Friday 16 February 2018
Shanks (1974) - William Castle's work I kind of find goofy, enjoyable as a kid, but they aren't films, really, they're gimmicks. And his non-horror stuff are usually sub-Disney comedies. I like his Old Dark House (1963), but that is a contemporary Hammer. But usually, they're gimmicks. And this is a gimmick - 90 minutes of Marcel Marceau in a weird kaleidoscope of 1970s suburban California and mittel-European fairyland. It's inconsequential - what you get when you spread a spesh act over 90 minutes and inflict plot on it. There's a nice Phibesy feel to the start, the haunting soundtrack by Alex North helps, it feels almost like a US attempt to do something Czech. But the domestic drama collides with the weird fantasy elements. Then, just as it everything seems sweet and nice, some rapey bikers come in. And it goes full on zombie film. An interesting effort, with its zombie-puppets, but it just feels tonally all over the place. I wonder was Castle trying to go for a Willy Wonka feel, a family film that is creepy and macabre mixed in with sweetness, but the TV-level production values and hammy cast don't help.