Archive for January 1974


January 1, 1974

Hard to believe, but until 1986 Oliver Stone was known primarily as a screenwriter-for-hire and a director of weird horror movies. This was his first of two, and his first feature. His work in it isn’t much different from other strange ’70s nuggets of horror; the movie is long on jump cuts, montages, bizarre angles, cheesy music, and laughable zooms. Jonathan Frid (a.k.a. Barnabas Collins) stars as a writer whose evil imaginary creations come to life and kill his visiting friends; he turns in a fine performance, considering, as do Christina Pickles (St. Elsewhere, Friends) as his wife, Joe Sirola as his obnoxious millionaire friend (the best character in the movie — we’ve all known someone like him, millionaire or not), Mary Woronov as the millionaire’s bored wife, and Martine Beswicke as the Queen of Evil. (Many will judge any movie featuring both Mary Woronov and Martine Beswicke to be worth a rental.) But after a promising start, the film gets way pretentious and hard to sit through. For horror completists and die-hard Stone fans only. Also with Troy Donahue and (wonder of wonders) Herve Villechaize as the Spider, who says things like “Silence! Or I weel meck your death more penful!” Filmed in Canada for about four dollars. Stone cowrote the script with Edward Mann. For a while in the early ’90s you could buy the video for under $10 at many chain stores, always with box-cover blurbs that cashed in on Stone’s later, better-known films. Now it’s hard to find again.