Halloween Horrors 50 for 31:Crucible of Horror

October 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

Crucible of Horror gives me some mixed feelings. On one hand, the acting was superb and the way the film was shot really captured the emotions they were going for. On the other hand, the last 1/3 of the film is so metaphysical, capped off with a ridiculous downer ending, it really left a bad taste in my mouth. I certainly didn’t expect a happy ending to a horror film. But what we got was so confusing and depressing, you almost forget the earlier parts of the movie were well done.

Crucible of Horror stars Michael Gough, who is best known as Alfred the butler from the Batman movies. The character he plays in this movie is so far removed from that character that you get a sense of the kind of range he had as an actor. His character, Walter Eastwood, is the domineering patriarch of a well to do British family. Amazing enough, much of Michael Gough’s actual family plays the few other roles. His son played Rupert Eastwood, the favored son in the movie. His daughter-in-law played the abused daughter Jane. The writer of the film also has a bit part as a friend of the family. There certainly is a lot of chemistry among the actors which really comes through. The acting is what really sets this movie apart from its somewhat cliche story.

The story goes a little something like this. Walter Eastwood is an obsessive compulsive, abusive head of the household. While his son is treated as an equal, the daughter and mother are treated as if they were something he strapped of his shoe.  Even though the family is rich, Jane has to resort to stealing money from a golf club the family belongs to since she has no sort of allowance and isn’t allowed to work.  She is barely allowed outside the house and not allowed to date. The mother spends much of her time painting disturbing pictures, clearly worn out by years of physical and emotional abuse. So they plot to kill him. They hint at a feminist agenda to the whole thing but honestly, he is such a bastard that killing him seems pretty reasonable without that subtext.  From there things get crazy. They make it look like a suicide, kind of, and go to find the body the next day. But the body has been moved. So they try to dispose of the body, since the suicide explanation won’t hold up. I don’t want to spoil the ending. The best explainable circumstances I can come up with are that either Walter is secretly Jason Vorhees or the whole attempted murder was just a share hallucination by the mother and daughter.

Overall, this was an effective horror movie. It’s remarkable how effective the movie is with a limited cast and locations. They focused mostly on performance, editing, music, and camera work to create the feeling of horror, as oppose to special effects or over the top shocking gore. The trippy, downer ending spoiled what was otherwise a well done, enjoyable movie. While certainly not groundbreaking, Crucible of Horror is well worth watching.

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Entry filed under: Horror.

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