Thursday, June 14, 2012


This little-known movie was marketed as a horror film along the lines of the period shockers which came out from Hammer and American International in the 60's, and the recent DVD is similarly pitched, but I suspect horror fans would be disappointed.  The deceptive ads are a shame because this is a well-made Gothic melodrama, rather like a PBS adaptation of a Bronte novel.  John Turner is an English lord who returns to his estate with a new wife (Heather Sears).  His homecoming is not happy: first, villagers think that Turner is responsible for the brutal murder of a young woman in the woods a few days earlier, though he insists he was far away with Sears.  Second, the ghost of his first wife, who killed herself a few years earlier, has been seen around the house.  Turner's father (Raymond Huntley) is mute and wheelchair-bound due to a stroke, and relies on Ann Lynn, the sister of Turner's first wife, as his caretaker--she's the only one who can interpret his sign language.  Other characters include an accountant (Peter Arne) who seems suspicious from the word go, a butler, a burly blacksmith, and a local slattern who you know will wind up dead.  The solution is not supernatural at all, and is in fact easy to figure out, especially if you are at all familiar with Gothic novel conventions, but the movie is still quite watchable.  It actually seems better made and acted than the average Hammer/AIP shocker of the era (and it looks OK, although the widescreen movie should have been letterboxed by Image for their DVD).  Turner makes a good hero (or is he a villain?) and Arne is fine as well.  Worth catching as long as you're not expecting blood and monsters.  [DVD]

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