Plotline: Lt. Andre Duvalier (played by none other than Jack Nicholson), a French soldier who, for reasons unexplained, gets separated from his battalion and stumbles upon a young woman, wandering along the coast. He follows her mysterious self to the castle of one Baron Von Leppe (played by Boris Karloff), only to discover that not only has she disappeared, but also she's been dead for 20 years! I'd try to explain the rest of the plot to you, but truly, it makes no sense. I'll leave it that Andre has fallen in love with this "ghost" and spends the rest of the movie trying to find out the truth about her and if she's even a ghost at all.
Scariness factor: Like a 7 year old with a new Halloween outfit, it tries so hard to be scary that you almost feel bad for it and offer up a "pity scream." But, sadly, that's about it.
Originality: I don't even know where to start here. Okay, this movie is original. But that's only because I've never seen a film that left one with such a feeling of confusion and bewilderment. Full of plot twists that make no sense (The Baron is really his wife's lover, who killed the Baron and assumed his role, only to start believing he was the Baron and killed his wife and her love - himself- ) and scenes which play no part in the movie whatsoever (at one point, Andre finds a cradle in the Baroness's room. It's existence or significance is never explained), I found myself really trying to figure out what the fuck was going on most of the time.
Other High Points: Richard Miller as Stefan, the butler. For those who are not as freakish as myself, Richard Miller played Mr. Futterman in the movie 'Gremlins', a film very close to my heart.
Other Complaints: I will devote this time to some quick bullet points, detailed huge plotholes not already mentioned:
- After he arrives at the Baron's castle, Andre's horse goes missing. It's assumed that the Baron stole it, but why would he do that, seeing as how he wants nothing more than to get Andre to leave?
- Apparently, being "mute" means you can only whisper, as the mute character, Gustaf, seems to do alot of talking.
- Even if we're supposed to believe that the Barroness's "ghost" is really the living woman, Helena, it's never explained how she can appear and disappear, at will.
- Why does the Baron flood the crypt to kill himself, instead of just use the freggin gun he handed to his butler, just moments before.
- Why are there only 2 people in the whole damn village? (and I mean only 2, there's not even a freggin' single extra in this movie).
- and on..and on..
Overall: I'll admit, I was expecting alot out of this movie. With Roger Corman at the director's helm, a young Francis Coppola (yes, you read that right, Francis Ford Coppola had something to do with this film) in the producer's seat and Boris Karloff starring, it had all the points needed for a truly great horror film. But, somewhere along the line, the script got ripped up, lost, replaced with pages from 'Moby Dick' and thrown back together again, making a most unwatchable film. Sorry, but do yourself and a favor and avoid this film.
Labels: F movies