Ring of Terror
|Ring of Terror|
Alpha Video DVD cover
|Directed by||Clark Paylow|
|Produced by||Alfeo Bocchicchio|
|Written by||Lewis Simeon
Jerrold I. Zinnamon
|Music by||James Cairncross|
|Edited by||Jodie Copelan|
- For the novel by Michael Gilbert, see Ring of Terror (novel)
Ring of Terror is a black-and-white 1962 horror film, which centers around a young medical student named Lewis Moffitt who must open a crypt and steal the ring of a deceased man in order to join a fraternity. It was directed by Clark L. Paylow from a screenplay by Lewis Simeon and Jerrold I. Zinnamon. Ring of Terror stars George E. Mather as Lewis, with Austin Green and Esther Furst in supporting roles.
Ring of Terror was poorly received by nearly every critic who reviewed it. Criticisms were directed at the pacing and the age of the actors, with many critics feeling it was unsuitable for them to play college students due to their age. The film was featured in the sixth episode of the second season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, along with the third chapter of the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps.
Medical student Lewis Moffitt (George E. Mather) protects a secret fear of the dark, stemming from an ordeal as a child which involved a dead body that frightened him. Despite this, he acts indifferent during the first autopsy that he and his class witness, which has a positive effect on his courage. However, the autopsy provokes his soon-to-be frat brothers to come up with a strange induction practice, expecting it to go wrong. They task Lewis with finding and taking the ring of a deceased person, so he can be accepted into the fraternity.
Ring of Terror is narrated by a graveyard keeper, who invites the audience to follow him while he attempts to find his missing cat. When he finds himself near a specific gravestone, he finds himself thinking about Lewis Moffitt and his ordeal.
Ring of Terror was directed by Clark L. Paylow, from a screenplay by Lewis Simeon and Jerrold I. Zinnamon. Ring of Terror is Simeon and Zinnamon's only film credit. Ring of Terror features a musical score by James Cairncross. It is Cairncross' only credit in the entertainment industry. Cinematography was done by Brydon Baker, and the film was edited by Jodie Copelan. It was produced and released by Playstar.
Ring of Terror received generally negative reviews. A review in Fight Night on Channel 9: Saturday Night Horror Films on New York's WOR-TV, 1973-1987 by James Arena gave Ring of Terror a C, but noted that "it was just off-beat enough to hold my interest." Ring of Terror was included in Steve Miller's 150 Movies You Should Die Before You See. Miller gave Ring of Terror five thumbs down. He especially criticized the fact that the actors cast as college students were far too old, noting that they were in their late 30's and early 40's. Michael Adams, in his book Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made, reviewed Ring of Terror and found it to be dull and full of padding. Like Miller, he noted that the actors were far too old to play college students. He pointed out that lead George E. Mather was 42 when he filmed Ring of Terror. VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever called Ring of Terror a "cheaply made flop."
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Ring of Terror was featured in a second season episode of the television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was the sixth episode of the season, and was first broadcast on Comedy Central on November 3, 1990. In the show, a man named Joel Robinson is held captive in space and forced to watch the worst films that his captor, Dr. Clayton Forrester, can find. In order to put up with the poor films, Joel, and the robots he created, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot make jokes at the expense of the film while they watch it. During the episode, they are visible at the bottom of the screen while they watch the film, in silhouette. Due to the short running time of Ring of Terror, the third chapter of the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps was played after Ring of Terror concluded. It was the final chapter of The Phantom Creeps to be featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Ring of Terror has been released on DVD several times. On July 8, 2003, Alpha Video released Ring of Terror on a standalone DVD. Ring of Terror is included in Mill Creek Entertainment's Nightmare Worlds 50 Movie Pack Collection, a box set containing 50 horror films. It was released on August 15, 2006.
- The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States, Volume 1, Part 1. University of California Press. 1997. ISBN 0520209702.
- Miller, Steve (2010). 150 Movies You Should Die Before You See. Adams Media. ISBN 1440509026.
- McCarty, Clifford (2000). Film Composers in America: A Filmography, 1911-1970. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195114736.
- Lee, Walt (1974). Reference Guide to Fantastic Films: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Chelsea-Lee Books.
- Arena, James (2012). Fright Night on Channel 9: Saturday Night Horror Films on New York's WOR-TV, 1973-1987. McFarland. ISBN 0786466782.
- Adams, Michael (2010). Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made. HarperCollins. ISBN 0061966312.
- Craddock, Jim (2006). VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. Gale Group. ISBN 0787689807.
- "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Ring of Terror". TV Guide. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- In the Peanut Gallery with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Essays on Film, Fandom, Technology and the Culture of Riffing. McFarland. 2011. ISBN 0786485728.
- Beaulieu, Trace (1996). The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. Bantam. p. 25.
- Sinnott, John. "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 11-Collection: DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "DVD Empire: Ring of Terror". DVD Empire. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "Nightmare Worlds 50 Movie Pack Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 August 2013.