"My heart isn't
beating. It hasn't beaten for 10 years.
I'm dead, Alan. Dead."
Aka The Castle of
Terror, Coffin of Terror, Tombs of Terror, Tombs of Horror, The Long
Night of Terror, Dimensions of Death,
Dance of Death, Danse Macabre, Danza Macabra
Castle of Blood:
Many, many years ago, as a wee, peach-fuzz lad in
Alexandria, VA, we caught a version of this movie late one night on the local Creature Feature hosted by the great Count Gore de Vol (he who also introduced us to the uncut
version of Night of the Living Dead
[1968 / trailer]).
As of today, we now know that the version we caught must have been a version of the
color remake, Web of the Spider (1970 / trailer),
which, like this movie here, was directed by that master of multiple genre
forms, Italian director Antonio
Margheriti (19 Sept 1930 – 4 Nov 2002) aka Anthony M. Dawson. Margheriti was inspired to do the remake because he
always felt dissatisfied with the original version, entitled Danza Macabra in Italy, but he also
later admitted that doing so was a mistake. Whatever.
Castle of Blood
has long been in the public domain in the US, and probably exists in as many
(mostly butchered) versions as it has titles. Our version was a cheap-ass and
seemingly cut DVD release — 82-minute
running time compared to imdb's
listed 87 minutes — from Westlake Entertainment, which, interestingly enough, claims
that the movie is based on Edgar Allan Poe's Night of the Living Dead. In the credit sequence of the movie
itself, however, it is claimed that the movie is based on Edgar Allan Poe's Dance Macabre. In turn, the credits of
the 1970 color remake Web of the Spider claim the tale
to be based on Poe's story Night of the
Living Dead. In real life, however, Poe never wrote a tale entitled either Dance Macabre or Night of the Living Dead, nor is this film based on anything he
ever wrote. Poe's name, in all likelihood, was used only for the commercial
drawing power it had gained by all the Roger Corman Poe films. (See, for
example, Corman's The Masque of the Red Death
.) And what does that prove?
Well, it is all yet more proof that the Rothschilds,
together with the Illuminati, the Masons and the Knights Templar, were the
secret financers of Lenin and Adolf
Hitler and also planned and financed the Russian Revolution, WWI, and the
subsequent rise and activities of the National Socialists so that the gold
standard would be dropped and the American Democrats could open pizza parlors
as fronts for a child-sex ring and thus distract the general public from the
irrefutable fact that the world is flat. (You're blind if you don't see the direct
links. In fact, to hide the fact that the moon landing never happened, they had
JFK assassinated because he planned to reveal the truth and reintroduce the
gold standard. Take that goddamned red pill, why don't you?)
The DVD release we watched — bought 2nd hand, natch — had crappy sound, was bleached
and scratchy, and was shrunk to fit the screen. In turn, however, the image
appeared to be un-cropped at any side and, although there were obvious cuts in
the movie, the "lesbian scene" was seemingly there as was a discreet and quick
semi-nude scene (and we're not talking about the breathing, topless skeletal
corpse that is seen in one scene — that corpse was very much that of a muscualr, shirtless and dead male).
Seen on a small screen, Castle
of Blood screamed the need for a large screen — and, at the same time, wailed
the fact that even if the screen were large, the bleached and scratchy B&W
photography of the movie probably was not as masterfully used as in the
unarguably superior Barbra Steele film, Mario Bava's almost expressionistic Black
Sunday (1960 / trailer).
Which is not to say, however, that Margheriti's
Italian gothic horror lacks mood and atmosphere; just not quite as much,
and what there is was greatly hampered by the quality of the print we watched.
Castle of Blood is
entertaining in its own way, but for all its B&W cinematography, great
sets, relatively bloodless violence, racy sexuality, and horror elements, it
was and is a flawed movie that most adults of today will probably find far less
satisfying or entertaining than, say, a wee, peach-fuzz lad (or training-bra
But then, the pubescent might also be less than impressed: while, in the
days prior to the Internet and Smartphone, the movie would have been a great
introductory flick for kids to Italo Gothic horror, nowadays, inured on a diet
of instantly available WWW distractions, even the supposed young and tender might also find this
movie slow. Indeed, it is entirely possible that even fans of old movies — as
we are — might likewise find the 82-minute running time a noticeably slow 82
minutes. And that is due to more than just the quality of the print: Castle of Blood's somewhat loopy script
is blemished by one too many long dry spell, an inconceivably quick and
underdeveloped love story, and a lead character with the seeming intelligence of
The basic plot of the version we saw* sees Alan Foster (Georges Riviere of The Virgin of Nuremberg [1963 / trailer]),
an erudite and impoverished and exceedingly practically-minded writer of The London Times in desire of an
interview with the touring American author Edgar Allan Poe (Silvano Tranquilli [23 Aug 1925 – 10 May 1997] of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock[1962 / Italo trailer],
Smile Before Death [1972 / music],
The Legend of Blood Castle [1973 /
and so much more), ends up entering a 10-pound-sterling wager with Lord Thomas
Blackwood (Umberto Raho [4 June 1922 – 9 Jan 2016] of The Long Hair of Death [1964 / trailer],
The Last Man on Earth
[1964 ], The Night Evelyn Came Out of
the Grave [1971 / trailer, Satanik [1968 / trailer]
and so much more) to spend the night at his haunted castle. Once alone in the
castle and following a few spooky incidents, Foster is surprised to learn that the
decrepit and dirty manor is seemingly inhabited after all, and not just by Lord
Thomas Blackwood's beautiful sister Elisabeth (the exquisite Barbara Steele, seen
below from one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite websites, Wikifeet)…
*It should perhaps be noted that these basic narrative
elements change in the given version of the film you watch. Cf.: All Movie, which says: "Alan Foster (Georges Riviere), an
American tourist visiting England, takes a bet from a Lord Blackwood and his
guest, Edgar Allan Poe, to spend the night in a haunted mansion. […]"
As mentioned before, Alan Foster, the main hero, is pretty
much an idiot. He enters the castle that he knows to be deserted, is confronted
by a variety of minor supernatural events — a clock that ticks and chimes and
then doesn't, a dance party in the next room that disappears, etc. — but
doesn't bat an eye when suddenly the house is populated not only by Elisabeth,
but the coldly beautiful Julia (Margaret Robsahm* of The Young Racers
[1963 / trailer],
with William Campbell)
and, soon thereafter, a long-missing scholar, Dr. Carmus (Arturo
Dominici [2 Jan 1918 – 7 Sept. 1992] of Hercules [1957 /
Caltiki, The Immortal Monster[1959 / trailer] and more).
