THE SPECTRE OF TERROR (1972) Reviews and overview

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El Espectro del Terror – translation: “The Spectre of Terror” – is a 1972 Spanish psycho thriller film written and directed by José María Elorrieta [as J.M. Ekorietta] (Feast of SatanDiabolical Shudder; The Curse of the Vampire). It was released in Spain in June 1973.

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Main cast:

Maria Perschy (The Ghost Galleon), Sancho Gracia, Aramis Ney (The Curse of the Vampire), Betsabé Ruiz, Víctor Alcázar, María Dolores Tovar, Ernesto Vañes, Ramón Lillo, Titania Clement, Maritza Olivares [as May Oliver]. 

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Madrid: Charley Reed (Aramis Ney) is an American Vietnam war veteran and befuddled serial killer who sloppily disposes of his victims in an acid bath.

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Mainly preying on beautiful women, the psychopath also murders a drunken ex-buddy who publicly mocks him in a bar and a doctor who offers to help him.

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Reed’s killing spree ends when he attacks Maria Preston, a feisty airline stewardess with a determination to live…

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It is easy to understand why this pedestrian Spanish psycho thriller by José María Elorrieta has remained utterly obscure for so many years and why it didn’t receive an international release. The simplistic plot merely lurches from one incident to the next, whilst Aramis Ney plays the killer as he becomes more and more deranged.

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There is no style in the presentation of the murderous yet seemingly mundane events that unfold and no reason for empathy with either the victims or the troubled maniac – clearly suffering from post-‘Nam traumatic stress disorder of a very intense nature. Aside from the sound of occasional intense war flashback gunfire on the soundtrack, Javier Elorietta’s discordant piano accompaniment, presumably intended to denote a descent into madness, merely grates on the nerves.

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Beyond the apathetic delivery, the most unsettling thing about the film, for this reviewer at least, is the killer’s penchant for messily drinking milk straight from the bottle.

Adrian J Smith, moviesandmania

Choice dialogue:

Charly: “Don’t make me kill you!”

Charly: “I am sick. I don’t want to hurt you.”



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