Well, we are smack dab in the middle of summer. During this time of the year, I sometimes feel so far removed from my favorite holiday (Halloween of course!) that it takes something big to jolt me back into the creatively creepy corners of my mind. We’ll today that jolt was a movie called The Horror Of It All (1964). I actually caught the movie right in the middle…at a scene where the main character played by Pat Boone sings a fun little horror song aptly named “The Horror Of It All”. I was immediately reminded of what I had been missing this summer…a little bit of old fashioned horror and halloween inspiration. Without further ado, here is my summer movie review.
Check out the song so you can see what I mean:
Cool right? Sure it’s campy but it is super fun! And did you see the mad scientist set up in this video? I was intrigued because I’ve been wanting to build a similar Halloween prop that has beakers and flasks with glowing bubbling liquids inside and steam pouring out. As I was watching this scene the spirit of Halloween just ignited within me again! I feel like a school kid who is looking forward to the fall season of cartoons (when networks still did that for kids in the 80s). Let’s just say I’m excited to start preparing for this Halloween season now.
So I continued watching the movie to find more spooky sets, like the family’s museum of torture devices, the big creepy mansion they live in, and a coach-less hearse. Wait, let me rewind just a bit to give you a little synopsis. It is basically a whodunnit horror comedy shot in black & white. It kind of reminds me of The Munsters in style except with less campy jokes. Jack Robinson (played by Pat Boone) is an American who falls in love with and Englishwoman named Cynthia Marley. He decides to visit her family to ask them for permission to marry her. She warns him about her strange and eccentric family and when he meets them, he realizes she couldn’t have been more spot on. Let’s meet them all now!
First there is the peculiar Reginal, who greets Jack to the Marley estate. Then there is Cornwallis, the always acting ex-actor. Grandfather is a kooky old man who lies bedridden whose only hobby seems to be looking at Playboy Magazine. Percival is an inventor who is constantly trying to invent things that have already been invented, such as the phonograph, and electricity. Then there is Natalia, a morbid vampire-like woman who reminds me of the character Lydia from Beetlejuice. Finally we have Muldoon, a wild and hairy man who is kept locked up by his family for fear he will hurt someone.
When Jack first arrives at Marley estate, he learns there has been a recent family death. He finds out that family members continue to mysteriously die and after a few attempts at his own life he realizes there must be a murderer in the family. After he learns about the family’s one million dollar fortune, he insists this must be the motive for the killings. Starting to sound like a Scooby Doo mystery right? Well things get weirder when he gets locked in a metal chamber that has a ceiling that is compacting. Nothing he can do will stop it. Just as he is about to be crushed into a nice looking pancake, he is rescued by Percival, the inventor. Ok that’s the only spoiler for now.
Will Jack find out who the killer is before he falls prey to the sinister plot in the Marley estate? Will he marry Cynthia after knowing about her crazy family? Will Natalia drink anything other than, “Bloody Mary’s”? I won’t spoil it for you. Check out the movie and find out for yourself. I couldn’t find any DVD copies available, but there is a link on Youtube with the whole movie. You’ll just have to put up with Spanish subtitles, though. If you do find it, enjoy it for the innocently campy fun horror flick it is!