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

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Otto Reichow and Peggie Castle
BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957). Director: Charles Marquis Warren.

Dick Anthony (Arthur Franz of Monster on the Campus) stupidly decides to bring his new wife, Mandy (Peggie Castle of I, the Jury), to the home he once shared with his first wife, although he claims he was "compelled" to do so. Maybe that's the case, because it isn't long before both Arthur and his sister-in-law Kate (Marsha Hunt) are baffled by Mandy's insistence that she is really Arthur's drowned wife, Felicia. Has Mandy's mind and body been taken over by the consciousness of the dead Felicia, or is something else going on? Almost from the very first it seems clear that this is a genuine case of demonic possession, with Arthur and Kate hoping to free Mandy, and others -- such as Felicia's batty mother, Ada (Helen Wallace) and sinister spiritualist Renault (Otto Reichow) -- trying to keep Felicia on the more or less mortal plane. All of this sounds interesting, and the acting isn't bad, but Back From the Dead is only sporadically entertaining and has very little suspense. James Bell is especially good as Felicia's horrified father. The music by Raoul Kraushaar is (deliberately one hopes) atrocious. Warren also directed Unknown Terror, which was better than this.

Verdict: This one should have stayed dead. **.

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