Directed by Douglas Hickox [Other horror films: Behemoth the Sea Monster (1959), Theater of Blood (1973), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983), Blackout (1985)]
What an oddball film. Based off a play of the same name, I’d probably call this mostly a dark comedy with a splash of horror elements near the end. Being a British movie, the humor is oftentimes dry, but it generally worked. It’s such a strange plot, though, and the characters (there are only four of note) aren’t relatable whatsoever, making is a somewhat difficult film to truly get into.
The four cast members all do reasonably well. Beryl Reid and Harry Andrews were certainly the more interesting siblings I’ve seen. Alan Webb overacted more than a bit, but given he played an old man close to dementia, I think that’s moderately forgivable. Mr. Sloane, played by Peter McEnery, was an oddity of a character, and I’d certainly have liked more background into him. His interactions with Andrews (who played a closeted gay man attracted to Sloane) were pretty golden, and overall, I’d say McEnery was the best of the bunch.
Given the horror elements are both sparse and don’t show up until an hour and ten minutes in, this film relies on it’s humor and witty dialogue. If you’re not into British comedy, this would definitely be a hard one to get through. Luckily, like I said, the humor worked for me, and the catchy tune ‘Entertaining Mr. Sloane‘ will be stuck in my head for the next few days, but even so, it’s not really a film I entirely enjoyed, given the lack of horror elements until the end (and even those were rather light).
Honestly, this is a film the likes of which I’ve never really seen before, and while I was enjoying much of the humor and just general nuttiness of the movie, from a horror standpoint, it left a lot to be desired. If you’re into 70’s British comedies, I’d give this one a go, but if you’re looking for some classic British horror (the same director of this later made Theater of Blood, which would certainly count), you won’t be finding it here.