Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Nights of Halloween: Guru the Mad Monk

As part of this year's wrap-up this year's 31 Nights of Halloween at Cinema Steve, here's a film you  should be happy to not have seen.

Guru the Mad Monk (1970)
Starring: Neil Flannigan, Judith Israel, Jacqueline Webb, Jack Spencer, and Paul Lieber
Director: Andy Milligan
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

An innocent woman (Israel) gets trapped in the web of lies, murder, and madness spun by the priest in charge of an isolated church and prison (Flannigan) and the vampire witch that is his ally (Webb).

"Guru the Mad Monk" might have been suitable Halloween viewing if you were looking to have a Bad Movie Fest as part of your celebration. It's got a creepy location, a hunchbacked assistant to a vile villain, witchcraft, a vampire, a damsel in distress... everything you need for a classic cheesy horror movie.

Unfortunately, the director took these elements and made one of the dullest movies you ever will have suffered through if you check it out. It has a few moments of tension and growing horror, but invariably those are ruined by weird cut-aways, awful dialogue, or the atrocious acting on the part of the cast--which are so bad that I was starting to think that Judith Israel was a great actress, until I took a step back and realized she only seemed to be because everyone else around her is so awful. She's passable... but given the rest of the cast, she seems like she could out-act any Hepburn you care to mention.

The Two Stars I've given it are perhaps generous, but they are based on the occasional bit of creepiness that the film manages to conjure up, as well as the unintentional comedy (mingled with a glimmer of horror or two) that we're treated to in the films final 10 minutes when we discover exactly how unhinged the title character really is. Getting to those 10 minutes means sitting through 40 minutes of unevenly paced, badly acted dreck.. and only the most motivated or desperate to be entertained viewers will make it that far.

"Guru the Mad Monk" is one of the films featured in the "Pure Terror" 50-movie DVD set. As such, it's harmless filler that you can save for last.

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