Macabre (1958)

What set this film apart from all others playing at the time, was an insurance policy, issued by Lloyds Of London, given out at the box office, and insuring the patron against “death by fright” during the viewing. Of course, I doubt that anyone’s relatives managed to collect the one million dollar face value, but it certainly managed to lure in a packed house.

One scene ,in particular, caused a few hesitations in my cardiac functions, despite the films generally boring overtones. One of the many false leads in the search for the missing child, led to a graveyard. An interrment was taking place during a dismal rainstorm,and the child supposedly was buried in the open grave. The camera was positioned up in the trees, as the would be rescuers dug frantically at the grave, rapidly filling with rainwater. As the coffin was unearthed and opened, the camera zoomed in for a closeup of the morbid contents, prompting ear splitting screams from the audience,and raising me out of my seat. Although only a partially melted wax doll, it did resemble a decomposing corpse.

This excellent use of the element of surprise and shock, made this ordinary film, memorable.