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November 2012
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Posts Tagged ‘fifties’

Have you noticed how dreadful todays movie posters are? Usually consisting of badly photo-shopped images of floating heads of the movie’s cast, lacking in both colour and imagination. We remember the days when movie posters were fully painted by talented artists – bursting with excitement and vivid images that really made you want to see the film in question, no matter how bad or low-budget it may have turned out to be!

Join the Classic Horror Campaign in our trip down memory lane as we start a regular series of classic movie poster galleries, this time focusing on the Vincent Price monster movie The Fly (1958) – and occasionally we may throw in some newspaper ad mats and unique fan art!

Police investigate a phony medium in this semi-sequel to Ed Wood’s earlier “classic” Bride of the Monster (1955). The scam artist is known as Dr Acula (I wonder where he thought that name up?) who cons gullible people out of their money by convincing them that he can contact their deceased relatives by psychic means. Acula is aided in his evil schemes by blonde beauty Valda Hansen pretending to be The White Ghost and the brutish Lobo played by Ed Wood regular Tor Johnson. The finale includes the intervention of some real ghosts but of course we do not wish to give too much away…

It’s too easy to dismiss Ed Wood Jr films as just trashy B-movies but it can be extremely hard to fathom just what was going on in director Wood’s mind when he was creating his low-budget masterpieces. Presumably he was trying to make films that were both scary and entertaining but while Night of the Ghouls can now be considered entertaining by trash movie afficionados for all the wrong reasons I doubt whether it would ever have been thought of as scary even back in the 1950′s. The interesting thing is that we will never know since Night of the Ghouls (originally titled Revenge of the Dead) wasn’t actually released until 1987 as Wood could not afford to pay the lab fees to process the negatives back in the day. The film lay dormant in a post-production house for 23 years until millionaire Wade Williams came to its rescue by paying the outstanding lab fees.

Not as laugh-out-loud funny as Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) or as off-the-wall insane as Glen or Glenda (1953) Night of the Ghouls is still passably entertaining if a little tame by the director’s usual bizarre standards. The acting is actually not that bad for this kind of film and Wood has a good instinct visually;  if he’d ever been given more of a budget to play with it would have been interesting to see what he could have come up with. As usual what lets him down is his terrible self-penned script – childish, banal and slightly surreal Wood struggles to tell even the simplest story coherently. If you’re just looking for a mindless Sunday afternoon fluffy filler then this might fit the bill but keep your expectations low.

Review by Rick Gladman

Useful links:

Buy Night of the Ghouls on dvd!

Ed Wood’s Long-Lost Horror TV Pilot!

Classic Horror Campaign Newsletter

Classic Horror Petition

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