A Blast to the Past – The Undead (1957)

There are only two reasons, maybe three, to really watch The Undead. The first being if you are a fan of Roger Corman as he always delivers quite a bit of schlocky fun with every picture, horror or not. Another reason to watch this is because it stars the truly enchanting Allison Hayes, an actress who was underappreciated except for those in the know which leads into the final excuse to put this movie on. If you like grade B-Z movies, then you cannot go wrong with this one as Corman once again shot it on a shoestring budget, cutting corners everywhere that he could. It the-undead-15was a silly affair, based upon the premise that a psychiatrist could regress a woman’s mind into her past life, but not only that – actually sending her mind back in time and then he too, doing the same and being able to join her in the exact same time period so that he can stop her from changing the past. Ridiculous? Yes, but highly entertaining.

The movie has everything but the kitchen sink in it, from damsels in distress to witchcraft, bad guys, good guys, magic, imps, ghosts and more. It truly is a hodgepodge of elements that seems like it should not work in the slightest and yet somehow is competently weaved together from the script by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna. Sometimes it is amazing what Corman can accomplish, the man being able to surprise the viewer when you least expect it and this picture is a perfect exercise in that. Pamela Duncan stars as the prostitute in the present and the lovely Helene in the past while Val Dufour is the psychic who meddled with her mind in the first place. Dorothy Neumann puts in a verythe-undead-14 animated performance as the witch and provides much of the entertainment found within. It is a bit of a shame that Hayes was not the lead instead of Duncan, despite the talent of the latter, but she does a great job and catches the eye whenever she happens to be onscreen. Richard Garland also starred, but for the most part, this film belonged to the ladies with all those of the opposite sex merely there to fill out the cast.

There are a few things to be found within that many will tend to find fault with, be it some of the hokey dialogue, the costumes or what have you, but overall, The Undead is not all that bad and you could do a lot worse. As far as being a horror film, there is hardly any present, yet it tries and there are moments where it does tend to be a little moody though not outright scary. The threat of being burned at the stake always tends to put a little fear into one, but even then, there was not enough tension or suspense to make it all that frightening. Simply put, this is worth it for Hayes and worth it for Corman, if nothing else.

3 out of 5

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