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The Monster Club

UK 1982
produced by
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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 different composers).

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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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 ...
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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