THE TERRIBLE PEOPLE (1960)
(a.k.a. DIE BANDE DES SCHRECKENS)
Article #1300 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-5-2004
Posting Date: 3-4-2005
Directed by Harold Reinl
Featuring Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Dor, Fritz Rasp
A criminal vows to murder all the people responsible for his capture, arrest and execution. Sure enough, after the execution, the various parties responsible begin to die one by one.
This is another of the German Edgar Wallace adaptations made during the early sixties, and it starts out with a bang; the first scene recounts the capture of the criminal, and the second scene has him confronting his captors and making his promise, and then the credits roll while we watch a clock tick off the last minute and a half before the execution. It does get somewhat confusing and a little slow during the middle section of the movie, but these are only minor annoyances, as the movie has so many interesting characters (including a squeamish police photographer who is genuinely amusing) and so many surprising moments (the staircase murder will definitely catch you off guard), that its flaws are easily forgotten. Originally, I thought I’d figured out what the final twist would turn to be (I found one character in particular to be highly suspicious), but the movie actually reverses the twist to present an ending that is quite satisfying and more logical. The fantastic aspect is that the executed convict keeps appearing at the sites of the murders, so speculation is rife that a ghost is on the loose; however, it would be giving too much away to verify whether a real ghost is at work here. I quite liked this one, though I will admit that it takes a little time to warm up to the style of these krimis.