TERROR-CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE (1965) Reviews of Barbara Steele horror

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Terror-Creatures from the Grave is a 1965 Italian-American supernatural horror film directed by Massimo Pupillo (Bloody Pit of Horror). In the UK, it was released as Cemetery of the Living Dead.

The movie stars Barbara Steele (Piranha; Shivers; The She Beast; The Long Hair of Death; The Ghost; The Pit and the Pendulum), Walter Brandi (The Slaughter of the Vampires), Mirella Maravidi, Alfredo Rizzo (The Bloodsucker Leads the DancePlaygirls and the Vampire), Riccardo Garrone and Luciano Pigozzi.

Massimo Pupillo was apparently not satisfied with the final result of the film, and allowed the film’s American producer, Ralph Zucker, to take the director’s credit. Zucker also allegedly shot some of the more gruesome scenes that occur in the US version.

A lawyer arrives at Villa Hauff to settle the estate of its recently deceased owner. The owner’s wife and daughter reveal that he was someone who was able to summon the souls of ancient plague victims and, in fact, his spirit was roaming the castle at that very moment. Soon occupants of the castle begin to die off in gruesome, violent ways…

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” …a wonderfully grisly affair thanks to the plague spreaders backstory, the desolate village and Castello Chigi settings, the handsome monochrome cinematography was the work of Woody Allen’s later regular cinematographer Carlo Di Palma, and the special effects work.” DVD Compare

“This movie has some nice moments; in particular, a bizarre shot of plants moving in a tank of water, and a shot of a row of severed hands coming to life stay in the memory. The ending itself is pretty good as well, and some of the murders are memorable. Unfortunately, the middle section of the movie feels protracted and tedious…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …things only really hot up in the flashback to Hauff’s murder, when Pupillo treats us to weird close-ups of the conspirators’ insane laughter, after which Hauff’s clocks suddenly reanimate themselves and the eerie creaking of an invisible plague wagon announces the so-called “night of revenge”. The severed hands start flexing, the bottled organs begin to pulse, and the victims acquire nasty plague sores prior to slumping dead beside globes, harps and grandfather clocks. It’s a barnstorming climax but perhaps not quite enough to justify the build-up.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic

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” …an atmospheric picture that moves at a fairly languid pace. There are some really impressive shots in here, lots of spooky imagery and of course, the presence of the inimitable Ms Steele all working in the film’s favor, and those are all very good things indeed. The story itself is a bit clunky…” Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …the film is far from bad and quite arresting in parts: Dr Hauff’s voice croaking on a phonograph record; the unsettling image of flowers slowly wilting in a glass bowl; and the eerily beautiful children’s lullaby that clues the heroes how to survive the horror. Pupillo undercuts the eerie mood with chattering narration from his dopey hero…” The Spinning Image

Five Graves for a Medium is a fairly routine mid-60s Italian horror film. While it isn’t nearly as goofy as Pupillo’s contemporary Bloody Pit of Horror had led me to anticipate, it certainly isn’t any good either, at least in the sense that normal people use the term. I still found it moderately enjoyable, though. There are a few outbursts of amusingly incontinent overacting, some really choice dialogue…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

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Choice dialogue:
Albert Kovac: “There’s an owl caught in the engine.”

YouTube reviews:

Trailer [1080p HD]:

Cast and characters:
Barbara Steele … Cleo Hauff
Walter Brandi … Albert Kovac (as Walter Brandt)
Mirella Maravidi … Corinne Hauff (as Marilyn Mitchell)
Alfredo Rizzo … Dr Nemek (as Alfred Rice)
Riccardo Garrone … Joseph Morgan (as Richard Garrett)
Luciano Pigozzi … Kurt – the Gardener (as Alan Collins)
Ennio Balbo … Oscar Stinnel (as Edward Bell)
Renato Lupi … Archivist (as René Wolf)
Tilde Dall’Aglio … Louise – the Maid (as Tilde Till)
Ignazio Dolce … Policeman (as Steve Robinson)
Lucio Zarini … (as Lewis Czerny)
Piero Sartori … (as Peter Sarto)
Armando Guarnieri … Ivert / Ivatch (as Armand Garner)

Filming locations:

Castel Fusano, Rome, Lazio, Italy (Girl in Room 2aCold Blooded Beast)

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