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Chamber of Horrors is a 1966 American horror film directed by Hy Averback and starring Patrick O'Neal, Cesare Danova, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Wayne Rogers and Laura Devon. The screenplay is by Stephen Kandel, from a story by Kandel and Ray Russell.

The film was released to theatres but was originally shot as a television movie[1] and a pilot film for a proposed series called House of Wax.[2]


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Horror Movie A Day







Chamber Of Horrors (1966)



NOVEMBER 3, 2011

GENRE: REVENGE, SERIAL KILLER SOURCE: DVD (OWN COLLECTION)

Despite starring in The Manitou, Tony Curtis’ strangest horror association is actually his random, unbilled cameo in Chamber Of Horrors, in which his character is summoned to a gathering of some sort, he makes an odd joke about having a full house (he’s playing poker), and then is never seen or spoken of again. To say its extraneous is being too generous – I rewound it twice because my brain couldn’t process just what in the hell it was doing in the movie. I even toyed with the idea that it WASN’T Curtis at all but some other actor who might appear later, but no.

As I later learned, the real reason for his appearance was part of the attempt to turn this movie, which originated as a would-be pilot for a TV show about a House of Wax (not THE House of Wax), into something more suitable for theaters when it was (quite incorrectly) deemed too intense for television. So they added some cameos and also a William Castle-esque gimmick called the Fear Flasher, which would alert you when something really terrifying was supposed to happen. That they tell you right at the start that it’s only going to be used four times in the 100 minute film is a pretty clear indicator that the bulk of this thing is a snooze.

It doesn’t help that every aspect of its plot was done better before or since. As with House of Wax, you have the lengthy prologue in which the villain is thought killed, only to resurface some time later with a revenge plan. The "expert in some field helps the police solve a crime" story can be a lot of fun, but here it just feels like a lazy way to get a few more actors involved and pad the runtime, since I'm not sure how the cops can be so slow to put together the pieces (murder victims are all tied to the incarceration of a killer who escaped and was never found? Gee, who could it be?). And his creative killings might have inspired Dr Phibes or Theatre of Blood, but those movies also gave us a lot more to chew on and a faster pace to boot. I love the revenge driven killer plot as much as the next guy, but when he is only seeking to get back at three guys, that leaves a lot of movie to fill.

Plus I was unsure who we were supposed to be rooting for. Patrick O’Neal as the killer is somewhat in the Price tradition (albeit not nearly as delightful; he’s got more of a no-nonsense, Jason Robards-y presence), and we spend a lot of time with him as he sets his plan in motion – as a villain, he becomes highly un-threatening after a while. However the good guys simply aren’t as interesting, and it becomes deadly dull to watch them try to solve this mystery that doesn’t exist for us audience members – we know who the killer is and what the connections are, so watching a couple of older dudes try to figure it out is not what I call top notch entertainment.

One thing I did like was that he had different weapons for each kill. As with Shocker, the first act is all about the killer’s initial capture, before they get to the part of the movie anyone remembers. So 35 minutes into the movie, he escapes capture by cutting off his chained hand, and gets fitted with a metal “stump” that allows him to attach different devices to it – the standard hook, a claw, a knife, etc. Being 1966 the killings aren’t particularly gruesome (one has a very awkward attempt at a match cut, from his swinging hook to the waving baton of a conductor), but at least there’s a fun sort of “what will he use next?” angle to make up for the film’s lack of actual suspense or tension until the final showdown in the wax museum (which features a particularly wonderful denouement for the villain).

There’s also a bit of humor that helps some, mostly of the dry wit variety. I particularly liked when O’Neal is talking to a girl who he plans to use as his “assistant” and asks her what she does. After she gives a vague explanation of her work as a dancer and such, he gets to the point: “You’re a tramp.” Heh. I also liked the goofy final shot, which I guess was left over from the original “This will be a TV series” design, as our amateur sleuths/wax museum owners find another body. Off to the next theoretical case!

