House of the Black Death (1965)

Article 2166 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-19-2007
Posting Date: 7-18-2007
Directed by Harold Daniels, Jerry Warren and Reginald Le Borg
Featuring John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Andrea King

A white magician is called in to help in a feud between two black magicians, one of which belongs to a family cursed by lycanthropy.

According to an interview with Jerry Warren by Tom Weaver, Warren was given a the job of taking a mishmash of film footage and cobbling together a movie out of it. I assume that in order to do so, he shot a few scenes of his own to flesh things out. According to Warren, it came out bad (and he’s right) but playable enough so that the investors were able to make a little bit of a return (and I suspect he was right here as well). My main observation is, that if Warren did shoot extra footage, then it’s one of the few cases where he did this sort of thing where I haven’t been able to pick out what footage he added, a problem I’ve never had with some of his other edit jobs. I don’t think this was skill on his part, though; I think it had more to do that the original footage was as dead in the water as regular Jerry Warren footage, so it matched. My guess is that Warren added the Katherine Victor scenes (which involve lots of swearing of oaths). At any rate, this incoherent mess of werewolves and witchcraft is pretty bottom of the barrel, though it is enlivened by good performances from Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine, and the occasional effective use of smoke and fog. Beyond that, this is good cure for insomnia.



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