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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keep My Grave Open (1976)


This past Thursday, I asked people on Facebook and Twitter to choose which movie I would watch that night for review today.  The choices were:

  • "Crypt of the Living Dead" (1973);
  • "Keep My Grave Open" (1976); and
  • "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)
Ultimately, those that responded chose, "Keep My Grave Open," so I watched it.

Lesley Fontaine lives in a secluded mansion with her brother Kevin.  It just so happens that Lesley and Kevin love their privacy... and each other.  Unfortunately for hapless visitors, this love may be unhealthy... for them...

"Keep My Grave Open" is brought to us by S.F. Brownrigg- who also produced and directed the enjoyable, but deplorable movie, "Don't Look in the Basement".  This movies is just as flawed- if not more so than the other one.

There was some decent acting in this movie by Camilla Carr- who plays the rather disturbed Lesley Fontaine.  She did a great job of portraying a woman who had become disconnected from the world around her, and was blurring the line between what was real, and what was inside her mind.  The range of psychosis she displayed was varied and interesting- going from aloof and frigid to sensual and sexy to pained and tormented smoothly and effectively.

The rest of the cast was less than stellar.  Stephen Tobolowsky, wasn't bad as the hired hand, Robert... but couldn't get me to care about the rather wimpy character.  Ann Stafford as Suzie- Robert's girlfriend was annoying, whiney, and petulant.  I was glad when she was finally run through with a sword... too bad she wasn't diced up.  Twinkle, the prostitute- played by Sharon Bunn was a decent short term character (basically introduced just to die, like the hitch hiker at the start).  The name alone amused me.

There was a LOT of potential to this story, but as is often the case, the execution failed to delivery it in a satisfactory fashion.  Maybe if it had stuck to the basic premise of visitors being killed, rather than the killer luring people to the house (as was the case with Twinkle).  I felt that the writer had run out of steam, and said, "screw it".  The pace was also pretty slow storywise.  One thing I did like about the storyline was the ending.  I actually wasn't expecting it to end the way it did.

"Keep My Grave Open" did have some decent camera work in some scenes, while in others, it wasn't as effective.  The scene where Suzie was being terrorized by the killer before being killed was well shot.  Another almost decent scene was the rather "erotic" scene where Lesley is attempting to seduce her brother, Kevin.  It's all shot from Kevin's POV, and had some nice shots- but the zooming in on her earlobes and nose detracted from the effectiveness.  I swear the camera lense smacked her in the nose a few solid hits.  The rest of the movie is filmed in such a way as to create a rather dreary, washed out, lifeless environment- as was fitting for the story.

In regards to gore.  Almost none.  Zero... zip... nada.  This is strange and disappointing when you consider the fact that the killer was roaming around with a huge ass sabre.  Seriously disappointed.

Despite Carr's decent acting, and a great sense of mood and atmopshere, a plodding plot, lackluster acting, and absolutely no grue tosses "Keep My Grave Open" in the open abyss that is "The Ugly".

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