And while it was a bit intrusive, I love that Warner included the cheesy Fear Flasher (which pauses the action and flashes the screen red) on this DVD, with no option of shutting it off or anything. There’s some sort of charm in putting a very theatrical gimmick on a DVD after 40 years of horror movies will have left even the most casual fan completely numb to this movie’s attempts at terror – even without the warning, the scares would barely even register. It’d be like flashing the “put on your 3D glasses now!” icon on a 2D presentation of a movie or something. But apparently for years it was unavailable on home formats, so it’s cool that they went back to the original theatrical version for the DVD. Nice transfer too, softening the blow of the fact that they didn't include the trailer (nor could I embed the only one I found on Youtube, hence this random home video that came up instead).

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Chamber of Horrors 1966 Directed by Hy Averback



Synopsis


A one-handed madman (he lost the hand while escaping a hanging) uses various detachable devices as murder weapons to gain revenge on those he believes have wronged him.


Cast


Crew


Details


Genre


Cast


Patrick O'Neal Cesare Danova Wilfrid Hyde-White Laura Devon Wayne Rogers Suzy Parker Jeanette Nolan Barbro Hedström William Conrad Tony Curtis Annazette Chase Inger Stratton José René Ruiz


















80 mins More details at IMDb TMDb


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Ratings

2.9


1 half-★ rating (1%)


7 ★ ratings (4%)


5 ★½ ratings (3%)


21 ★★ ratings (12%)


39 ★★½ ratings (23%)


57 ★★★ ratings (33%)


27 ★★★½ ratings (16%)


13 ★★★★ ratings (8%)


3 ★★★★★ ratings (2%)


★★★★★


Popular reviews More Marna Larsen


Review by Marna Larsen ★★★ 2


Well, that was weird! Yet also weirdly boring. Out of all the 60s horror partially taking place in a wax museum. Though at least someone throws a flaming wig at someone and I hope someday I too will die impaled on the sword that a wax effigy of me is brandishing.

You know, I think...I could probably never see a Victorian era ball in a 60's horror movie ever, ever again.

The movie actually ends with a completely unsolved murder and the epilogue that the woman of loose morals paid for allowing a man to deceive her by serving two years in prison while her sort of love interest moves on to sleep with lots of other women.

Also! In… more

32 likes


maskull


Review by maskull ★★★½


Daily Horror Scavenger Hunt 10 – April 2019 Day 25. On this glorious day in 1953, the movie House of Wax was released into theatres (and into our hearts). Watch any horror flick that features a house of wax.

I would seriously love a series of movies featuring these characters, solving crimes/mysteries and immortalizing their exploits in wax. I think everyone had a great chemistry with each other and there was an excellent bad guy who really needed a mustache to twirl with his finger...but then he had a hook for a hand so that's pretty damn awesome too. Now for the negatives. The actual story didn't blow me away. Not a lot happens, and if it wasn't for the fun vibe created by the characters, I think this could've been a pretty boring movie. I would've loved to see them try again with a more interesting story line but maybe bring back the villain or something?

18 likes


Ira Brooker


Review by Ira Brooker ★★★½ 5


The proprietors of a Baltimore wax museum team up with local law enforcement in an effort to stop a wealthy, one-handed serial killer using an array of arm-mounted weapons to take vengeance on the people responsible for his botched execution. Any movie that opens with an ice-cold Patrick O'Neal forcing a priest to marry him to a corpse at gunpoint is OK in my book.

