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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Inn of the Damned (1975)

I keep digging thru my piles of movies and finding new to me stuff that I’ve not seen before. This is one of those and is also an example of why I’ve never seen it before. Spoilers… it is bad, really bad. But more on that later.

Set in Australia in the late eighteen hundreds the movie kicks off with an English gentleman completing a “transaction” with a working girl. He hops on a stagecoach and eventually gets dropped off at a small inn where he liaisons with another working girl or maybe it was the same one. Not entirely sure. While they are sleeping it off something happens to them, and they end up dead. What was it? Not entirely sure as we mostly just see their faces as they react to it. Eventually we see the the elderly German couple who run the inn are killing folks with the help of a man who is wanted for an entirely different murder. This is important later.

The rest of the movie follows an American bounty hunter who is tracking and eventually kills the helper. The locals get mad at his violence, so he needs to track down the trooper who was with him to show that his killing of the fugitive was justified. Guess where the last place the trooper was seen headed? Yeah, the inn. So, the American goes there, figures out what is going on, and gets into a shoot out with them. Along the way more random travelers stop by to get killed, including a stepmother and stepdaughter who she is molesting. I guess any excuse for some sleaze… Then it ends. Why were they killing travelers? A bad man killed their kids and um. You know who I don’t actually know.

Inn of the Damned didn’t work for me at all. My first complaint is the pacing, which is just terrible. There are long stretches of riding horses, useless characters that either show up for a hot minute as comic relief or to spend the night at the inn for the sole purpose of ending up tossed down the well after meeting their demise. It feels fragmented and never builds any momentum. This is reinforced by the complete lack of motives. We get the flashbacks to their children being abducted which is filled in a bit with some dialogue at the end. But they never connect why that set them on a path towards killing anyone who stopped by their inn. The story needs to make sense within the world that it exists, no matter how twisted.

They picked the wrong place to stop!
The decision to make this a horror and western hybrid also causes issues. I will admit that there are brief moments where the movie does get somewhat creepy with them lurking around the house and spying on the guests thru peepholes. But it keeps getting interrupted with random shootouts and chase sequences on horses. Trying to jam both film genres into the same movie might also explain the bloated runtime of two hours. I think they were trying to serve fans of both and ended up failing miserably.

The cast is filled with Australian actors that I sort of recognize from other flicks from down under. The most obvious is John Meillon, who was in the Crocodile Dundee movies. We also get Alex Cord as the American bounty hunter. I think that the cast is solid but is saddled with a terrible script that gives them nothing to work with. It is sad to see talent wasted like this.

If it isn’t obvious yet I’m not recommending Inn of the Damned. There was a seed of something interesting here and I really wish they had spent more time on the script to let it grow. Sadly, they didn’t so we end up with this muddled mess. You can skip this one.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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