Craze (1974)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Release Date - Jun 1, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Robert Firsching

Based on Henry Seymour's novel The Infernal Idol, this preposterous horror film features one of the goofiest premises imaginable. Academy Award-winner Jack Palance (City Slickers) stars as Neil Mottram, a London antique dealer shacked up with a former male prostitute named Ronnie. In his spare time, Neil murders women and sacrifices them to a silly-looking sculpture in the cellar, which he believes to be an African god named Chuku. As Neil, Palance rants, raves, picks up women in sleazy bars, and fools the police with elaborately contrived alibis. The wacky character parts feaure Suzy Kendall (Il Corpo Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale) as a perky massaging prostitute, Hugh Griffith as a goofy estate lawyer with weird eyebrows, and Julie Ege as a jetset trollop with a bizarre past. Palance steals the show, however -- pushing women into furnaces, strangling hookers one-handed, dominating his gunsel Ronnie, and babbling incessantly about the power of Chuku. His death scene is especially flamboyant, as he spins around screaming in his cellar, holding the police at bay with an axe before being shot repeatedly and impaling his throat on Chuku's spear. As if that weren't enough, there's also the obligatory false-scare involving a cat, a genuine scare involving an ugly mask, and the sight of an obviously disgusted Palance romancing the drunken Dors. The script, by Aben Kandel and producer Herman Cohen, features lots of funny lines, some clever setups, and an approach which often leaves some doubt as to whether its comedy is entirely intentional. Whatever the case, it's the most fun viewers are likely to have had with a horror movie in some time.