Story: A detective is investigating the disappearance of a famous horror movie star after recently moving into a new house. From a police deputy and the owner of the house he learns of the terrible things that have happened there: 1. A writer is terrorized by something out of one of his stories, 2. Two men are obsessed with a wax figure of a woman they knew, 3. A little girl gets revenge through witchcraft, and 4. An actor finds a cloak that makes one a real vampire.
Review: Next to the 1972 Amicus film 'Tales From the Crypt,' this was one of my favorites as a kid. It's from a time when most horror films were about mystery and suspense instead of blood and sex. Not that I don't like films with the latter, in fact some of my favorite horror films are extremely bloody and gory and filled with sex and/or nudity, but it's also nice to see movie makers trying to really scare their audience. Now before I really begin, I must admit that this film isn't solely a vampire film. It features other horrors as well, but since it doesn't contain mummies or zombies, but does have a story about vampires this was the only category I could put it under.
One thing you'll notice from the start is the score, which is not so subtle. It's quite grand and also eerie at times. The cast is made up of mostly Hammer Horror favorites and they each, along with the rest of the cast, give great performances. Not only does the film sound good, but it also looks good because of the brilliant cinematography by Ray Parslow, who only worked on one other horror film. Those tired of false alarm scares should be pleased with the good old fashioned thrills and chills of this production, which includes things like scary faces in the window, scary sounds, and other goosebump-inducing stuff.
A few really haunting moments and images, especially in the first and last segments. The overall film is good fun, but the pace is pretty slow at times in the first half. Thankfully it picks up and moves along without a problem by the midpoint. The house itself is also quiet spooky, which is helped by it being in the middle of nowhere and not having much light. For the most part the production design and set decoration are very good, giving the film a real Gothic Horror feel. And finally, as I said earlier, the film focuses more on mood and terror rather than gratuitous gore and nudity.
On the negative side of things, again their are some pacing issues in the first half. Though not totally cliched, some still manage to sneak in there every now and then. Also, aside from the story entitled 'The Cloak,' the rest feel like they've been done before many times. The second one called 'Waxworks' is by far the weakest of the four. The acting is fine and there are some nice moments, but it really lacks the suspense and good scares of the others. The budget was also pretty low, and it shows at times.
Not one of the greatest Anthology horror films for sure, but certainly better than average. They sure don't make them like this anymore, and nobody does a horror film like the Brits.