(Mario Colucci, 1971)
This little Gothic number concerns a group of strangers who, due to the washing out of roads during a storm, are forced to seek shelter in a seemingly abandoned villa. The group consists of WASPish couple Donald and Sylvia Forrest, Professor Lawrence, Dr William and his secretary Susan, as well as two policemen, Insp Wright and Det Sam, and a convicted murderer, Spike, who is tenuously in their custody.
Upon reaching the house they discover it is occupied by an odd fellow by the name of Joe, who we later learn keeps a nameless woman holed up in an upstairs room. Initially Joe refuses to admit the group, but the police throw their weight and demand entry. It turns out there's no phone in the place, so they settle in to wait out the storm. After a brief bit of snippy conversation it comes to light that the villa was the former residence of one Sheila Marlow, a woman said to have been a powerful occultist who died by diabolic means.
Mrs Forrest suggests a seance to pass the time, which is met with differing levels of enthusiasm. The seance proves to work, as Mr Forrest is briefly possessed before a window implodes. After this point, the angry spirit of Sheila Marlow (or Something, as the title suggests) starts to randomly possess the others, with results varying from awakening repressed sexual desires to multiple murders.
To this day I'm depressed that Something Creeping In The Dark has not yet had a proper cleanup and rerelease. Fans of Mario Bava and (especially) Riccardo Fredas' Gothic horror output will rejoice upon discovering this title, as it contains all of the classic elements, but with a slightly quicker pace. The shot compositions, minimal lighting, and odd angles are unabashedly akin to Freda's, though much more refined, and the Morricone-meets-Pre-Goblinesque soundtrack keeps things moving at a refreshing pace.
Though slightly campy, I found the creepy psychedelic visual sequences to be strangely effective. I can't say that at any time was I actually horrified while watching this, but there are several standout scenes that provide a good dose of suspense and general weirdness: Mrs Forrest's sadomasochistic daydream, the seance possession bit, and Sheila Marlow's attack on the policeman. Yep, bizarre stuff! Recommended, though one will, for the time being, have to dl it or find a bootleg. Best of luck!
9 months ago