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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


One more variation on the search for eternal life, this Hammer Fright Flick must have been developed for that studio’s regular trio of Peter Cushing, Hazel Court & Christopher Lee. But when Cushing declined, accent-challenged Anton Diffring got drafted in, having just played Baron Frankenstein in a Hammer tv pilot. House helmer Terence Fisher takes little heed of the casting change, and even those with a taste for his highly EastmanColored terrors may find this stage-bound adaptation tepid stuff. Few locations, long, windy dialogue, it‘s a Drawing Room Horror. The gimmick has Diffring passing as 35, but actually 104, keeping fit as long as he gets gland replacement surgery once a decade. But with his old surgical pal now 89, and too feeble to operate, his only choice is Dr. Christopher Lee, who just happens to be married to the woman Diffring loves . . . and hopes will join him in glandular eternity! Now, he must kidnap the love of his (highly extended) life to force her husband into doing the operation. There’s a neat plot twist right at the end, but the trip there is on the sedate side, even with Diffring giving Vincent Price a run in hammy horror acting. Plus, the print used for the DVD seems to have lost its fizz.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Echoes of THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY/’45 in here . . . faint echoes.

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