CASTLE OF EVIL (director: Francis D. Lyon; screenwriter: Charles A. Wallace; cinematographer: Brick Marquard; editor: Robert S. Eisen; music: Paul Dunlap; cast: Scott Brady (Matt Granger), Virginia Mayo (Mary Theresa ‘Sable’ Pulaski), David Brian (Robert Hawley), Lisa Gaye (Carrol Harris), Hugh Marlowe (‘Doc’ Corozal), William Thourlby (Kovic), Ernest Sarracino (Tunki), Natividad Vacío (Muchado), Shelley Morrison (Lupe Tekal d’Esperanza); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Earle Lyon; NTA Home Entertainment; 1966)
“It makes for a dull watch, except for those who get their jollies from films this terrible.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An obscure oddball horror film directed by Francis D. Lyon (“Red Planet Mars”) and written by Charles A. Wallace. It has an interesting premise, but is poorly executed, it’s not scary, the acting is lame and the script is embarrassingly bad; it makes for a dull watch, except for those who get their jollies from films this terrible. Six people who hated the deceased man, a beastly almost insane electronics genius named Kovic (William Thourlby), because he ruined their lives have been invited by his evil native housekeeper Lupe Tekel d’Esperanza (Shelley Morrison), who has voodoo powers and keeps a pet gecko on a leash, to his spooky castle on his private remote Caribbean island in Nassau to hear the reading of the will. They grumble about coming to see such a despised man but are assured they will be heirs to his wealthy estate. Before they arrive by boat Lupe fatally poisons the greedy undertaker Muchado (Natividad Vacío), who blackmails her over the mysterious death of Kovic. The guests view the deceased in his coffin. At the reading by Lupe, they are told their share will be divided equally among them (some $400,00 each), but if one should die the share will be divided among the others. Furthermore, Kovic appears looking like a robot and tells them the laboratory phosphorus explosion that disfigured him and led to his demise was not an accident, and that one of the six did it. They are not to collect a penny until they find out which one is the guilty party. The group realizes they are all in danger when Kovic’s arrogant lawyer, Hawley (David Brian), is found dead in his room as soon as he asks Lupe to see the will for himself.
The big yuk is that the group begins calling Lupe by the name of Loopy, as we enter into the fright territory of secret passages, betrayals that mean no one is safe and the supernatural. The human-like replica robot, created by Kovic with his brain stored in the computer, is bent on going on a killing spree. We learn that the ruthless madman Kovic dumped his redheaded mistress, an aspiring talentless singer named Sable (Virginia Mayo), who has the film’s best line when she says “I feel like a park bench, all I attract are bums”; robbed his native employee Tunki (Ernest Sarracino); filed a malpractice suit against Dr. Corozal (Hugh Marlowe) after he saved his life; ruined the professional career of engineer Matt Granger (Scott Brady) for no apparent reason; and was abusive to Carrol Harris (Lisa Gaye), Matt’s former love interest; and kept his crooked lawyer Hawley around just to abuse him.
The big question becomes if any of the group will survive the killing spree of the malfunctioning robot. If you want my two cents, the answer is not worth a darn.
REVIEWED ON 6/6/2006 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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