guess that I can come up with might be Masque of the Red Death....but that is really stretching it quite a bit.  I think that perhaps E.A. Poe's name may have been used as a cash in.  This film came out about the same time as AIP's Poe cycle, so I think that in order to get more bodies in the theater seats they put in the Poe reference.  That's just my guess.

Anywhoo, if you love the old slow burn, Gothic horror films of the 60's then you'll really dig Terror Creatures From The Grave.  Sure, there really aren't any Terror Creatures that you get to see....but there is TONS of atmosphere and a pretty solid story!  The copy that I watched actually came off of one of the Mill Creek 50 Movie Packs......and the quality of the film itself is fairly poor....but I don't think I would actually want an HD version of the film.  The washed out B&W, the jump cuts and nicks in the film all kinda give it that special charm that makes watching these films so much fun!  Plus if you get it as part of a 50 movie pack and you don't like it, you've still got 49 other films to check out!

Also known in Italy as 5 tombe per un medium,  France as Le cimetière des morts vivants and of course their English variants Five Graves For A Medium and Cemetery of the Living Dead.  Tombs of the Dead is also a video variant that was released at some point.  I like the European posters quite a bit...check 'em out!

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