review for Inn of the Damned on AllMovie

Inn of the Damned (1974)
by Donald Guarisco review

This unusual genre-bender from Australia is more odd than it is good. The script mixes Spaghetti western and horror movie elements to interesting effect but it gets bogged down with too many characters and subplots. These digressions, which include everything from broad comedy to softcore sex, seem to be designed to cover the film's commercial bases but they distract from the story instead of fleshing it out. The direction of co-writer Terry Bourke is energetic in certain scenes but he has trouble maintaining a consistent tone and lets the pace of his overstuffed narrative lag too often. He also overdoes certain sequences in a manner that transforms them into self parody: for instance, an attempt at a dramatic standoff between lawman and outlaw is taken to such melodramatic lengths that it turns out unintentionally funny instead of suspenseful. The performances are of variable quality, with some of the bit players coming off as amateurish, but the film does boast one genuinely effective performance from Dame Judith Anderson. She manages to bring a level of poise and pathos to her villainous character that makes her more sympathetic than the film's nominal hero (a rather wooden Alex Cord). In short, Inn Of The Damned has a certain novelty value for cult movie fans but it lacks the precision and skill to really score as top-flight exploitation fare and is best viewed as a curiosity.