This one doesn't seem to have the best reputation, but I thought it was rather a gas. It's a clever, colorful, cheekily macabre spot of fun, with O'Neal owning the show as a smug, sadistic rich prick who's accustomed to doing whatever he wants to whomever he wants without repercussions. O'Neal is so good that… more

12 likes


Recent reviews More James Grimmer


Review by James Grimmer ★★★½


I wonder if a madman's likeness would be on display in a wax museum. It's an idea that is entertained as Jason Cravette goes about satisfying his bloodlust, so the question that comes to mind is what is more alarming: Jason's actions towards his victims or his immortalized form which attracts plenty of patrons. The former is kind of ruined by the Fear Flasher gimmick because there is very little that you'll find shocking when it occurs. It isn't overused, but having a shot which focuses on Jason's hand when he cuts it off, for instance, would've sold the gimmick. However, it serves purpose despite its intrusiveness. I just wish it wasn't treated as a way of covering up the… more

1 like


bottleservice23


Review by bottleservice23 ★★★½


Solid entry in the house of wax horror sub genre. More of a crime thriller than a true horror flick. There’s a little drag in the middle, but this is very enjoyable. Tame by today’s standards.


MrCarlin


Review by MrCarlin ★★★


Set up like an American Hammer, the film is a strange choice to implement Castle like SHOCK WARNINGS. Tale is about a killer who gets his hand lopped off, and the detectives chasing after him.

Also...the scenes that follow the warnings are mostly quick fade outs...

PlotEdit

Danova and Hyde-White are proprietors of a wax museum in Baltimore who are also amateur sleuths. They are drawn into the investigation of Jason Cravette (O'Neal), an insane murderer who kills a woman and then "marries" her. They help the police capture him, but he escapes and vows vengeance on all who "betrayed" him.

The film used the gimmicks of the Fear Flasher (the screen flashing red for several seconds) and the Horror Horn (an audible alert) to alert viewers to grisly moments.[1] The film was originally intended to serve as a pilot for the proposed series House of Wax, but was released theatrically because it was considered too intense for television at the time.[2] The gimmicks were added (along with a few star cameos like Tony Curtis, Suzy Parker, and Marie Windsor) to increase the running time. There are plot similarities between this and Dark Intruder, which was released the previous year.

The film is narrated by William Conrad.

Video ReleaseEdit

Chamber of Horrors was released on DVD by Warner Home Video in September, 2008 with a co-feature, The Brides of Fu Manchu.[3]

CastEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Allmovie, via NYTimes.com, accessed 29 September 2008. Template:Webarchive
  2. 2.0 2.1 Horror-Wood.com Template:Webarchive
  3. BestBuy.com, accessed 29 September 2008.

External linksEdit



Template:US-tv-horror-film-stub

. As a few reviewers have already mentioned, CHAMBER OF HORRORS was meant as a pilot for a possible TV series revolving around an amateur sleuth, ladies-man and titular Wax Museum co-owner played by suavely handsome CESARE DENOVA (CLEOPATRA, VIVA! LAS VEGAS, TENTACLES, TV Guest Star) and his British crime-author partner WILFRID HYDE-WHITE (THE THIRD MAN, many, many movie and TV appearances). The Wax Museum itself bears more than a passing resemblance to Vincent Price's second parlour in HOUSE OF WAX. Set in 1890's Baltimore, this more than enjoyable little horror/mystery/whodunit flick just screams out "FRANCHISE!" Too bad it never happened, Denova and Hyde-White have an easy-going chemistry together with JOSE RENE RUIS aka TUN TUN (mostly Mexican Films) as their short-in-stature only utility man. Although many of the actors had film experience, most were known for their extensive television careers, especially Lead Actresses LAURA DEVON, PATRICE WYMORE and SUZY PARKER (who's the subject of an unreleased BEATLE'S tune!). Also starring in smaller but crucial roles were again some very familiar TV and Film vets, JEANETTE NOLAN (Orson Welles MACBETH, THE BIG HEAT, "Norma Bates Voice" in PSYCHO, Sally Fergus in GUNSMOKE), MARIE WINDSOR (THE NARROW MARGIN, Kubrick's THE KILLING), WAYNE ROGERS (M*A*S*H, HOUSE CALLS, the underrated mini-series CHIEFS), and in a small role as a beer-gusling dive barmaid, AYLLENE GIBBONS (the unforgettable Mrs. Joyboy in THE LOVED ONE)! TONY CURTIS has a small and fairly useless cameo. Directed by Film and TV veteran HY AVERBACK (I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS, THE REAL McCOYS, COLUMBO, McCLOUD, M*A*S*H) from a Screenplay by STEVEN KANDEL (STAR TREK, BATMAN, I SPY, IT TAKES A THIEF, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE), CHAMBER OF HORRORS has quite the pedigree. The lead villain, in a very Vincent Price-ish role, is more than ably navigated by veteran PATRICK O'NEILL (THE MAD MAGICIAN, KING RAT, THE STEPFORD WIVES, NIGHT GALLERY'S "A Fear Of Spiders") with the right amount of menace tempered with true madness. His "marriage ceremony" that begins the picture sets the tone nicely. CHAMBER OF HORRORS was probably released to theaters as a way to salvage the studio's investment when the TV deal fell through. The obviously William Castle inspired "FEAR FLASHER!" and "HORROR HORN" seem a cheap attempt to spur the audience's imagination as a substitute for gore effects expected by a film audience, but not filmed since then taboo on television. With the predictable but well-written script, professional direction and above average acting, this dated nonsense was unnecessary, but tolerably quaint. The film quality is outstanding, nary a scratch or spot, and would look SUPER on Blu-Ray! Pick this up cheap while you still can......


