Saturday, October 27, 2012

Horror Rises From the Tomb

Hundreds of years ago, an evil wizard and his woman are executed for their heinous crimes. Cut to modern day, where a group of really boring upperclass friends believe they have made contact with the wizard during a seance. The skeptical one decides there is only one way to prove this is a bunch of hogwash: travel to the old mine where the wizard is supposedly buried and look for his body. Right. So of course they accidentally revive the wizard so that he can continue his killing spree.

Horror Rises From the Tomb has everything in place for a fun, trashy 70's Euro-horror experience except one crucial thing: momentum. It's weirdly slow for a film of its ilk. It's not quite Jean Rollin level somnambulant, but the film lacks narrative energy. The story grows crazier and crazier, yet the characters always under-react, everyone slowly stumbles around even when being attacked, the music doesn't pick up much. Even the voice over actors seem bored, delivering their lines mostly in monotone.

Still, it has everything else you could ask for. It looks good, it gets pretty violent, there's some fun low budget special effect, it's pretty weird in places, it's sometimes accidentally funny, and I think pretty much all of the female cast members get naked at some point. It's also surprisingly unpredictable, despite following a pretty standard template. Characters who seem important get killed off early on and vice versa. If I'm not mistaken, the final survivor is a character who isn't even introduced until 20 minutes or so into the film, and doesn't have any dialogue of substance until probably half way in. Yet the whole finale is built around her.

There's also a bizarre detour early in the film that I just don't understand. The protagonists stumble across some locals who chase down and murder a couple of men who they claim are criminals. They shoot one and hang the other, and then take body parts as trophies. The protagonists typically under-react to this, despite how messed up it is, but then it never really amounts to anything in the story. Like an hour later the locals show up again for like 2 minutes, just long enough to get killed by the wizard. Huh?

Rating: B-

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