Gallery of Horror aka Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horrors (1967) (USA) **1/2
Lame ass anthology is not without its cheapjack charms. John Carradine rambles on in a tuxedo and introduces five tales of minimal terror. The Witches Clock finds a young married couple moving into a Massachusetts house that belonged to an executed witch. They find an old grandfather clock in the property dungeon and bring it on up. Turns out it’s enchanted and has the ability to bring back the dead. That brings John Carradine to their doorstep and he’s got some evil shenanigans on his mind. A craptastic explosion brings this bad boy to a close. Next up, Scotland Yard has a hell of a time nabbing a serial killer the press has dubbed King Vampire. Eventually the locals take it upon themselves to nab the killer, the cops just shrug off the murder (which they witness) of the accused man in the streets. When the murders keep happening, the detectives begin to believe they may not have caught their man…if it’s even a man! The Monster Raid is the best of the bunch but that’s not saying much. When a scientist is totally screwed over by his wife and his friend, he returns from the grave a rotting (well, he looks like someone covered him in mud) vengeance fueled revenant. The plot is mostly flashback as the revenge seeking living corpse is transported to his old home by his loyal servant. Spark of Life finds Lon Chaney as a medical professor working with his two students in continuing the experiments of his former colleague Dr. Frankenstein. They successfully bring a corpse back to life, unfortunately the former stiff was/is a homicidal maniac. Not much going on in this one but at least Chaney made some money for booze. Finally we’re treated to an incredibly shitty retelling of Count Dracula. Harker arrives and vampire hijinks play out. The ending comes completely out of left field. The excitement level for the whole thing is somewhere between watching paint dry and folding socks but I still don’t hate it. I think there’s something wrong with me.
Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016) (Japan/USA) **1/2
On the remote island of Saipan, a building developer and her small team meet up with a business broker and his local guide to scout out some prime land for the location of her company’s new resort. Drone footage reveals a mysterious bunker and its decided that they need to investigate it for any structural issues it may cause. The discovery of some mummified corpses unsettles but the small group will soon find out there are far worse things waiting in the decrepit WW2 Japanese bunker. A 1670 prologue has a local shaman cutting the face of a would be Spanish conquerer and throwing him in a cave. A curse is born and a trap is set which will trickle down for generations. The curse seems to have been unleashed when its sinister influence began working its way into a Japanese soldier stationed in the bunker. A little digging leads to a sort of time looping hell. Now the group of surveyors have to deal with the physical manifestation of their own personal demons as well as the growing madness amongst them. The acting may be hammy, the story may be predictable to all hell but there’s a nice mean streak and some suitably creepy ass ghoulies roaming around the decrepit bunker. The villain looks like a chubby Jon Moxley and I’m all about that. Oh and Lance Henriksen talks on a phone, shows up for a post-credits joke and collects a paycheck.
Monster From Green Hell (1957) (USA) **
Wasps zapped with cosmic rays (thanks to being shot into outer space) crash down in the Congo when the rocket they were launched in goes way off course. The natives begin to die off and the American scientists who caused this mess decide to look into it. Turns out the wasps have grown to a monstrous size and have claimed a neck of the jungle called Green Hell for themselves. Hopefully American gumption and grenades can help. If that fails, there’s a convenient nearby volcano that seems ready to blow. Stock footage, extended marching, narration and repeated footage of the lovely and goofy looking giant wasps combine to make for a pretty average experience. It picks up at the end but boy oh boy is it a long trek to get there.
Moon of the Wolf (1972) (USA) *1/2
Boring TV movie is heavy on dialogue but doesn’t really spark anywhere else. The small town murder of a pregnant young girl puts a Louisiana sheriff on the track of a “Loup-garou” (it’s French for werewolf). The town naturally has some secrets, there’s a rich pair of siblings (the sister returning home from New York to give the sheriff a love angle and the brother practically wearing a neon sign that reads “I’m The Werewolf”) and Geoffrey Lewis shows up as a grieving father. There’s not much charm throughout the runtime and the small town setting never has that close-knit vibe. Some shitty werewolf makeup comes into play at the end but by then it’s too little too late.