EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS' DORMITORY (aka: GHOUL IN A GIRLS' DORMITORY) (aka: LYCANTHROPUS) (director: Richard Benson; screenwriter: Julian Berry; cinematographer: George Patrick; editor: Julian Attenborough; music: Francis Berman; cast: Curt Lowens (Director Swift), Carl Schell (Dr. Julian Olcott), Barbara Lass (Priscilla), Maureen O'Connor (Leonor MacDonald), Maurice Marsak (Sir Alfred Whiteman), Mary McNeeran (Mary Smith), Annie Steinert (Mrs. Sheena Whiteman), Herbert Diamonds (Police Inspector), Alan Collins (Walter Jeoffrey); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jack Forrest; Alpha Video; 1962-Italy/Austria-dubbed in English)|
|"A well-crafted and atmospheric Italian horror
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A well-crafted and atmospheric Italian horror
film directed by Richard Benson ("Diary of a Rebel"/"Una Vita Violenta"/"La
Morte Viene dallo Spazio"), whose
real name is Paolo Heusch. Problem is that Julian Berry's
script is a dog and the wretched dialogue is a howl. It
a double-feature with the British film Corridors of Blood in 1962, one
in which Boris Karloff had a minor role in. The dubbed in English American version
had a scene in which Marilyn Stewart and Frank Owens sing the rock song
"The Ghoul in School." It plays only during the opening credits.
Dr. Julian Olcott (Carl Schell, brother of Maximilian) is the dedicated new science teacher at
an isolated girls' reformatory in the country (which looks like the
English countryside), that features a gothic mansion on its grounds.
The doctor has a questionable past because he killed a female inmate at
the mental hospital he worked at, as he experimented with an antidote
for lycanthropy and the inmate took an overdose. Acquitted at his
scandalous homicide trial for medical neglect, Julian's boss at the
hospital recommended him to the director, Swift (Curt Lowens), who has an interest in werewolves.
Julian is happy to be in this gloomy dump because there are plenty of
wolves in the woods and he's free to continue his work on the
experimental antidote, as the director is an enlightened educator
looking to make a better society by going beyond the conventional.
During Julian's first-night
at the progressive reformatory, the inmate hottie slut Mary Smith (Mary McNeeran) is
killed by a pair of powerful hairy claws in the woods and her body is
mutilated. Julian becomes a suspect, since there were no murders until
he arrived. But Mary's best friend and fellow inmate Priscilla (Barbara Lass, Polish actress and the first
wife of Roman Polanski)
discovers that Mary was blackmailing the respectable but married oily school patron and administrator, Sir Alfred
Whiteman (Maurice Marsak), who was screwing her and pretending he
could get her a release, and thereby believes he's the killer. Slimy Alfred sends the sinister school
caretaker Walter (Alan Collins) to retrieve the love letters that he
wrote to Mary, that will soil his reputation, which results in
Priscilla being attacked in the woods by the same monster that killed
Mary--but she escapes. Alfred's
loyal wife Sheena (Annie Steinert) tells Priscilla her slimy husband is a
philanderer but not a killer, as the deaths mount and some of the best
suspects are among the dead.
Warning: spoiler in the next paragraph.
There's not much of a mystery
in this monster whodunnit, despite everyone in the school being a
suspect, as we soon learn that Swift's assistant, Leonor (Maureen O'Connor), is madly in love with her boss and
covers up that her dreamboat is a werewolf. We learn that Swift became
a werewolf because of a failed
and can be controlled
only by injections of Julian's antidote given him by Leonor, as during
a full moon he reverts to being a werewolf and kills randomly if not
Though it sets an eerie
gothic mood and works well visually, playing out as a cross between a
German expressionist horror pic, a whodunnit thriller and an American
female prison pic, the awkward English dubbed dialogue and the
incoherent story take away most of the points it might have scored as
entertaining nonsense. It's not a good pic, but is far from being
one of the worse horror pics, as some critics thought.
REVIEWED ON 8/8/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