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Charles Justus Garard


4.0 out of 5 stars

Return to the House of Wax June 3, 2010

Format: DVDVerified Purchase


CHAMBER OF HORRORS is a fun film to watch again and again, not because it is great cinematic art but because it again takes us to the venerable House of Wax as visited in the Vincent Price 3-D thriller HOUSE OF WAX and the original MYSTERIES OF THE WAX MUSEUM. Again, we see the huge letters on the marquee of the commercial museum in turn-of-the-century Baltimore. What is missing, fortunately, is the paddle-ball wielding, attention-getting ballyhoo artist drawing crowds in front of the museum. (He is not unlike the young people today who stand in front of businesses in China, clapping their hands to draw the attention of those crowds passing by in the street.)

I am not a fan of the Fu Manchu series, even though I am a fan of Christopher Lee, so I merely consider the inclusion of BRIDES OF FU MANCHU as a bonus feature for those interested in that genre and series.

CHAMBER OF HORRORS is an interesting little mystery with interesting characters -- some of them like supermodel Suzy Parker and Laura Devon making for lovely eye candy. For the ladies, we have the handsome Cesare Danova and Patrick O'Neal as a Vincent Price-type villain. Wilfred Hyde-White is also on hand to lend a touch of British dignity to the proceedings. His distinctive and cultured delivery is always welcome in a film. This was, I have read, originally meant to be a TV series. Too bad it was not turned into a series that could today be run on cable TV. Also too bad is the inclusion of the dreadful gimmick called the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn. This was supposed to warn viewers of some shocking scene that was to follow. As it turns out, this is no Dario Argento film and the camera turns discretely away from anything gory and shocking -- probably because it was originally meant to be aired on network television. Eliminating the annoying gimmick would definitely improve the film and keep it in the realm of a mystery thriller. It is hardly, as the ads and the fright gimmick would suggest, a horror film.

