UK / 1972 / Amicus
Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Milton Subotsky after the comic strips by William Gaines
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Geoffrey Bayldon, Peter Cushing, Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Robin Phillips, Richard Greene, Barbara Murray, Roy Dotrice, Nigel Patrick, Patrick Magee, David Markham
Five tourists get lost exploring catacombs. A mysterious monk (Ralph Richardson) comes to them and foretells how their lives will proceed.
Ex-patriate American producer Milton Subotsky set up Amicus Productions in the 1960s as one of a number of companies hoping to emulate Hammer Films in the new horror cycle. Subotsky lured director Freddie Francis from the older studio and gave him a portmanteau movie, Dr Terror’s House of Horrors which, in 1964, helped to identify the Amicus house style.
Other such multi-story chillers followed – notably Torture Garden and The House that Dripped Blood – but the big hit of the studio was this collection based on the old E.C.Comics feature which packed cinemas for weeks in 1971. It’s very much of its time and genre, the only real surprise being that the great Sir Ralph should turn up in it. But no-one will be surprised or indeed disappointed to discover that each of the five tales takes a highly macabre turn.