Boris Karloff Collection (1968 Anthology)

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Scene from Fear Chamber (1968 film)...
Scene from Alien Terror (1968 film)...

Four films made at the same time and with many of the same crew and cast:

  • Invasión Siniestra (1968), AKA The Incredible Invasion (1971), Alien Terror, Sinister Invasion
  • La Muerte Viviente (1968), AKA Snake People (1971), Island of the Snake People, Cult of the Dead, Isle of the Living Dead
  • La cámara del Terror (1968), AKA Fear Chamber (1971), Chamber of Fear, The Torture Chamber, Torture Zone
  • Serenata Macabra (1968), AKA Dance of Death (1971), Macabre Serenade, House of Evil

Summary

  • Alien Terror: "The mind of a genius in the body of a fiend!" A professor and his helper must stop a killer, the byproduct of a sinister invasion triggered by the professor's experiments with an atomic ray.
  • Fear Chamber: "In the name of science he created ... The Torture Zone!" A doctor finds a living rock and feeds it hormones from frightened young women.
  • Snake People: "Voodoo rituals on an island of evil!" An evil scientist and a sinister dwarf command a veritable army of LSD-crazed voodoo zombies.
  • House of Evil: "Every time you hear the death-tune, someone dies!" Relatives of a recently-deceased man meet at his eerie castle for a reading of the will, and encounter a piano-playing toy maker and his deadly dancing toys.

Details

  • Release Date: 1968-1971
  • Country/Language: Mexico/US, Spanish and English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi
  • Setting: Gaslight "Gudenberg" (Alien Terror), "Korbai" ("Snake People"), "Morhenge Mansion" (Dance of Death)
  • Starring: Boris Karloff, Julissa, Carlos East, Enrique Guzmán, Christa Linder, Maura Monti
  • Director: Jack Hill (US scenes), Juan Ibáñez (Mexican scenes), José Luis González de León (co-director)
  • Writer: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez, Karl Schanzer, Luis Enrique Vergara
  • Producer/Production Co: Azteca Films, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Filmica Vergara S.A.
  • View Trailer: (link), (link), (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link), (link), (link), (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (probably equivalent of a PG or PG-13 for mild Violence and mild Adult Content, and brief Nudity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

Not very "Lovecraftian", but there are tentacles in Fear Chamber, Snake People has an evil voodoo cult, Dance of Death is allegedly based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, and Alien Terror is supposedly based on a H.P. Lovecraft story. The stories - though allegedly based on or similar to Lovecraft and Poe stories - appear to have absolutely nothing to do with Lovecraft (and almost nothing to do with Poe), though there still might be some fun ideas here that can be stolen for use in your home-brew Call of Cthulhu scenarios.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • Y.Whateley: "Together, these three ultra-low-budget Mexican horror/sci-fi films are mostly entertaining, but really not very good, in the way that an Ed Wood movie is entertaining, but not very good. Karloff's participation in most cases is in the form of an 'extended cameo' - his scenes were apparently filmed in the U.S. in 1968 shortly before his death, then edited and mixed with additional footage shot in Mexico, with Mexican stand-ins filling in for Karloff when needed, before being released to Mexican audiences and a few Spanish-language specialty theaters in the U.S. after Karloff's death, eventually getting poorly dubbed into English and sold to television with English titles. Karloff, as usual, lends the material a little more dignity than it would otherwise have, but even he cannot save the films from the limitations of the writing, such as an alien genius who's best idea for stopping a kindly scientist from developing an atomic ray is to try to mind-control Jack the Ripper into sabotaging the experiment under the promise of being able to slash more women. The films often seem to have a kind of poor-man's Hammer Films-meets-Roger Corman AIP Poe film look and feel to them, which mostly works in their favor, and the special effects are generally adequate for the budget and low ambitions of the films. On the down side, the plots and writing are mostly silly, the acting is usually ridiculous and overdone where Karloff isn't involved, the dubbing is hilarious (a Mexican voice actor sometimes attempts to stand in for Karloff, for example, but sounds nothing like Karloff's distinctive voice and accent), and the stories - though allegedly based on or similar to Lovecraft stories - appear to have absolutely nothing to do with Lovecraft, though there still might be some fun ideas to steal for your home-brew Call of Cthulhu scenarios."


Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

  • Alien Terror: "The mind of a genius in the body of a fiend!" A professor and his helper must stop a killer, the byproduct of a sinister invasion triggered by the professor's experiments with an atomic ray.
  • Fear Chamber: "In the name of science he created ... The Torture Zone!" A doctor finds a living rock and feeds it hormones from frightened young women.
  • Snake People: "Voodoo rituals on an island of evil!" An evil scientist and a sinister dwarf command a veritable army of LSD-crazed voodoo zombies.
  • House of Evil: "Every time you hear the death-tune, someone dies!" Relatives of a recently-deceased man meet at his eerie castle for a reading of the will, and encounter a piano-playing toy maker and his deadly dancing toys.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication


Associated Mythos Elements

  • race: Tentacle Monster
  • cult: generic Hollywood Voodoo Cult
  • race: "Nordic Type" alien, dressed in a metallic leisure suit and piloting an Art Nouveau-meets-Art Deco "flying" saucer, tampering in Earthly affairs to stop atomic weapons, and capable of mind control and/or mind transfer/possession by way of a transparent energy-blob-thing


Keeper Notes

  • Doctor Herbert West and a hideous Voodoo midget in a top hat collaborate to reanimate an army of zombies controlled by a psychedelic serum and evil magic....
  • Jack the Ripper is compelled by an alien intelligence (Yithians, through the medium of a creepy glowing blob which possesses people on skin contact) to interfere with a Gaslight-era scientist's efforts at creating an atomic ray.
  • A mad scientist finds a living rock, and feeds it blood from living human sacrifices.