Dungeon of Harrow

Year of Release: 1962
Running Time: 74 Minutes
DVD Released By: Alpha
Directed By: Pat Boyette
Writing Credits: Pat Boyette, Henry Garcia
Filming Locations: San Antonio, Texas, USA

Starring: Russ Harvey (Aaron Fallon), Helen Hogan (Cassandra), William McNulty (Count Lorente de Sade), Michele Buquor (Ann), Maurice Harris (Mantis), Eunice Grey (Countess de Sade), Henry Garcia, Don Russell, Leon Schumacher Jr., Lee Morgan (The Captain)

Tagline: I was unable to locate any taglines for this film.

Alternate Titles:
Dungeons of Horror
The Dungeon of Harrow (USA)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Many of the people in this film are only credited with doing this one particular film. Three of them however, Russ Harvey, Don Russell and Lee Morgan all appeared in another Pat Boyette film in 1964 entitled No Man's Land.




Cast of Characters

Aaron Fallon: He's the son of some rich guy who was on a boat headed for some place where the sons of rich guys hang out. Then a storm came up out of nowhere and sank the ship. The only survivors were this guy, the captain, and some unnamed female who we never really saw until after she had been torn apart by a couple of the Count's dogs. He and the captain finally make their way to the Count's mansion, only to discover that they'd have been much better off staying at a Holiday Inn Express that night instead.

Count Lorente de Sade: This crazy old pouf is the Count. He's quite mad and takes great pleasure in torturing people. He's in exile on the island and he obviously didn't bring any brooms or anything like that with him because the place is full of cobwebs. I don't mean like the kind of cobwebs you see in most movies either. These cobwebs are thick and sticky. You'll see some in one of the screenshots later on. Why am I talking about cobwebs in the character section? Well, honestly it's because this guy was so utterly annoying and uninteresting that I can't bring myself to talk about him anymore. Other than running around being a jerk and torturing people, he really didn't do much that warrants talking about anyway.

Cassandra: She's the count's servant / nurse. She actually is a nurse, but she's taken on both roles in the manor. She ended up with him as a servant to pay off her father's debts, but now all she wants to do is kill him and get the hell out of dodge. I'm sure we've all had a boss or two we've felt that way about. Anyway, her and Fallon fall in love and are eventually the only two survivors left on the island, but an unfortunate encounter with the Countess de Sade a little over half way through the film, leaves them stuck on the island forever, watching each other fall apart as the years pass and their leprosy makes them creepier and creepier until finally she goes mad and he ends up locking her in the dungeon just like the Count's wife.

Anne: This pretty little thing was the Count's servant. Any time she would bring him any food or anything to drink he would beat her, accusing her of trying to poison him and insisting he could taste the poison in whatever she brought him. She's a mute because she was savaged and brutalized by pirates that came to the island once, and they left her that way. They never said if they cut her tongue out or if it was more psychological, but in any case she couldn't talk, which is probably a good thing since it saved her from having to embarrass herself by reciting the crappy dialogue in this movie.

Mantis: This is the Dennis Rodman lookin' guy I mentioned up above. He's the Count's faithful servant and he does whatever the count tells him, but you can see that it pains him to do it. At times, he even tries to persuade the Count that he's wrong in his actions. Sometimes it works, and other times the Count just orders him to just do what he's told. What does he get for his years of loyal service? The Count shoots him at the end of the film because they had been chasing Fallon and Cassandra all night and he collapsed and couldn't go on anymore. It's ok though, because Fallon came out of the bushes and shot the Count right after that, so at least the Count got his comeuppance. I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for this guy though.

The Captain: He was a tough old salt and managed to survive the ship's destruction along with Fallon. Unfortunately, what a storm couldn't accomplish, the Count did. First he tortured the old guy because he's convinced that every sailor is a pirate and he hates pirates. Then after several times of him supposedly being dead, only to pop back up again, Mantis finally kills him on the orders of the Count. Again, you could tell Mantis didn't really want to do it, and only did it because he was the loyal servant of the Count. I kinda felt sorry for this guy too. Of all the people in the movie, he probably had the roughest time of it.

