The Invisible Dead

THE INVISIBLE DEAD - (1970) - WIZARD VIDEO

Howard Vernon as Dr. Orloff?! Gotta be a Franco flick right? Wrong. This one was actually directed by Pierre Chevalier. However it has all the trademarks of a Franco film. Besides Vernon as Orloff, you get lots of full frontal female nudity, a goofy monster and even zoom shots! But all in all this is quality entertainment, and I can't see why no one seems to like it?!

The movie is definitely rooted in the Gothic tradition. There are coffins, bats, big castles, period costumes, and brooding music. Perfect atmosphere for our story to begin.

It starts with Hans, a doctor rushing to a call from Castle Orloff claiming that somewhere there is ill. When he asks the local villagers for help in finding the castle they simply turn their backs. But his persistence pays off and he arrives at his destination. Upon arriving he finds the doctor and his daughter are both involved with a mysterious invisible being! Orloff explains his methods.He has created "A new species to dominate the Earth!". With that he tells the story of how he created this being.

6 years ago his daughter Cecille was pronounced dead. After she was placed in a coffin two of Orloff's servants/guards raided her coffin to steal her jewelry. They are shocked to discover that she is still alive.  Panic sets in and they stab her. Cecille makes her way back to her father only for Orloff to pronounce her "Completely mad. Her case is hopeless. I did everything. She's insane."). So Orloff then chains one of the servants responsible for the crime while brutally whipping the other.  He then experiments on the chained prisoner. But the kicker is that the prisoner does not become the invisible being! In fact its creation is never fully explained! Oh well it was a good story any ways Doctor!

Back in the present we see the invisible being raping a servant (in a shocking bit of sadism that would make Jess Franco proud) while chasing Hans and Cecille around the castle. When we finally see the invisible being it is actually an ape-monster. Cool. But in the end Orloff only wants his creation to die and for Cecille to escape.

The film works well within the space it has. Vernon is excellent as usual, and the heaping doses of nudity helps spice things up a bit. But the abrupt ending and plot holes set things back somewhat. For example if Cecille is so crazy, why does she act more normal than anyone else? And just what the hell was the invisible being anyway? Logic goes out the door, but that's okay.

 Finding this old Wizard Video release for some people is like finding money in the street, a real treat. If you can find it, check it out. It is most definitely not as bad as most would lead you to believe.

- DAVE KOSANKE

 

 

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