Wednesday, May 1, 2013
WHAT A CARVE UP! - “No Place Like Homicide!” (1961)
TOO BAD, as we here are stuck with this abject stinker whose original title was NO PLACE LIKE HOMICIDE!
Here is our "hero" Kenneth Connor in the role of Ernie Broughton, a milquetoast whose job is copy editing horror novels. In truth this turkey is based on the book "The Ghoul" by Frank King, the same source novel for the rare Boris Karloff vehicle THE GHOUL in 1933. While that film was a surprisingly grim slice of pre-code horror, this film is strictly a comedy. Kind of, sort of.
Here we go, one of the few reasons to see this thing -- DONALD PLEASANCE. Hailed by my father as the "greatest actor in the English language," Pleasance is best known as Sam Loomis in the HALLOWEEN film series. You should check out the Australian shocker WAKE IN FRIGHT, which stars Pleasance at his most slimy! Here, he plays sinister lawyer Everett Sloane, who informs Ernie that his Uncle Gabriel has died and must hie himself to his gloomy ancestral mansion for a reading of the will!
Here's a de rigueur spooky moment in all of these films -- a spooky train conductor who warns the guys not to venture out to the spooky old mansion. This cliché is sacrosanct as it's been included in virtually every Brit horror flick, as recently as THE LADY IN BLACK as recently as last year!
So we arrive at the mansion, and who should one of Ernie's relatives be but venerable actor DENNIS PRICE! Price started off his film career with classic Ealing Studio comedies like KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, and was something of a romantic male lead until alcoholism and closeted homosexuality -- in spite of marriage and children, got the better of him. He would end his career performing in the films of JESUS (Focus! Focus! FOCUS!) FRANCO before passing away at the age of 58 in 1973. Franco himself began playing a harp earlier this year....
My! This tired ol' thang has an unusually strong cast! It's horror movie fave Michael Gough as the butler, long before he began essaying the role of Alfred the Butler in the recent BATMAN series. Gough would act in many of the British horror films of producer Herman Cohen, such as KONGA, HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM and THE BLACK ZOO. His last film work was providing the voice of the Dodo bird in Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND before passing in 2011 at the ripe old age of 94. Trivia note: Both Gough and Price would appear in the cheap-o horror classic HORROR HOSPITAL in 1973.