Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson – yes THE Jack Nicholson, we all have to start somewhere.) has been separated from his regiment meets a call called Helene (Sandra Knight), when she suddenly disappears Andre’s attempt to find her leads him to the castle of Baron Von Leppe (Boris Karloff). In the castle Andre learns that the girl he has seen was the ghost of the Baron’s wife who died 20 years ago. Audre doesn’t believe in ghosts so pushes for the full story and learns that the Baron had been away at war and when he returned he found his wife in love with another so he killed her, now she haunts him telling him to kill himself so they can be together.
There are few more twists and turns that will leave you as confused as you might expect to be after watching a Roger Corman film. But this is a strange rarity in the horror genre, a ghost story and while it lacks a creepy little kid exclaiming that he sees dead people, it is still pretty good.
Reason to Watch
There is great talent here, Nicholson and Karloff and Coppla behind the camera, however it is the behind the scenes story that makes this interesting. Roger Corman had just finished work on “The Raven” and still had Karloff under contract for a few more days, so this script was thrown together over night using the costumes, set and even the Raven from the previous film. This is not uncommon for Coleman, both “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Last Woman on Earth” were born the same way.
In the early 60s films had not yet fully made the transition to color, so this is a quite a treat for a low budget film, although most prints floating around are quite washed out. Karloff was still a name but his glory days as Frankenstein’s Monster and Im-ho-tep were well behind him.
Most Memorable Quote(s)
“In the name of the government of France I demand you to open”
“With all respect Baron, for a ghost she is a very active woman”
“You seem to have thing confused, you’re servent not I, I’ll ask the questions”
What You Need to Get Through This Movie
In honour of Jack Nicolson\u2019s imput wear dark glasses, in honour of Frances Ford Coppla smoke a cigar and in honour of Roger wear the clothes you wore last week and dine on yesterday’s pot noodle.
Filmed in four days with five directors. Uncredited directors included Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill and Jack Nicholson
Sandra Knight who plays the Helene was actually married Jack Nicholson a year before the film was released. They divorced 6 years later after she appeared in Blood Bath, her career ended, while Nicholson went to star in Easy Rider for which he received his first Oscar nomination.
1. Don’t piss off your mother-in-law.
2. There are better ways to kill yourself than flooding your grave.
3. If a girl is good to be true, she is probably dead or trying to lead you to your death.
4. Like photos, paintings never lie.
5. Sighting The government of France will open all doors.
Justification for Rating
Given the talent on-board for this film it could have been a little better. As it is, it is an interesting ghost story with two titans of the silver screen, one at the end of his career, the other at the beginning.