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Mr. Sardonicus

Posted by martinteller on December 31, 2011

Gothic horror in the style of the old Universal thrillers, with a cruel baron who “experiments” on unsuspecting young girls to find a cure for his frozen grin.  An obvious inspiration is The Man Who Laughs, although the make-up here is far more grisly.  Also grisly are the torture scenes, not horrifyingly so (in fact, it’s almost a playful approach to sadism), but definitely creepy.  The performances are generally not that bad, with a memorable turn by Oskar Homolka (the villain from Hitchcock’s Sabotage) as Sardonicus’ mysteriously disfigured Igor-esque lackey.  Guy Rolfe is appropriately menacing in the title role, and Ronald Lewis and Audrey Dalton hold their own as the heroes.  The plot is a tad slow and full of holes, but in general the film is enjoyable.  It also culminates in another delightful Castle gimmick: glow-in-the-dark “Punishment Poll” cards the audience would hold up to decide whether or not to show Sardonicus any mercy.  There’s only one ending, of course (who’s gonna let the bad guy off the hook?) but Castle’s obvious glee in the pretense is a joy.  Rating: Good

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4 Responses to “Mr. Sardonicus”

  1. Dennis said

    Mr. Sardonicus is really a classic vintage horror film of 1961, and a very cool plot to boot. The story of Sardonicus is a real spooky chiller with very good acting but I like to focus on the character Anna played by Lorna Hanson.

    A perky peasant woman maid who had leeches applied to her but I don’t favor her face I would like to have seen the focus on Lorna Hanson’s bare feet.

    I wonder what went thru the mind of Lorna Hanson when she accepted this part and decided to bare her feet for leeches and if she had a boyfriend or husband see the scene and what he thought watching Lorna’s performance. Even my own wife Cathy shocked me after we watched Mr. Sardonicus together she remarked to me: “If they paid me enough as an actress I would have had Oskar Homulka apply leeches to the soles and toes of MY bare feet as you and other men in the audience watched” I asked her if she considered me as “just another man” watching in the audience? She remarked “well,…. yeah”. What is it with this woman? Can another man tell me?

  2. Dennis said

    She never indicated that before, and she kinda took me by suprise by that remark.

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