23 April 2014

Curse of the Living Corpse (1964)
84 min.
Directed by Del Tenney.
With Roy Scheider, Helen Warren, Robert Milli, Margot Hartman, Candace Hilligoss, Linda Donovan, Dino Narizzano, Hugh Franklin.
A misleading title masks this good little slasher from 1963.

The plot is basic: Rufus Sinclair is the wealthy patriarch of a family of deadbeat losers: an alcoholic, a philandering playboy, an ungrateful wife. Miserly, vengeful and uncompromising, Rufus ain't about to win any popularity awards.

And when he kicks the bucket, the family breathes a collective sigh of relief. His greedy kinfolk then prepare themselves to receive Ruf's hard-earned bucks. Not so fast.

Before you can say 'reanimated stiff,' a black-gloved psycho begins stalking the Sinclair family and killing them one by one. Adding insult to injury, the maniac seems to delight in snuffing out his victims via their worse private nightmares: death by fire, death by maiming, death by drowning, etc.

Could the killer somehow be cold-blooded Rufus returned from the grave to teach his wayward brood a few lessons? Or could it be someone else altogether?

Solid low budget fun from director Del Tenney (1964's I Eat Your Skin), this boasts decent production values and a couple good moments, such as Vivian's bathtub scene. The acting is all over the board, but remember, this stuff isn't Chekhov anyway. Look for Scheider in his film debut.

This was remade in 1971 as Blood Legacy starring John Carradine.

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