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You almost can't call this a Horror film. However, it captures and maintains such a creepy vibe throughout the films entire 88 min. run, that it can scarcely be labeled much else.

A prudish constable comes to the island community of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He begins to question and shove a photograh under the nose of the islanders almost the second his foot touches their soil. No one seems to know who the child is, though the fuzz was tipped off that was indeed where the girl was reported missing from. Further investigation reveals a series of lies, half-truths and red herrings of every variety. The constable has strong Christian beliefs, and is apalled by the adopted religion of Summerisle's people; pagans to a man who believe in strong sexual pratices and festivals celebrating the harvesting of the islands fruit growing industry. Incidentally, the constable has arrived at the percise time that the May Day festival is about to go down, and if he was shocked by the hedonistic practices only a day before, he is about to be outright horrified. What he witnesses will make him wish he'd stayed on the mainland.

The movie is well-acted and has some credible perfomances by Edward Woodward (Televisons The Equalizer) as the harried constable and Christopher Lee as the mysterious Lord Summerisle. Britt Ekland and Ingrid Pitt both show off their natural assets (as does a good bit of the female cast) but have scant little else to do. The island community is reminiscent of an H.P. Lovecraft setting where Dagon, dark god of the sea wiil make an appearance and start wreaking havoc, lends to the overall creepy vibe I mentioned earlier. The film has its weak points, the most prominent being that Hippie Love Child whine that left me wondering at times if this movie wasn't straight out Horror then what was it? A musical? That aside, it was a fairly interesting experience and lessened the films impact not too much.

Not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but a pretty good effort. If this had starred someone other than Lee (Vincent Price would've been an acceptable substitute) in the Lord Sumerisle role, then it would have gotten a lesser rating, but Christopher Lee is the man, and he considers this his best role (probably at that time) one that he doesn't fail to deliver the goods.

Rating: ***
 
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