DAY 24: Short Attention Span Theater: Watch some shorts or anthology things.
Jeff Burr and fellow director Kevin Meyer dropped out of USC to finish their American civil war drama Divided We Fall. Bur would follow that up with this film, which somehow got Vincent Price on board.
So how’d that happen? Burr would tell Michael Varatti, “The producer and I got his address from a celebrity address service, and we went up to his door with the script and a bottle of wine in hand.”
Amazingly, they weren’t shown the door. In fact, Price himself answered it. “He had every reason to ignore us, and even if it was on a polite level, he could have said, “Okay boys, contact my agent,” but he was just so gracious. He invited us in, sat and talked with us for about 15 minutes, took the script, and that’s how it all started.”
Other than Dead Heat, this would be Price’s last horror role.
As for Burr, he’d go on to direct Stepfather II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Puppet Master 4 and 5: The Final Chapter, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings and many more.
After watching an execution, reporter Beth Chandler travels to the small Tennessee town of Oldfield, where historian Julian White (Price) tells her four stories about the sinister past and present of the town.
First, a grocery clerk (Clu Gulager!) tries to win over his boss and all hell breaks loose. This segment may be why this movie was retitled The Offspring for its U.S. theatrical run.
Then, a wounded man (Terry Kiser, Bernie from Weekend At Bernie’s) learns the mysterious secret of eternal life.
In the third story — and perhaps the most intense — a glass eater falls for an innocent young girl and pays for it, thanks to his previous relationship with the carnival’s snake woman (Rosalind Cash, The Omega Man).
Finally, after a Civil War battle, Union Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell!) and his men discover that the town of Oldfield is populated by war orphans who they don’t take as seriously as they should.
Two-time Bond girl Martine Beswick — and Sister Hyde from Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde — shows up, as does Lawrence Tierney and Miriam Byrd Nethery (who would play Mama Sawyer in Burr’s Chainsaw film. It’s also the final role for Angelo Rossitto, who was Master in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, along with roles in Freaks, Galaxina, The Trip, Al Adamson’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein and so many more films.
While not as solid as an Amicus portmanteau, this certainly has its merits. You can check it out yourself on Vudu or order the blu ray from Shout! Factory.