*From Wikipedia (Date: 08.15.2018): "Margarete Robsahm (born 9
October 1942) is a Norwegian model, actress and director. […] To an
international audience, she is best known for her role in Castle of Blood […], but she has also starred in Norwegian movies,
among these Line [The Passionate Couple] from 1961 (full movie). The movie was based on a novel by Axel Jensen [12
Feb 1932 – 13 Feb 2003] and caused a minor scandal in Norway at the time, as
Robsahm was the first actress ever to expose her breasts in a Norwegian movie.
In March 2008, Robsahm came in the media's spotlight for having received NOK
2.3 million over sixteen years in government funding for the arts, without
having produced a single movie. Though no criticism was levelled at Robsahm,
questions were raised about the government stipendiary system."
Worse, even after Foster realizes Elisabeth has no
heartbeat, and she says she is dead, and he sees a dead man disappear into thin
air, he still continues to deny the existence of ghosts instead of saving his
skin by hightailing for them-thar' hills, 10 pounds sterling be damned.
Indeed, his continual denial of the obvious truth throughout
the film transcends believability — unless, of course, you keep something in
mind like the number of people who actually think Trump is a good president,
and then his inconceivable idiocy achieves a level of veracity and is easier to
swallow. Still, it does take some difficulty to accept how Foster, time and
again, simply denies the obvious: that the ghostly — if extremely tangible — reenactments
transpiring before him of the past deaths in the castle are indeed ghostly.
Then lets talks about the love angle, which is integral to
the entire resolution of the movie. Foster has a mouth of honey, one which
drips compliments and smoothly pleasing phrases as quickly as a Republican
approves tax cuts for the rich or is willing to accept a fellow Republican's
denial of past sexual transgression. Indeed, he verbally oils Julia as much and
quickly as he does Elizabeth, which severely undermines the believability of
the concept of him falling head over heels in love with Elisabeth in a matter
of minutes. And while the love between the two, which is integral to the
narrative, proves sincere, the flashback to the events leading to Elisabeth's
death* reveals her to be a
capricious, sexually active woman of little common sense who above all simply
wants her fickle whims and short-term desires satisfied. (Hmm — sounds like
almost everyone we know.) Thus, one is initially tempted to view Foster as
little more than yet another plaything for her — it is only towards the end,
when she tries desperately to save him, that her professed love finally
achieves total sincerity.
*Here, the version we saw was obviously cut: while all
those around her die, the scene abruptly cuts away as a crazed, screaming
Elisabeth pulls at her hair. How she actually dies is not shown.
Speaking of the ghostly (if extremely tangible) reenactment
of Elisabeth's demise, it does reflect a doozy of a sex crime: not only does
Elisabeth's hunky and possessive lover Herbert (Giovanni Cianfriglia*) kill her husband William (Benito
Stefanelli [2 Sept 1928 – 18 Dec 1999] of A Fistful of Dollars , Transformations [1988 / love theme]
and so much more) and then try to rape her, but after Julia saves Elisabeth by
killing Herbert, Julia promptly goes all aggressively scissor sister on her.
(In the world of this movie, murdering men seems to turn lesbians on.)
Unluckily for Julia, Elisabeth is less than turned on and a knife lies close
* The hunky and handsomeGiovanni Cianfriglia — see image below, from the great blogspot Pleplum— who had begun his film career six years earlier as the body double for the delicious Steve Reeves (21
Jan 1926 – 1 May 2000) in Hercules (trailer), was still in full, hot muscular prime when he played
this movie's kill-happy bad guy. Indeed, the combined hotness of he and Steele
and Robsahm and the soon-to-be-mentioned Sylvia Sorrente, are the stuff that
fantasy orgies are made of…. Hand us that box of Kleenex, please.
The twist to the ghosts that inhabit this movie is that they
are, in a way, dead-alive. They only appear once a year, on All Hallows' Eve, and
to survive another year until their next appearance, the vampiric ghosts
require the blood of the living, which is why Lord Thomas Blackwood sends a
poor sucker to the castle every year. It would seem, however, that the urge to
drink blood only truly arises as the night draws to a close, for throughout
much of the movie the ghosts either leave Foster completely alone (as do William,
the newlyweds Elsi [the pulchritudinous Sylvia Sorrente, below] and her husband
and, for the most part, Herbert); are friendly and informative, like Dr.
Carmus; or initially actively suggest Foster should leave, as does Julia. But
as the night ends, and their ghostly mortality increases, so does their bloodlust
— perhaps beyond their control. But for Elisabeth, whose love conquers all…. except for the threshold to the world outside.
In that sense, as Dr. Carmus flatly states at one point, and
as is underscored by the way Lord Thomas Blackwood unflinchingly and coldly
collects the debt due at the end of the movie, Lord Thomas Blackwood is perhaps
the most cold-hearted and evil entity found in Castle of Blood. Even the murderous Herman — while alive, at least
— was driven more by passion and a lack of control than evilness, and the
ghosts themselves merely want to survive another year and only truly give in to
their bloodlust as the night draws to a close. Blackwood, on the other hand,
sends a new sacrificial victim to the castle once a year, and not even because
he is forced or has to, but simply because he can.
Somewhere along the way
in Castle of Blood, it is even revealed
that the ghosts, who cannot leave the castle, need blood to survive another
year, and that without it they would be no more. Were Blackwood not evil, he
would merely make sure that no one goes to the house one All Hallows' Eve — two,
if he really wants to play it safe — and then the ghosts would be gone. One
need not be a capitalist to see that, financially, the return from the rent or
sale of the castle would surely bring more money than an annual wager — ergo:
Blackwood does his annual wager for the hell of it, making him the real amoral
killer of the movie.
OK, so after all that is written above, one might assume
that we don't find Castle of Blood a
good movie. That, however, is wrong. We think it a great film, a fantastic
film, and will surely watch it again someday (though hopefully a better
transfer). It is, however, a flawed film and age has not been all that kind to
it, and in today's Smartphone-driven world in which western society has the
patience and attention span shorter than Trump's Mario toadstool, it is not a movie that will
appeal to many.
Castle of Blood is,
perhaps, comparable to some of the more subdued baubles in your grandmother's
jewelry box: it is a real jewel, a beautiful jewel, but it looks and feels of
another age. If you are one who can appreciate such beauty, then you will
surely find this movie worth watching. If, on the other hand, you need the
speed and superficiality of today's perfected flashiness, you won't be able to
appreciate the beauty that this B-film offers.
