The scariest thing about Roy Ward Baker’s tribute to Brit-studio Amicus’ portmanteau horror pics is UB40 on the soundtrack – but its tender love for vintage monsters endears nonetheless.
John Carradine is the writer taken to a rather camp and dated bright garish monster club by Vincent Price’s gentlemanly vamp, Count Erasmus (after he bites him) where three classic R. Chetwynd-Hayes tales unfurl involving mournful monsters, silly vampires and – best of all – hungry ghouls.
The first segment (‘Shadmock Story’) introduces George (Simon Ward) and Angela (Barbara Kellerman) – a scheming young couple who earn a living scamming and stealing from the rich but who are currently hard up for cash.
Angela answers an advertisement seeking someone to help catalogue antiques at a remote stately mansion, only to discover the ghoulish but gentle owner, Raven (James Laurenson), is a ‘Shadmock’ – a hybrid creature with a demonic whistle capable of making humans disintegrate.
Angela develops a friendship with the mysterious Shadmock, and he eventually proposes to her. She refuses but George forces her to go through with it in order to gain the Shadmock’s vast wealth.
On the night of the engagement party, Angela is caught robbing the Shadmock’s safe and confesses that she does not love him.
Heartbroken, the Shadmock whistles and destroys Angela’s face. Upon seeing her, George is driven insane and locked away in an asylum.
The second segment (‘Vampire Story’) revolves around Lintom Busotsky (Warren Saire), a shy boy who endures a lonely life and is bullied constantly at school.
Unbeknownst to the boy, his father (Richard Johnson) – who only works nights – is a vampire and is being stalked by a squad of vampire hunters led by a clergyman named Pickering (Donald Pleasence).
The final segment (‘Humgoo Story’) follows Sam (Stuart Whitman), an American movie director who is scouting remote country locations in Britain for his next horror film in his Porsche 911. He ends up in a fog-bound decrepit and isolated village where the sinister residents refuse to allow him to leave.
Turns out the residents are flesh-eating ghouls who plunder graves for food, but the graves are all empty now and the corpse-eaters are hungry.
Sam meets Luna (Lesley Dunlop) – the daughter of the ghoul innkeeper (Patrick Magee) and a deceased human mother, making her a “hum-goo” – who tries to help him escape but is killed by the ghouls and Sam is captured again and returned to the village by ghoul policemen.
Game cameos (Patrick Magee, Britt Ekland, Geoffrey Bayldon, The Pretty Things, B.A Robertson) make the ‘trendy’ pop interludes look redundant: the fun lies in the nostalgic buzz of seeing horror’s old hams reconvene for old times’ sakes.
As the all-dancing finale proves, Price still had some moves.
The Monster Club
The Pretty Things
Raven (the Shadmock)
Roy Ward Baker