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The Haunted Palace
Die Folterkammer des Hexenjägers

USA 1963
produced by
James H. Nicholson, Samuel Z. Arkoff for AIP
directed by Roger Corman
starring Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney jr, Frank Maxwell, Milton Parsons, Elisha Cook jr, Leo Gordon, Barboura Morris, Bruno VeSota
screenplay by Charles Beaumont, based on The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft, title borrowed from Edgar Allan Poe

AIP's Lovecraft-adaptations, AIP's Poe-cycle, Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Though his ancestor Curwen (Vincent Price) was burnt here as a warlock for conducting unholy experiments with the villagers, with many genetic deformities blamed to his name, Charles Dexter Ward (Price again) wants to settle in the small fishing village of Arkham, where he has inherited Curwen's palace. But the situation seeems to be doomed right from the beginning, when he & his wife Anne (Debra Paget) are rejected by townsfolks, while finally at their palace, mysterious caretaker Simon (Lon Chaney jr) already awaits them. The mild mannered Ward soon changes his attitude though when being possessed by the spirit of Curwen, who seems to live in the large portrait in the hall, & he has some big plans: not only does he - along with Simon & professor Jabez Hutchinson (Milton Parsons), who mysteriously survived the last 110 years - want to resurrect his wife & awake the Elder Gods, he also wants to exact his revenge on the villagers by killing the descendants of those who once burned him. But the villagers are of course quick to blame all the killings on Ward/Curwen, build a lynch-mob, go to his palace, torches in hands, & of course burn the place, & with it, Curwen's portrait, releasing Ward - who is saved in the nick of time by the village doctor (Frank Maxwell) - of that man's evil spell ... but does it really one wonders when Ward's face, in the final shot, shows his sinister streak again.

 

Though the ads & the title claimed otherwise, not based on Edgar Allan Poe but on a story by H.P.Lovecraft, but filmed in the same style, with similar actors & sets, as Corman's Poe-adaptations. It doesn't work out all that well though, since Lovecraft's concepts of the Elder Gods do not work all that well in the very artificial sets that Corman also used for his Edgar Allan Poe-movies, & Price as the movie's undoubtable center does also seem a little out of place here (although his acting once again is impeccable), plus the film's story does seem a little muddled. It's still an entertaining & enjoyable movie, however in comparison with Corman's real Poe-adapations, it definitely loses.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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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
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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