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La Casa del Terror

Mexico 1960
produced by
Fernando de Fuentes hijo for Diana Films
directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares
starring Germán Valdés (= Tin Tan), Yolanda Varela, Lon Chaney jr, Yerye Beirute, Óscar Ortiz de Pinedo, Consuelo Guerrero de Luna, Alfredo Wally Barrón, Agustín Fernbández, Rafael Estrada, Dacia González, José Silva, José Luis Aguirre 'Trotsky', Ana María Hernández
written by Gilberto Martínez Solares, Juan García, music by Luis Hernández Bretón

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Sebastián (Yerye Beirute) conducts experiments on bringing the dead back to life ... and thus frequently draws blood from his otherwise totally useless nightguard Casimiro (Germán Valdés). Thing is though, he constantly fails ... until he finds a mummy (Lon Chaney jr) that he thinks will serve his purposes much better than any ordinary human ... because the mummy's also a werewolf. Well, the experiment succeeds, but once the mummy has become a werewolf, he kills Sebastián's assistants (Alfredo Wally Barrón, Agustín Fernández) and the professor has problems locking the beast into a cage conveniently situated in his secret lab inside his wax museum. Casimiro sleeps through all of this, and once he wakes up, the werewolf has already escaped from his cage and started to prowl the neighbourhood - which leads to many scenes where Casimiro sees the werewolf, but nobody else does. Casimiro only really jumps into action when the werewolf kidnaps his girlfriend Paquita (Yolanda Varela), and he even climbs up a highrise after the creature to save her - but ultimately, the werewolf returns to the professor's lab, which naturally goes up in flames, and the professor and the beast with it - and Casimiro saves (and gets) the girl ...

 

La Casa del Terror is known to the English speaking world mainly because it's the last werewolf movie with Lon Chaney jr in the lupine lead, and because its horror scenes were worked into Jerry Warren's Face of the Screaming Werewolf - but unlike that movie, La Casa del Terror is actually more of a comedy, though anything but an extremely funny one. Actually, most of the jokes are built around Germán Valdés' character being very lazy, very frightened (something that he sheds in the end), and seeing the werewolf when nobody else sees him. The plot this is hung up on is rather on the thin side and full of genre clichés, and Lon Chaney jr's role is a dialogue-less one and he's just going through the motions again as he has done so many times before - but at least he does what with panache ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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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