Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cry of the Banshee (1970)

Director: Gordon Hessler

Starring: Vincent Price, Elisabeth Bergner, Essy Persson, Hugh Griffith, Sally Geeson, Robert Hulton, Patrick Mower, Stephen Rea

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Edgar Allan Poe probes new depths of terror!

Plot: In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to destroy the lord's family.


My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

There's a lot to like about this picture...Vincent Price's character is an asshole (an often over-acting one at that), a lot more nudity than you would expect, the opening twenty minutes or so is a peach, and the ending IS BALLS OUT AWESOME!!!  But then you've got the bad which is the same thing that plagues a good number of AIP films of this era and that's pacing.  There are a number of slow spots that bring the film to a halt.  It's partly due to the restraint of having to hold fast to a 90 minute run time.  The other is the lack of pizazz from the director although there is enough camera movement to try to offset that.  I love Vincent Price, even when he's over doing it as he did in some of his later pictures.  This was his last period horror film.  One neat thing you might notice is how the opening credit animation looks like it was done by Terry Gilliam and that's because it was.  We all got a laugh from seeing his name in the credits after saying aloud that it looked like Gilliam's work.  Les Baxter's score is quite good although there were a couple of scenes without music that could have used his expertise. Overall this picture is a mixed bag but it's not as dreary as some of the other pictures of this type from this studio at that time.  That's not a winning endorsement, I know, but it's worth checking out...just don't run to see it - mosey.

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