THE SPECTRE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (1972)
Article #1093 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-12-2004
Posting Date: 8-9-2004
Directed by Mohy Quandour
Featuring Robert Walker Jr., Cesar Romero, Tom Drake
When Lenore goes into shock after almost being buried alive, Edgar Allan Poe takes her to an asylum to recover, unaware that the head of the asylum is performing snake venom experiments on patients.
Title check: Shouldn’t there be a spectre in this movie?
I remember reading somewhere that the reason Andy Milligan made his horror movies as period pieces was so he could re-release them over several years without people knowing when they were really made, which I must admit is a clever bit of low-budget exploitation thinking. The problem is that you need a fairly decent budget to create a convincing period environment. This movie features Edgar Allan Poe as the main character, so I can only assume it takes place in the nineteenth century, but the sets are singularly poor in conveying the period convincingly, and while watching it, you would probably guess it was made some time in the early seventies (which it was). It also puts forth the idea that it was these events in Poe’s life that caused his mind to turn to the subjects of death and decay that pervaded his works, a concept that the movie itself undermines when Poe’s friend introduces him to the head of the asylum as a writer of the macabre. I haven’t read a full biography of Poe, but when I do, I’m willing to bet that I find nothing about this episode of his life, though I suspect the movie isn’t really trying to convince us that it’s biographical. The movie has some eerie moments, but it’s sluggish, badly lit, indifferently acted for the most part (though it is fun to see the familiar faces of Cesar Romero and Carol Ohmart), and not particularly original. This is the sole movie by director Mohy Quandour.