Admittedly my only entry into this feature for my retrospective journey into Universal Horror movies of the 1950s, would be through the comedy review series, Mystery Science Theater 3000. The fact that the object of said show is to ridicule the subject under scrutiny didn’t bode well for my viewing experience, but I tried to do so with an open mind.
The Thing That Couldn’t Die would be helmed by Will Cowan for what would be his last feature film as a director. Based on an original screenplay by David Duncan (The Monster on the Campus) entitled The Water Witch, where a young psychic woman, Jessica (Carolyn Kearney) discovers a mysterious box from the 16th century. The contents of which contain the head of Gideon Drew (Robin Hughes), a man executed for sorcery 400 years ago and begins to use telepathy in order to control people. This far-fetched tale is hard to connect with, much like Drew’s plan to reunite his head with his body. Even if you are willing to bow to the whims with a suspension of disbelief, there is little substance beneath the melodramatic telling on show.
It is inevitable that an achilles heel be placed to set up Drew’s downfall, and this comes in the guise of an amulet that Jessica is in possession of. The mold may have been set but it’s a struggle to find any glowing elements to give it praise for. It doesn’t help that upon its release, TTTCD was billed alongside Hammer’s The Horror of Dracula, a film marking significant changes on the celluloid screen. The years have not been kind and with little availability out there, most cinephiles have to resort to the comical observations that MST3000 as its only source to survey with.
- Saul Muerte