Craze (1974)

Thanks to his work on Amicus films, Freddie Francis will always get a pass. And Jack Palance has made some of the worst movies I’ve ever seen so much better. Therefore, I wanted to like Craze way more than I ended up enjoying it.

Palance stars as antique shop owner by day, cultist by night Neal Mottram. The film starts with him sacrificing a nude woman to the African god Chuku, whom he believes will reward him with both wealth and power. Its movies like this that make being a devil worshipper seem rough and pointless. Every single turn, you have to hunt someone down, kill them, get an alibi and run from the cops. It’s a lot of work and when it’s over, you still lose your soul.

Diana Dors is in it and her life story is way more interesting than the film. She gained her first fame as a Monroe-esque blonde bombshell promoted by her first husband, Dennis Hamilton. After a career of sex comedies and Page 3-style modeling, it turned out that her husband was defrauding her. Still after that, she made further headlines by holding parties where she supplied hot young starlets and plenty of drugs to a large number of celebrities. The real stinger was that she had cameras all over the house to capture the action. The Archbishop of Canterbury even publically denounced her!

Supposedly, Dors left over 2 million pounds to her son in her will. It could be unlocked via a secret code in the possession of her third husband, actor Alan Lake, but he killed himself soon after she died from cancer. Despite the best efforts of codebreakers and even a TV special, the money has never been found.

Anyways — Craze. There are plenty of British starlets in this, too. Juli Ege from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to name one. I chose to watch this because Suzy Kendall from Torso and Bird with the Crystal Plumage was in it. And Marianna Stone from Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? shows up as well.

It’s not horrible, but it’s very slow. Palance is great — of course he is — but even he has a lot to contend with here. You can watch it for yourself on Amazon Prime and see what you think.

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