It’s back to the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s in search of some old school horror thrills. But not even horror faves Vincent Price or Lynda Day George did much to make these more enjoyable.
WAR-GODS OF THE DEEP (aka: City in the Sea) (1965)
I had high hopes for a Vincent Price film that starts with underwater POV made famous later by Jaws.
It shows even more promise early on. A dead body is found on the shore.
Tab Hunter is a mining engineer staying at a hotel where he befriends a quirky artist with a pet chicken—and then a fish man sneaks in at night and abducts a young woman who is very interested in Tab. Little does she know he’s going to spend much of the movie buddying up to the artist…
Anyway, Tab and the artist find a secret entrance to a cave that leads them to an underwater city.
Vincent Price is the evil leader of a gang of smugglers that has lived there for ages thanks to a special oxygen that keeps them young. Vincent has also made those fish men his Creature from the Black Lagoon minions.
Unfortunately, this movie is all talk as Vincent spends much of the time explaining the origins of his city. There are a few near escapes for our heroes, but they keep getting recaptured. And only in the final act is there finally action involving the fish men. There’s a lot of it, it’s all underwater, and it’s all rather chaotic and doesn’t quite deliver any chills or thrills. Great footage though.
FEAR NO EVIL (1969)
Fear No Evil is the first of two made-for-TV movies focusing on the same supernatural investigator, and has a notable cast including Carroll O’Connor, Bradford Dillman, and most importantly, horror queen Lynda Day George—the reason I purchased this double feature disc.
This is one long and bland supernatural mystery movie. Lynda’s man purchases a mirror from a store after seeing a vision in it. He brings it home. He sees a vision in his rear view mirror while out for a drive with Lynda. They crash, she is thrown from the car, he dies.
Lynda is invited to stay at his mother’s house to grieve…and the mirror is brought along and placed in her room. Lynda begins to see visions of her man in the reflection and wants to die and go join him.
Their friend, a detective of the unexplained, begins investigating to find out what led to the purchase of the mirror. He slowly discovers it concerns a cult, a demon resurrection, and eventually, the car crash.
There are plenty of twists along the way that were probably much more surprising when the film came out. In this day and age, this feels very paint-by-numbers and I didn’t find it at all eerie or suspenseful. However, Lynda gets a pretty good chase scene.
RITUAL OF EVIL (1970)
The supernatural investigator from Fear No Evil is back for this sequel, investigating the death of a rich young heiress who was a member of a cult.
This follow-up is even duller than the first film. We have a family of dysfunctional elites, a Black guy who found the body and makes it very clear from the start that he feared for his life because he found a white woman dead (50 years later and it’s still the same), and a pretty blonde witch the investigator falls for who worships Satan.
Once again we get talk talk talk for a majority of the film, there’s an anticlimactic ritual scene at the end, and then the witch disappears from the investigator’s life.
It definitely seems to set this one up for another movie, but that never transpired. Instead, Kolchak took over with his much more thrilling horror investigations that scored him two movies of the week and a series.