Directed by Don Sharp [Other horror films: The Kiss of the Vampire (1963), Curse of the Fly (1965), The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), Psychomania (1973), Dark Places (1974), To the Devil a Daughter (1976), What Waits Below (1984)]
This is a moderately fun black-and-white British production, but I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing.
The story’s set-up, being a long-standing family feud, was pretty good, and generally, the story was perfectly fine, though I thought it went down a really expected path past a certain point. The crisp black-and-white rendered some of the sequences rather creepy, especially the graveyard scene near the beginning.
As far as the performances go, most of the fun comes from Lon Chaney – though it’s over twenty years since he graced the screen as The Wolf Man, he stills does a good job playing a menacing character. As a lead, Jack Hedley does a fine job also, though he’s not near as mesmerizing as Chaney is. Most others are somewhat pedestrian.
Like I said, though, the story goes down a somewhat predictable path, and while I wasn’t expecting a twist, or anything like that, I was sort of hoping they’d eschew expectations somehow. The whole “this family is good, the other is bad” doesn’t make for an overly-captivating family feud film, in my view.
There are still some creepy scenes through, not to mention some rather suspenseful ones (I rather liked some of the driving sequences – I thought they did that pretty well), but for a flick from the classic decade that is the 1960’s, I expected a bit more out of it. If anything, see it for Lon Chaney. Otherwise, you’re not missing much.
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