Sound Of Horror (1964)

JULY 8, 2009


At this point, I have to believe that the Tales Of Terror box is not going to have as many gems like the Chilling Classics one did. Some have been pretty sweet (like The Vampires' Night Orgy), but for the most part, they are all dull and forgettable, like Sound Of Horror (Spanish: El Sonido De La Muerte). The movie only ended a few hours ago but I’ve already forgotten pretty much everything about it. And this was one of the (not many) films in the set that actually sounded (pun just realized) pretty fun, so I can’t imagine how lousy the ones I skipped over are going to be.

I mean, I’m sure I have seen worse monster movies, but like I’ve said before, sometimes outright bad is better than bland. At least stuff like Monster From A Prehistoric Planet has the cheesy effects and ridiculous dialogue to enjoy, but this is simply one of the most inert monster movies I can recall. All of our characters are the least pro-active in horror movie history; most of the film finds them simply hanging out in the house waiting for the monster to go away (or die of old age, perhaps). Christ, the 3rd act begins with all of them dozing in the living room. The only time they spring to action is when a character is in danger, as the others rush to help get their friend back safely doing nothing.

And the monster is invisible, so you don’t get a goofy costume to enjoy. Sure, this leads to some occasional funny effects (like when they throw weapons at it and they all “stick” haphazardly in mid-air), but it also makes some of the attacks confusing. At one point it starts whaling on a guy in a cave... or at least that’s what I THINK is happening. He’s just sort of flailing around like a jackass, and every now and then they cut to a closeup of a wound on his torso. But is it the monster causing the gashes, or all of the jagged rocks that he keeps brushing against as he spazzes out?

As for the titular “sound”, apparently, the sound of horror is that of a bird making the car alarm “whooooooooOOOOOOOOOOP” noise. Though to be fair, the sound design is pretty much all the movie has going for it. There’s a cool scene where the monster is trying to get in, and the camera pans 360 (well, a little over 180) degrees around the place as we hear it scratching and clawing on the outside, trying to find a weak spot. Good stuff.

But the PADDING! It’s among the worst I can recall. Early on there is a full 30 second establishing shot that doesn’t even seem to be where the next scene takes place. Whenever something happens (not often), we get a solo reaction shot of each character, accompanied by a musical sting. It also has history’s longest “car won’t start” scene; the guy tries it (no exaggeration) 15 times, as the other characters just sort of sit there. Then finally, one of the guys in the back of the car says “Try it again.” Yeah, good plan.

Now that I think of it, there ARE some choice lines of nonsensical dialogue to enjoy. The first line of the movie is “I’m scared of explosions”, followed by “You’ll get used to them.”. And the heroine has a touching moment of reflection where she announces that life shouldn’t be about treasure hunting (the film’s macguffin is a treasure), but instead about dancing. Yeah, why get rich when you can swing your arms around and pivot?

I’d say more, but I can’t. I’ve already forgotten it all. I’m sure I’ve seen worse monster movies, but none of their titles come to mind right now. But if you are in the mood for a Spanish horror film featuring an invisible monster, maybe three kills (two of them “for the team!” suicides), and a central location that may remind you of the one from The Killer Shrews (“But these walls are ADOBE!”) I hope you can do better than Sound Of Horror (and why doesn't this movie have a "The" in the title?).

What say you?

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  1. Heh heh, I saw this movie. If you can really describe slipping into a coma while the movie is playing as 'seeing' it. My eyes were open... really boring movie...

  2. "Horror Classics" 50 movie pack is great -- but it has all of the great horror classics of the past (Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, etc).

    Then I watched "Nightmare Worlds"... they scrape the bottom of the barrel a bit but the silver lining is that they had a lot of 1960s-1970s schlock goodness. NIGHTMARE WOMAN was the highlight and it has to be seen to be believed.

    Each set took me about 9 months to watch (on average a little more than one per week).

    With "Tales of Terror" it's getting closer to a year when I first started to watch the movies on this set and I'm only 25% of the way through. It does suck. However, THE SADIST was really really good.

    I'm currently watching (as I type this) SCARED TO DEATH with Lugosi and Zucco (in color!). Very forgettable. I'm convinced that the 1940s were the nadir of horror movies.

  3. Chilling Classics is still my favorite due to all the 70s gems like Matthew, Messiah of Evil, Cathys Curse, and Haunts.


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