Snackbar Confidential / Art Au Go-Go !


Thursday, December 21, 2006


Another movie that I'd only read about in Psychotronic Video magazine , years ago. (Picked it up on E-Bay for $6.00 recently).
This is the last Boris Karloff film he made before he died (in 1969) and unlike many of the other Mexican/American Karloff movies -- this one never played on TV and is sit-through-able! ("Snake People" was a 2:00 AM staple keeping millions of people with insomnia, barely entertained during the late 1970's on TV).
This movie is "Pyschotronic" with a capital "P"! Boris plays aged Dr. Mantel , who's assistants find a "living rock/alien" in the catacombs underneath a valcano. The rock-alien-thingie looks like a giant rubber baked clam covered with mulch and makes an annoying high pitched bleep sound. A woman undressing in a room at a an "employment hotel for woman", undresses and goes to sleep in her bed. While asleep, the room turns around and into a scary cave with skeletons, tarantulas, spider webs and snakes. The camera work during this sequence feels just like a cheezy haunted house ride at an amusement park! The cave also has some very theatrical characters like a laughing mad midget, a guru-ish guy in a turban, and a woman who seems to be a matron at a woman's prison and other assorted creeps lurking about. The woman is hysterical screaming and falls into a pit of red water (blood?) while four large tentacles (probably left over from another movie?) pop up to taunt her! At this point you'll be laughing your ass off and the next scene shows her in "The Fear Chamber"--which is a basic old fashioned torture dungeon with two hooded henchmen (probably Mexican wrestlers) called down from "central casting". The woman is tied to a large barbeque grill on an open pit as a hooded Boris Karloff spashes her with a wooden spoon filled with "the blood of Satan" or something (more laughs from we-the-audience). After she passes out, the cultisits in the chamber shed their robes and are all wearing medical/hospital attire underneath! (Even the demented laughing midget is in scrubbs!)The woman is placed on a gurnee and wheeled into the next room via a sliding door --which is a modern operating room filled with equiptment that looks like over-sized food processors and disco lights. Victims who are at the point of "total terror" are needed for experiments , and the reason is too sketchy for me to explain here. Back to the rock-alien-clam-thing; it's now growing tentacles (!) and while in the laboratory, it's grabbing for victims.......
The unfortunate part is, this first 20 minutes are the best (funniest) part of the movie--the rest is pretty talky with some sprinkled laffs or action .
Boris was in ill-health during this (as was Lugosi in "Plan - 9") and is seen sitting down and lying in bed for most of the movie.
This resembles a Ted V. Mikels movie from the time period( wacky concept, played fairly straight with an odd assorment of characters, but gets bogged down by too much talking) . The DVD has friggin' audio commentary as well!


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