Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sound of Horror (1964)

Any horror movie that features both Soledad Miranda and Ingrid Pitt in its cast has to be worth a look. Sound of Horror (El sonido de la muerte) features both these legendary cult actresses in major roles as well. And it’s a reasonably diverting little horror flick as well.

A group of archaeologists is searching for buried treasure in Greece. They believe the treasure is somewhere in a complex of caves. Now these are not your namby-pamby sort of modern archaeologists. Their favoured method of excavating a site involves the use of lots of dynamite. If you want to get ahead in the world of archaeology you have to be prepared to blow stu
ff up.

The older members of the team had apparently been heroes during the war, and turned to archaeology afterwards in their conti
nued quest for danger and excitement (not to mention treasure). The leader of the expedition is accompanied by his beautiful daughter Maria (Soledad Miranda) while another member of the team has brought along his sexy young girlfriend Sofia (Ingrid Pitt). If you’re an archeologist you not only get to blow stuff up, you also get to date women like Ingrid Pitt. And Maria is obviously rather sweet on one of the other expedition members. No wonder archeology is such a popular and glamorous profession - you get thrills and danger, you get to play with dynamite, and you have gorgeous women throwing themselves at you.

Their rather direct methods of excavation do eventually turn up something, but what exactly is it that they’ve found? There’s a strange petrified eg
g. There are skeletons, very ancient human skeletons. And there’s something else. Something they can’t see, but they can hear it. They hear it as it tears one of their number into shreds. These are bold archaeologists so they return to the caves anyway, but when they hear that weird screeching screaming sound again they beat a hasty retreat towards the villa in which they’re staying, and bolt all the windows and doors. But how can you fight something you can’t see?

José Antonio Nieves Conde isn’t an inspired director but he keeps the action moving along. The advantage of an invisible monster is that it saves money on special effects and you don’t have the weakness of having to show an unconvincing monster onscreen. You do get a brief look at the creature at the end, but wisely we’re not allowed to see any more than a glimpse. It’s not a terrifying movie, but it’s reasonably original and it’s fun.

The acting is generally adequate. As you would expect, given their later very successful careers, Soledad Miranda and Ingrid Pitt are the most impressive members of the cast. This was a Spanish movie made in the days when Spanish censorship was still extremely strict, so don’t expect either of these a
ctresses to be getting their kit off. We do get to see both ladies dancing however, and Soledad Miranda already shows signs of both the sensuality and the extraordinary presence that she had in her movies with Jess Franco a few years later.

The Alpha Video DVD is what you expect from that company - it’s fullscreen, the black-and-white image is washed out, picture quality is grainy and the sound is rather poor. But it’s cheap, and it’s probably fortunate that this fairly obscure movie still exists at all. It provides a chance to see both Soledad Miranda and Ingrid Pitt in the early stages of their careers, and it’s an entertaining and slightly off-beat horror movie. Shop around, and if you can pick up a copy cheaply enough it’s worth a look.

No comments: