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Die Bande des Schreckens

The Terrible People
Hand of the Gallows

West Germany 1960
produced by
Helmut Beck, Preben Philipsen for Rialto Film
directed by Harald Reinl
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Dor, Dieter Eppler, Fritz Rasp, Ulrich Beiger, Karin Kernke, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer, Eddi Arent, Karl Georg Saebisch, Alf Marholm, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Otto Collin, Josef Dahmen, Günter Hauer
screenplay by J.Joachim Bartsch, Wolfgang Schnitzler, based on The Terrible People by Edgar Wallace, music by Heinz Funk

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Master Criminal Shelton (Otto Collin) is caught red handed by inspector Long (Joachim Fuchsberger), doing a bank job that included a little bit of murder. He is sentenced to be executed, but minutes before swinging from the gallows he swears to kill everyone even remotely responsible for his capture & execution, including the hangman (Josef Dahmen) ... & indeed, shortly after Sheltons execution, tghose he has sworn his revenge on start to die like flies, as if killed by a ghost.

Inspector Long, despite having opened Shelton's coffin & found it empty, doesn't believe in the dead having come back to life, & attributes the deaths to the Terrible People, & he starts to make investigations among the Terrible Peolpe's future victims, which include glamourous but arrogant Mrs Revelstoke (Elisabeth Flickenschildt), animal lover & (secret) knife thrower Crawley (Dieter Eppler), & banker Monkford (Karl-Georg Saebisch), who all just happen to gather for a golfing weekend at Cravel's (Alf Marholm) hotel & golfing resort,where (would you believe it) a bunch of other suspects turn up, including Cravel's wife Alice (Karin Kernke) & Mrs Revelstoke's lawyer Henry (Ulrich Beiger) - plus the not suspicious at all secretary of Mrs Revelstoke, Nora (Karin Dor) ... whom everybody including Long would eventually fall in love with.

But wait, even Long's own father, a banker, has thrown suspicion upon himself, as he at one point paid a generous amount of money to Shelton so that he would not rob his banks ...

Soon Monkford is murdered, Miss Revelstoke has disappeared, lawyer Henry has been mugged & Nora is kidnapped ... kidnapped by (would you believe it) Crawley, who turns out to be ... not that evil after all, as he, despite having the order to kill her, frees her ... but is soon kiled by the Terrible People himself, & Nora is only just saved by Long.

Of course, it isn't long before Nora is kidnapped again, & this time the kidnappers - who turn out to be Cravel & Henry - lure him into Cravel's hotel & want to throw him down an elevator shaft ... but ultimately fail of course. Plus Long can overcome & unmask the person that posed as Shelton ... Mrs Revelstoke (!).

In the end the mystery is explained to everyone: Crawley, Cravel & Henry were all sons of Shelton (who has really died when he was executed), & Mrs Revelstoke was their mother, & she was also briefly married to Long's father (which is why Long's father could set up the weird insurace policy with Shelton).

& why did they do it ? Revenge maybe, or just to get to the money banker Monkford has inherited to Nora (for no specific reason).

Eddi Arendt plays his usual comic relief as police photographer who faints every time he sees a dead body.

 

One can't deny that Bande des Schreckens is a well crafted thriller, director Reinl was usually able to rise above his pulp scripts, but this film has a very stupid plot indeed, with little in the sense of logical storytelling, instead relying totally on surprise effects & on nonsensical plottwists, in the end pulling a killer (or killers) out of the hat that might come off as a surprise, but at the same time totally fail to convince on closer observation. The film might be watchable on nostalgic merits, but it's not one of the better of its kind.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD