Im Banne des Unheimlichen (1968)

The translation of the German title to this film — Under the Spell of the Uncanny — is way cooler than The Zombie Walks and The Hand of Power**, the other titles for this Edgar Wallace adaption. No matter — this movie looks cool as hell, a Blood and Black Lace influenced pre-giallo with a delightful skull-faced killer named The Laughing Corpse* who even has his very own poison filled scorpion ring.

There’s one bonkers scene that would never be in a movie made in 2020, where the hero repeatedly tries to look up the skirt of a gorgeous librarian, who is played by Ewa Strömberg. She of course would catch the eye of noted pervert Jess Franco, who would cast her in Vampyros Lesbos and She Killed In Ecstasy.

As for the movie itself, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Higgins takes on a case that starts with a man laughing from the inside of his own coffin and gets even stranger with the deaths of nearly everyone who know that man, all from the scorpion ring of that dashing masked killer.

The credits for this really shout mod while the heroes shout old school, but you know, I pretty much loved all of it. I haven’t really explored the Wallace adaptions, but the last two I’ve watched her been more than entertaining.

This is one of the few giallo I’ve seen where the killer uses a machine gun. Also, there’s a guy with green skin and no one makes a single mention of it, so 1968 Germany was way woke early.

*The voice of The Laughing Skull came directly from director Alfred Vohrer.

**That’s the title of the book that this was based on.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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