Thursday, August 30, 2012

THE UNDEAD (1957) movie review

Undead, The (1957) (2nd viewing) d. Corman, Roger

I’ve been meaning to revisit this largely ignored Corman feature (surprising, considering how well the majority of the B-king’s AIP horror features have been kept alive via MGM’s Midnight Movies collection) for a while now, first brought to my attention by Bruce Lanier Wright’s excellent tome Nightwalkers: Gothic Horror Movies and procured via the internet gray market a few years back.

Inspired by the Bridey Murphy phenomena of the ’50s, screenwriters Charles Griffith and Mark Hanna introduce to us streetwalker Pamela Duncan, hired by a spiritualist to explore her past lives through hypnosis. We follow her back through the ages to a non-specified time – let’s call it fairy tale land – where Duncan is accused of witchery, a charge furthered by romantic rival Allison Hayes (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), who actually is a witch. Along the way, we also encounter thickheaded minstrel/gravedigger Mel Welles (Little Shop of Horrors), Billy Barty as Hayes’ grating silent-laughing imp, and inimitable character actress Dorothy Neumann as helpful hag Meg Maud.

It’s a whole lot of nonsense, but like the majority of Corman’s efforts, it’s well paced and entertaining nonsense, directed with energy and vision.

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