(Review originally written at 29 June 2010)

To be honest I really didn't hate watching this movie for its first half. Yes, it all was kind of slow but I thought that this was merely a build up to something great, exciting, mysterious, tense. But none of that was the case. The movie gets progressively worse and even reaches a point that it becomes almost a totally unwatchable one.

This is a movie that just never takes off. Its story just goes nowhere and it is simply a ridicules one. The concept is just too dull for an horror. The only way this type of story could possible work out is if it has a good dark, mysterious atmosphere. Something that this movie just doesn't have. It's not the type of story that provides the movie with lots of blood, monsters or scary moments. It's more about its haunting atmosphere and mysterious story and characters, which this movie just doesn't know how to handle well. There is just nothing happening and when there is it's just too ridicules and far from interesting. You also often have no idea what is happening because of the messy, offbeat way the movie gets told.

It's an early '70's movie but it already has a typical sort of experimental '70's style over it. This style already sort of started off in the late '60's, so it's not really a great surprise or something renewing or original for its time. But it was this style that still made the movie a good and interesting one to watch at times. It's about one of the only positive things I can say about this movie really.

I just really started to loose interest in this movie as it progressed. Instead of developing, the story becomes only more and more simplistic, dull and just plain ridicules. It was written by the then still young Curtis Hanson, who would much later go on to win an Oscar for "L.A. Confidential". I also really feel that it was more the director's fault than the writer's that this movie turned out so bad and messy. After the halve way point it seems like they had no idea anymore what they were doing or what they were trying to create at all. The story itself got based on a short H.P. Lovecraft story but the fact that there still never have been made a good movie based on the story should already also tell enough. It's a story that might work on paper but just doesn't translate very well to the silver screen and doesn't make a good horror movie, or just movie in general, at all.

The movie has Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee and Ed Begley in it but still I can't say I was too happy about the casting. Perhaps the way Dean Stockwell was sexy back in the early '70's, though I highly doubt it. And he was supposed to be a very charming and seductive character, who completely got a girl like Sandra Dee in his grip. He just looked like an '70's porn actor, without any charm or charisma. He was absolutely boring and miscast in his role. It's even more sad that Sam Jaffe is also in this, who I like very much as an actor. But due to the story, dialog and directing, all of the actors come across as '50's B-monster movie actors, that often act against nothing. They must have thought they would fix things in post-production but they just messed up big time with it.

A boring, slow mess, that is lacking as an horror movie and just as a movie in general as well, at basically every department.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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