I’m unveiling the first of what I hope’ll become a semi-regular feature around here, where I talk about the old and awesome horror/monster/suspense movies that I love so much. I kind of already do that, but now I’m going to have a name for it.
First up, I finally caught a double feature of a couple of movies that’ve been on my radar for some time, ever since I read (very briefly) about them in one of the many, many books on old monster movies that I’ve flipped through: The Shuttered Room & It!
The Shuttered Room (1967)
First off, The Shuttered Room is a bit of a disappointment, really. I’ll take it by parts. THE GOOD: Really awesome buildings and sets. Some nice camera shots here and there. Oliver Reed as the lead creepy redneck would-be rapist. THE BAD: The music, the music, and the music. Probably some other stuff, but the music is seriously a standout here. It’s not quite the most inappropriate music I’ve ever heard in a movie, and it’s not quite the worst, but it’s way up there on both lists.
It’s also probably not the least Lovecraftian Lovecraft adaptation of all time but, again, it’s right up there. Based on a Lovecraft story that’s actually by August Derleth, it features a couple of Lovecraftian touches (names like Dunwich Island, and Whately, and the themes of inherited madness and things locked up in attics) but it exchanges most of his brand of cosmic horror for the menacing redneck variety.
The moral of the story? The first time your wife nearly gets raped on your already-not-very-promising trip back to her hometown, which you’ve already been told unequivocally to leave, it’s time to pack up and go.
Now this is more like it! Roddy Macdowell owns the universe as Arthur Pimm (a reference to Arthur Gordon Pym? maybe) the best creepy Norman Bates-esque assistant museum curator ever, in a movie about a golem. Man, they seriously had me at “movie about a golem,” but this one has it all. Macdowell is in top form, giving a performance that makes me wish he’d gotten a chance to tackle some Lovecraft protagonists. The unrequited romance is cute. Jill Howarth is cute. And the ending just keeps getting more and more awesome. Plus, did I mention there’s a golem? How had I gone so long without seeing this movie?
For all that it was a movie about a golem, you don’t really expect a movie called something as generic as It! (there was apparently an alternate title at one point, Curse of the Great Golem, which would’ve been better, though I do appreciate the exclamation point in It!) to be all that spectacular, so it was a pleasant surprise when it was by far the winner of the evening.