The Dead Talk Back

  • 1957
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror, Mystery

Evidently unreleased until it went direct-to-video in 1993, this static, talky and barely competent murder mystery with an unconsummated supernatural tease (the dead don't talk back) is interesting only as a cultural curio. Had the TV cinema spoof Mystery Science Theater 3000 not telecast it, the film's existence would have likely remained unknown outside...read more

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Reviewed by Frank Lovece

Evidently unreleased until it went direct-to-video in 1993, this static, talky

and barely competent murder mystery with an unconsummated supernatural tease (the dead don't talk back) is interesting only as a cultural curio. Had the TV cinema spoof Mystery Science Theater 3000 not telecast it, the film's existence would have likely remained unknown outside a tight circle of '50s-psychotronic completists. "Metaphysician" and police consultant Henry Krasker (Aldo Farnese), who sports a beaver-pelt hairstyle, an academic's beard and an incongruous stogie, gives us a brief lecture on the radio waves given off by the dead. The narration is then taken over by a Dragnet-styled police lieutenant (Scott Douglas) who introduces us to an army of suspects-to-be, all living in one boarding house, and counts off the minutes that one of the boarders, subsistence-model Renee Coliveil (Laura Brock), has left until she's killed in a crossbow murder. What follows is a tedious — though in some ways true-to-life &#151 police procedural filled with grunt work, dead-end leads and waiting for lab results; the interrogations are pretty laughable, though. Virtually every actor except Douglas appears to be a non-professional, and filmmaker Merle S. Gould is no Italian neo-realist when it comes to eliciting naturalistic performances. Stiff and vaguely smarmy star Farnese, who is "introduced" in the credits, went on to co-create a local children's show, Dickory Doc, shown on UHF television in Philadelphia

and Boston from 1966-1969, and to play the title character, who would lead

Santa's elves in making toys. He also played the title character in a second Philadelphia UHF station's kiddie show, Adam Android, and was also a

cameraperson for sporting events at Philly's Spectrum arena.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Evidently unreleased until it went direct-to-video in 1993, this static, talky and barely competent murder mystery with an unconsummated supernatural tease (the dead don't talk back) is interesting only as a cultural curio. Had the TV cinema spoof Myster… (more)

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