John Carradine narrates five horror tales with macabre twists. A couple fixes a strange old clock. The Scotland Yard is after a serial killer. A murdered scientist seeks revenge. The last two stories focus on Frankenstein and Dracula.
David L. Hewitt
Lon Chaney Jr.,
Experimenting in hypnotic regression to past lives, Dr. Edmund Redding of the Cowan Institute in Pasadena has discovered that Ann Taylor is a reincarnated Aztec woman. Via her recovered ... See full summary »
A mad scientist, who discovered the secret of eternal youth by draining of blood from a young woman, gets executed. His ancestor moves into the home, eventually discovering the scientist's body. He revives him, and the terror continues.
Following the death of his sister, who was co-director with him of the Cowan Research Center in Pasadena, Dr. Frederick Munson was ousted and replaced by his widowed brother-in-law, Dr. ... See full summary »
If the goal here was to make a good movie, they failed miserably.
If the goal was to confuse, disturb and disorient the viewer, then JACKPOT, baby! This movie is not scary because it evokes a disturbing real atmosphere of fear the way something like Night of The Living Dead does. The effect here in HOTBD is much more surreal.
No, the world of House of The Black Death, aka Blood of the Man Devil is not a world that you or I might recognize. But it is a world that sucks you in. A world of grainy, back-and-white horror; a world of creeping, Gothic torment, a world of a furtively glimpsed fever dream while under the influence of absinthe or laudanum, as you are restrained with rubber hoses in a rusty dentist's chair from the 19th century and assaulted with various antique dental implements.
The stark textures of the muddy, washed out print I viewed only added to the sense of ennui and nausea endured while watching this exercise in creepiness, a tableau which added death-desiring boredom to the mix during the endless talky scenes of people discussing the battle for the soul of the Dessard family between Carradine and Chaney. The extra added frisson provided by the poor condition of the print I viewed was clearly not intended by the filmmakers, but you know what they say, when life hands you lemons...or, more concisely, whatever works.
Now that I have accidentally referred to Woody Allen and Larry David in this review, a highly inappropriate turn of events, I will end with just one command: I importune you to watch this film only late at night, with the lights off, preferably when you are so tired that you will not be able to stop dozing off (if you weren't already there, the dialog will see to that). The wretched visuals of this nightmare of a psychotic will mix with your own dreams as you drift off into an impenetrable trap amongst the ether, of both your own making and that of the (many) directors of this "film."
UPDATE: As of 1/2014, now available on DVD from VCI Entertainment, who have released 2 volumes each of three Jerry Warren "classics." For those with strong constitutions only...
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