Souls for Sale (1962)

aka Confessions of an Opium Eater
Article 3340 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-21-2010
Posting Date: 10-6-2010
Directed by Albert Zugsmith
Featuring Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Richard Loo
Country: USA
What it is: Exploitation melodrama

An adventurer goes to Chinatown and becomes entangled in a slavery racket.

No, it’s not a horror movie, but between some of the macabre imagery and the whole fever-dream style of the movie, it has enough atmosphere that it doesn’t matter that much. The plot doesn’t make much sense, but that hardly matters either; the rush of strange characters, odd images, and surreal action gives the movie a momentum all its own. I’ve encountered director Albert Zugsmith before with SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE and THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM AND EVE, and though both of those were pretty weird, they didn’t prepare me for this. Let’s face it; any movie where a score by Albert Glasser is one of the subtler touches is a movie to be reckoned with. The most memorable character is a Chinese midget played by Yvonne Moray; she steals every scene she’s in, which isn’t an easy thing when you’re working with Vincent Price. Some people describe it as being “so bad it’s good”, but I think this one transcends any ordinary scale of quality; it just is. Angelo Rossitto plays a newsboy near the beginning, and that’s just another odd touch in a movie swimming with them.


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