‘A really weird movie that will make you sick sick sick!’
The Dismembered is a 1962 American low-budget crime horror film about a trio of jewel thieves who hideout in an old dark house. Unfortunately, for the robbers the house is inhabited by a motley bunch of ghosts who only want to dispatch their guests in the most horrible manner possible – that is if they can get to them before a group of dismembered corpses from the nearby cemetery.
Directed by Ralph S. Hirshorn from a screenplay written by Joseph Scott. Produced by Elliot Kone and Julius Tannenbaum.
The movie stars Frank Geraci (Starsky and Hutch; Police Woman; Kojak; Confessions of a Psycho Cat), Tim Sheldon, Kate Shaffmaster, William Lane, Martin Jackson, Oliver Nuse, Anna Rudolf, Barbara Scialla and Raymond Thorne.
“Performances are amateurish but never bad while the hauntings are on the technical and stylistic level of The Ghost of Hanley House‘s closing doors and offscreen screams […] What atmosphere the film does possess is entirely from the cinematography that is workmanlike but benefits from the beauty of monochrome when the lighting is adequate.” DVD Drive-In
” …there’s a lot more talking and plot exposition than action (or horror) until the last 20 minutes or so, when dismembered corpses from a nearby cemetery finally spice things up […] it is good for a few laughs and conceptually, it’s respectable enough as a low-budget film obviously made for fun by a cast and crew just learning the ropes.” DVD Talk
“Cute, but that’s about it. It’s occasionally amusing in a slight way, there’s some hokey charm to it and I love the wonky score, but it’s never particularly scary or laugh out loud funny. More than anything, it’s mostly fascinating as a look at what regional horror was like before Herschel Gordon Lewis, George Romero and others changed things.” Joseph Howell
“Very Edward L. Cahn-esque. The credits promise something Richard Lester-like zany, but the end result is pleasing, if not particularly funny. The improvised piano music accompanied by a bunch of electronic bloops and bleeps is great.” Justin Decloux
” …watching it now is like opening a time capsule from that weird, woozy period of decadal transition between, say, The Tingler and Strait-Jacket. A time when horror movies were kinda plodding, kinda silly, and aimed squarely at the kiddie matinee and drive-in crowds.” Liz Letterboxd
“Weird, hokey, and endearing […] it definitely feels like something cobbled together cheaply and quickly given that it takes place almost entirely in one location, but that’s really a huge part of its charm. Adding to the fun is a crazed soundtrack by the “Main Street Ghouls” featuring a wacko piano-driven main theme and some eerie electronic noodling…” Mondo Digital
“This was made locally by a less than super experienced cast and crew with very little money, so don’t expect loads of effects work. However, what does appear on camera works quite well […] At sixty-five minutes in length, the film is smart enough not to overstay its welcome.” Rock! Shock! Pop!
In the US, Garagehouse Pictures released The Dismembered on Blu-ray in May 2017. Special features:
Transferred and digitally mastered in 4K from the director’s only 16mm film print
Sound digitally remastered from the original optical tracks
Audio commentary with director Ralph S. Hirshorn and Andrew Repasky McElhinney (Chronicle of Corpses)
The End of Summer (1959) – 11-minute short film by Ralph S. Hirshorn
Liners notes by Dan Buskirk (Phawker.com film critic and host of the Fun 2 Know podcast)
Trailers for Garagehouse Pictures releases
Art by Stephen Romano
Cast and characters:
Frank Geraci … Carlo
Tim Sheldon … Jerry
Kate Shaffmaster … Effie
William Lane … Oswald
Martin Jackson … Tommy
Oliver Nuse … Henry
Anna Rudolf … I don’t vant to
Barbara Scialla … Ghost
Raymond Thorne … Max
1 hour 5 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Oswald, You Botched It Again
Opening titles clip: