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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Monster Club (anthology)

The Monster Club (Horror/Comedy anthology)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Film: C+

 

 

From the 1960s to the early 1980s, Roy Ward Baker had an amazing run of filmmaking in features and TV, particularly the Horror genre with the feature films.Many of them were anthologies and The Monster Club (1980) marks the end of that run.It also happens to be an anthology with the writer of the tales played by John Carradine, and Vincent Price as the vampire he fatefully meets up with.

 

There are three stories here, but they sandwich some of the weakest transitions in Horror anthology features.With lame, silly Pop-as-Rock music, we go from story to story, influenced by soon-to-be-dead Disco music and very corporatized ideas of Rock.It is so bad, Michael Jackson combined it with The Greg Kihn Bandís Our Loveís In Jeopardy and the money to hire Vincent price for one of the most regressive acts of musicmaking ever: Thriller.

 

Of course, Baker is a far better filmmaker than Thriller Music Video director John Landis could ever hope to be.Then there are the stories.The first Shadmock segment is very muddled and boring.The Vampire Story segment fares better with Donald Pleasence as a schoolmaster who is accompanied by fellow British gentlemen who are creepy to begin with and are vampire hunters.Richard Jordan and Britt Ekland also star.That leaves the also-interesting daylight zombie/vampire Humgoo Story with Stuart Whitman and Patrick Magee that is more like a British Night Gallery segment.Well, as meat Loaf says, two out of three ainít bad.

 

Baker and writers Edward and Valerie Abraham ruin many moments of tension by trying to go broader with comedy that is not witty enough, nor has the ironic distance past such Baker and like efforts that made them so much fun, but it is a historic end to all of them and say goodbye to an eras sadly past.

 

The 1.85 X 1 image is from an analog PAL master and has consistent color, but some video black problems.This is still not bad, and cinematographer Peter Jessop, B.S.C., working in Rank Labs-processed color as it become more assimilated into the often boring color we see today.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is interesting as most films were turning to analog Dolby Stereo at the time, but this film was as monophonic as all the earlier Baker efforts.The music is so lame, it is for the better.

 

The lame theme song is the responsibility of The Pretty Things, who made (as the notes tell us) the album S.F. Sorrow before The Who make Tommy, as far as concept albums are concerned.The 11 songs from the film are offered in stereo in the extras, along with a very silly commentary by a couple of film critics, a nice bunch of biographies, stills, production notes, and the original theatrical trailer.The film was never release din the U.S. theatrically.

 

Of course, the early Lucas/Spielberg works were an influence, the kind that gives us Bea Arthur running a bar in outer space.This film has that feel, but is not always for children by any means.This was also the last film for Horror producer Milton Subotsky (City Of The Dead is reviewed elsewhere on this site), so it really is the end of an era.Fans should see it at least once.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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