In HOUSE OF WAX, the artist and owner of the museum is the demented villain who wants to staff his exhibit with wax-covered murdered humans. In CHAMBER OF HORRORS, the owners of the museum are the good guys -- amateur crime fighters who are not above gloating about their past successes. Cesare Danova is a charming, womanizing artist with impeccable manners and the ability to duke it out with the psycho killer Patrick O'Neal. Wilfred Hyde-White is a successful author of books on bizarre criminal cases. Also rounding out the cast is Tun Tun as an assistant in the museum who has "a nine-foot ego" to accompany his "three-foot" stature, according to the Wilfred Hyde-White character. The three make an incredibly likable trio of unlicensed detectives who are always willing to aid the reluctant police inspector. Wayne Rogers in his pre-MASH (the TV series) days appears as a personable Baltimore policeman who becomes an unfortunate victim of O'Neal's dapper but shadowy one-armed villain. Even Marie Windsor of the days of the Republic westerns appears as the madame of the "full house," as Tony Curtis calls it in his cameo appearance, and Jeanette Nolan joins the cast as a Baltimore blue-blood concerned about the negative reputation that her psychologically-challenged nephew is giving her family name. It is she who first enlists the aid of Wilfred Hyde-White and his associates at the museum in tracking down her relative who has the temerity to steal her jewelry and to insist on marrying the corpse of the faithless lady he has strangled with her own hair. Not a shabby collection of characters.

Does CHAMBER OF HORRORS equal the horrors of the 1953 HOUSE OF WAX? -- not really. However, it is enjoyable to see the same gothic set used again, particularly in such crisp Technicolor images. Patrick O'Neal is quite skilled at portraying a soft-spoken murderer whose elevator does not reach the top; he is no Vincent Price (who could be?), but he is a versatile actor with his own distinctive voice who was, perhaps, under-used on the big screen. He was equally skilled at playing good guys in such films as THE KREMLIN LETTER, ASSIGNMENT TO KILL, and the much-less-serious Euro-spy romp MATCHLESS.

As a period mystery, is it worthwhile enough. As a film offering us another look at the wax museum filled with horrible murderers and their victims, it is more than worthwhile.


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CHAMBER OF HORRORS is a fun film to watch again and again, not because it is great cinematic art but because it again takes us to the venerable House of Wax as visited in the Vincent Price 3-D thriller HOUSE OF WAX and the original MYSTERIES OF THE WAX MUSEUM. Again, we see the huge letters on the marquee of the commercial museum in turn-of-the-century Baltimore. What is missing, fortunately, is the paddle-ball wielding, attention-getting ballyhoo artist drawing crowds in front of the museum. (He is not unlike the young people today who stand in front of businesses in China, clapping their hands to draw the attention of those crowds passing by in the street.)

I am not a fan of the Fu Manchu series, even though I am a fan of Christopher Lee, so I merely consider the inclusion of BRIDES OF FU MANCHU as a bonus feature for those interested in that genre and series.

CHAMBER OF HORRORS is an interesting little mystery with interesting characters -- some of them like supermodel Suzy Parker and Laura Devon making for lovely eye candy. For the ladies, we have the handsome Cesare Danova and Patrick O'Neal as a Vincent Price-type villain. Wilfred Hyde-White is also on hand to lend a touch of British dignity to the proceedings. His distinctive and cultured delivery is always welcome in a film. This was, I have read, originally meant to be a TV series. Too bad it was not turned into a series that could today be run on cable TV. Also too bad is the inclusion of the dreadful gimmick called the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn. This was supposed to warn viewers of some shocking scene that was to follow. As it turns out, this is no Dario Argento film and the camera turns discretely away from anything gory and shocking -- probably because it was originally meant to be aired on network television. Eliminating the annoying gimmick would definitely improve the film and keep it in the realm of a mystery thriller. It is hardly, as the ads and the fright gimmick would suggest, a horror film.

