Pure Terror: Terror-Creatures from the Grave

June 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

I have watched this movie three times and very little of it is sticking. I keep seeming to day dream in the middle of the movie, often imagining much better movies in my head. Maybe this is my brain’s way of protecting me from this awful movie. Terror-Creatures from the Grave is an 1965 Italian horror movie starring Barbara Steele. If you don’t know her name but have watched a lot of 60’s and 70’s horror movies, you would know her face. This film is remarkable for being the only time I can recall that someone received an “Inspired by” credit. Allegedly, Terror-Creatures from the Grave was inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, a fact that I am sure he is very proud of in the after-life. I believe the filmmakers because there is something familiar about this story in comparison to other Poe inspired movies from the period. Another remarkable point to be made, the listed director is Ralph Zucker. What is confusing is that most of the crew were all pretty obviously Italian. As it turns out, the actual director was Massimo Pupillo. Now that’s Italian. Pupillo was so disappointing with the film, he had his name taken off the movie and producer Ralph Zucker was credited instead, although he had not directed a single scene.

Lawyer Albert Kovac is summoned by Jeronimus Hauff to his villa in a small European village. I don’t recall the name but it might as well be Transylvania. When Kovac arrives, Hauff’s daughter and second wife are confused. Hauff has been dead for nearly a year. In X-Files fashion, one side tries to find a rational explanation and the other side believes Hauff has found a way to communicate from beyond the grave. This was a hobby of Hauff’s before he died. After what seems like years of dialogue and demonstration of Hauff’s “futuristic” technology, we finally get back to the meat of the story just in time for the conclusion. The five men who signed Hauff’s death certificate and his wife all conspired to have Hauff murdered. Now, from beyond the grave, he is sending out zombies infected with the Bubonic plague to kill the people responsible for his death, and whoever else they feel like killing. In the end, only Kovac and Corrine survive because it starts to rain. The rain makes the zombies go back to the graves for no adequately explained reason.

The way the film is made spans the range from flat to strange. For much of what is filmed in the Villa, it appears to be your standard one camera on a sound stage method of cinematography. Cheap, efficient, and visually uninterested. For the parts of the film made outside, they make the bold choice to never show a zombie. Whenever someone is attacked, we see them getting attacked from the Zombie’s POV. In the end when Kovac is attack, it’s absolutely laughable. Clearly the movie is wrapping up and you are expecting a big reveal of a horrible zombie. Instead, Kovac flops around like a fish on the set. It’s that typical “backaway from the monster then trip” spot you have seen a hundred times. Problem is, he does this same spot no less than ten times, getting back up then falling again. It’s as if the director told the actor to do the bit multiple times then they would just select the best fall in editing, except no one edited that take.

Terror-Creatures from the Grave is incredibly dull and uninteresting. Even by bad movies standards, it just doesn’t hold up. Nothing in the movie is so bad that it elicits laughter. But there is nothing good about the movie either. After three viewings, it’s all still a little foggy but if for some reason you stumble across this movie, avoid it at all costs. The only purpose I can see for it is if you feel like daydreaming for an hour and a half but can’t seem to trigger your active imagination.


Entry filed under: Horror. Tags: , , , , , .

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