“We’ve got to think like the man who did this — it’s the only way that we’re going to find Marge.”
With help from his loyal nurse (Jacqueline Scott), a widowed doctor (William Prince) whose blind and pregnant sister-in-law (Christine White) has just passed away receives a message that his daughter (Dorothy Morris) has been buried alive in a coffin and has only five hours to live before asphyxiating.
William Castle’s breakthrough “gimmick horror” film — in which he offered audience members “death by fright” life insurance policies — was this race-against-the-clock thriller, which provides plenty of atmospheric sets and shadows while maintaining genuine suspense about Morris’s well-being and who the actual culprit is. Scott is a plucky sleuth-in-waiting; hard-working character actress Ellen Corby (check out her resume on IMDb!) is appopriately mysterious as a long-time nanny; and Jonathan Kidd is nicely cast as an anxious funeral director with a chip on his shoulder. Jim Backus’s character, on the other hand, feels out of place, and a flashback tale about Prince’s blind sister-in-law seems like a subplot from another movie. Overall, however, this is a solid horror outing, worth a look for fans of Castle’s work.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Atmospheric cinematography
- Fun credits
- Les Baxter’s score
No, but it’s got some nice thrills, and is must-see for Castle fans.