Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Maligned but interesting British horror
on 24 January 2013
This film must be the most interfered with title ever to be produced in the UK.
Viewed without any background information, it comes across as a silly, but reasonable gory ( for the late 60's anyway)and ocassionally creepy slice of Tigon exploitation.
The cast is an odd mix.
Frankie Avalon is a bit too old for a swinging teenager, and is obviously here due to AIP putting up half the money and wanting an American star.
Jill Haworth had already cut her horror teeth on 1966's IT with Roddy McDowall, and would go on to other horror titles like Tower of Evil and The Mutations.
Richard O'Sullivan was a child star, and also destined for much greater things on TV after appearing in this title.
Robin Stewart is a new face, who went on to appear in a few TV sitcoms- Bless This House, and Hammer's Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.
Carol Dilworth was known to many as The Golden Shot girl on TV.
Old hands like Dennis Price and George Sewell populate the charachter roles.
Where it gets more interesting are the bits and pieces of odd charachter detail, the mildly homosexual flavour that runs through the script, and the shooting of some of the murders is quite graphic for the time, with Mark Wynter's being especially savage and brutal - hacked up by an unseen assailant with a large knife, and Frankie Avalon stabbed in the groin and then repeatedly hacked up as a screaming Jill Hayworth looks on.
Watching this with the writer and director commentary reveals so much about why the film looks so disjointed, and explains why there are large chunks of detail that either don't fit in with the main plot, or look filmed in a totally different style. The reason- basically, the producer in the US didn't like the original script, and took it upon himself to re-write large parts of it, and add in totally un-necessary scenes of police performing a dull investigation, and a sub-plot with an ageing lover chasing after one of the cast.
Little of the added stuff works very well, and gives the film a saggy middle-aged feel to it.
One can only imagine how good this could have been if left alone.
If the film had stuck to the original script and the original cast suggestions, ( David Bowie for the killer,) this would have been a dark and moody cult certainty.
As it stands there are snippets of the original idea, largely lost in an incoherent whole.
For all sorts of reasons it remains watchable and fun, and this print is nice and bright and with clear sound, which is an improvement on the disc brought out by Anchor Bay for the Tigon boxset a long while ago. The extra commentary is what makes it worthwhile, and there are some classic trailers of other Brit exploitation titles to savour, plus the full original script in PDF format.
All in all, not bad.