(Spoilers) Rammbock, at little over 60 minutes in length with credits, is a
bit too long to be a short film and a bit too short to be a feature film, but
in the end it proves just long enough to remain absorbing and offer a double
ending that is both depressing and ironic (for one hero of the film) and as
happily open-ended as a zombie film can be (for the second main protagonist). Financed
in part by German public television, Rammbock
never feels like a television flick and, instead, comes across as a viable
entry in the contemporary canon of fast "zombies". Here, as in 28 Days Later (2002 / trailer), 28 Weeks Later (2007)
and many films since then, the zombies are less undead gut/brain eaters than crazed
and blood-thirsty infected. In this sense, the Berlin Undead title added for the movie's international (or English-speaking countries) release is
incorrect; Berlin Biohazard or Berlin Infected would probably be more
appropriate, if less commercial.
While not exactly ignoring the "undead"
hoards and chomp-chomp deaths expected of a zombie movie, Rammbock has higher aims than just offering a bloody bodycount and
the living vs. "undead". The interest of the filmmakers lies far more
in the human side of the story of a variety of people, but primarily the two
leads, Michael (Michael Fuith) and Harper (Theo Trebs), suddenly caught in a claustrophobic setting as
the world collapses. (The people are for the most part caught in a typical Berlin Hinterhof — tenement back courtyard — while
Michael and Harper are stuck in a Hinterhof
flat.) And while the small cast of people do different things at different
times in response to the danger confronting them, not one becomes the efficient
(and in the end unbelievable) zombie-killing machines so common of too many
contemporary zombie movies. In this sense, Rammbock
— despite being populated with amped-up, fleet-footed zombies — is more closely
related to the original Night of the Living Dead
(1968 / trailer)
than, say, the average Asylum zombie flick or certain currently popular
television series. The people populating this flick are normal Joes and Janes,
not wannabe, pistol-packing, acrobatic deadshots or secret samurais. And in an
almost stereotypical manner, considering Germany's waning reputation as a technology leader, the solutions they come upon are based on
technology, both primitive (battering ram) and modern (flashing luminaries).
Like Night of the Living Dead, Rammbock
starts in a still-sane world before, with no warning, the shit hits the
fan. True, there are a scream or two in the distance, but that isn't really all
that strange for either the big hipster party place Berlin has become or the
rundown, heavy-drinking, working class city it used to be. Michael isn't even
from Berlin, but has traveled up from Austria to visit Gabi (Anka Graczyk), his ex-girlfriend, on the excuse of
returning her keys but actually in the hope of talking her out of leaving him.
But she isn't there; instead, there is a plumber (Arno
Kölker) and his young apprentice Harper — and then the plumber flips out
and attacks. More by luck than anything else, Harper and Michael manage to lock
the plumber out on the stairwell landing and themselves in Gabi's flat….
At this point, Rammbock plays an obvious homage to Rear Window (1954 / trailer),
with Harper and Michael witnessing different developments unfold in the
courtyard and apartments across the way. The pace in which things go south at
the start of the film is easily believable due to the speed and brutality of
the infected. And the infected themselves are likewise as unsettling as
believable. Ashen-faced, occasionally foaming at the mouth, and milky-eyed, they
wobble in place or stumble slowly about until any given noise sends them into a
bloodthirsty, rampaging rage.
No phone, no food, and — as the television
goes from news reports to the emergency broadcast system, and the radio
broadcasts become little more than a looped tape — no hope. Trapped in a situation
as bleak as late-fall Berlin is grey and dank, remaining "safe
inside" means death by hunger. And as Murphy's Law in omnipotent, any step
Michael and Harper take seems only to make their "safe space" smaller
and more unsafe. Including the event involving the homemade battering ram — or
"Rammbock" — that bestows the film its German title. (An
arbitrary title decision, actually: they could have just as well titled the
movie "Camera Flash" in reference to the movie's one new tweak in the
zombie canon: the grey eyes of the infected are also extremely photosensitive.)
Rammbock manages to keep an eye on its protagonists — who they are
as well as how they develop — without totally forgetting the rabid-zombie action.
But while there are enough shock moments, the gore is sparse, limited primarily
to the initial mass attack. In that sense, the movie proves well that buckets
of blood are not the only way to shock or affect the viewer.
Director Marvin Kren, in his (short)
feature-film debut, manages to use his claustrophobic setting to its best
advantage: the movie never feels visually constrained, even if the constrained
situation of the heroes is never forgotten and the sense of confinement and of
being trapped is never lost. Kren also gets believable, if not at time truly
nuanced, performances from most of his cast. (In an interesting play on acting
and filmmaking, at the start of the Rammbock,
when the viewer is first introduced to Michael, he is a lousy actor — but then
it is revealed his is acting out, as in practicing, what he plans to say to his
ex-girlfriend Gabi. As of the point that is revealed, his acting becomes convincingly
natural.) And more than once a finely absurd humor raises its blackly effective
head, though it is usually done so in passing that the viewer can easily miss
it, particularly if one does not understand German.
It is a sign of how well this
semi-chamber play of a movie is made that some of the more obvious flaws are so
easy to ignore. That the film plays freely with the geography of Berlin (it
opens in Chamissokiez, which is
nowhere close to either the river Spree or Westhafen harbor, while the final
scene is even further away in Schweineode)
can hardly be held against it, as fiction does not necessarily require veracity.
(See: Lola Rennt aka Run, Lola, Run [1998 / trailer],
in which the backgrounds of where Lola runs are taken indiscriminately from all
across the city but shown as a continuous, if long, run.) That said, characters
do do some stupid things: for example, when one guy across the way goes
downstairs to try to close the doors to the courtyard, instead of being as quiet
as possible, he and everyone else invariably make as much noise as possible —
so guess how that works out. Also, later, after all the zombies have been
driven out and the courtyard door locked, the zombie mom mysteriously reappears from an
upstairs apartment, a reappearance needed for both the ironic resolution of
Michael's story and one of the best throwaway verbal jokes of the movie (listen
carefully to what the guy running away from the zombie mom is screaming). And
perhaps most glaring: the zombies are revealed to have highly photosensitive
eyes, but the heroes tend to do everything after sundown instead of under the
daytime sun. (That said, Berlin is justly famous for having a lot of incredibly
grey days, particularly during the colder seasons.) The technical aspects for
the MacGyver-style escape vehicle also raise some
But again: Rammbock is both so tightly made and affectively effective that
kinks like those only come to mind long after the film has ended; the
movie-going experience had while watching the film is remains invariably involving,
if not gripping.
As is the nature of all zombie-outbreak
films, the resolution of Rammbock is
— at least for the survivors — more open than resolute. But the little shimmer
of hope that is given by the final scene is a welcome relief after everything
that precedes it. As is the mood underscored by the wonderful closing music.
