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The Dungeon of Harrow

The Dungeon of Harrow
Year: 1962
Genre: Horror
Director: Pat Boyette
Stars: Russ Harvey, Helen Hogan, William McNulty

Next up on the Pure Terror 50 Movie DVD collection is this horrid piece of bordeom – The Dungeon of Harrow.  I really don’t have much to say about this film because there really isn’t a whole lot to it.  It looks like vomit and while I could assume this is the fault of a bad transfer I have a feeling this film always looked as ugly as it is.  So… here goes.

The film starts with dull Aaron Fallon (Russ Harvey) standing in front of a tapestry and whining in a pedantic monologue about his family’s noble history and how bad things have gotten and blah blah blah.  He starts to tell the “history” of events that led to this sad state of affairs, beginning with a boat at sea that is clearly just some toy ship in a bathtub.  A storm took out the ship leaving him and the Ship’s captain washed ashore on an unknown and presumably uninhabited island.  First off, I have just a minor inconvenience with the fellow’s name for every time someone refers to him as “Mr. Fallon,” it just reminds me of how much I hate Jimmy Fallon and damn this movie for bringing all THAT bitterness to the surface.

The island isn’t uninhabited.  There is a Count living on the island, alone in exile with just his mansion and mistreated slaves to keep him company.  In his solitude he’s gone mad and is talking to imaginary ghosts.  This is the “Ghost”:

That's supposed to be a ghost? Go to hell you lazy movie!

That’s supposed to be a ghost? Go to hell you lazy movie!

dungeon of harrow 2Oh, and the Count’s name – Count De Sade.  <sarcasm> Oh movie you’re so fucking SUBTLE! </sarcasm>.  Seriously.. What do we name the evil count- how about De Sade?  Why not just name him Count Evil Guy if you’re going to be that retarded about it.  The entire conversation he has with this ghost is just a nothing but endless dialogue about how batshit psycho the Count has become over the years – because apparently the filmmakers here missed the memo that a movie is supposed to SHOW and not TELL exposition.  This ghost never shows up again either.  As damning idiotic as his role was, that ghost was really the best actor in this film – which isn’t saying much.

Mr. Fallon and the Captain happen upon the Count’s estate.  Immediately the Captain is thrown into the dungeon and tortured by Count De Sade’s monstrous manservant Mantis.  There’s two women in the castle, Ann and Cassandra and the Count beats them and belittles them endlessly.  Wondering why the Count is such a dick to everyone he meets, Mr. Fallon starts to investigate.  It turns out that the Count was so desperately in love with his wife, even when she became afflicted with leprosy that he followed her into exile on this island.  The disease consumed her mind and made the poor Countess insane and she only relives her wedding day over and over again.  Depressed (and psychotic) the Count decided to lock his wife up in the dungeon and just pretend that she died because it’s easier to remember her that way.  Of course he’s gone even crazier, imagining that everyone is trying to poison him and accusing every sailor that happens upon the estate of being some evil-no-good pirate.  All of this is just told by Cassandra because, once again, this movie has taken the cheap and dull way out of telling instead of showing.

dungeon of harrow 3Eventually Mr. Fallon is thrown into the dungeon and sees the Countess for himself.  I’ve never seen an actual leper but I have a feeling that it’s poorly represented in this movie.  The Countess looks like some sad shambling zombie woman.  She plays out the wedding in her mind, believing Mr. Fallon to be her groom.  It could have been a truly frightening scene, in fact its built up to be.  However it’s spoiled first by the voice over of Fallon describing what’s on the screen.  He describes what she looks like and how she walks while she is on the screen.  The bad make-up effect doesn’t help and neither do the unconvincing performances from the actors involved.  As bad as it is, it is the only scene in the movie to even try to offer up even a tidbit of entertainment or suspense – though I’m not sure if this attempt at quality was intentional or not.  Incidentally, I tried to look up pictures of lepers in order to see what they actually look like.  A quick google search brought up… pictures of armadillos.  WTF?  Ok then, Google, I’ll trust you:

The true face of leprosy

The true face of leprosy

Going to avoid going for the spoilers because, honestly, it’s not worth it.  There’s a twist in the final that’s kind of interesting but doesn’t cancel out the  85 minutes of dull crap preceding it.  On the bright side I’ve got all of Disc 1 of this collection finished!  Time for a celebratory drink before tackling the other 11 DVDs.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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