Ring of Terror

Director: Clark L. Paylow

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Ring of Terror Our host for this early independent horror flick is Reger Dobson (Joseph Conway), struggling mightily to pad out this underlength feature film as he invites us down Graveyard Lane, where every gravestone allegedly tells a story. Too bad Dobson couldn't find a better one to tell us.

He quests through the cemetery, searching for his kitty-cat Puma, which leads us to the gravemarker of Lewis B. Moffitt, & the main story in Ring of Terror (1962) begins.

College gal Betty (Esther Furst) thinks she could be in love with med student Lewis (George E. Mather), except his fearless nature worries her.

He & Betty have have a stopover for a necking session in the woods, where a rattlesnake crawls in the car, only to prove again that Lewis is afraid of nothing.

They go to a student dance where the Campus Cool Cats are rocking some pathetically generic jazz. Evidently the music is actually by a certain James Cairncross (which some references assert is the same as the Scottish actor who appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who, but I seriously doubt it). He must've been annoyed when the director used his crappy arrangement, which used plenty of horns, & couldn't even get the Cool Cats to mime playing the horns right.

Ring of TerrorMedical students are at the hop, talking about the pending autopsy at the morgue. Meanwhile a fat couple does quite a good dance to the Cool Cats.

The characters of "Tiny" & "Ragdoll" (the latter played by June Smaney, later seen as Rosie in the '70s detective series Baretta).

Though they were obviously inserted as a joke against fat people, they're more talented than any of the forty-somethings playing collegiates. Then the film jump-cuts to the next day.

The dull tale meanders a while to fill a certain length of time, building without suspense to the autopsy. The anatomy class shows up at the morgue along with Pofessor Rayburn (Lomax Study) who'll head up the dissection. All the students except Lewis are repulsed. But he's only pretending to lack fear. In reality, he has just discovered his one phobia.

The following Friday is Initiation Night for the aged students. Lewis is assigned to steal a ring off the corpse of the John Doe autopsy cadaver, which is in the dark mauseleum at the cemetery. For once, fear begins to engulf him.

Public domain copies are available cheaply, or you can go with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version if you're not in the mood to come up with snotty commentary of your own. Unfortunately, the MST3 version removes the bathing suit contest, damn their eyes.

The "surprise" ending (Spoiler Alert!) is merely that Lew drops dead of a heart attack due to his imagination. So there's no real pay-off of any kind. Our host returns at the end to ask, "Has terrifying fear ever gripped your heart?" Maybe. But not while watching drivel like this.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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