CRUCIBLE OF HORROR (1970)
aka THE CORPSE
Article 2014 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-19-2006
Posting Date: 2-16-2007
Directed by Viktors Ritelis
Featuring Michael Gough, Yvonne Mitchell, Sharon Gurney
A cruel and abusive man is targeted for murder by his wife and daughter, but things don’t quite go in the direction they expect.
I’ve often wondered how many movies you could describe by merely mentioning the movie which served as a template for it; in this case, I was fairly certain by the halfway point that I was watching a variation of DIABOLIQUE. It may still be one, but I’m not quite sure, largely because the end of the movie didn’t answer my questions. There is the distinct possibility that I may have missed some subtle plot points that explain the whole thing, and that this is one of those movies that you just need to think through before you can come to any conclusions. Unfortunately, this is not a movie I really care to think about; despite the fact that the acting is quite good from all concerned, the movie itself is so dreary and depressing that all I wanted to do after it was over was to shake it off, not think about it. I do have two possible explanations for the ending, but I don’t like either of them. One (which involves figuring out what a fourth character who is not present during most of the main action of the movie may be up to) was what I was anticipating for most of the movie, and the lack of a surprise would have been depressing, and the other (about the mental state of one of the central characters) makes me suspect that most of what happened didn’t happen. Neither of these explanations leave me satisfied, and the various bizarre arty touches (jaggedly edited flashbacks and a preponderance of bizarre close-ups) don’t really do much for me either. All in all, I found this one frustrating and unrewarding.