Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Season of Horror: Parasite Mansion (1961)

I'm getting started on my horror viewing late tonight, so I'm dedicating myself to another episode of TV horror. Tonight's featured attraction, "Parasite Mansion," comes from that awesome horror anthology hosted by Boris Karloff, Thriller. I will be revisiting a few of my favorites from this series.

It's hard to believe it's been 6 years since I've seen some of these episodes. "Parasite Mansion" is one that I recall enjoying quite a bit, due especially to the performance of Jeanette Nolan. I must say that having temperatures close to 100 degrees is really spoiling my mood for the old dark house genre, but I'm forging ahead anyway and hoping the weather will follow suit.

Our episode begins with a young lady driving alone on a rainy night. She is forced to detour when shots are fired at the car as she is driving, causing her to veer off the road. We see faces peering in at her while she is unconscious in the car. A witchy woman (Jeanette Nolan) calls her a pretty bird and tells her buddy Victor (James Griffith) that they didn't ask her to come snooping. We cut to Karloff's intro letting us know that we are at a southern home, the Parasite Mansion, the home of the Harrods, a family who has been cursed for generations, and I can't help thinking of how much I adore Boris Karloff.  Perhaps I should have started with "The Incredible Doktor Markesan," but I'll save that one for another night.

Our young lady driver is wet from the rain and laid out unconscious on what may be the dining room table and as Victor stares down at her, Granny notes that the girl "stirs his manhood." Talk about creepy! Granny hands Victor a scalpel, but before he gets close to her face with it, he notes she's coming to, and pours what appears to be an anesthetic on a cloth over her face.

We see her next awakening undressed in a bed, as she can see her clothes on a chair across the room. Granny divulges that they know all about her because Victor went through her things the previous night while Granny got her ready for bed. We find out she's Marcia, a 26 year old schoolteacher. We realize from Marcia's expression that Victor is a stinky guy. Granny says it's the corn liquor that all Harrod men indulge in to cope with the things they have to live with. Granny confesses that younger brother Rennie is responsible for shooting her and Victor says it was an accident.

When Marcia asks if she can leave, Granny cackles and Victor says it will take a few days to fix her car. When she says she can't stay that long because she is expected home, Granny is on her like a whip and says it's a lie because they read one of her personal letters and know her family thinks she's with a friend while she's really intending to meet a man in New Orleans. Victor says she's in no condition to leave because he put 5 stitches in her head, leading her to believe he is a doctor and causing Granny more snickering. When Marcia asks if one of them can go for help, Granny laughs again, saying that no Harrod will ever bring a stranger into the house. Victor warns her to stay in the room and not ask about anything she sees or hears in the house.

So of course we see her dressed and escaping downstairs, noting a padlocked room on her way. She exits the front door, when shots are fired at her by a young boy with a rifle, forcing her back into the house. Victor struggles with Rennie for the gun, as he says that he'll kill everybody who comes there. Marcia is unconscious again and Granny says she can't be trusted and that she can't leave there alive.

to be updated...

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