AUGUST 29, 2008
Since Decrepit Crypt movies are not suitable for work (due to the seeming insistence on gratuitous nudity in every movie) and the Horror Classics set has been more or less exhausted, I picked up the Creek’s Tales Of Terror set, which is like a blend of the Horror and Chilling sets, with movies spanning from the 30s up to the 80s. There are a few duplicate titles, but that’s OK. At 40-50 cents a piece, I can’t really complain about what I get. Hopefully though, The Long Hair Of Death (Italian: I Lunghi Capelli Della Morte) is not representative of the set in terms of transfer or film quality.
However, one thing about this transfer is admirable: it’s widescreen! I believe that is the first for a Mill Creek movie. I’m all for a non-cropped image (indeed, I was going to watch a different movie on the disc called The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave, until learning that it was a 2.35 scope film, and was a US edit that ran 20 minutes shorter to boot; I’ll be getting the stand-alone release for that one), so that was a nice bonus. Unfortunately, the transfer was otherwise terrible: washed out image, blurry to the point of incoherency (there’s some sort of object that keeps passing hands, and is apparently important, but I have no idea what the fuck it is. It looks like a mushroom with a lugnut attached to the side.), and with muffled audio to boot. Since the movie is pretty talky, having good audio would be kind of nice. Also, the Creek now apparently puts their logo on the film every 20 minutes or so, like they were Turner Classic or something. Not only is it annoying, it also gives a nice reference to just how poor the image of the film itself is, as the sharp, colorful logo overlays something that could be a person or a coat rack.
Plus the movie itself isn’t all that great. I like some of these old Italian witch movies, most of which seemingly star Barbara Steele in two roles, but this one is just way too long. Nothing much happens, and if you’ve seen any of these movies before, you know it’ll all come down to a fire, a ghost who isn’t really a ghost, etc, so they really should get a move on and get us there by the 75 minute mark or so. This one goes damn near 100 minutes, which means you get a lot of interminable waiting for the good stuff. At one point we see what seems like 15 straight minutes of folks sneaking around a castle watching other people sneak around the castle. Come on, throw in a dead butler or something for us!
Other than that it’s not too bad. With some editing, this could be a pretty good movie. The revenge/ghost/witch plot is always watchable, and there’s some plague subplotting (it takes place in the 15th century) that is always appreciated. Plus the movie is more or less about a guy who wants to kill his wife so he can be with her sister, so that’s hot. And the weird “Wicker Man” style thing that the bad guy is burned alive in at the end of the film is pretty awesome:
Hahahaha I want that thing in my room. If not available, I will accept Barbara Steele (I bet she’s still hot). Also, this movie offered a “corpse becoming re-fleshed” scene, something I hadn’t seen in almost 48 hours (Return of the Living Dead offered a similar, and far superior, sequence). The two are so similar I wonder if the ROTLD guys used it as a guide of some sort. “How can we do this better, now that it’s 20 years later and people know how to use latex for something besides condoms?”
Anyway, I look forward to going through my new budget pack. Horror Classics was pretty disappointing overall; for every gem there were like 10 movies that were seemingly written on the same template. I’m hoping this one is more like the Chilling set, which had at least one great movie on every disc.
What say you?
Note - The "trailer" is actually a sort of Cliff's notes of the entire movie. Also it's in Italian.