HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE (1967)
Article #564 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-30-2002
Posting date: 2-23-2003
Three country music singers spend the night in a haunted mansion that is actually a hideout for spies.
Someday I may make a list of the least promising plot descriptions I’ve encountered; if this one isn’t a top contender, I’m not sure I want to know what is. It’s pretty awful, but just how excruciating it is may well depend on two factors: 1) your tolerance for country music, and 2) the degree of your affection for the familiar faces of John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., and Basil Rathbone. Actually, I have to admire these three guys; despite being saddled with what is most likely the worst script that any of these three luminaries have ever encountered, they all manage to avoid embarassing themselves; in fact, Rathbone maintains so much of his natural dignity that he seems anomalous in this context. That’s the benefit of actually having a certain amount of acting craft to fall back on; unfortunately, our putative stars (Ferlin Husky and Don Bowman) don’t have that advantage. Joi Lansing comes off a little better than these two, but she has certain advantages of her own to help her compensate. Actually, the plot is inconsequential; the movie is largely an excuse for a series of country songs, including a couple with Merle Haggard (who only appears in this movie in a singing capacity).
Scariest line: “Prove to me you’re entertainers.”
Warning: The movie is purported to be 88 minutes long. If you’re a fan of country music, this is true. If you’re not, the movie is 73 minutes long, and you should feel free to switch it off at this point.
Trust me on this.