DANCE OF DEATH (a.k.a. House Of Evil) ** Mexico / U.S.A. 1968 Dir: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez 72 mins
This version on the Boris Karloff Collection DVD I watched is the heavily edited home video release from 1987. The original film ran for nearly 90 minutes so my review is solely based on the version I seen on this DVD collection. Four relatives of Matthias Morteval (Boris Karloff) are called upon to come to his home, where he wishes to meet his only living relatives and to reveal who would get his estate upon his death. Within days of them coming to his home, Morteval dies leaving only his physician to reveal the contents of the will. Morteval’s relatives start to die of various means including one being danced to death by one of his murderous toys.
Something sinister is hiding in this house of evil, and only the truth can be revealed by one of the only living relatives and her police inspector partner. This film has two directors, Juan Ibáñez would direct in the Mexico locations while Jack Hill would direct the scenes to be shot in America. Though the film was shot in 1968 it wouldn’t get a mainstream theatrical release until 1978. Karloffs acting is fine but the remaining cast seem to be missing a step when its their turn to act, and the dialogue at times is laughable not helped by its delivery. The film is cheap looking but does manage to give a (at least in part) convincing Gothic look. DANCE OF DEATH would be one of four films that Karloff would star in for Jack Hill and Juan Ibáñez prior to Karloffs death. This isn’t a bad film but it is far from the greatness that Karloff had reached over a decade prior. Definitely a film only for those seeking obscure Boris Karloff films.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins