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LA CASA DEL TERROR (1960) AND FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964)

The posthumous classification of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello erroneously places them on a level with  or The Marx Brothers.  However, few, if any, of the Abbott and Costello films withstand the test of time.  Their initial rendezvous with a trio of Universal monsters retains some dated charm, but little of it comes from the comedy team.  Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is essentially a vehicle for ‘s Dracula parody and Lenore Aubert’s vamp.  The Monster (Glenn Strange) has little to do, and  seems mightily uncomfortable with the surrounding juvenile antics.  Even worse is Bud Westmore’s unimaginative assembly line makeup, which reduces Lugosi’s Count to baby powder and black lipstick and Lon Chaney Jr’s Larry Talbot to a rubbery lycanthrope.

La casa del terror (1960) is a south of the border imitation of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, along with about a half dozen other films, including King Kong (1933).  German Valdes (aka Tin Tan) is Casimiro and, just like in A & C Meet Frankie, he is doing some work in a house of wax horrors, which currently has a real mummy display.  Below the exhibit, the Professor (Yerye Beirut) is deep in mad scientist experiments (just like  in his Columbia movies or Lugosi at Monogram).  None too surprising, the Professor has an assistant who helps his boss steal bodies and blood.  When bodies are not to be found, the two extract fluids from Casimiro, which renders our hero lethargic (at least Lou Costello kept his energy level up).  Narratively, having your protagonist sleep through half of the film does not seem like a sound idea.  Casimiro’s gal Paquita (Yolanda Varela) doesn’t think so either.  After all, she is working a full time job and beau here is one lazy sot!  Perhaps the all too repeated shots of Casimiro counting sheep are not necessarily a bad device after all because when he does wake up, he breaks into comedic patter which actually makes Lou Costello look funny again.  Valdes elicits more groans than laughs and he even engages in a song and dance number with Valera.  YES, IT’S A MUSICAL TOO!  Valera does not have to work hard at making Valdes’ musical talents look pedestrian.

Still from La Casa del Terror (1960)Director Gilberto Martinez Solares cast Lon Chaney Jr, clearly past his prime, as a dual mummy/wolfman which, of course, were the two characters that Chaney played most often in the 40’s  cycle.  Chaney is only briefly glimpsed as a mummy, and a rather well fed one at that.  The make-up job is something akin to a glob of silly putty.  The Professor, tired of Casimiro’s rotten blood, decides to steal the mummy for experimentation. The Doc and his assistant put the ancient Egyptian into a big Son Of Frankenstein (1939) contraption.  Briefly, a Continue reading LA CASA DEL TERROR (1960) AND FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964)