Sunday, February 12, 2023

Dark Places, Christopher Lee and Joan Collins

A 1974 film with Christopher Lee?  Yep...and guess what!  No vampires and it is not a Hammer production.  Throw in Joan Collins a full decade before "Dynasty," and we have an interesting haunted house/possession tale.  I admit, Mr. Lee and Ms. Collins are an uncomfortable pair...then again, I'm sure you will find "Dark Places," directed by Don Sharp, an uncomfortable horror flick.  Sadly, the plot devices we all need to avoid are not avoided in this one.  Still...enjoyable, interesting, and one of those films where everyone gets what's coming to them.

We begin at a mental asylum.  Old Colonel Marr is on his deathbed.  In a crazy fit he blurbs out to Edward (Robert Hardy) a secret.  Seems Colonel Marr secreted hundreds of thousands of English pounds inside a wall in his mansion.  He also wills the mansion to his children and in the meantime tells Edward to go take care of it.  Now Edward wants the money and shows up at the mansion.  It is falling apart and abandoned.  He gets with the executor of the estate, Prescott (Herbert Lom), who informs him Marr's wife and children were murdered many years ago and their bodies never found. Uh doctor, Ian (Lee), and his sister Sarah (Collins) are aware the money is somewhere in the house.  Sarah is the town seductress and she gets close to Edward in hopes of finding the loot.

Strange noises abound.  Is the house haunted?  Well, Ian sends Sarah over there to make it appear that way. Bad news...the stuff going bump in the night has nothing to do with Sarah's trickery.  Pre-marital sex will abound and then Edward seems to get possessed by Colonel Marrs.  Now Edward begins seeing Alta (Jane Birkin).  She was Marrs' maid...and lover.  She also is thought to be murdered...body never found. Now, through a possessed Edward we see what went on in the house at the time of the supposed murders and it will make you very uncomfortable. A bloodbath beckons...but for who?  Ian and Sarah are greedy and is is is anyone who ever lived in the house.  

Were Colonel Marrs' family and lover indeed murdered those many years ago?  Where are the bodies and the supposed money?  Just who is Edward and how did he ever get control of the haunted estate?  This is a sordid tale that as you may guess, isn't likely to end well.  For a good haunted house/ possession tale that goes over the line...see "Dark Places."


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