For those who have been asking for a more scary film, or for some 1960s horror- make sure you tune in to MeTV tonight- when the gimmicky king of the chiller castle, William Castle, presents an eerie tale that has been responsible for many a nightmare- the shocking “Mr. Sardonicus”!
In this 1961 horror, we meet Dr. Robert Cargrave, who practices medicine and uses unique treatments for paralysis in 1800s London- but heads to Gorslava, a central European country, after receiving a letter from his long lost love Maude ( no, not Bea Arthur)- now Baroness Sardonicus- asking him to visit her husband’s home- to insure her well- being. Her sense of urgency in the letter has Cargrave concerned, and, when he arrives at the Sardonicus castle- he becomes more concerned, finding a scarred man-servant torturing one of the maids! The servant explains that it is part of a “therapeutic experiment” for the mysterious Baron.
Reuniting with Maude at last , Cargrave finds the lovely Mrs. Sardonicus in full fright mode, begging him to follow through on whatever Sardonicus asks him to do. We meet the baron- who wears a full face mask, hiding his visage from the world. He does not dine with his wife and guest, merely stating that he has already eaten.
Finally, Sardonicus explains the mask- and recounts his story – beginning as a poor farmer, living with his pretty wife and his father. When his father passes away, it is discovered that the old man had won a massive lottery prize- but the winning ticket was buried with him! Goaded on by his wife, the farmer endeavors to dig up his father’s grave and retrieve the ticket- which he does- but the act, while making him a rich man, makes him pay a horrible price!
Sardonicus reveals what his foolish act has caused, revealing his hidden face to the doctor. That’s why Cargrave was summoned- to use his expertise to restore the baron’s face to normal. If he doesn’t succeed, it will mean unspeakable horrors for both Maude and himself at the hands of the cruel Sardonicus!
This film has several shocking scenes- as well as Castle’s gimmick for the film- a “Punishment Poll” by which the audience would supposedly determine the film’s outcome. We’ll talk about that, as well as Castle and our cast. We have a new song for this movie as well. We ask that our blog commenters please refrain from giving away any information on the film until AFTER it airs – in all time zones, please. You can fill in the blanks we don’t cover on air then.
“Mr. Sardonicus” prepares to show his face tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or check for time and channel in your area in your local listings, and/or at www.metv.com . Chicago area viewers get a second look at Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe’s version of Venus in “Have Rocket, Will Travel” at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
Tonight is only the beginning- next month, we’ll include a few 1950s films that we think you’ll enjoy – but, tonight- be prepared for the shock of coming face to face with “Mr. Sardonicus”!