Film #198: THE SPECTRE OF TERROR aka EL ESPECTRO DEL TERROR
The Spectre of Terror (aka El Espectro del Terror)
2 out of 5 stars
A Spanish giallo from 1972 whose plot is sorta similar to William Lustig’s MANIAC (although this film came 8 years earlier). Fashions and music are all exceptionally groovy and features heroine Maria Perschy (FEAST OF SATAN, WITCH WITHOUT A BROOM) with her penchant for big hats, some very bad teeth, and yellow clothing (hey, it is, after all, a giallo!). The ADR is terrible with some of the most obvious Foley work in modern cinema. Overall, the pace is slow and there is regrettably very little blood / gore on display. The plot meanders and things seem to happen for no other reason than for the proceedings to limp to the next poorly staged set-piece. The plot - such as it is - has something to do with an airline hostess (Perschy) being stalked by a sweaty sex killer (who looks like a cross between Joey Ramone and a young Jeff Goldblum) who is suitably creepy and one of the best parts of the film. Our heroine and a Dr. friend (who may very well be the WORST fist-fighter in human history) begin investigating both the killer and his rash of recent murders. As the bodies begin to pile up, the killer catches our heroine in his house snooping and things stumble along to its yawn-inducing conclusion. The acting is about what you’d expect from this sort of thing: stiff, a bit over the top, and just this side of ridiculous (lotsa angsty face-pulling as acting). In the end, EL ESPECTRO DEL TERROR is a poorly-constructed thriller and an even worse giallo. There’s not much to recommend here other than seeing the film as an example of early ‘70’s Spanish giallo (who were clearly looking to cash in the popularity of their Italian counterparts). Giallo completists (which I am) should probably see this one, but… all others will undoubtedly be bored.