Cry of the Banshee (1970)

Article #1465 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-19-2005
Posting Date: 8-16-2005
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Featuring Vincent Price, Hilary Heath, Carl Rigg

A witch places a curse on the family of a magistrate after he slaughters several members of her coven. The curse causes a banshee to kill off the magistrate’s family members.

You know, I’ve been pretty hard on some of Corman’s Poe movies. I honestly wish I had watched this unpleasant, unsatisfying movie before reviewing them; I found it made me really appreciate them. This one opens with a quote by Poe, but at least it doesn’t claim that the story comes from him. The basic premise isn’t bad, and Vincent Price is always fun to watch in action, but I found this movie to be merely unpleasant and exploitative. The main focus of the movie seems to be on the degradation (via torture and stripping) of as many young female characters as it can fit into its plot, and the character development exists almost entirely to bring this about; in short, there’s a lot of sadistic characters. Even Price’s character is woefully underdeveloped, though he does his best to fight this. It also doesn’t help that with a few exceptions (Price, Elisabeth Bergner, Marshall Jones and Hugh Griffith), the acting is pretty subpar. And (unless I’m very much mistaken) I really think they should have gotten a real dog to do the barking for the mad dog in the movie; someone’s dog imitation just doesn’t pass muster here.

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