Dear Readers, what is that Cat Monster Thing in the lower left-hand corner of this poster?! And why does it remind me of an illustration from the copy of The Incredible Journey I had as a kid? And more importantly, how many times did I read that book to remember that picture? I love this poster, it is awful. Once I saw the poster, I had to see the film.
Then I heard the opening theme song Ghoul in the School. Zoinks! This song sounds like Scooby Doo! Okay, maybe it is a fun werewolf movie like I Was a Teenage Werewolf? At this point, I pat myself on the back, “Summer, you found a kitschy gem!”
So the movie begins, Dr. Julian Olcutt, a recently disbarred doctor, now teaches biology at a girls’ school. Boy, so much for background checks. No, wait, the headmaster is aware of Olcutt’s background. You know a “handsome” disbarred doctor is the ideal candidate to teach young girls, right?
Well, these are not sweet and innocent girls, it is a reform school! These girls committed a variety of crimes from prostitution to attempted murder. Suddenly a student, Mary, dies after having an altercation with one of the school’s benefactors, Sir Alfred. He wrote her love letters and paid her money for “love on the sly.”
But it sounds entertaining when I describe the film like that. Nope, it is not that type of film, and by “type” I mean entertaining. In fact, the movie is pretty dull, but let’s see what happens.
The police blame the local wolves for Mary’s death. Mary’s friend Priscilla knows it was murder. Dr. Olcutt believes it was murder, too. So Priscilla and Dr. Olcutt investigate and uncover several suspects. The most suspicious is Sir Alfred with his uncontrollable libido. Through his intermediary, Walter, he propositions Priscilla immediately after Mary’s funeral. Umm… Sir Alfred, could we give it a week to mourn Mary? His wife Sheena is extremely jealous. She tells him:
SHEENA. You’re a beast, not a man, go the devil!
Could Sir Alfred be the werewolf? Or Sheena the jealous wife? Or is it Leonora, the teacher sneaking off the grounds in the middle of the night? Or Walter, the creepy caretaker who looks like Peter Lorre, with the mysterious arm injury? Or is it Dr. Olcutt- the murder happened shortly after his arrival? Or the headmaster, Swift? Does anybody really care?
The questions the plot wants you to ask, are nothing in comparison to the questions you should ask!
Why does no one seems to mind that Priscilla and Dr. Olcutt are holding hands? Isn’t she like 16 and he like 45? Why is everyone running around in the forest at night? Just what kind of school is this? Will we ever see a werewolf? Is the wolf a metaphor for the school’s human trafficking? Is there even a werewolf in the film?
Yes, there is, and it looks like this!
Okay! Okay! Okay! I don’t want to see the werewolf!
Hey, I had to sit through this mess, you got off easy!
Where’s the Cat Monster that’s on the poster? What Cat Monster? There is no Cat Monster, only the picture on the opening credits!
Normally, I research the film to find something interesting. BUT I DON’T REALLY CARE, I JUST WANT MY TIME BACK!
Here’s my problem. The film feigns at too many things but does not succeed at anything. The title and the opening music set you up for a slumber party, monster, a-go-go, it is not. The plot sounds like an allegorical sex-trade dormitory scandal, but the film is far from that. What it is, is a verbose murder mystery with unlikeable detectives.
It doesn’t hit the mark for me.
You can watch the film online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur60XM0Vj1g
And speaking Billy Wilder Films, see how I shamelessly threw that in there? Come back on June 22nd to read my post on The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as part of the 2nd Annual Billy Wilder Blogathon.