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

Thursday, September 30, 2010


ZOTZ (1962). Producer/director: William Castle.

A college professor, Jonathan Jones (Tom Poston), discovers that an ancient coin gives him magical powers, such as the ability to "zap" people with his finger, slow down time, and other things according to the screenwriter's wishes. This awful -- and awfully unfunny movie with exactly one laugh [the mouse with the wig on it] -- was scripted by Ray Russell, who wrote the source material for the films Mr. Sardonicus [one of Castle's better films] and Incubus. Jones is a complete idiot who reads a book as he bicycles to work. It doesn't help that he is portrayed by the utterly bland and dull actor Tom Poston. [Poston later wound up as a panelist on game shows, which made better use of his "talents."] The only good thing about the movie is that Cecil Kellaway and Margaret Dumont of Marx Brothers fame have all-too-brief supporting roles. Leading lady Julia Meade is attractive and more than competent, but her appearance in Zotz did her little good. Although it gets some stiff competition from 13 Frightened Girls, Zotz is probably the worst film William Castle ever made.

Verdict: Atrocious. 1/2* for the presence of Kellaway and Dumont only.

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