Article 3736 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-25-2011
Posting Date: 11-6-2011
Directed by Freddie Francis
Featuring Jack Palance, Diana Dors, Julie Ege
What it is: Black magic movie
An antique store owner worships an African idol named Chuku, and his human sacrifices to it bring him financial success. However, he finds he can’t stop sacrificing to the idol… and the police are on his trail.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a Herman Cohen production, and for those who are interested in the subtexts that run through his work, you’ll find them here as well, especially in the antique owner’s relationship with a younger business associate; furthermore, it seems quite clear to me that Jack Palance (who is here in what I would like to think of as the Michael Gough role) is very aware of these subtexts. To be truthful, the main attraction here is Palance’s performance; he jumps back and forth between underplaying and histrionics, and though I can’t quite bring myself to call it a great performance, it does hold your interest. Unfortunately, once you get past these points of interest, it’s just not a very good movie; Freddie Francis’s direction is weak, and the movie has a lethargic pace, especially in those scenes involving the police investigation. It’s also a bit silly at times, though I will admit to liking the touch of seeing how Palance is haunted by the idol during the reading of his aunt’s will. Besides Palance, there are quite a few name actors in the cast, though I think only Diana Dors is well used.