The Undead (1957)

Article #667 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-11-2003
Posting Date: 6-10-2003

A hypnotist regresses a street-walker back to a former life where she is a woman falsely accused of witchcraft.

The above description makes this Roger Corman movie sound like another stab at the Bridey Murphy story, but that description just doesn’t do this movie justice. In fact, I’m not sure any description could; this is unlike any movie ever made, and certainly may be the most original to come from Corman and Charles B. Griffiths. At first, the past-life angle seems like a frame to tell a story of witchcraft, but it isn’t; it ends up playing an unexpectedly active part in the storyline at about the halfway point, and from there the movie veers off into some fascinating directions. The medieval spectacle is pretty pallid, but that’s forgiveable; they just didn’t have the money. It’s peopled with interesting characters and familiar faces; Mel Welles practically steals the movie as Digger Smolkin, who spends most of his time singing nursery rhymes with changed lyrics (usually about coffins), but Alison Hayes is also on hand, as well as Bruno Ve Sota, Billy Barty, Dick Miller and Richard Garland. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it all until the final twist at the end of the movie, and I found the final twist so clever it won me over. This is definitely one of the oddest horror movies ever made.


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