Graveyard of Horror (1971)

GRAVEYARD OF HORROR (1971)
aka NECROPHAGUS
Article 1975 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-11-2006
Posting Date: 1-8-2007
Directed by Miguel Madrid
Featuring Bill Curran, Catherine Ellison, Frank Brana

A man returns home to his wife only to discover that she died in childbirth. However, he finds that everyone who knows the circumstances of her death is unwilling to give him any details. He decides to dig up her grave and find out the truth for himself, but he isn’t prepared for what he actually discovers…

You know, there’s something downright audacious about this Spanish horror movie; its fractured narrative, its jumping back and forth across time, and its offbeat camerawork and imagery make it a truly surreal viewing experience. Granted, it plays havoc with the storyline; at heart, the story is pretty straightforward when you get down to it, but the style makes sorting it out and keeping the characters straight a real chore. There are great moments (an image of man blowing cigarette smoke into a skull so that it comes floating out of the eye sockets will stick with me a long time) and awful moments (the scene where one of the daughters tries to lure a man into a sexual encounter with the line “I’m going to take a bath in perfume!” is the dumbest), and the monster attack scenes are surprisingly repetitive. The movie also doesn’t know how to curb its excesses; an hour in, there’s a five-minute montage of clips of moments you’ve already seen in the movie thrown at you which is nothing but an exercise of self-indulgence. The ratings distribution on IMDB isn’t really surprising; it has its admirers, but is soundly hated by a lot of people. I’d call it an interesting failure, and like most interesting failures, it is worth watching for what does work.

 

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