Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Director: William Castle

Writer: Ray Russell

Composer: Von Dexter

Starring: Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe, Oskar Homolka, Vladimir Sokoloff, Erika Peters, Lorna Hanson, William Castle

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A man of evil... with a face that could stop a heart!

Plot: Sir Robert Cargrave is an eminent surgeon who has developed a new technique for muscle relaxation. He is summoned by his one-time love, Maude, who is now married to Baron Sardonicus. When he arrives, he finds villagers who live in fear. The Baron is strange man, not the least because he covers his face with a mask. Eventually, he tells Sir Robert the story of how he acquired his current affliction - his face is is frozen and hideously disfigured. Despite Sir Robert's best efforts, he can't return his face to normal. The Baron however forces him to keep trying, threatening to harm Maude if he refuses.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Nah.

There's a lot of exposition in this picture disproportionate to the horror (mild as it is).  It's a good looking picture and there are some neat images.  The face of Sardonicus is friggin' amazing!

It's got a PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) vibe but it looks great.  Back to this picture, it's very wordy but Castle treats the material seriously despite a moment or two of silly dialogue.  The actors do a fine job.  As needed, I suppose, Rolfe (as Sardonicus) goes the closest to going over the top.  In his defense, he does spend most of the picture hiding behind a mask.  The ending is great and Castle's bit is hilarious.  It is a pretty good movie.  I would LOVE to see what Hammer would've done with this material.  THAT would likely be a film I'd watch repeatedly.  This one?  I've seen it twice now and that's enough for me., especially when there are hundreds and hundreds of horror flicks I've yet to see.

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