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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, August 9, 2023

The Horror of it All (1964)

I find some weird shit. Though this one threw me for a loop. The Horror of it All is a mid-sixties horror comedy directed by Terrence Fisher who was responsible for some of my favorite Hammer Horror flicks. That got my attention for sure. But when you add in that it stars American actor/singer Pat Boone… well my mind was blown. How had I never heard of this one before? Stick with me and you will find out.

Jack, Boone’s character, is driving thru the English countryside when his car breaks down. He starts to push it, but it gets away from him and rolls down a hill. He eventually gets to a house and when he knocks on the door a gunshot rings out. Interested yet? It turns out the house is the home to the Marley family. His fiancĂ© Cynthia is a Marley and Jack has surprised her by coming to visit. He is there to ask her uncle for permission to marry her. Here is where shenanigans ensue.

The family is filled with oddball characters including an overly dramatic actor, a crazy uncle that is kept locked up, a cousin who thinks she is a vampire and is giving off a definite Barbara Steele vibe, as well as many more. There is also a dead cousin, Creighton, which is important since he is only the first of many to come. Someone is killing off the members of the Marley family, but why? Maybe the million dollar inheritance might have something to do with it. There are some twists and turns as attempts are made to kill Jack as well with all sorts of complicated plots. Eventually we figure out the who and the why, but did I care?

The answer to that final question is no. Be warned that my review is going to contain some spoilers as they are unavoidable. I don’t feel too bad since I don’t think anyone should waste their time on The Horror of it All. There are many issues with this movie. The first is the pacing. We get long stretches with not much happening. They do try and drop some gags in for a few laughs which leads to the second issue.

I don’t find Boone to be particularly funny. He isn’t suited to the sort of slapstick that passes for jokes here. There are falls, tarantulas, a collapsing ceiling, and a weird “horseless carriage”. Maybe a more gifted physical comedian could have sold these, but that simply isn’t what Boone is good at. What he is good at is singing so we get an obligatory musical number where he sings the theme song of the movie in the movie. This certainly doesn’t help the pacing problems.

Look kids its bootleg Barbara Steele!
I was also annoyed with the ending. We get this weird bit where it turns out that Cynthia is the killer. She wanted the family’s money so planned to kill off everyone to get it. But since Jack showed up she decided that he had to die as well. Why? Reasons, I guess… It comes to a head when she pulls a gun on him, and they struggle over it. A shot rings out and then Jack wakes up in the hospital. But then the doctor tries to kill him with a shot and Cynthia runs in to save the day. It turns out the doctor was one of the family members who we saw murdered but wasn’t actually dead. Wait… what? Don’t overthink it guys. This is then our happy ending as Cynthia and Jack get married.

I know now why I’ve never heard of this movie. It is bad, really bad. It apparently flopped on release and failed to find an audience in later years. As interesting as the idea of Pat Boone in a movie like this is the payoff is far too little to recommend that anyone invest seventy five minutes of their life watching The Horror of it All. You want a movie like this then check out the William Castle remake of The Old Dark House with Tom Poston. That isn’t a perfect movie either, but it is way more fun than this turkey. I also just now realized that movie came out the year before this one. I wonder if they were trying to cash in on it?


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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