Sunday Matinee: Chamber Of Horrors

Chamber of HorrorsThe film opens with a narration by William Conrad as he explains that there are at least four scenes in this 1966 horror film so frightening that these four “fright points” have had a built in audio/visual warning system applied to the film you are about to watch.

When a terrifying scene is about to occur, the Fear Flasher will signal the audience by having the screen flash red. At the same time the Horror Horn will sound (it’s kind of a siren) thus warning squeamish audience members to close their eyes when something gruesome is about to happen. Sadly the warnings don’t live up to the actual movie.

Chamber of Horrors has promise. Original shot as a pilot/made for TV movie for a future TV show on NBC called House of Wax. The show was deemed to gruesome for TV and thus released theatrically but with some added padding. Cesare Danova and Wilfrid Hyde-White star as two men who own a wax museum and help solve crimes in their spare time for the police. They also recreate each grisly crime in wax for their museum.

The movie opens with Patrick O’Neal forcing a priest to marry him and the woman he has just murdered. The police try to arrest O’Neal but he has gone into hiding. Eventually the cops turn to Danova and Hyde-White for help. They quickly figure out where O’Neal is hiding and have him arrested. O’Neal is sent to prison but on his way he escapes by chopping off his own hand (one of the fright points). He then gets several prosthetic attachments made for his missing limb and goes on a revenge rampage against the men who sent him to prison. To do this he uses the lovely Laura Devon as an accomplice, luring men to their doom.

First up is the judge whose corpse shows up minus a head and arms. It’s never actually shown although they do have a recreation of the body at the wax museum. Next it’s the doctor who declared O’Neal sane and fit for trail. Only his hands were found. It soon becomes clear that the last victim will be Danova setting up a showdown at the wax museum.

There is very little blood and almost no gore despite the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn trying to tell me otherwise and the movie is pretty obviously a 1960’s TV show. There’s random guest stars for no reason or importance to the plot like Tony Curtis, hey he’s playing cards. The film is a mildly entertaining time waster but nothing more. It’s a shame it doesn’t live up to the Fear Flasher/Horror Horn’s claims.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYJ0e4gfopA

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.