It’s All Connected: Cry Of The Banshee (1970)

Well, it was bound to happen again. With a project like It’s All Connected where I’m bouncing around between movies I love and those I’ve never seen, I knew I would hit a few that did not sit well with me. I did not like Dressed To Kill, but I pretty much hate the 1970 Gordon Hessler/Vincent Price project Cry Of The Banshee. What happened and how did I get here?

To give a bit of a look behind the curtain, I’m not always winging it with these picks from picture to picture. After getting to Vincent Price movies, I let myself bounce around between all of the movies of his I had, but then an idea struck me: could I get to Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park relatively easily during all this? I’ve had a bootleg tape of the flick for years, but hadn’t watched it in a while, so to the IMDb I went.

To my surprise, it wouldn’t take much work at all because that film’s director, Gordon Hessler, did at least three movies with Price: this one, Scream And Scream Again and The Oblong Box. Now, to make this all work and to get to where I want to eventually go post-Price, I figured I needed one Hessler-Price movie on either side of Kiss to make it all work. I’ve watched Box somewhat recently, but have no memory of it and knew I wanted to watch Scream, so I took a gamble and checked out Banshee. It was a bad call!

In this film, set in England of the 1500s, Price plays a witch-hunter named Lord Whitman who seems to run the village he lives in. His sons and assistants have no problem blaming just about any problem on whichever woman is nearby. That, of course, does not stop them from being overly aggressive rapists to the same women and pretty much every woman in the film. Things take a turn when Price’s people attack and kill members of Oona’s nature-loving group that lives in the woods. She calls for an avenger to exact revenge and some of that happens, but ultimately it’s not enough to balance the scales.

After presenting these brutal portrayals of what life was like for women of this time, I was at least hoping that the avenger would wreak bloody vengeance on these heinous men. Instead? Most of it happens off screen which means, as a viewer, you’re made to watch the crime, but don’t get the release of also witnessing the punishment. I guess you could make the argument that this film represents a more honest accounting of these times, but it certainly does not present an entertaining film-going experience.

So, this one was a huge bummer. Price was very good in his role, but there was no joy in it aside from what ultimately happens to him (the words “bully boy” still ring in my mind). As much as I like watching him work, it’s not nearly as enjoyable when there’s no fun to be had in the material. And you know the worst part? I OWN this movie! It’s on the third Scream Factory Vincent Price Blu-ray collection.

Well, I’ve definitely tipped my hand with what my next film is gonna be. How does a TV movie starring a band that clearly has no interest in acting hold up? Find out tomorrow!

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