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

Thursday, August 22, 2013



THE UNDEAD (1957). Producer/Director: Roger Corman.

 "Keep thy place, malignancy!"

Diana Love (Pamela Duncan of Attack of the Crab Monsters) is a prostitute who is regressed to a past life via hypnotism. Suddenly she finds that she is a witch named Helene living in medieval times and dealing with stuff she never had to deal with in the 20th century -- such as the fact that if she doesn't  die in the past she will have no future lives at all, and presumably this means her current life as Diana -- as well as such folk as Pendragon (Richard Garland, who was also in Crab Monsters), another witch named Livia (Allison Hayes), Smolkin the gravedigger [there's a nifty scene with Helene inside a coffin with a corpse essayed by Paul Blaisdell], and others. Richard Devon as Satan is a little hokey in the prologue, but gets better as the film proceeds. Dick Miller [A Bucket of Blood] is a leper, Billy Barty [The Day of the Locust] is an imp, and Bruno Vesota [The Wasp Woman] is an innkeeper, while Val Dufour plays Quintus Ratcliff and Dorothy Neumann is the elderly witch, Meg Maud. Duncan gives a good performance, and Hayes is as vivid as ever. This is an interesting picture with an unusual plot; it should have been made into a full-fledged fantasy film with FX, monsters, color and the works. As it is, it's entertaining and special fun for Corman fans.

Verdict: It's certainly different! ***.

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