Terror Creatures From The Grave (1965) Review

Terror Creatures From The Grave - also known as Cinque tombe per un medium, Cemetery of the Living Dead, Coffin of Terror, and Tombs of Horror – was the cinematic equivalent of listening to a scary story by the campfire as a kid. Only it wasn’t as entertaining as all that. There was a severe lack of smores when I watched it. I mostly say so because of the complete lack of flare for storytelling, the childish visual composition, and the contrived scenario in which we find our characters. Terror Creatures From The Grave was made in 1965, but everything from production value to film quality looked as if it was made in 1955. And I know it’s not simply because it was Italian, or low budget. It just sucked eggs to a large degree.

Edgar Allan Poe is credited as a writer on Terror Creatures. Apparently the story was “inspired” by the morbid master’s writings. That doesn’t mean it was based on his writings, or adapted from any single story, it was merely based on his style. Basically, they just wanted to stick his name on the advertising. The premise of the story goes a little something like this: a lawyer receives a letter from a rich Italian living in a countryside villa. The letter requests the lawyer’s immediate assistance completing his last will and testament. When the lawyer shows up, he finds the man who sent the letter has been dead for over a year! Very campfire style.

Despite the difficulty I had watching Terror Creatures, there were a few redeeming qualities. The very first scene was an excellent example of old school low budget horror aesthetic. It would have hooked me into the movie if it wasn’t followed by a half hour of deathly slow dialogue scenes. Aside from the opener, I enjoyed some of the plague imagery. The mysterious man behind the ghostly letter had studied the occult in his former life and ends up spreading the plague around to some deserving victims. The only other thing Terror Creatures has going for it is some luscious Italian country girls. The film never quite shows nudity, but it does a damn fine job of suggesting it. Supposedly the European cut of the film had a flash of boobs in it, but those damned American distributors decided to cut that shot out. Those bastards! Also, fans of Barbara Steele will want to check this movie out for the saucy sex scene and the sensual bathing scene. Even considering all of that, I would have rather waited in line at the DMV than watch this movie.