Newest Review: ... and rated it 8 out of 10. The Monster Club is rated a 15, runs for 104 minutes and the DVD is currently available from Amazon UK for just ... more
As the New Year CREEPS in...
The Monster Club (DVD)
Member Name: karenuk
The Monster Club (DVD)
Advantages: Great cast, good mixture of fun and frightening.
Disadvantages: The musical acts in the club are rather irritating!
To celebrate New Year's Eve, my fiancé and I decided to watch a couple of films on DVD. One of these was The Monster Club, a 1980 film made by Amicus which follows the usual format of short horror tales linked by a continuing story. I enjoy these horror anthologies and this had the added attraction of a stellar cast including two veterans of this genre - Vincent Price (who was then around seventy) and John Carradine (who was 74).
The interlocking story features these two actors with Carradine playing the writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes (whose short stories form the basis of the movie) and Price as the jovial vampire Erasmus. They meet one night in the street and Erasmus offers to take the author to The Monster Club, where he may find inspiration for his next stories. The club is what you'd expect, a kind of social haunt for a variety of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls and assorted people in bad masks. For some reason, each club scene features a live music act which we lucky viewers get to watch perform a song and most of these are pretty awful. B.A. Robertson is one of these, who I remember from my childhood, but the others were unknown to me.
The three main stories are all suitably creepy and worth watching. The first one is The Shadmock, which stars James Laurenson, Barbara Kellerman and Simon Ward. The premise is that a man called Raven (Laurenson) advertises for someone to help him catalogue all the valuables in his huge house. A couple called Angela (Kellerman) and George (Ward) plot to rob him, with Angela taking up the post and befriending Raven. However, Raven is no ordinary man and has unnatural powers... This is an interesting and intriguing story, Laurenson is very good as Raven and there are a couple of gruesome bits in it too, as well as some plastic masks I found quite unsettling.
The second story is The Vampires, which stars Richard Johnson, Britt Ekland and Donald Pleasence. A young boy called Lintom lives with his parents, but has a slightly unusual kind of life. His father (Johnson) works at night and sleeps in the basement during the day, while his mother (Ekland) is a pretty blonde who goes out to do the shopping as normal. Lintom stands out at school as being somewhat unusual, so he gets bullied a lot and one day, a man called Pickering (Pleasence) approaches him in the playground... I always find Donald Pleasence a joy to watch and here again, he is excellent, as is Richard Johnson as the father. While the story appears to be heading down a predictable direction, it suddenly changes tack and becomes incredibly camp and funny, almost farcical, which makes it fun to watch and something a bit different. Sadly, Britt Ekland just proves over and over again that she can't act, but at least she's decorative.
The third and final story is called The Ghouls and stars Stuart Whitman, Lesley Dunlop and Patrick Magee. This was the segment that gave my fiancé nightmares when he watched it as a child. The story is that Sam (Whitman) is a movie director looking for a suitably eerie location for his next horror film. He finds the perfect place - a village called Loughville, which is decidedly creepy. As he enquires who he needs to talk to, he finds the inhabitants of the village are less than welcoming. The only helpful one is a girl called Luna (Dunlop) who advises him to hide in the church. While there, he discovers the legend surrounding the place and why the graveyard seems particularly empty... This does have a quite terrifying idea behind it, so I can see why my fiancé remembered it so well from his childhood. It is the bleakest of the three tales with very little humour but lots of atmosphere and some quite shocking images. This story alone is probably responsible for the 15 certificate!
Overall, it is a fun anthology and worth watching if you are into this kind of thing. Vincent Price and John Carradine both seem to relish their roles, which is good to see and although the main substance is in the three separate stories, their linking segments are nicely done and add to the general tone. The music acts in the club are overlong and rather annoying, but they do add a good dated feel to the club scenes - far more 1970s than 1980s - and make this feel slightly different to other Amicus productions.
I enjoyed it and rated it 8 out of 10.
The Monster Club is rated a 15, runs for 104 minutes and the DVD is currently available from Amazon UK for just £5.99.
Summary: The last Amicus film - but worth watching!