In HOUSE OF WAX, the artist and owner of the museum is the demented villain who wants to staff his exhibit with wax-covered murdered humans. In CHAMBER OF HORRORS, the owners of the museum are the good guys -- amateur crime fighters who are not above gloating about their past successes. Cesare Danova is a charming, womanizing artist with impeccable manners and the ability to duke it out with the psycho killer Patrick O'Neal. Wilfred Hyde-White is a successful author of books on bizarre criminal cases. Also rounding out the cast is Tun Tun as an assistant in the museum who has "a nine-foot ego" to accompany his "three-foot" stature, according to the Wilfred Hyde-White character. The three make an incredibly likable trio of unlicensed detectives who are always willing to aid the reluctant police inspector. Wayne Rogers in his pre-MASH (the TV series) days appears as a personable Baltimore policeman who becomes an unfortunate victim of O'Neal's dapper but shadowy one-armed villain. Even Marie Windsor of the days of the Republic westerns appears as the madame of the "full house," as Tony Curtis calls it in his cameo appearance, and Jeanette Nolan joins the cast as a Baltimore blue-blood concerned about the negative reputation that her psychologically-challenged nephew is giving her family name. It is she who first enlists the aid of Wilfred Hyde-White and his associates at the museum in tracking down her relative who has the temerity to steal her jewelry and to insist on marrying the corpse of the faithless lady he has strangled with her own hair. Not a shabby collection of characters.

Does CHAMBER OF HORRORS equal the horrors of the 1953 HOUSE OF WAX? -- not really. However, it is enjoyable to see the same gothic set used again, particularly in such crisp Technicolor images. Patrick O'Neal is quite skilled at portraying a soft-spoken murderer whose elevator does not reach the top; he is no Vincent Price (who could be?), but he is a versatile actor with his own distinctive voice who was, perhaps, under-used on the big screen. He was equally skilled at playing good guys in such films as THE KREMLIN LETTER, ASSIGNMENT TO KILL, and the much-less-serious Euro-spy romp MATCHLESS.

As a period mystery, is it worthwhile enough. As a film offering us another look at the wax museum filled with horrible murderers and their victims, it is more than worthwhile.


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Chamber of Horrors (1966)

Unrated | 1h 20min | Horror | 28 October 1966 (UK)


Chamber of Horrors Poster



A one-handed madman (he lost the hand while escaping a hanging) uses various detachable devices as murder weapons to gain revenge on those he believes have wronged him.

Director: Hy Averback

Writers: Stephen Kandel (screenplay), Stephen Kandel (story) | 1 more credit »

Stars: Patrick O'Neal, Cesare Danova, Wilfrid Hyde-White | See full cast & crew »




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Patrick O'Neal in Chamber of Horrors (1966) Laura Devon and Patrick O'Neal in Chamber of Horrors (1966) Suzy Parker in Chamber of Horrors (1966) Tony Curtis and Marie Windsor in Chamber of Horrors (1966) José René Ruiz and Marie Windsor in Chamber of Horrors (1966) Patrick O'Neal in Chamber of Horrors (1966)

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. Edit Cast

Cast overview, first billed only: Patrick O'Neal Patrick O'Neal ... Jason Cravatte aka Jason Caroll Cesare Danova Cesare Danova ... Anthony Draco Wilfrid Hyde-White Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Harold Blount Laura Devon Laura Devon ... Marie Champlain Patrice Wymore Patrice Wymore ... Vivian (Delano's hostess) Suzy Parker Suzy Parker ... Barbara Dixon José René Ruiz José René Ruiz ... Senor Pepe De Reyes (as Tun Tun) Philip Bourneuf Philip Bourneuf ... Insp. Matthew Strudwick Jeanette Nolan Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. Ewing Perryman Marie Windsor Marie Windsor ... Madame Corona Wayne Rogers Wayne Rogers ... Police Sgt. Jim Albertson Vinton Hayworth Vinton Hayworth ... Judge Walter Randolph Richard O'Brien Richard O'Brien ... Dr. Romulus Cobb Inger Stratton Inger Stratton ... Gloria (one of Corona's girls) Berry Kroeger Berry Kroeger ... Chun Sing

See full cast »


View production, box office, & company info    

. Edit Storyline

A one-handed madman (he lost the hand while escaping a hanging) uses various detachable devices as murder weapons to gain revenge on those he believes have wronged him. 
Plot Summary | Add Synopsis  

Plot Keywords: interrupted hanging | bound and gagged | amateur detective | madman | insanity | See All (45) »

Taglines: The motion picture with the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn See more »

Genres: Horror

Certificate: Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide: Add content advisory for parents » . Edit Details

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 28 October 1966 (UK) See more »

Also Known As: La chambre des horreurs See more »

Filming Locations: Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA


Company Credits

Production Co: Warner Bros. See more »

Show more on IMDbPro »


Technical Specs

Runtime: 80 min | 99 min (DVD)

Sound Mix: Mono

Color: Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1 See full technical specs » . Edit Did You Know?