The Countess: This radiant flower of femininity is the Count's leper wife that went insane and has been locked down in the dungeons ever since. In her insanity, she retreated to the happiest day of her life, her wedding day, and has locked herself into that time, re-living it over and over in her madness. As you can see, they don't have any Oil of Olay on that island, and she's seen better days. Anyway, she was in the movie just long enough to infect Fallon and Cassandra and then Cassandra killed her because she felt sorry for her, knowing that after they killed the Count, there would be no one left to take care of her and she didn't want the Countess to suffer. To bad the Countess didn't feel the same way when she was passing her leprosy around.

De Sade's Ghost: It beats the hell out of me what this guy was doing in the movie. He was in one scene as a delusion or whatever that the Count was having, and then we never see him again. Basically, he was the embodiment of the Count's evil and appeared to him to help him realize that down deep he really was a cruel and heartless weasel who delighted in the suffering of others. The count tried to deny it, but in the end I guess he got in touch with his inner bastard since this guy didn't have to show up to try to convince him anymore.




Screen Shots

This is the ghost of Christmas past. At least, that's what I deluded myself into believing in a futile attempt to make this movie a little more interesting. See, if he really was the ghost of Christmas past, there'd be a turkey dinner and presents waiting for me at the end of the movie. So hopefully I can keep myself in this state of blissful delusion...at least for a little while. The effect was simply a negative effect, so I decided to invert the image so I could see what he looked like when he was alive. The top image is how it appears in the movie, and the bottom one is the same image that I modified. To be honest, with it un-inverted, he looks like a magician who would perform at kids' birthday parties. "Hey kids! Let's see who can pull the elephant out of my pants!" Sheesh! Actually, he did materialize into our world shortly after this shot. You can see him as he really is up in the character section.

 


This is what he looks like dead.


This is what he looks like alive.

 

Damn duder, I know it's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and all, but you gotta be more careful where you're shootin' that stuff. Especially when you finish off with that special kung fu grip. You could totally put somebody's eye out!

 

Once upon a time, there was an old count who lived in a beautiful castle up on a lovely hill on a wonderful island in the middle of a sapphire sea. He was an evil man, overcome by his own madness, and throughout the day, he would wander the halls of his castle thinking up new ways to deliver his lines badly and bore people into a dreadful slumber. The people of the land were terrified of the mad old count, until one day a little boy discovered a magical button with two arrows on it pointing to his right side. Curious, he pressed the button once, and discovered that he was able to make the count talk twice as fast as usual, making his voice much higher in pitch. He sounded funny, that boring old count, and the child laughed at what he heard. Finally it dawned on him what he had found. It was a magical fast forward button! Now he could save himself and the people of his land from the boredom that the count had been subjecting them to for so long. The people of the land celebrated. Much alcohol was consumed and much nookie was had throughout their tiny island paradise. As for the count, he ended up old and alone, wandering through his castle at 2x speed, practicing his kung fu grip and finding new ways to stick to himself day after day until finally, awash in his own madness and flailing wildly trying to free himself from his latest sticky situation, he tripped and fell into his own treasured family heirloom. A magical stop button. All things ceased to be and the universe was safe once again from the boredom this terrible old man inflicted upon us all. The end.

"Coochie coochie coochie coo!"




Best Quotes

"Tea has a way of bringing things into proper perspective Mr. Fallon."

- Cassandra said this to Aaron after telling him all about the madness of the Count, his insane wife who's locked in the dungeon riddled with leprosy, the girl who was raped by pirates and had her tongue cut out and who now serves the count and is beaten constantly because he thinks she's always trying to poison him, and blah blah blah... - (Reviewer's Note: Oh sure, let's have a cupper and that'll make everything all right! I think I'll even have one myself! *glug* *glug* *glug* *burp* There, that's better. Oh, wait a minute. I'm still stuck in the middle of this crappy movie. I guess there are some things even tea can't fix.)



