The Monster Club
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|The Monster Club|
Spanish language poster for the film
|Directed by||Roy Ward Baker|
|Produced by||Milton Subotsky|
|Written by||Edward Abraham
|Music by||Douglas Gamley|
|Editing by||Peter Tanner|
|Running time||97 min.|
The Monster Club is a 1980 British horror film directed by Roy Ward Baker and starring Vincent Price and John Carradine. An anthology film, it is based on the works of the British horror author R. Chetwynd-Hayes. It was the final film of Amicus Productions.
A fictionalised version of Chetwynd-Hayes (Carradine) is approached on a city street by a strange man (Price) who turns out to be a starving vampire named Eramus. Eramus bites the writer, and in gratitude for the small "donation", takes his (basically unharmed but bewildered) victim to the titular club, which is a covert gathering place for a multitude of supernatural creatures. In between the club's unique music and dance performances, Eramus introduces three stories about his fellow creatures of the night.
A young, financially struggling woman takes a job at a secluded manor house owned by a hybrid creature called a Shadmock, which leads a troubled and tragic existence and is notorious for its demonic whistle. As time goes by, the girl, Angela, develops a friendship with the mysterious Shadmock, named Raven, and he eventually proposes to her. Alarmed, Angela refuses but her controlling boyfriend forces her to go through with it to gain the Shadmock's vast wealth. At the night of the engagement party, Angela is caught robbing the Shadmock's safe, and screams that she could never love him. Heartbroken, the Shadmock whistles and destroys Angela's face. Upon seeing her, her boyfriend is driven insane and locked away in an asylum.
The timid son of a peaceable family of vampires lives a miserable, lonely life where he is bullied at school and his father spends little time with him. The son discovers his father is a vampire, being relentlessly if ineptly hunted by a team of bureaucratic undead-killers. The hunters break into the house and stake the vampire father, but the tables are turned when the father bites the leader of the vampire hunters, meaning he will have to be staked by his own servants.
A movie director scouting locations for his next film pays a horrifying visit to an isolated, decrepit village, Loughville near Hillington, Norfolk, where the sinister residents refuse to let him leave. He discovers to his horror that the village is inhabited by species of corpse-eating demons called ghouls who unearth graves for food and clothes. And now there are no more graves to plunder and the ghouls are hungry for flesh. While imprisoned by the ghouls, he meets Luna, the daughter of a ghoul father and a deceased human mother. Luna advises him to hide in the church, as ghouls cannot cross holy ground. Whilst in the church, the director discovers the terrifying truth of Loughville; centuries before, a swarm of ghouls invaded the village, mated with the humans and made their nest there. The director with the aid of Luna attempts to escape, only for Luna to be killed by the ghouls and the director captured again and returned to the village by ghoul policemen.
At the end of the film, Eramus cheerfully lists to the other club-members all the imaginative ways that humans have of being horrible to each other, and declares that humans are the most despicable monsters of all. Thus Chetwynd-Hayes is made an honorary monster and member of the club.
Behind the scenes
Despite Vincent Price's decades-long career as a horror actor, The Monster Club features what may be his only film performance as a vampire;[original research?] although he appeared as Dracula in the educational film "Once Upon a Midnight Scary". Christopher Lee was originally sought for the role of Chetwynd-Hayes, but flatly turned the offer down simply upon hearing the film's title from his agent. The character of Lintom Busotsky is a film producer, and his name is an anagram of the real film's producer, Milton Subotsky.
The film was released to cinemas in the UK on 24 May 1981. During the 1980s, it was released to video and TV and became a small cult film. It was liked mainly for the pairing of Carradine and Price, who were preparing to leave horror for other ventures.
- Vincent Price as Eramus
- John Carradine as R. Chetwynd-Hayes
- James Laurenson as Raven (The Shadmock)
- Anthony Steel as Lintom Busotsky
- Warren Saire as young Lintom
- Britt Ekland as Lintom's mother
- Richard Johnson as Lintom's father
- Donald Pleasence as Pickering
- Stuart Whitman as Sam
- Lesley Dunlop as Luna
- Barbara Kellerman as Angela
- Simon Ward as George
- Directed by Roy Ward Baker
- Produced by Milton Subotsky
- Music by John Williams
- Concept art by John Bolton
Musical artists performing between stories include B. A. Robertson and The Pretty Things. The soundtrack features UB40 though they do not appear in the film. The rock band Night perform the track "Stripper", which did not appear on either of their albums.
The film's soundtrack album including both songs and instrumental tracks is included as a bonus feature on the US release of the DVD and Blu-ray.
The film performed poorly at the box office.
- "Smash Hits May 14, 1981".
- Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 p 160