Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls – USA, 1973 – reviews

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[Total: 13   Average: 2.5/5]

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‘He’s a specialist in his field!’

Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls is a 1973 American supernatural horror feature film produced and directed by Eddie Saeta (assistant director on 20 Million Miles to Earth) from a screenplay by associate producer Sal Ponti.

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The movie stars John Considine (Endangered Species; The Thirsty Dead), Barry Coe (Jaws 2), Cheryl Miller, Stewart Moss, Leon Askin, Jo Morrow, Florence Marly (The Astrologer; Games; Queen of Blood), Sivi Aberg, Jim Boles, Athena Lorde, and Moe Howard (one of the Three Stooges).

Plot:

Doctor Death (John Considine) is a thousand year-old magician who has mastered the art of transferring souls from one body to another and thereby manages to perpetuate himself …

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Thoroughly enjoyable obscure horror rarity featuring an infinitely memorable grand guignol style lead villain. Saeta may have never directed another movie, but he makes this sole entry deliciously memorable and fun. Without John Considine as Doctor Death, it’s unlikely the film would be as good as it is. A hidden gem of 70’s horror.” Cool Ass Cinema

“A wild, garish collision of drive-in gothic ’60s horror and ’70s shag pile carpet sensibilities, Doctor Death doles out the bloody goods while keeping its camp theatrics at just the right pitch. Fans of Robert Quarry and Vincent Price’s outings from the same era will definitely get a kick out of the bearded Considine’s theatrical performance, which is a pretty good indication of how The Wizard of Gore might have played with a competent actor in the leading role.” Nathaniel Thompson, DVD Delirium Volume 4

“Although Saeta had never directed a horror film before, he shows some flair for the genre, never taking the campy material too seriously yet allowing things to be played straight pretty much throughout. There are some haunting sequences within, including Fred following his dead wife’s ghost into her open tomb, and the film should satisfy most gorehounds…” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

“The soul transference plot was pretty interesting, and there’s something kind of wonderfully perverse about a movie where the villain seems to care more about the hero’s loved one than the hero himself. Again, the story was kind of novel – it was the lack of urgency that brought it down … There are some surprisingly graphic murders (there’s a great ax kill), but it’s never scary or even that suspenseful – it’s just “kind of cool”. Brian W. Collins, Horror Movie a Day

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“Overall this is a pretty bad effort, but camp fans may get some satisfaction from the cameo appearances by former Stooge Moe Howard (in his final role) and TV horror host Larry “Seymour” Vincent.” James J. Mulay (editor), The Horror Film: A Guide to More Than 700 Films on Videocassette

“Considine, later a regular in Robert Altman and Alan Rudolph movies, gives an all-out performance, killing one woman after another with the help of his assistant, Thor, and screaming, “Enter that body! Why do you resist these beautiful souls?” When someone stabs him, blood spurts from the doctor’s body into the face of the attacker, who disintegrates, then bursts! A bloody head with guts attached is delivered in a box. Doctor Death is a very strange movie.” Michael J. Weldon, The Psychotronic Video Guide

“It’s not anything great, but it is entertaining. This is basically due to the story and to Considines’ wonderfully hammy performance. The filmmaking isn’t anything special, despite the use of some amusing scene transitions. Considine really is the main reason to watch…” Scott LeBrun

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Release:

The movie was promoted theatrically by US distributors Cinerama Releasing as just Doctor Death.

In 2009, Scorpion Releasing issued a limited edition (just 1,000 copies) Blu-ray.

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Choice dialogue:

Doctor Death: ““Enter that body! Enter that body!”

Fred Saunders (referring to Doctor Death): “Why, he’s mad!”

Filming locations:

Aldrich Studios, Los Angeles, California

Image credits: Cool Ass Cinema | The Last Drive-In

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Moe Howard (Three Stooges) admires Sivi Aberg

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