 

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Dungeon of Harrow
Fallon has an easy score with the Count's insane, leper wife, but for some reason he seems all creeped out by it. I mean, so what if a body part or two come loose in the joining? At least you're gettin' some. Jeez!


Summary and Conclusion

I'll start with the story and get that part out of the way. I covered a lot of it in the character section, but I'll recap it here for those who just skipped down to the actual conclusion.
Aaron Fallon, the son of a wealthy man, was on a ship headed for some unnamed destination. One night, a storm came up out of nowhere and the ship was destroyed. Only Fallon and the captain of the ship made it to the island alive...or so they thought. After traveling for a bit, they heard a woman scream as animals tore her apart. She was another survivor, and probably the luckiest of the three since she died before winding up in the de Sade mansion.

Eventually Fallon and the Captain, who had since been wounded, ended up at the de Sade mansion, only to soon discover that the Count de Sade was quite insane. The captain was taken and tortured as a pirate while Fallon was treated as a guest. Throw in all the dementia, leprosy, plots and plans, betrayals and whatever else...and there you have it. To go into each individual bit would just take too long, and as I said, I covered a lot of it in the character section already. So if you're really interested, make sure to read through there. Essentially, this story was made up of bits and each person had their own little bit to play in the story and to cover each one again would just take entirely too long and be entirely too boring to sort through.

I was probably being a bit generous in giving this film two bees, but I did find some of the cheesiness of it all to be somewhat endearing. That and the sheer stupidity of the whole thing, not to mention the horrible acting and line delivery, are the only things that saved this film from getting a bat rating. Being a fan of cheese and having the ability to find amusement and some entertainment value in bad acting, I was able to suffer through this film without succumbing to too many ill effects. In fact, there were even a few bits I actually enjoyed, like the bit with the leprosy ridden Countess in the video clip above. As for the rest of it though, it was mostly a drag with some of the worst line delivery I've heard since War of the Planets and War of the Robots.

The set design was pretty decent and some of the effects like the mansion and the ship being wrecked in the storm, although cheesy and obviously fake, were fun to watch for those very reasons. So I can't really fault this movie on it's look or it's effects, and the poor line delivery was at times quite fun to listen to, but the dialogue as it was written was horrible, and I could tell that even the actors were having a hard time actually getting some of the lines out properly because they were so oddly or just flat out poorly written. Despite that fact however, the story held together pretty well and it wasn't by any means as horrible of an experience as I expected.

The quality of this DVD transfer, to put it politely, really isn't the best. This isn't Alpha Video's fault as the original material they did the transfer from was obviously old and had seen better days. The sound is muddy, though the dialogue is understandable, and the colors have all faded and become tinted with the passage of time. Is it bad? Yes. Have I seen worse? Most definitely yes. At least this one is watchable. I've had some others that left me wondering how a company with any sense of decency could actually charge money for things that are just patently unwatchable. When companies like Alpha do transfers of old films like this, they can only use the source materials they can get their hands on. So the quality is never really their fault. And since they only charge like five bucks per movie, you can't expect them to go through some massive restoration priject like UCLA did with the Sherlock Holmes movies. If I were to rate the quality on a one to ten scale, I'd have to say it's around a three and a half to four. Watchable but not that great.

While I didn't enjoy this film thoroughly, I didn't hate it either. Usually when I don't like a film, it becomes a tedious and mind numbingly painful chore to get through a review of it. I didn't experience that with this film. There was just enough cheesiness and fun to keep it from being painful, yet not enough to allow me, with any good conscience, to recommend it wholeheartedly. Even in saying that however, I feel myself a bit torn in my assessment of it. There are so many other great movies out there, you should really focus your attentions on those rather than spending your five bucks on this one, and yet, there's something about this one that has sort of a "watch it on a Saturday night around midnight" vibe to it that almost makes me want to recommend it. I guess all I can really say is, if it sounds interesting to you, then go ahead and get it and watch it around midnight on a Saturday night and see if you don't feel the same vibe I did with it. If it doesn't sound all that interesting, then there truly are a lot better movies to spend your five bucks on.

 

B-Movie Central's Rating: 2 Bees

 

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