Monday, October 7, 2013

Boris Karloff's Thriller: Well of Doom

A welcome foray into gothic horror territory for Thriller, Well of Doom is fairly well crammed with atmosphere, from it's bleak foggy landscapes to it's torch-lit dungeon to it's otherworldly antagonists. Waylaid on route to his wedding ceremony, a wealthy bachelor finds himself and bride to be captive of a pair of highwaymen, the ghastly Squire Moloch (Henry Daniell) and his hulking stooge Master Styx (played by Richard"Jaws" Kiel in a very early role). After taking the hapless groom to a dungeon on his own late father's estate, Moloch claims to be the father's murder victim and demands, if he wishes to escape torture, he sign over the deed to all of his holdings in recompense. Threatened with the murder of his bride, the hero finally agrees to the extorter's demand and is subjected to Moloch's final treachery before discovering that all is not as it seems.

On the plus side of Well of Doom, at the top of the list might be the brilliantly ominous Jerry Goldmith score, which mimics the lumbering zombie-like gate of Kiel's Master Styx. Aside from the score and excellent set decoration, the episode also boasts the unnerving performance of callow-faced Thriller-regular Henry Danielle as the diabolical Squire Moloch, whose vampiric appearance resembles that of Lon Chaney's in Todd Browning's London After Midnight (beaver hat and all) which this episode of Thriller brings to mind in more ways than one. 7/10

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