*This is the first part of “Karloff’s Bizarre and Final Six Pack,” a series examining Karloff’s final films.
A lot of people have expressed the wish that horror icon Boris Karloff could have ended his career with Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets (1968). But Karloff, on his last leg, pushed himself through six more movies, four of which were the Mexican films for producer Jack Hill and director Juan Ibinez. This last six pack of films is, by consensus, godawful. Why did Karloff do it? According to his biographers, the actor said that he wanted to “die with his boots on.” And he nearly did just that.
This series is not going to be a revisionist look at those six films. They are awful within the accepted meaning of the word. Several of them, however, are downright bizarre products of their time, which now might be looked at as examples of naive surrealism. The films are: House of Evil (1968), Fear Chamber (1968), Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968), Cauldron of Blood (1970), Isle of the Snake People (1971), and Alien Terror (1971).
Fear Chamber ranks as one of the weirdest of the lot, and that is saying much. It begins with pseudo-torture of scantily clad women. The scene is soaked in garish sixties colors and a “bleepy” soundtrack. The various female victims are tormented by a goateed chap, wearing turban, sunglasses (in an underground cavern), white gloves, and black turtleneck. With “all the macabre horror of Edgar Allan Poe” these poor sixties chicks are subjected to hot coals and boiling cauldrons.
The scene shifts to the crevice of a volcano where two scientists are “worried about strange Continue reading FEAR CHAMBER (1968)