The final movie directed by Roy Ward Baker (Asylum, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires) and produced by Milton Subotsky (who was behind Amicus along with Max Rosenberg), this portmanteau film is based on the stories of R. Chetwynd-Hayes. While it all feels like an Amicus film, it is not. But don’t hold that against it.
R. Chetwynd-Hayes (John Carradine!) meets the famished vampire Eramus (Vincent Price!), who bites him and then takes him to the Monster Club, where nightclub acts perform and three stories are shared.
In The Shadmock, Angela (Barbara Kellerman, Satan’s Slave) takes a job at a secluded mansion owned by a Shadmock named Raven. The strange creature falls in love with her and her controlling boyfriend (Simon Ward, Zor-El in Supergirl) forces her to marry him so they can steal all of the beast’s money. The night of their engagement party, Raven discovers Angela stealing his gold and she screams that she could never love him. In anguish, he responds with his demonic scream, destroying her face and putting her boyfriend in a mental home.
Next is The Vampires, where a young vampire is bullied at school and ignored by his father, who is played by Richard Johnson (Dr Menard from Zombi 2!). Meanwhile, some totally business-like bureaucratic vampires — led by Donald Pleasence! — kill the father, or so we think. Family bliss is soon returned when dad fakes his demise and mom — Britt Ekland! — bites good old Donald.
In the third story, The Ghouls, a movie director (Stuart Whitman, Guyana: Crime of the Century, Demonoid) discovers a new location for his film, a place where ghouls eat the living. There, he meets the hum-ghoul Luna and her ghoul father (Patrick Magee, Tales from the Crypt). He tries to escape but learns that this will be the final location he ever sees.
Finally, Eramus and the club members decide that humans are the worst monsters of all. Except for Chetwynd-Hayes, who is made an honorary monster and club member.
Both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing turned down this film! I like it — the music in between is really weird, with a girl stripping her clothes and then her flesh off. It’s…well, this is a strange one! It’s also the only movie where Vincent Price played a vampire.
Beyond John Bolton painting the picture of the Shadmock, there was a limited edition comic book made of this movie to promote it at Cannes. 2000AD creators like Dez Skinn and David Lloyd also worked on the comic! Here’s a great YouTube video of it.
Also: this part about the genealogy of monsters is the best part of the film! You can get a copy of it at Amok Time.
You can also listen to our podcast about this movie!