Trivia According to an article in the September 28, 1966 edition of Variety, this film was the second-most profitable film in release at the time. See more »


Goofs At the police department, on the door to room 112 it states it is the Exhibits Room, but in the hall outside, room 112 is indicated as the District Attorney's office. See more »


Quotes Insp. Matthew Strudwick: You cannot predict the workings of an insane mind! See more »


Crazy Credits Although he played a major character in the film, Patrick O'Neal's name does not appear in the ending credits. See more »


Alternate Versions Produced as a TV series pilot, this film was determined to be too violent for the small screen and given theatrical distribution instead. Added for this release was an exploitation device called the "Fear Flasher/Horror Horn", ostensibly to warn the audience of the "Four Supreme Fright Points" (although it was not applied to the picture's most explicitly violent moment, the climactic fate of the villain). This device was explained in an introductory sequence narrated by William Conrad. Upon first showing on US network television, both the device and its explanation were deleted, but in subsequent syndication to local stations in the 1970s and '80s, some such prints were seen. See more »


Connections References House of Wax (1953) See more »


Soundtracks An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 (On the Beautiful Blue Danube)

(uncredited) 
Music by Johann Strauss 
Played at the party 

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Frightful fun for lovers of classic chills 15 November 2000 | by cchase – See all my reviews


Borrowing a page from the playbook of producers like William Castle, Al Adamson, Nicholson and Arkoff at AIP and the like, this was a lot of fun for me as a kid with the hokey gimmicks of the "Fear Flasher" and the "Horror Horn" added to prevent the more squeamish members of the audience from dying of sheer fright, (the goosebump-inducing voice of the Narrator in the "Instructional" sequence was none other than CANNON himself, William Conrad, who actually directed one of these horror potboilers for Warner's, the Dean Jones/Connie Stevens starrer TWO ON A GUILLOTINE.)

This rehash of the definitely superior HOUSE OF WAX with Vincent Price, gives us the grisly tale of serial strangler Jason Cravette (Patrick O'Neal in a bravura performance), who is finally caught literally red-handed as he ritualistically weds and beds his latest victim, ex mortis.

His subsequent escape and its gory consequences, (he goes from being caught red-handed to losing one of them), becomes the fodder for a sensational museum of mass murderers run by suave local entrepreneur Anthony Draco (Cesare Danova, one of Warner's second-tier matinee idols.) Once worried about operating in the red, soon Draco and his associates, the marvelous Wilfrid Hyde-White and diminuitive sidekick Tun-Tun (the 'Mini-Me' of his day) are back in business, as the slippery Cravette gives our heroes and the local authorities more red than they know what to do with, cutting a vengeful swath through the ranks of all those responsible for his near-incarceration.

Hy Averback keeps all the right balls in the air with a speedy and sure sense of direction, and there's much delightful interplay between the lead characters, especially Danova and Hyde-White. Look closely and not only will you see Tony Curtis in an uncredited cameo, but a baby-faced Wayne Rogers as well, as a very unlucky constable (whom Averback would direct years later in episodes of TV's M*A*S*H...talk about six-degree associations!)

With the lush photography provided by master d.p. Richard Kline, and a score by William Lava that reminds us that he wasn't just at Warner's to provide soundtracks for Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, this was about as classy as genre-B pics could get for the mid-'60's, not discounting the efforts of A.I.P. with the Price/Poe films. Not available in any medium that I'm aware of, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled on AMC or TNT late night to catch this worthy rarity.


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