Monday, October 5, 2009

Does evil or madness move 'The Blancheville Monster'?

The Blancheville Monster (aka "Horror") (1963)

Starring: Gerard Tichy, Joan Hills, Leo Anchorez, Richard Davis and Helga Line
Director: Alberto De Martino
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A young noblewoman (Hills) returns to her family estate to find her older brother (Tichy) has replaced all the familiar servants with newcomers, including a suspicious new family doctor (Anchorez). She soon learns that her brother is attempting to hide the fact their father has gone insane and is now bent on murdering his own daugther before she turns 21 in a few days. Can her lover (Davis) stop the madman, or uncover the even darker truths about the Blancheville family before it is too late?

"The Blancheville Monster" is a straight-forward gothic romance with horror overtones and just enough twists to keep it interesting. Fans of Edgar Allen Poe stories like "The Oblong Box" (read it here ) and Roger Corman films like "The Terror" (review here) and "The Pit and the Pendulum (review here) will find this film enjoyable. However, it is far from perfect, as it suffers from a great deal of padding in the form of long walks through the haunted grounds of the Blancheville estate.

I'm giving the film a generous Six Rating, based to a large extent on the build-up to the end. I thought i had the story all figured out before the halfway mark, but I wasn't quite right. While the twist was nothing earthshattering, it was clever enough and in perfect keeping with the genre and everything that had happened previously in the film.