Entertainment Weekly - 12/20/1996
"...Chaney is surprisingly affecting..." -- Rating: B
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2007
"[A] well-crafted black comedy with vivid performances and expert monochrome cinematography by Alfred Taylor."
This gleefully deranged cult favorite marked the feature debut of Jack Hill (COFFY, THE SWITCHBLADE SISTERS) and one of the final screen appearances of horror icon Lon Chaney Jr. The story takes place at the home of the Merrye family, victims of a strange disease that degenerates its victims to a pre-human, cannibal state. The sole remaining survivors are the family chauffeur, Bruno (Chaney), sexually precocious sisters Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) and Virginia (Jill Banner) and their animal-like brother Ralph (Sid Haig). The kids like to stalk and kill anything that gets into the yard, including an unlucky telegram messenger (Mantan Moreland), and when some greedy relatives eager to claim the family fortune intrude upon their familial bliss, an evening of wild, murderous thrills is certain.
Hill leavens the gruesome horrors of this film with sly wit, and even some touching moments; a tearful monologue by Chaney is a surprisingly moving highlight, and works eloquently as a farewell from the great star. Chanry also sings the zany title song. Fans of THE ADDAMS FAMILY or the films of Tim Burton are urged to check out this special midnight treat, which only gets better with repeat viewings.
Black Comedy |
Cult Film |