Unexpected Results – Master of Horror (1965)

While all of the footage in this movie was directed by Enrique Carreras for a film entitled Obras maestras del terror released in 1960, one has to wonder if one can still say as such when it ends up being cut down and assembled into what this particular feature turned out to be. As it only contains about two-thirds of that original movie, eliminating one full story as it were, that being The Tell-tale Heart, and leaving only two that would be edited down with a framing sequence, one can at least say this was not what Carreras had envisioned.

As it is, Master of Horror turned out to be fairly enjoyable, perhaps not the scariest of films ever made or the best Poe adaptation ever to hit the big screen but it is by no means anywhere near the worst. The dubbing, which one usually has to worry about, is done well and not out of sorts with a score that fades in and out of the picture to keep it moving along at a decent pace. The framing sequence was perhaps unneeded but it served its purpose as a maid, who is looking for something to do other than her household duties and so picks up a book from the one and only Edgar Allen Poe. The first is act is an adaptation of The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar where a hypnotist of no little talent tries to keep a very sick man alive. As it turns out, said patient may not be sleeping in the strictest of senses and that is when horror makes its way into this affair. Starring Narciso Ibanez Menta as Dr. Eckstrom, the man manages to hypnotize his audience with his performance, so compelling does it turn out to be. The second story in this feature called A Cask of Amontillado would star Menta once more as a husband whose wife is not as faithful as he would like. To make matters worse, she cheats on him with his friend and that is something he cannot forgive and so, while the film takes its time getting to it, Menta’s character shows a bit of gumption by taking his revenge out on the man in the most disturbing of ways after having already dealt with his wife.

Master of Horror would turn out to be an effective chiller, one that seems timid at first until it finally bites and it does so twice throughout its running time, which though it was short, was just right. There might have been a couple of moments where it seemed as if it were dragging just a little and maybe it was but it always kept the attention of the audience, mainly for the fact that one knew there was something that would turn it all on its head, some type of horror that would come into play to make it all worthwhile. Those moments were delightfully done by Carreras and Menta plays his parts to perfection. Whatever negatives one might find, they are outweighed by everything else to make for a very fun movie.

3.5 out of 5

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