Hypnotic suggestion as a weapon. The carnival, a hypnotist, nice walks on the beach, past life regression devolves into a creature on demand. A third-rate Bela Lugosi seizes his 15 minutes of fame. Deaths, headlines, cocktail parties, “Death is but a door. Time is but a window.” She’ll be back? With a few days to kill? “Well better late than never.” Thawmaster, Invisible Man, Flat Tire, Lance Fuller, Tormenting Mike. “This is as colorful as the movie’s going to get”, “Ah, The RuPaul Story”, “Is there a sturgeon in the house?” “Wait a minute, wasn’t it already produced by someone?” or “Fun times at the Kennedy compound”?
Like in The Undead, this movie attempted to cash in on the past life regression craze. Though it managed to get released while the fad was still hot, it’s by far the less engaging of the two. A big part of the problem is that lead actor Lance Fuller delivers his lines in an unintelligible mumble. Though when you consider how poor enunciation is a frequent issue in current films, it could be argued that he was ahead of his time.
He’s easily upstaged by the evil hypnotist Carlo Lombardi, portrayed by a slightly past his prime Chester Morris (known best for his role as safecracker gone straight Boston Blackie in fourteen movies and on radio). The conflict centers around the busty young lady Lombardi uses in his past life regression demonstrations. I’m not sure I truly follow the purpose for the summoning of the prehistoric lobster woman. I suppose it could be for the notoriety of predicting the deaths, but that still seems a bit weak.
The Tickle Me Carlo Lombardi host segment demonstrated that Bill had truly come into the role. His delivery is just so spot on.
Who knew there were so many movies out there with hypnotic past-life regression plots? Even El Santo got in on the action! Another creepy hypnotist and Lance Fuller’s non-acting are good riffing fuel, but I remember this one really bogging down in the second half. We do get to see Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds in action again, though.
I blame The Search For Bridey Murphy, which was a big best-seller in 1954 and a film in its own right the same year as this beach-bound turkey. It inspired a pretty good parody sketch by Stan Freberg, too.
They were all the rage in this era of B pictures. You have the legacy of Bela Lugosi stoked by The Search For Bridey Murphy fascination and movies longing to capitalize. The past lives trend would fade but not the distrust in the charlatans selling somebody something and with such conviction.
Yeah… Yeah. The laughing of The Tickle Me Carlo Lombardi Doll is sooooooooo unsettling. Is that Kevin Murphy as Carlo? It touches not only on ugly kids toys but even the small creature horror phase of the 80s as well. Puppet Master anybody?
Bridey Murphy also inspired The Undead. The original title was The Many Lives of Diana Love. That WAS the original title until Corman determined that past lives were passe and Zombies were all the rage!