Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sound of Horror|
Actors: James Philbrook, Arturo Fernandez, Soledad Miranda, José Bódalo, Antonio Casas
Director: José Antonio Nieves Conde
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Something shrieky this way comes...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"So you're making a cheapie monster movie and you don't actually have the dough for a real monster...what to do? Easy, just make the monster invisible...and that's exactly what the makers of Sound of Horror (1964) aka El Sonido prehistórico, did...and somewhat effectively, I might add. This Spanish production was co-written and directed by José Antonio Nieves Conde (Captain Blackjack), and features James Philbrook (I Do Not Forgive... I Kill!), Arturo Fernández (The Incredible Invasion), Soledad Miranda (Eugénie, Vampyros lesbos), José Bódalo (Captain Apache), Antonio Casas (Kiss Kiss... Bang Bang), Lola Gaos (Pancho Villa), and horror flick junkie favorite Ingrid Pitt (The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula).
The story is set on a Greek isle, and opens with three people, two men and a woman, inside a cave, getting ready to make use of some DYN-O-MITE (that one's for you, J.J., wherever you are). There's Professor Andre (Fernández), his niece Maria (Miranda), and the Professor's assistant Stravos (Casas). Maria, new the archeology biz, makes some comment about the hardships of mucking about in caves with TNT to which Stravos replies, "You'd better get accustomed to the smoke, as well...it's the most uncomfortable part of these explosions." Really? I would have thought the explosions to be the most uncomfortable part of the explosions, but then I'm no archeologist, so what the hell do I know? Anyway, the blast seems to have turned up squat, except for some petrified eggs, one of which they take back to the house, another which hatches in the cave after everyone leaves, spewing out a muddy globule that soon disappears. About this time we meet the housekeeper Calliope (Gaos), a local woman who speaks about all the bad mojo surrounding the mountain (get used to this, as she harps on this aspect through most of the film). Soon afterwards four more people show up in Dr. Asilov (Philbrook), his girlfriend Sofia (Pitt), Dorman (Bódalo), and their driver/guide Andre (Casas), presenting quite a group of potential victims...er, I mean quite a group of characters. Turns out Professor Andre, Asilov, and Dorman have been working together for some time trying to locate a legendary treasure, and their finally completed map (which looks like it was drawn with a crayon) has lead them to this mountain...only thing is, treasure isn't the only thing to be found, as the Professor's earlier blast has awakened a prehistoric beastie invisible to the eye, thirsty for blood and a penchant for slashing...
I enjoyed this film somewhat, but it got mired down as a number of characters spent a lot of time getting all philosophical after the creature claimed a couple of victims, going on and on about how they may have ultimately wasted their lives in search of a treasure only to have found death. Also they compare their unintentional find and their subsequent fear to the threat of nuclear annihilation a few times, which didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but whatever...it was these overly talkative aspects that slowed the film down, dragging it out to an hour and a half, illustrated by the fact that by the end of the first hour of the film, there had only been two victims...well, two and a half as one person got injured when something clawed his leg, and had to gimp around for the rest of the film. The performances were okay, but the writing was such as there really wasn't one character I would have considered to be the lead. At the outset a lot of time is spent focusing on the men and their lust for treasure, hiding under the pretense of being archeologists, so that later we can see all these scenes were they feel remorseful about their behavior, possibly hoping to elicit sympathy from the audience, but it didn't really work out that way (for me, at least). The women were nice to look at, Miranda being sort of the mousy, sheltered type contrast against Pitt's worldly, experienced character, highlighted during their short dance sequences (watch the men eyeball Pitt as she shakes her moneymaker...it's kinda creepy). As far as the monster goes, its not completely invisible as it appears briefly a couple of times, looking much like a toy dinosaur super imposed on the screen, giving the feel of it being about six feet tall. From what I did see, it was for the best that they went the invisible route for most of the film, as the beast could be heard through its shuffle walk and its constant shrieking. One aspect that was really decent was the make up effects in terms of the bloody tears victims received after the creature attacked. They looked realistic and fairly horrific. In the last third of the film the survivors are trapped in the house, trying to come up with a means to fight the creature...my thoughts were to throw some paint or powdery substance at the beast, taking away its chameleon-like camouflage, but they went a different route, one that was temporary and dependant on specific circumstances...not the way I would have gone, but whatever...there were a few scary scenes (half being of the fake scare type) and tense moments, like the extended scene with Calliope going to the well in the middle of the night, but it didn't feel like enough to carry the film all the way through given its length. I will say the ending was quite good, and made up for a lot of minor misgivings I had about the rest of the film, but not all. In closing, this is decent little low budget film that just ran a little too long (if they cut about twenty minutes off, preferably in the talky sections, it would have been better).
The picture quality on this Alpha DVD release, presented in fullscreen, is pretty standard for Alpha, meaning its lousy through and through...the picture is murky, fuzzy, and shows signs of wear throughout. It is obvious the film isn't presented in its original aspect ratio as in the beginning, while the credits are rolling, many of the names are cut off. The audio fares slightly better than the picture as it's fairly clear, but a far cry from being sharp. Perhaps I complain too much, especially given the low cost of the DVD, but I don't necessarily mind paying a little more for better quality...sometimes it seems with these Alpha releases they go out of their way to find the worst possible source material and slap it on a DVD, but then that's just my opinion. As far as extras, there is a rough trailer for the film, and listing of other Alpha releases.
FOR PITT/MIRANDA FANATICS ONLY
T. A. Hansen | eagan, mn USA | 04/23/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The image and sound quality are terrible. The images are grey and murky. The sound is full of hiss. I was confused when I read the review by phasedin he states "it's still better than my early 90's video copy from one of those companies who specialize in public-domain titles." This is an Alpha/Gotham release and thier forte is public domain. When I zoomed out, I saw video tracking on the image. I did some searches and for some reason you can only get this from Alpha Video. The plot and acting are better than O.K.The price is right, but this is by no means a feast for the eyes."
It's been a long time
Jordi Miquel Sendra Vellv | Tarragona - Spain | 08/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, let me begin telling that I saw that movie when I was barely 8/10 years old. I saw it in spanish in a spanish small village's cinema. I did it with my brothers and it scared the hell out of us. Now 35 years later I've been triyng to find this movie until today. I bought it a few days ago in Amazon. I thought that it would be in spanish with english subtitle but it's not. Tell me it it does exist in spanish, please. I would like to show it to my children and they still don't understand english as well as I do.
Well. It was scary then, and now I don't get surprised and scared as I was in the sixties. Anyway something moved in my stomach and my mind, probably the memories of that kind of movies you see as child and you never forget.
Quit yer gripin' 'n pass the popcorn
Raybon Burleson | Beautyfull New Jersey | 09/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot complain about this Alpha DVD, nor this film itself. Allow me to explain.
1) There is no other copy available at this time.
2) The average quality of the print is worth more than I paid for it.
3) Ingrid Pitt.
4) A good, suspensefull, unique plot.
5) The actors do a good job.
6) Still good after all these years.
7) Soledad Miranda
8) The dub is just fine.
9) If the original foreign film surfaced, it would be even better.
Watch it for yourself, you'll see."