I know many of you are seeing the leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast making an encore on your dinner table- well, in that same spirit, we’ve got something we served up to you last April- but don’t worry- it has stayed fresh- frozen, like the face of tonight’s fiend! It’s definitely worth a second sampling- as another offering cooked up by the master chef of horror flavored with a heaping helping of gimmickry and ballyhoo- William Castle! It’s the 1961 shocker that brings you face to face with- “Mr. Sardonicus”!
Dr. Robert Cargrave is a kindly and compassionate man who is renowned for his unique treatments for paralysis in 1800s London. He is urged to make a house call- and not in his own neighborhood, but in the central European country of Gorslava. The reason? He’s received a letter from his long lost love, who is now Baroness Maude Sardonicus, cryptically asking him to come quickly, as her very well- being depends on it. Still having feelings for her, he travels to the Sardonicus castle- where, among the first things he encounters, is one of the housemaids being tortured by a disfigured servant! The servant says it’s part of a “therapeutic experiment” ordered by his master. Dr. Cargrave finds this hard to comprehend.
When he finally sees his old flame, the lovely Mrs. Sardonicus, she seems somewhat frantic- and begs the doctor to do whatever her husband may ask of him. Cargrave then meets the husband himself, the Baron, wearing a full face mask that keeps his countenance hidden from the world. Even at the dinner table, Sardonicus remains masked, and does not dine with his bride or the doctor. His excuse is that he has already eaten. Hmmm…
Before long, Sardonicus reveals to Cargrave the reason he is masked- recounting his family history. Not actually of royal birth, he was a poor farmer, living with his pretty wife and his dad. Upon the passing of his father, they discover a surprise the elderly man had planned to treat them to- he had won a rich lottery prize which would put them all on easy street! In horror, they discover that his winning ticket was buried with him! His wife, unwilling to live at the near-poverty level at which they have been scraping by, demands that the farmer dig up his own father’s grave and retrieve the ticket! Nervously, but unwilling to face her wrath, he goes about the ghoulish act – which may make him wealthy , but also makes him pay a hideous price!
Sardonicus reveals his hidden face to the doctor, the result of his unholy act. Cargrave finds he has been summoned here to use his remarkable treatments to restore the baron’s distorted face to its original state. Should he fail- Sardonicus will bring unspeakable horrors to both Maude and her former lover! Can Cargrave restore the cruel baron’s facial features- or will he and Maude suffer far worse?
This film not only provided several shocks to the audience ( not like the ones he provided for “The Tingler”!) but also supposedly ( we’ll explain this) gave them the chance to determine the film’s outcome with the “Punishment Poll”- Castle’s gimmick for this film. We’ll talk about the poll and how it” worked”, and give some facts about both our cast and Castle. As we did last time, we ask our blog commenters NOT to give away any information on the film, for the benefit of first timers. After it airs – in all time zones- you can add any information that we did not provide.
“Mr. Sardonicus” shows his face- well, eventually- we mean, the show starts tonight on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or , if you’re unsure of time and channel in your area, check your local listings, and/or at www.metv.com Last week, our show was again trending nationally in the top 10 on Twitter- and MeTV again invites you to live-Tweet with the program, using the hashtag # svengoolie . Our Chicago area viewing audience gets another look- if they dare- at a similarly frightening face- “The Gorgon”- at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
Just some early warning- we have early December appearances on tap for Sventa Claus at a couple locations, so check the appearances tab here on our site- and make sure you keep checking out our store- a surprise may be showing up soon!
So, tonight- take off that mask so you can gobble down more leftover turkey- hey, who thought I meant this movie? Why, I oughta…