Dungeon of Harrow
Stop me if you've heard this one before: a wealthy world-traveler type dude is shipwrecked on an island that turns out to be owned by a homicidal madman. In the case of "The Dungeon of Harrow" (1962), the dude in question is Aaron Fallon, played by Russ Harvey with the kind of vocal delivery that might have inspired the stylings of William Shatner's turn as Captain James T. Kirk. Also known as "Dungeons of Horror", this film tweaks the premise established by "The Most Dangerous Game" (1932) and other films, to present the sinister host not as an urbane hunter, but as the exiled Count Lorente de Sade, a man haunted by a phantom of his own evil.
With some truly magnificent chewing of scenery, fake fighting and special effects so primitive your five-year-old could probably spot the wires, you might be laughing too hard to follow the plot. No worries--first, Fallon and his captain wash up on shore, then the Count sends his slave, Mantis, to collect the two men to the castle where Fallon meets Cassandra. Over the hours that follow, Fallon learns Cassandra is a former nurse trapped in servitude to the Count and that the girl he witnesses the Count whipping is Anne, a mute young woman who was brutalized by pirates before stepping up in the world by joining the Count's household. There's also the Count's insane, leprotic wife, trapped in the dungeon, where the Captain gets to spend most of the movie lying on a rack. You may be able to guess what happens next--but will you anticipate the twist at the end?
Gary OderdaDr. Gary Oderda, professor and director of the Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center at the University of Utah, discusses international medicine and the film Dungeon of Harrow.
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