The Thing That Couldn’t Die (1958)

THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE (1958)
Article 1803 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-20-2006
Posting Date: 7-20-2006
Directed by Will Cowan
Featuring William Reynolds, Andra Martin, Jeffrey Stone

A woman with psychic powers discovers an ancient chest buried under a tree at a ranch. Though she thinks the chest is evil, the other residents of the ranch dig it up in the hope of getting money for it. However, the chest contains the head of a Satanist executed by Sir Francis Drake, and the head isn’t dead…

Will Cowan has over one hundred films to his credit, but this was apparently his only feature film; the rest were shorts, almost all of which intended to highlight musical stars. It was also his last movie, and I can see why he didn’t pursue a career in horror after this tired, lethargic entry. The idea itself is not bad, and I do like some of the touches; for example, though the head moves its lips when talking, no sound is heard, which is actually a rather realistic touch as a person without lungs could not talk; he does appear to make himself heard by those he possesses through his mental abilities. Still, the movie is a bore; it moves at a snail’s pace, and is packed with unnecessary and uninteresting subplots that appear to do nothing but fill out the running time; for example, there’s no point in establishing the fact that Boyd has designs on Linda when this fact plays no role in the plot to follow. All in all, I consider this the nadir of Universal’s horror movies.

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