Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Mrs. Davis (Fran Franklin) hurls a curse
ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN  (1973). Director: Harry Thomason.

This picture posits the theory that all paranormal activities center around people who are buried in 23 specific cemeteries. Okay. Then the movie pretty much forgets about that and focuses on three stories of the occult. In the first tale three college men play a prank on a fourth, who accidentally dies, and his mother (Fran Franklin) puts a curse on them after her son's burial; each one dies a horrible death during the next three weeks. The second story takes place in the mountains in 1906, and concerns a man who searches for his son's missing dog in a pit from which issues strange noises and steam, and which drastically transforms him when he descends into it. The third story, "The Girl on the Bridge," is that hoary business of a ghost appearing to travelers and wanting to be taken home, only for the good Samaritans to discover that she died years before. Although Encounter with the Unknown is narrated by Rod Serling, it consists of Twilight Zone rejects. The production values are below television level, but the acting is surprisingly good at times. The ending is padded to extend the running time, and there is lots of stock music that adds little to the movie.

Verdict: Encounters you can do without. **.

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