Sound of Horror

Sound of Horror - DVD cover #2

Sound of Horror is a 1964 Spanish Horror film. A group of people at an isolated little house in the Greek mountains are determinedly searching nearby caves and mines for a buried treasure. One of the explosions they set off reveals a hidden chamber with strange, seemingly petrified eggs. But the eggs are not as inert as they seem and soon a mysterious creature is shrieking its way around the countryside and picking off the treasure hunters.

Sound of Horror - movie - four

Sound of Horror is a low budget little film directed by Spanish director and screen writer José Antonio Nieves Conde. The mostly Spanish cast features professional boxer turned actor Arturo Fernández Rodríguez  as the treasure hunting group’s handsome driver and singer-actress-Flamenco dancer Soledad Miranda as the pretty young niece of one of the lead treasure hunters. Two years after making Sound of Horror, Soledad married Portugese racecar driver José Manuel Conceiçao Simões. In 1970, on their way to a studio meeting where Soledad was to sign a multi-year film contract, she and her husband collided with a truck and their car was crushed. Her husband had only minor injuries but Soledad had factures of her skull and spine and died a few hours later. Sound of Horror also stars American actor James Philbrook as lead treasure hunter Dr. Asilov and Ingrid Pitt as his sexy associate Sofia. Ingrid was a Polish-British actress who survived a horrific childhood in a Nazi concentration camp and later had to flee East Germany after the East German police targeted her for her political activism. Ingrid made her film debut in a minor role in Dr. Zhivago but achieved cult status for her later roles in Hammer Horror films The Vampire Lovers and Countess Dracula. intrepid treasure hunters have two pieces of a map and are looking for a hidden fortune in ancient Greek statues and coins. While a few of them have some archaeological credentials they are totally fixated on finding the cache and getting rich and have no interest in anything else they find. Archaeology fans will cringe as the soon-to-be-doomed Stavros (played by Francisco Piquer) casually tosses around a prehistoric egg and later simply rips open the wrappings of a mummified Neanderthal (wearing what looks like an apron). The group also does not exhibit the strongest of survival instincts after Stavros meets his end. Years ago, I laughed at a Horror film, name long forgotten, when several rather dim-witted characters insisted on traipsing into a woods filled with deadly creatures just to bury one of their dead companions. Naturally more of them ended up dead. This treasure hunting group is almost as lack-witted. They set off multiple explosions in their search for the treasure but seem to completely lack any sense of safety. They just stand nearby while they set off their charges and portions of the cave roof collapse. Later, after Stavros is shredded, our adventurers just leave him lying in the cave and retreat to their isolated little house to chat and sip tea. Housekeeper Calliope, who has spend most of the movie so far warning about evil curses and looming death, must go out in the dark to get water from a well for the tea. She knows a mysterious killer is lurking around but she still goes out in the dark by herself. She is so spooked that she ends up dropping the water pitcher and spilling most of the water. But a few minutes later, she goes traipsing off into the dark again for more water. Poor Calliope does not last long. A little later, poor pretty Maria is trapped in her bedroom by the rampaging creature. Her handsome swain Pete goes outside and around the house to make noise and lure the creature away. His ruse works and the shrieking monster chases him back to the front door where Dr. Asilov is waiting. But Dr. Asilov, instead of slamming the door the instant Pete rushes inside, simply stands there peering into the dark trying to see an invisible monster. Not the smartest doctor in existence.

Sound of Horror - Maria attacked #2

Actually, despite some of the dim-witted antics, Sound of Horror is not completely silly. Yes, the special effects are really really primitive (glowing little eyes peering out of the prehistoric egg, hatchets supposedly stuck in an invisible creature just floating in mid-air, really bad outlines of the monster) but the movie actually uses a clever little trick to make the monster seem more menacing. They never really show the creature – it is invisible. The movie uses creepy sounds to ramp up the tension. The creature makes a stumbling, shuffling sound as it slowly advances on its victims and then lets loose with eerie ear-splitting shrieks to terrorize the doomed. And I admit, the treasure hunters may have started out with less than stellar intelligence but they do manage to come up with a few shrewd ideas when they do finally wise up and start fighting back. The two young women are also not totally useless eye candy even though a large part of their screen time is spent dancing or flirting or looking scared. Sofia (Ingrid Pitt), it turns out, was the one who managed to get her hands on the missing half of the treasure map. And Maria (Soledad Miranda), who is completely dismissed by her uncle in the opening scene as being scared of the explosions because “She’s only an amateur and a woman”, springs into completely surprising action to save herself from the attacking monster until the others can rescue her. She’s the only one who survives a direct attack.

Sound of Horror runs one hour and 29 minutes and is in black and white. The sound quality is good and the monstrous shrieks and screams are scary but the picture quality is a bit on the fuzzy side. Some young movie fans might be scared by some of the monster noises and the victims, who are slashed to death and drained of blood, look a little gory although nothing compared to what is found in many modern films. Overall, Sound of Horror is silly with extremely basic special effects but there are a few good ideas and enough thrills in the second half to make keep you watching to see who, if anyone, survives. Go to the Internet Archive to download Sound of Horror or watch it online at the site. IA has two versions. Version #1  has more than 15,000 downloads while Version #2 only a few hundred and seems a bit fuzzier.

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