The Monster Club
Milton Subotsky, Bernard J. Kingham (executive) for Amicus, Sword and Sorcery
directed by Roy Ward Baker
starring Vincent Price, John Carradine, Donald Pleasence, Barbara Kellerman, James Laurenson, Anthony Steel, Richard Johnson, Britt Ekland, Stuart Whitman, Lesley Dunlop, Warren Saire, Simon Ward, Anthony Valentine, Patrick Magee, Fran Fullenwider, Roger Sloman, Geoffrey Bayldon, Neil McCarthy, Suzanna Willis, the Viewers, B.A. Robertson, Night, the Pretty Things, UB40
screenplay by Edward Abraham, Valerie Abraham, based on the book by R. Chetwynd-Hayes, music by Douglas Bamley, John Georgiadis, Alan Hawkshaw
Amicus omnibus movies
On his way home, horror writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes (John Carradine) is
attacked by a vampire (Vincent Price), who sucks a bit of his blood, but
not enough to turn him. Upon recognizing whom he has bitten though, the
vampire feels a bit embarrassed and wants to make up to the writer by
inviting him to an exclusive nightclub, only attended by monsters. There,
Chetwynd-Hayes is told three monster stories:
- Shadmock: Angela (Barbara Kellerman) plans to accept a job as
private secretary of a wealthy man and then empty his mansion with her
boyfriend George (Simon Ward). The two of them find Raven (James
Laurenson), an eccentric loner who seems to be scary as hell and
utterly harmless at the same time, Eventually though, Angela warms up
to Raven, and he even wants to marry her, but she and George still go
through with their plans ... bad thing then that Raven's a shadmock, a
demon that kills by whistling.
- Vampire: Vampire film producer Busotsky (Anthony Steel) tells
the story about how he found out his father (Richard Johnson) was a
vampire back when he was a boy (and played by Warren Saire). Thing is,
when he finds out, a vampire hunter (Donald Pleasence) is already
after dad ...
- Humghoul: Film director Sam (Stuart Whitman) is on the
lookout for an eerie and lonely location for his next horror movie -
but gets much more than he bargained for when he takes a turn that
leads into a creepy village exclusively inhabited by ghouls who like
to dig up the dead on the graveyard for their belongings. Only half
blood Luna (Lesley Dunlop) seems to be on his side. When they try to
get away, Luna is killed by ther ghouls, while Sam manages to make it
out, and manages to get in touch with the police, too. Too bad then
that it was the ghoul police ...
As the evening comes to a close, the vampire proposes to accept
Chetwynd-Hayes into the monster club as a permanent member, because man as
such is the biggest of all monsters ...
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A late attempt to
revive the horror anthologies Amicus
has become famous for, this movie has about as much going for it as going
against it: On the plus side, there's John Carradine and Vincent Price
interacting to hilarious heights, and even doing a bit of disco-dancing
(really). Plus, director Roy Ward Baker knows how to create atmosphere and
all three stories feature excellent musical scores (written by three
On the downside, the film never finds the right
balance between comedy and drama, the humour is not always very refined,
and I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to show several (then
current) musical acts performing in the course of the proceedings, musical
acts that have no narrative function.
All that said, the film is still
worth a watch I suppose, but it falls several feet short of being a
classic or even reaching the level of quality of Amicus'
anthology movies from the 1960's or early 70's.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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