Rammbock: low budget, short, well shot, well directed, creepy,
affective and effective — and definitely worth a look, unlike so many zombie
Maria Rohm (nee Helga Grohmann), talented cult actress and wife of British
independent film producer and screenwriter Harry Alan Towers (19 Oct 1920 – 31
July 2009), went the way of the wind in June at the age of 72 in Toronto,
Canada, the home of Bruce McArthur. Rohm, who began her acting career as a
child stage actress, seems to have begun her film career at the age of twenty
playing a prostitute in a 1964 film. Soon after she married producer Towers,
also in 1964, he began putting her in many of his projects, including nine
different movies directed by Jess Franco (12 May 1930 – 2 April 2013). She
retired from acting in 1976, at the young milfy age of 31, but like her 25-year-older
husband remained active as a producer.
"The children of the night... what music they make." Count Dracula (Christopher Lee)
We took a quick look at Count
Dracula way back in 2012, in They Died in September 2012, Part VII: Herbert Lom, where we more or less wrote: "Aka Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht. Hebert Lom as Prof. Helsing in his
second (and last) Jess Franco film — alongside no lesser names than Christopher
Lee, Klaus Kinski (who never actually speaks throughout the whole film), and
Soledad Miranda — not to mention Fred Williams and Jack Taylor. This is perhaps
the only movie version of Dracula that maintains the premise of the book that
Dracula is an old man who gets younger each time he feeds.
Obsessed tells a plot we
all already know: 'Young solicitor Jonathan Harker (Fred Williams) journeys to
Transylvania to deliver a deed to an English abbey to Count Dracula
(Christopher Lee). But before long he begins to suspect that the count may be
something more than human, and he works with Professor Abraham Van Helsing
(Herbert Lom), Dr. John Seward (Paul Muller) and Quincy Morris (Jack Taylor) to
rescue his fiancée Mina Murray (Maria Rohm) after her friend Lucy Westenra
(Soledad Miranda [9 July 1943 – 18 Aug 1970]) falls victim to the vampire's
"The general consensus with this film is that it is both one of
Franco's more subdued and successful films, despite the ragged edges of the low
"For those who think Jess Franco's movies contain too much nudity
and gore — this one has no nudity at all, and virtually no gore. [Cult Movie Reviews]"
Yep, neither Soledad nor Maria Rohm show nary a nipple in the movie. As that fat idiot in the White House is apt to say: "Sad. Another liberal plot to undermine the American democracy."
German trailer to
Ignoring Soledad Miranda's supposed un-credited appearance somewhere
in the early Jess Franco movie La reina
del Tabarín aka Queen of the Tabarin
Club (1960), Count Dracula is
probably the first of her feature-film Franco projects to get a general
release. Unknown to many non-Spanish fans of her films, Soledad Miranda already
had a successful career in Spain as a pop singer prior to becoming Franco's
most famous "discovery".
Not from the film —
Soledad Miranda sings:
Trivia: Though they share scenes, supposedly Christopher Lee and
Herbert Lom never shot a scene together. And although Christopher Lee famously
hated his iconic role of Dracula, and was won over for the movie with great
difficulty, he appeared as Count Dracula in three other movies in that same year, 1970: a cameo
in Jerry Lewis' unfunny One More Time
(trailer), and in the two Hammer productions, Peter Sasdy's
Taste the Blood of Dracula (trailer) and Roy Ward Baker's Scars of
Dracula (trailer). Lastly, Franco's version of Dracula is the first screen version of
the novel to include
the character of Quincey Morris (Jack Taylor).
Finally, it should perhaps be said that while "the general
consensus with this film is that it is both one of Franco's more subdued and
successful films", the emphasis should be on "one of Franco's
more subdued and successful films" — particularly if you are not a fan of
his "outsider-art" directorial eye. As a mainstream film, the general
attitude is that "though certainly literate, the film nevertheless fails
as both horror and drama". But then, should you ever read the plodding and
disorganized "epistolary-style" original novel by Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 Nov 1847 – 20 April 1912), you'll find that by modern
standards, the book likewise fails as both horror and drama.
(1970, dir. Massimo Dallamano)
We took a quick look at Dorian
Gray way back in 2012, in They Died in September 2012, Part VII: Herbert Lom, where we more or less wrote: "Director Dallamano, who died of a
car accident in Rome on 14 November 1976, was a cinematographer (for A
Fistful of Dollars , among
others) who moved into the director's chair; among his more enjoyable Eurotrash
projects are Devil in the Flesh
(1969 / trailer), What Have You Done to
Solange? (1972 / trailer*), The Night Child (1975 /
trailer) and, of
course, this flick here. Herbert Lom plays Wotton, a gallerist who has the hots
for Dorian (played by Helmut Berger, seen here below with his big hands).
Shock! Pop! says, 'Set to a
great fuzz guitar score buried under some heavy effects pedal work and well
paced and beautifully shot, The Secret
Of Dorian Gray might not appeal to those looking for a straight (pun
intended) adaptation of Wilde's original story as it periodically descends head
first into camp, but it's well shot and well acted and never short on weird.'
"The plot? Really — don't you ever read books? Handsome young
narcissist gives himself over to a lascivious lifestyle and his portrait ages
instead of himself. Tragedy for everyone involved."
It should be mentioned that this version of the tale moves the action
from Victorian England to the Swinging London of, dunno, Blow Up (1966 / trailer) and/or the opening scenes of Austin
Powers (1997 / trailer). It is "a film that stands head and shoulders above the rest
for its appealingly tawdry Eurotrash aesthetics, its flawless evocation of Swinging
'60s mod, and its flagrant, unabashed sleaze factor. […] Director Dallamano
hits pay dirt with the casting of Helmut Berger. A man so staggeringly
beautiful that he makes personal fave Joe Dallesandro (certainly one of the
most gorgeous men to have ever walked the planet) look like Ernest Borgnine. [Dreams Are What Le Cinema Is For...]"
The movie was a Towers and Samuel Z. Arkoff (12 June 1918 – 16 Sept 2001) coproduction.
Maria Rohm has a minor role as Alice Campbell, a character not found in the
book; Marie Liljedahl, however, plays the tragic Sibyl Vane, who is in the book
and is the first true victim of Dorian moral decay. Unlike in the novel, Dorian
does not inadvertently kill himself, but makes a conscious decision to do so —
a narrative decision that rather undermines the entire tale. Anyone who knows
what the bisexual actor Helmut Berger, the man playing Dorian Gray, looks like
today might be tempted to say he is a living picture of Dorian Gray… but then,
he is over 70 years old.
The painting of Dorian Gray below, by the way, was
painted by the American painter Ivan Le Lorraine Albright (20
Feb 1897 – 18 Nov 1983) for the 1945 film version of the tale (trailer). The painting now hangs in the Whitney.
(1971, dir. Pere Portabella)
The documentary as experimental film. In this case, a documentary on
the making of Jess Franco's Count
Dracula (1970). All the stars, Maria Rohm inclusive, are found in this
Over at Letterboxd, some dude calling himself Disgustipated says, "It is almost as though a movie director has taken one of
his kids on set and given him a camera to go play with while the grown-ups go
about making a real movie. Except in this case the kid is an exceptionally
talented experimental film-maker with a nose for creepy atmospherics,
experimental filmic flourishes and meta-cinematic inserts, all used to great
effect to create an indelible experience that will imprint itself on your
amygdala in an inexplicable way that a more conventional film cannot. Imagine
if 'the making of' documentary for a horror movie was a darkly foreboding
silent horror movie, which has taken on a remarkable life of its own. Probably
one of the more interesting credits for Christopher Lee and his final scene in
the film is a fitting send off. I dare you to check this one out."
On his own website, Pere Portabella explains his film as follows: "Vampir-Cuadecuc is possibly a key film
in understanding the transition in the Spanish filmworld from the period of the
'new cinema' (permitted by the Franco government) towards the illegal,
clandestine or openly antagonistic practices against the Franco regime. It
consists of shooting the filming of a commercial film El conde Drácula by Jesús Franco. Portabella practices two types of
violence on the standard narrative: he totally eliminates color and substitutes
the soundtrack with a landscape of image-sound collisions by Carles Santos (1
July 1940 – 4 Dec 2017). Filmed provocatively in 16mm and with sound negative,
the tensions between black and white favor the strange 'fantasmatic
materialism' of this revealing analysis of the construction mechanism for the
magic in dominant narrative cinema, which at the same time constitutes a
radical intervention in the Spanish cinematographic institution."
Jonathan Rosenbaum, who saw an original screening of the film, has some interesting info
about the event: "It was showing […] at a now-defunct cinema called Le
Français. It's worth adding that the name of the filmmaker and the title of his
film were both slightly different from the way we know them today, for reasons
that are historically significant. The name of this Barcelona-based filmmaker
was listed as Pedro Portabella and his film was called simply Vampir.
Why? Because he was Catalan, a language forbidden in Franco's Spain,
making both the name 'Pere' and the word 'Cuadacuc' (which I'm told is an
obscure Catalan term meaning both a worm's tail and the end of a reel of
unexposed film stock) equally impermissible. Furthermore, Portabella wasn't
present at the screening because, as I later discovered, he was one of the two
Spanish producers of Luis Buñuel's Viridiana (trailer)one decade earlier, and the Franco government was punishing him for
having helped to engineer this subterfuge by confiscating his passport, making
it impossible for him to travel outside of Spain. And for those like myself who
wondered how a film as unorthodox as this could play in Franco Spain at all, it
eventually became clear that it survived, like the Catalan language itself (not
to mention Dracula), clandestinely, via secret nourishment."
Rosenbaum, like so many who have seen this mesmerizing exercise in
avant-garde filmmaking, makes positive reference to both Murnau's Nosferatu
(1922 / full film) and Dreyer's Vampyr (1932 / a trailer), twoearlyclassics of art house
(1971, dir. James Hill)
Possibly the first G-rated movie Maria Rohm ever appeared in — thus
signaling the end of her cult career. This family friendly movie is not found
on our list of films to see. It is based, of course, on the novel by Anna
Sewell (20 March 1820 – 25 April 1878), with a screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz (7 Nov 1924 – 20 May 1998), a man who had written screenplays for
more entertaining films, including The
Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961 / trailer) and The Two Faces of
Dr. Jekyll (1960 / trailer). Director James Hill (1 Aug 1919 – 7 Oct 1994) is perhaps best known as
the director of Born Free (1966 / trailer), but we personally prefer some of his other movies, namely: A Study in Terror (1965 / trailer) and The Man from O.R.G.Y.
(1970), the last of which is the only screen adaptation (that we know of) of
any of the paperback pulp novels by that great, productive, mostly forgotten, and highly
dated sleaze satirist "Ted Mark", aka Theodore Gottfried (19 Oct 1928 – 7 March 2004).
The tale, of course, is told from the viewpoint of the horse prior to
being sent to the glue factory (just kidding about the last bit), so it is
perhaps not surprising that the Movie Scenesays that the movie "is beautiful and director James Hill […]
has created a nice-looking movie but the actual story ends up bland and
uninteresting, coming across as little more than a collection of stories with
different characters and just Black Beauty tenuously linking them."
(Sounds like the book, actually.)
Roger Ebert, on the other hand, once gave the movie three stars and explained the
whole plot: "All things considered, Black Beauty leads quite a life, for a
horse. She grows up as the best pal of a boy named Joe (Mark Lester of What the Peeper Saw [1972 / trailer])
and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? [1971 /
She's taken away by a drunken young squire (Patrick Mower of The Devil Rides Out , Cry of the
Banshee [1970 / trailer]
for the Damned aka The Bloodsuckers [1971 / trailer]),
but he is killed one night and she escapes into the hands of gypsies. Then a
horse trader sells her to a circus in Spain, and after learning lots of tricks
she is given by the circus owner (Walter Slezak [3
May 1902 – 21 April 1983]) to kindly Sir William (John
Nettleton of And Soon the
Darkness [1971 / trailer]),
who gives the horse to his daughter (Maria Rohm), who gives Black Beauty to her
fiancé (Peter Lee Lawrence [21 Feb 1944 – 20 April
1974] of Love and Death in the Garden of
the Gods / Liebe und Tod im Garten der Götter [1972 / trailer]),
which is how Black Beauty winds up fighting for the British in India. The
fiancé is killed in India, but his lifeless hands cling gallantly to his spear
and Black Beauty charges anyway. This makes her a war hero and earns her
passage back to England, where fame is brief and she is sold by a drunken
lieutenant (Daniel Martín [12 May 1935 – 28 Sept
2009] of A Fistful of Dollars , Crypt of the Living
Dead [1973 / trailer],
Devil's Kiss [1976 / fashion show]
and Especto [1978 / Spanish trailer]) for five pounds. Then she gets pneumonia, and is put to work
hauling a coal wagon. When things look their bleakest, Black Beauty is rescued
by a kindly old lady and her young footman (who, wouldn't you know, is Beauty's
old pal Joe)."
The young lady
seen most in the trailer above is the young Uschi Glas, also of Umberto Lenzi's
Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), The Sinister Monk (1965 / trailer), The College Girl Murders
(1967) and Gorilla Gang (1968 / trailer) and Die Tote aus der Themse (1971 / German trailer) — Edgar
Wallace films, one and all — and the unjustly unknown Eurotrash disasterpiece Die Weibchen aka Feminine Carnivores (1970).
Mark Lester, in case you've forgotten, was last in the headlines
when he claimed that he thinks that Paris Jackson might actually be his daughter. (Sorry, Mark, but like you totally have the wrong skin color.)
Call of the Wild
(1972, dir. Kenneth Cooper "Ken" Annakin)
Among the movies Charlton "I'm dead, so take my gun" Heston
(4 Oct 1923 – 5 April 2008) made around the time of his classics Omega Man (1971 / trailer) and Soylent Green (1973) is this movie based on one of Jack London's most famous works, the
novella The Call of the Wild.
Considering the commercial viability of Heston's
name at the time, one could well
say that his casting was the closest a Towers film ever came to having a
current Hollywood A-list actor in its cast.
The director, Kenneth Cooper "Ken" Annakin (10 Aug 1914 –
22 April 2009), though hardly known for originality or breaking ground, and
possibly already forgotten in general, was likewise a reliable feature-film
director known at the time (1972) for "all-star, splashy, big-budget
Call of the Wild was shot on location in Spain, Norway and possibly Finland, the last
of which is a country in northern Europe now famous as the location where, in
July 2018, Donald Trump, after labeling Europe a foe of the US, satisfied his
penchant for golden showers with Putin in a toilet stall.And it was good.
DVD Talk points out that "[…] The
Call of the Wild (1972) is a real anomaly, downright bizarre even. It
improbably brought together A-list Hollywood star Charlton Heston, still near
the peak of his fame, with shady Harry Alan Towers, a one-time procurer,
bail-jumper, and possible Soviet spy-turned-movie producer, best known for his
cheapo Fu Manchu movies and long association with schlockmeisters like director
Jesus Franco. Typical of Towers's productions, The Call of the Wild is a multinational patchwork filmed in Norway
and Spain, with American, French, German, Austrian, and Spanish actors, whose
salaries were shakily financed with money coming from all over Europe. Though
the direction is credited to Ken Annakin, a veteran British filmmaker who knew
his way around big league pictures, The
Call of the Wild is itself only marginally professional, looking not at all
like Heston's other movies but typical of Towers's oeuvre."
Depending on which plot description one reads, Heston's character,
John Thornton, is either a government mail carrier or a prospector. Regardless
of which, the basic plot remains the same: a domestic dog named Buck is sold
off to the Klondike where, after initial difficulties, it becomes the alpha
leader of the dogsled team. The reoccurring character with whom Buck bonds most
is Thornton, but Buck also falls into the hands of other characters at various
points throughout the film, including the wealthy trio of Charles (Friedhelm
Lehmann), Mercedes (Maria Rohm), and Charles's brother Hal (Horst Heuck). They
die…. In fact, all humans die in the tale, which is why Buck can finally answer
"the call of the wild" at the end.
As The Movie Scene points out, when
"watching [The Call of the
Wild] now, the acts of violence towards dogs, the dubious dubbing thanks to
it being a European movie and the almost obvious storyline of a dog having an
adventure is seriously off putting. It makes me glad that movies like this are
no longer made and the acts of animal cruelty would most definitely not be
allowed let alone in one called a family adventure. But behind these dubious
scenes and a middle section which seems to drift along there is also a
remarkably charming storyline which wins you over." (Charming? Aside from
the violence and animal cruelty, again: everyone dies.)
Distributed by some minor firm called Intercontinental Releasing Corp.
(IRC), they screwed up on the copyright so at least one version of The Call of the Wild has entered the
The full film —
The Call of the Wild:
The movie was not well received when it was originally released.
Indeed, at one point in his life Charlton Heston supposedly called it "the
worst movie I ever made". In his autobiography The Actor's Life — Journals 1956-1976, Heston also wrote:
"We're faced with the endless problems of organization, personnel, dogs,
publicity . . . I fear I've fallen in with amateurs and con men. This had not
been a picture really but a production deal, patched together with incredible
adroitness and negotiating skill — and no filmmaking talent whatsoever."
Somewhere along the way in the movie, as DVD Talk puts it, "Thornton searches for his missing team while resolving
his sort-of love triangle between an ambitious saloon owner (Michèle Mercier)
and his beloved Buck." We mention this primarily because of DVD Talk's picturesque wording — visions
of bestial three-ways cross our minds — and because it gives us reason to
include the photograph below, not from the movie, of Michèle Mercier (of Women of Devil's Island[1962 / trailer],Black Sabbath[1963 / trailer],Cemetery Without Crosses[1969 / trailer], and Web of the Spider [1971 / German trailer]) in her prime.
(1972, dir. John Hough & others)
Maria Rohm appears as the extremely MILFy Mrs. Hawkins, the owner of
Hawkins' Tavern, the pub where the tale begins. (She's in the clip directly below.)
This time around, Harry Alan Towers snared no one less than Orson
Welles (6 May 1915 – 10 Oct 1985) to play Long John Silver. Welles
himself, however, was less than thrilled to participate as his commitment was
due to an almost ten-year-old contractual commitment: "Welles only offered
to direct and star as Long John Silver in 1964 in order to secure funding for
his cherished Falstaff project Falstaff – Chimes at Midnight (1965 / trailer), but he made only a cursory effort to make that version, dispatching
Jess Franco to film some second-unit material, before abandoning the pretence
entirely. However, he was still legally obliged to make the movie if new
funding was ever obtained, which it duly was in 1972. The only problem with
that was that it was prolific British schlockmeister Harry Alan Towers into
whose hands the resurrected project fell. Towers was a poor moviemaker but a
shrewd businessman, and he had three versions of the movie made — English,
Italian and Spanish — by three different directors. He also had the screenplay
Welles had prepared for the 1964 version re-written — a fact that prompted the
actor to request that his name be removed from the credits (he's credited under
the pseudonym O. W. Jeeves). [2020 Movie Reviews]"
To what extent the two other directors — Andrea Bianchi (31March 1925 – 4 Nov 2013) and Antonio
Margheriti (19 Sept 1930 – 4 Nov 1972) — actually directed complete, different
versions is up to question. In an interview, John Hough claimed to have
directed the whole movie, with Andrea Bianchi (credited, as often, as
"Andrew White"), the second-unit director, listed on the European
release for tax reasons.
John Hough, by the way, in his day directed many a much more
entertaining and trashy film for mature audiences than this: Hammer's Twins of Evil (1971 / trailer),The Legend of Hell House (1973 / trailer), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974 / trailer), The Watcher of the Woods (1980 / trailer),
The Incubus (1982 / trailer),
and the trash classic American Gothic
(1987 / trailer below). Oh, and he
also directed the turd that is the D-2-V Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988 / trailer).
