Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

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...

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Monster of Blackwood Castle (1968)

If you haven’t figured it out yet I’m a huge fan of mystery movies. I mean you are here for my third annual review marathon so it should be obvious by now. That said I’ve never understood the appeal of these West German productions of Edgar Wallace novels. Something about them just doesn’t connect. That said I’ve been told that The Monster of Blackwood Castle is the best of the series, so I figured it was worth a shot.

The movie opens with a guy walking in the fog thru what looks like a marsh or perhaps a forest. There is some howling and then the groovy sixties chase music kicks in. He is cornered by a “beast” (actually just a Doberman) who attacks him. Later we see a man with an eye patch dumping the body in the water, which turns out to be the moat of Blackwood Castle. This is all witnessed by another man who doesn’t intervene but seems interested in what is happening. That is all before the main story even kicks in!

Jane arrives at Blackwood Castle to make her inheritance official. Her father had just passed so the whole place is hers know. Though the solicitor tries to get her to sell the place right away for a tidy sum. Then another man shows up and offers twice that tidy sum to buy the castle immediately. Sensing something might be up Jane refuses to sell and is immediately set upon by all sorts of shenanigans. Plastic skeletons, impromptu power outages, snakes slithering between the sheets. Someone really wants her to sell the place! More people come to town and many more die to the “monster”, which is again just a Doberman, before the big mystery is revealed.

This next bit is a spoiler so be warned. Her dead father was the leader of a gang that stole a pile of gems and jewelry. He is dead, the other members of the gang is looking for it, and someone is killing them off. Toss in a couple more twists that I’m not going to share here and you have yourself a movie.

So, what did I think? Well first off someone has read A. Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles as this movie clearly took some inspiration from that novel. The setting of the spooky estate, the nearby moors aka. marsh, and of course the canine killer all are lifted directly from that. The pacing isn’t great. It kicks off with a murder but then bogs down as characters are introduced and then killed off without a great deal of explanation as to what is going on. There is zero chance of following along or figuring out what the hell is going on. That was annoying and I found myself bored with what I was watching.

There are also a couple gags that didn’t work. Did I forget to mention that there are attempts at comedy? This is one of those flicks that tries to mix genres and fails to successfully pull it off. The lead investigator, Sir John of Scotland Yard, eventually shows up and bumbles around before accidentally stumbling onto what is happening due to the efforts of his helpful assistant Miss Finley. Before Sir John the movie isn’t serious but also doesn’t try to be slapstick. We also get the comic relief from the local Innkeeper who was formerly lady of the castle before selling it. Again, none of these attempts at humor worked for me and didn’t feel like they fit with the rest of the flick.

If this is the best of the Edgar Wallace adaptations, then I’m thinking that these movies just aren’t for me. I know that they have a rabid fanbase and if you are one of those folks then more power to you. I like a lot of stuff that other people hate on, so I get it. Sadly, I can’t recommend anyone waste their time on The Monster of Blackwood Castle.


© Copyright 2024 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment