Dance of Death (1968)

aka House of Evil
Article 2381 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-2-2007
Posting Date: 2-18-2008
Directed by Jack Hill and Juan Ibanez
Featuring Boris Karloff, Julissa, Andres Garcia

Relatives visit the mansion of a wealthy man who is near death. However, the wealthy man is convinced that one of his relatives has inherited an illness from a dead family member who went crazy and killed people by digging out their eyes. Sure enough, people start dying…

I first saw the four Karloff Mexican movies some time ago when I got a complete set of them, and I mentally disposed of this one as simply the dullest of the lot. Watching it a second time, I’m now willing to give it credit for being the most accessible of the lot; it’s certainly less weirdly incoherent than the others. Not that it’s good; like the others, it’s quite bad. It is, however, easier to follow. This is probably because it works in very familiar territory; it’s a rehash of the “old dark house” movies where relatives gather for the reading of the will and are then picked off one by one. You won’t be watching this one too long before you realize this fact, but once you do, you will realize with horror that Boris Karloff (the only reason to watch this one) is playing the part of the man whose will is to be read, which means he’s going to die early in the proceedings. And, sure enough, he does. Naturally, this leaves you in a quandary; either the movie has just killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, or it’s setting up a twist that is so patently obvious that there will be no surprise when it happens. In a sense, it hardly matters; when he dies, you know it’s going to be a long stretch of time before you see Karloff again in the movie, if at all. In fact, there is precious little in the way of surprises at all in this movie.

I’ve got one more of Karloff’s Mexican movies to cover, and I then I can finally be done with them.



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