In all truth, however, alone or combined, Andrea Bianchi and Antonio Margheriti directed more entertaining
movies than Hough.
American Gothic (1987):
Treasure Island, of course, is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel of the
same name; Harry Alan Towers was to return to the tale again 17 years later in
1999 when he coproduced a version of the tale starring Jack Palance (trailer).
But when in comes to this version here, The Movie Scene has the plot: "One day Billy Bones (Lionel Stander [11 Jan 1908
– 30 Nov 1994]) comes to stay at a pub run by Mrs. Hawkins (Maria Rohm) and
where her young son Jim (Kim Burfield) works. But Billy has a love of the sauce
and when he dies it is Jim who ends up in possession of a map showing the
location of Captain Flint's treasure. Jim along with Squire Trelawney (Walter
Slezak [in his final film appearance]) and Dr. Livesey (Angel DelPozo) decide
to follow the map which leads them on a sea journey with Captain Smollett (Rik
Battaglia [18 Feb 1927 – 27 March 2015]) who agrees to take them to the island.
But everyone aboard including former pirate turned ship's cook, Long John
Silver (Orson Welles) learns of the treasure map and that makes it a dangerous
place to be especially with Silver willing to do anything to get his hands on
Derek Winnert says that "This rumbustious, undervalued 1972 Spanish-shot
version of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 classic young adults' novel about
a boy's life with pirates on the high seas proves a pleasant,
enjoyable surprise. It's good that, this time, much of the plot and the
linking narrative, spoken by the actor playing Jim Hawkins, is faithful to the
original book. […] Walter Slezak, Lionel Stander, Rik Battaglia and Ángel
del Pozo are also flamboyant assets to liven up the movie as Squire Trelawney,
Billy Bones, Captain Smollett and Doctor Livesey. And young Kim Burfield
is more than adequate as cabin lad Jim Hawkins."
An opinion countered by the writer at Mystery File, who says: "I had somewhat high hopes for Treasure Island, but I probably should
have known better. It's probably one of Orson Welles' least-known films and
it's most certainty [sic] that way for a reason. Produced by Harry Alan Towers,
this somewhat genial, but ultimately unsatisfying adventure yarn …."
More-interesting films by the various names involved: Rik Battaglia is
found in the minor classic Nightmare
Castle(1965 / trailer) and non-classic White Slave (1985 / trailer); Ángel del Pozo is in the classic Horror Express (1972 / trailer), the forgotten — for a Bunel film — Leonor(1975 / music) and the trashy Assignment
Terror (1970 / German trailer)*; and character actor Lionel Stander is found in any of the
following: Cul-De-Sac (1966 / trailer), Pulp (1972 / trailer), Wicked Stepmother (1989 / trailer), The Loved One (1965 / trailer), Blast of Silence (1961 / trailer), and so much more.
*A film high on our "to see" list.
Not to be mistaken for Towers's film —
Scott King's Treasure
(1972, writ. & dir. Jess Franco)
The last film that Maria Rohm made with Franco was this movie, Sex Charade, which is considered by most a lost film — which would mean that the poster below is "fake". Anyone know?
In any event, Rohm is not the star: instead, the babe of focus is Franco's muse of the
time, the beautiful Soledad Miranda (9 July 1943 – 18 August 1970).
The plot can be found at the imdb, where "Anonymous" says, "The story revolves around Anne (Miranda) who is held hostage by an escaped maniac from an
insane asylum. The fugitive forces her to tell stories to prevent her from
getting help. Anne then spins a fanciful tale about a girl's escape from her
imprisonment by savages and her longing to return to captivity."
Fan-made music video to
a song of Soledad's:
The imdb and other sites
list the film as from 1972, but most sites claim the movie was released in 1970
— as does Lost Media Archive, whence most of the photos here come. The LMA further claim, "Sex
Charade […] was one of three films Franco shot in Liechtenstein (the other
two being Nightmares Come at Night [1970
/ scene] and Eugenie de Sade ).
[…] The film apparently had a short theatrical run in France and was partially
released in Belgium as a bizarre collage featuring footage from other
The starring cast consisted of Soledad Miranda, Jack Taylor, Howard
Vernon, Maria Rohm, Diana Lorys and Paul Muller — Franco regulars, one all. The
underappreciated Diana Lorys also starred in one of our favorite movies,
Armando de Ossorio's oft-maligned gothic, vampire comedy flick Malenka aka Fangs of the Living Dead (1969).
Fangs of the Living Dead:
And Then There Were None
(1974, dir. Peter Collinson [1 April 1936 – 16
"Same script, different
locations. You always kill off the most expensive stars first!"
– Harry Alan Towers on his three versions of Ten Little Indians
"Peter Collinson's career was already on the slide when he made
this, the umpteenth film version of the famous Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None (originally
entitled Ten Little Niggers), the
best-selling book of all books she ever wrote (in fact, it is the 7th
best-selling book of all time). This version here, the first one to made in
color, is also the second of three versions that producer Harry Alan Towers
brought to the screen (the first being from 1965 [trailer]; the third,
"This version has a highly enjoyable international cast, to say
the least, and unlike the original story, which is set on an island, the events
here take place in a hotel deep in the Iranian desert. Herbert Rom appears here
as Dr Edward Armstrong, who had been accused of causing a woman's death by
operating on her while drunk. (Lom is also present in Towers' 1989 production,
directed by Alan Birkinshaw, but as the General, who had caused the death of
his wife's lover by sending the soldier on a suicide mission.)
"The plot, according to Wikipedia: 'A group of 10 people, strangers to one another, have all travelled
to a hotel located deep in the deserts of Iran. Upon arrival they discover that
their host is mysteriously absent. They are accused by a tape recording of
having committed various crimes in the past which went unpunished by the law.
As guests start to die, the remainder deduce that their unseen host is
determined to murder them. Since a search of the hotel proves that there is no
one hiding among them, they realize that the murderer is one of them'."
And Then There Were None:
"Peter Welbeck" (aka Harry Alan Towers) is the credited
screenwriter, but then the script is almost the same as the 1965 version of And Then There Were None, for which he received co-writing credit. Maria Lohm has a relatively
unglamorous part in this version of the tale, that of Elsa Martino, the housekeeper and cook.
She, along with her husband Otto (Alberto de Mendoza
[21 Jan 23 – 12 Dec 11] of Horror
Express [1972 / trailer]),
"maliciously and brutally caused the death of [their] invalid employer for
[their] own financial gain". The film's final girl heroine, now named Vera
Clyde, is played by a young Elke Sommer, of Flashback — Morderische Ferien (2000) and Hotel der toten Gäste (1965).
