‘Talons of terror!’
The Vulture is a 1967 British-Canadian-American science fiction horror feature film written, produced and directed by Lawrence Huntington, the veteran’s final film before his death in 1968 (although his screenplay for The Oblong Box was adapted in 1969). The movie stars Robert Hutton, Akim Tamiroff, Broderick Crawford and Diane Clare.
Late one evening in a Cornish village, a woman is so frightened by an apparition she goes into shock and her hair turns white. Initially, no-one believes her but visiting American nuclear scientist Doctor Eric Lutens (Robert Hutton) discovers that Professor Koniglish (Akim Tamiroff) has managed to turn himself into a half-man, half-bird monster to avenge the death of his ancestor…
“It’s one part horror story with a cursed family and revenge-from-beyond-the-grave sworn by a dying man, it’s another part Agatha Christie whodunnit, another part weird mystery, another part rural menace blended with Hammer horror elements and another part science fiction, all topped off with one of the most pathetic monsters you will ever see (or rather, won’t see).” Soda Pop for Thirsty Pigs
“The “horror” scenes, being what they are, occur mostly off camera, but we do occasionally hear the flapping of giant wings and see the talons of some giant bird swooping down and grabbing people, to carry them away to their doom. The talons are especially awful-looking and stiff, like they were made of papier-mache. The Vulture himself, when his identity is finally revealed, is onscreen for mere seconds…” Cinema Knife Fight
” …a predictable combination of 1950s monster movie plots and 1960s return-of-the-witch plots … twice as much dialogue as necessary. Being that boring Robert Hutton delivers much of the dialogue, the pacing feels glacial. The setting is nice but the movie is weak. The vulture itself, when you finally see it, is neither scary nor campy.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“Unconvincing – the vulture itself is glimpsed only as a pair of legs and talons – and uninteresting. Far too talkative.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
“Fair to middling creepy… painless panic for the timorous.” The Daily Cinema, 1966
“If the killings were tame, the script commits the cardinal sin of setting up some interesting ideas and just discarding them in favour of another attack from above. The prospect of stolen treasure, for example, occupies everyone’s thoughts but plays no part at all in the drama. Instead, Huntington throws logic to the wind and heaps coincidence on top of cliché on top of coincidence.” John Hamilton, X-Cert (Hemlock Books, 2012)
Main cast and characters:
- Robert Hutton … Doctor Eric Lutens – Man Without a Body; The Slime People; Trog
- Akim Tamiroff … Professor Hans Koniglich – The Black Sleep
- Broderick Crawford … Brian F. Stroud – Terror in the Wax Museum
- Diane Clare … Trudy Lutens – Witchcraft
- Philip Friend … The Vicar
- Patrick Holt … Jarvis
- Annette Carell … Ellen West
- Edward Carrick … Melcher, the Sexton
- Gordon Sterne … Edward Stroud
- Keith McConnell … Superintendent Wendell
- Margaret Robinson … the Nurse
The Vulture was released in the USA by Paramount Pictures on a double-bill with The Deadly Bees.
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