IT! (1966) reviews and overview [updated]

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[Total: 54   Average: 1.9/5]

It! is a 1966 British/American horror feature film that features the Golem of Prague as its main subject alongside a deranged museum curator. Also released as ItAnger of the Golem and Curse of the Golem

It! was directed by Herbert J. Leder (The Frozen Dead) and stars Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes; The Legend of Hell House; Embryo), Jill Haworth (Tower of Evil; The Mutations) and Paul Maxwell (How to Make a Monster; Aliens). It! was Ian McCulloch’s debut film – he later starred in Zombie Flesh Eaters and a slew of Italian horror films.

It! title shot

Plot:

After one of their storehouses burnt down, museum director Grove and his assistant Pimm (McDowall) find everything destroyed – only one statue withstood the fire mysteriously undamaged.

Suddenly, Grove is discovered lying dead on the ground – killed by the statue? Pimm finds out that the cursed statue has been created by Rabbi Loew in the 16th century and will withstand every human attempt to destroy it. He decides to use it to his own advantage…

it-1966-golem1
Director Herbert J. Leder apparently wanted the film to have the style of the Hammer horror films that were popular. He directed the camera work and audio effects to have the characteristics of a Hammer film. Although it was shot in colour, U.S. theatrical release prints were in black-and-white.

It dvd

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“With obvious references to Psycho (1960) and to Wegener’s German classic, Der Golem: Wie Er in Die Welt Kam (1920), and with infantile hero, the movie offers a confused mixture of horror and comedy, succeeding in doing justice to neither tendency. Production values and cinematography are acceptable though erratic, especially in scenes requiring special effects but the animation of the scraggy creature is well done.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

“This colorful, whacked out version of the classic tale of the Golem is really fun and finely acted. Sure, it seems a little slow and outdated, but that just makes it all the more charming. It’s a classy little horror show…” Brutal as Hell

“Some amusing touches to kiddie-orientated plot which progressively becomes more ridiculous to thoroughly ludicrous conclusion.” Castle of Frankenstein

It 5
“With echoes of dozens of other films, It stands on its own as a delightfully dark, tongue-in-cheek horror film that’s riddled with low budget nonsense, over-the-top hammy performances, and enough cheese to feed a third world country for decades.” Dread Central

“McDowall is so over the top, the characters so odd and the plot so loopy that it’s actually fun to watch, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good bad movie.” DVD Verdict

” …the script of this movie is an overblown, silly mess, which doesn’t mean that it’s not fun in its own way. And at least McDowell keeps the entertainment level running pretty high. And there’s one thing I have to admit – that Golem statue is pretty creepy.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …It! goes a little bit over the top, especially towards the end, making the film not only uneven but also ridiculous. Most frustrating, though, is the obvious and pointless Psycho rip-off of Pimm’s fixation on his mother’s corpse, with which he shares his home and to whom he pledges loyalty above all else.” Pop Matters

it golem

“As the film lumbers, much in the manner of its title character, to a close, the Golem manages to demolish Hammersmith Bridge before eventually being nuked by the armed forces, but on an outlay of about one-and-ninepence I’ll leave it to you to rate just how spectacular the achieved effects of these mediocre ‘highlights’ really are.” The Spinning Image

“As imposing as the golem might be, the real horror of the picture comes from McDowall and he is perfectly creepy and scary as the very modest and self-effacing Primm. Perhaps he was not always such a villain, only made so due to the sickness in his head and there is a small part of you that lends him sympathy…” The Telltale Mind

It!

“Admittedly, there are some crazy plot loopholes, including the fact that nutty Arthur keeps his mother’s corpse for company (a la Psycho), which – strangely enough – is not connected in any way to his acts of revenge, except to make his character even weirder […] The silly climax does a bit of damage to an otherwise solid effort, but just suspend your disbelief and go with it.” The Terror Trap

Spiirts-of-the-Dead-Frozen-Dead-It

Cast and characters:

Roddy McDowall … Arthur Pimm (as Roddy MacDowall)
Jill Haworth … Ellen Grove
Paul Maxwell … Jim Perkins
Aubrey Richards … Professor Weal
Ernest Clark … Harold Grove
Oliver Johnston … Curator Trimingham
Noel Trevarthen … Insp. White
Ian McCulloch … Detective Wayne
Richard Goolden … The Old Rabbi
Dorothy Frere … Miss Swanson
Tom Chatto … Young Captain
Steve Kirby … Ellis–Electrician
Russell Napier … Boss
Frank Sieman … Museum Workman
Brian Haines … Joe Hill–Museum Guard

Filming locations:

Barnes, London, England
Hammersmith Bridge, Hammersmith, London, England (Pimm orders the Golem to destroy the bridge)
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth, London, England (museum exterior)
Kennington, London, England
Merton Park Studios, Merton, London, England

Filming dates and release:

Production began on 7th June 1966. It! was released in the UK in July 1967.

Technical details:

96 minutes
Eastmancolor
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono (Westrex Recording System)

  

One Comment on “IT! (1966) reviews and overview [updated]”

  1. Mr. McDowell once told an interviewer he felt it incumbent on him to always give 110 per cent in any role, no matter how dubious the material. He said Bette Davis inspired him in that way. Maybe a lesson in there for all of us in our professions (yes, I’m probably writing this while slacking off at work).

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