Ninja Dixon says, "To be honest, if you want to see a brilliant version of Ten Little Indians watch the Soviet
version from 1987, Desyat Negrityat
(Ninja's review / full film in Russian). That's a very faithful adaptation, maybe the only version 100% true
to Christie's original vision. But until then, this one delivers cozy
entertainment for Saturday mornings and that day you need to stay home because
of a nasty cold."
We here at a wasted life, on
the other hand, would recommend the less-than-faithful Bollywood version from
Dance scene in Gumnaam (1965),
the Bollywood version of Ten Little Indians:
As of recent, it has come to light that Christie may have purloined her
basic plot from another book turned into a play turned into a film in which
eight guests are brought together to a dinner party and killed one by one. The
book, The Invisible Host, by Bruce Manning (15 July 1902 – 3 Aug
1965) and Gwen Bristow (16 Sept 1903 – 17 Aug 1980) was published in 1930, nine
years before Christie's racistly titled novel. The play, The Ninth Guest by Owen Davis (29 Jan 1874 – 14 Oct 1956), was
first performed in 1934, 13 years before Christie's play. The movie version of The Ninth Guest, directed by Roy
William Neill (4 Sept 1887 – 14 Dec 1946), came out in 1934, 11 years before And Then There Were None (1945 / film).
Roy William Neill's The Ninth Guest
is now in public domain.
Full film — Roy William Neill's
The Ninth Guest:
(1975, dir. Cliff Owen
[22 April 1919 – Nov 1993])
OK, since this
flick is listed in the imdb and
various other online sources, we're including it here. One might assume it to be an
obscure and forgotten British comedy, produced by Harry Alan Towers, which
could well be a lost film and in someone's attic. But before you start searching, some things need to be
considered. The Internet is
strangely uninformative about Closed Up-Tight, for example. No one has written about it,
despite its intriguing cast (Maria Rohm, Marty Feldman, Robin Askwith, Terry
Thomas, Ron Moody, Mark "I fathered Paris Jackson" Lester, and minor
cult babe Annie Belle), and the same "poster" image is seen
everywhere. But the "poster" usually found isn't even a poster: it is
a page ripped from a magazine on which is written, at the bottom,
"Shooting Start: June 1976" — a full year after the release date
commonly given for Closed Up-Tight.
don't think the movie was ever made (perhaps the shoot never even began). Closed
Up-Tight, odd spelling and all, is not found on most filmographies of any
the actors outside of the imdb. And the
French blogspot Chez Roubi's (Annie Belle Fan Blog) lends credence
to the concept that film was never made by simply claiming that the film was a
Of the names
involved in the cast that never was, the most interesting to fans of cult
flotsam are (outside of Maria Rohm) without doubt Robin Askwith and Annie Bell/Belle.
In theory, Closed Up-Tight would
have been the debut film of "Annie Belle". True, she had participated
in four previous films, but in all her prior movies — including Jean Rollon's Lips of Blood (1975 / trailer) — she was credited either under her birth name, "Annie
Brilland", or as "Annie Briand". As Annie Belle, she is the lead in the last film
Maria Rohm acted, Annie aka Blue Bell (1976), which we look at in Part IV of this career review. Annie
Belle, found in Laura (1976 / trailer),
Velluto nero (1976), House on the Edge of the Park (1980 / trailer,
with David Hess), and Absurd (1981 / trailer),
retired after the decidedly unexciting bad film Escape from Death aka Luna
di sangue (1989) to become a social worker.
Velluto nero (1976):
Robin Askwith might no longer be a household name (and perhaps never
was outside of Great Britain), but his recognizable face is found in numerous
badly dated sex comedies as well as watchable movies (mostly in the 70s), the
latter including Lindsay Anderson's If....
(1968 / trailer) & Britannia Hospital
(1982 / trailer), Pier Paolo Pasolini's The
Canterbury Tales (1972 / trailer),
the non-classic Queen Kong (1976,
with Rula "VO5" Lenska [!]), Peter Walker's The
Flesh and Blood Show (1972 / trailer),
Horror on Snape Island (1972 /
trailer, with Jill Haworth) and Horror Hospital (1973
/ trailer, with Michael Gough).
Queen Kong (1976):
El asesino no está solo
(1975, dir. Jesús García de
Aka The Killer Is Not Alone. Contrary to popular opinion, this Spanish thriller is not Maria Rohm's
last movie, but it is close. A Spanish production, it doesn't seem to have been
released in any other country. One of the producers, Andrés Vicente Gómez,
co-produced some earlier Towers productions — for example, both Black Beauty (1971) and Treasure Island (1972) — which might
explain how Maria Rohm came to get cast in one of her few non-Towers produced
films. Among other later projects, Andrés Vicente Gómez produced such fun stuff
like El día de la bestia (1995) and Killer Tongue (1996).
Killer Tongue (1996):
The plot, more or less as found online: "Julio (David 'Tarzan' Carpenter),
an only child of a wealthy family, murders a prostitute who tries to seduce
him. He, in childhood, suffered severe trauma and this has caused serious
problems with women. Because of this, he runs away and stays at a boarding house
in Madrid, where he meets Monica (Teresa Rabal), the daughter of the owner
(Lola Flores [21 Jan 1923 – 16 May 1995]). Monica finds him attractive … even
as his obsession for killing is increases."
Not many people have written about the movie in English, but The Bloody Pit of Horror did and points out that "All of the actors do a decent job in
their respective parts. Co-star Maria Rohm is interestingly cast playing three
different characters; the opening murder victim, the prostitute living at the
boarding house and Julio's childhood babysitter (and sports a different hair
color in each role; red, blonde and mousy brunette, respectively)."
Over at the imdb, Red-Barracuda says that "It's not the most original concept in the
world", but also says: "But this Spanish production still registers.
It has decent performances and a story that essentially holds up. But more
importantly it has a good sense of style. The killer's inner turmoil is shown
by flashbacks, close-ups of eyes and eerie music. In the murder scenes, all of
these elements kick in together and are well-executed. Generally speaking, it's
a well-photographed film, with nice exterior shots of various Spanish locales
and great detail of a religious festival incorporated into the story, which
adds good additional atmosphere. The killer's obsession with women's shoes also
adds a further fetishistic detail; similarly, images and sounds of trains add
additional material that recalls his past trauma. The music varies from cheesy
Spanish pop to atmospheric glockenspiel and piano driven pieces. […] Definitely
a movie that deserves to be more widely seen."