A week that began with Hamilton and a Constitutional Convention of dancing patriots staggers to Howard Vernon madly operating (literally) in Castle of the Creeping Flesh (1968).
Putting aside any false equivalencies one might be tempted to offer of good and bad (or, for that matter, good and evil), there’s no denying both experiences are…special.
But for the sake of true absurdity, let’s save the hip-hoppin’ Hamilton founding fathers for the legions of fans (count me in) and spend a few moments with the mad doctor behind the portcullis.
Sometimes all the elements of shockingly bad film-making fall into place and something amazing happens;
- Start with lousy dialogue made worse by clumsy dubbing and then spruced up dizzyingly with mad quotes from Hamlet and King Lear.
- Add Howard Vernon delivering yet another execrable mad doctor performance (Acting Tip #1; Marty Feldman eyes do not enliven deadpan line deliveries – believe me on this…I know).
- Stir in Byzantine plot contrivances that only exist to risably explain the mid-film introduction of medieval costumes in a film with automobiles.
- Throw in a tedious sexy eating scene. Tedious. Sexy. Eating. Scene. How is such a thing even possible? Didn’t the director see Tom Jones?
- Slip in a dash of explicit surgical harvesting of body parts for obscure recycling purposes.
- Add a hint of a wax museum gallery from nowhere for no reason.
- Also from nowhere and for no discernible reason, add a murderous bear.
- Mix it all in soft-focus (artsy euphemism for “blurry”) flashbacks featuring way more bizarre sex in the straw than Goldfinger.
- Grind in generous amounts of gratuitous gore and nudity at the drop of a bodice.
- Add a gazillion pink candles (??).
- And for the coup de grace; no ending…none…nada…zilch.
This and less constitutes Castle of the Creeping Flesh.
And what, pray tell, is the “something amazing” that happens?
Well, aficionados, this film is STILL not as bad as Manos, Hand of Fate.
Did I mention there’s a bear?