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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Oval Portrait (1972)


I'm a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, so it was a pleasant surprise that one of the movies I watched during "Terrorpolooza 2012" was an adaptation of one of his stories...

Genevieve has come home to claim ownership of her deceased uncle's  house.  Soon, however, she discovers the tragic details behind her cousin's death- details that could cost her mind... and her soul...

"The Oval Portrait" isn't a perfect film, but I still found it enjoyable.  The story is simple, but is strengthened by the backstory of the cousin's death.  The pacing isn't too bad, though fans of horror movies that get right into the scares might be put off by the slower pacing and build up.  The story itself isn't so much frightening as macabre and disturbing... which is to be expected of a Poe story, actually.

While Genevieve is a little flat, the characters of her cousin and the Confederate soldier she loved help to make up for that.  The uncle was interesting as well, and I liked how the character of the housekeeper tied the past and the present together.

The acting reminded me of some of the lesser quality Hammer horror films with their somewhat exaggerated, theatrical tone. Although it would probably detract from most viewers' enjoyment these days, I enjoyed it

The look  of "The Oval Portrait" is also very similar to some of the Hammer horror films too.  There's nothing fancy in terms of camera work, but the subdued colours does give it a nice sense of morbid mood that I liked.  Althought I wasn't impressed with the scene of the flying objects, I did find the final dance scene to be quite disturbing- a nice touch that made up for the silliness of the previous scene.

I would certainly recommend this for a viewing to others, and mostly sit down to watch it again myself.  "The Oval Portrait" is going into The Good.

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