The Horror of It All (1963)

Article 2083 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-28-2006
Posting Date: 4-26-2007
Directed by Terence Fisher
Featuring Pat Boone, Erica Rogers, Dennis Price

An American visits the home of his British girlfriend to ask for her hand in marriage, and encounters her eccentric relatives. He then discovers that someone is knocking off members of the family one by one.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The strengths of this movie are that it has a strong cast, and Terence Fisher keeps the movie relatively short (only 75 minutes). I think it’s important to mention these strengths at the outset, because its weaknesses threaten to overshadow them. Its main problem is an atrocious, predictable script that tries to mine laughs out of jokes that are as old as Dracula’s castle (just for example, the joke about the vampiric character’s favorite drink being a bloody mary is one that any smart editor would have left on the cutting room floor; here, it’s one of the big jokes). This movie could have been agonizing to sit through if it hadn’t been for one thing; the cast consistently refuses to resort to desperation for laughs, and it somehow leaves the movie with an amiable watchable quality it might not otherwise have. In this context, Pat Boone’s warbling of the silly innocuous title tune (you didn’t think he was just here to act, do you?) – which would have ordinarily had me rushing to the refrigerator – becomes a relative highlight of the movie. The best gags involve an inventor who keeps working on things that have already been invented, and these jokes are only mildly funny. All in all, it’s pretty bad, but it could have been a lot worse.


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