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

Thursday, November 14, 2013


MACABRE (1958). Director: William Castle.

The whole town seems mad at Dr. Rod Barrett (William Prince) because there was nothing he could do to save the life of blind Nancy Tyloe (Christine White), who was married to the Police Chief (Jim Backus) and was the second daughter of Jode Wetherby (Philip Tonge). Barrett had been married to Wetherby's other daughter, Alice (Dorothy Morris), who died in childbirth, but he is now engaged to Sylvia (Susan Morrow). One afternoon Barrett's nurse, Polly (Jacqueline Scott), receives a phone call: an unknown person tells her that Barrett's daughter, Marge (Linda Guderman) has been kidnapped and buried alive -- and is running out of air. This sets Barrett and Polly on a frantic search to find the girl while others around them offer assistance or interference. Macabre is a neat little thriller, generally well-directed by Castle [although there's at least one directorial gaffe at a funeral scene], and well-played by the cast, although some of them seem just a little, shall we say, overwrought. The movie has some good twists along the way as well. Ellen Corby plays Barrett's housekeeper, and she -- like virtually everyone else in the movie -- seems kindly but suspicious. Robb White [Homicidal] did the script from Anthony Boucher's novel "The Marble Forest." Castle manages to sustain a creepy atmosphere throughout.

Verdict: Another treat from William Castle. ***.

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