As a horror fan, one likes to imagine that they've seen all the major films (and for that matter the minor ones), especially when it comes to certain actors, Director's, and/or Studios. However, in this wonderful world of DVD, films occasionally turn up that plug gaps from yesteryear. Films that you knew about, but had somehow missed, get a release on the shiny silver, and we can expand upon our experience. Such is the case for me, with "The Monster Club". How did I miss The Monster Club? Well, it's likely it's because it came at a time when the studio from which it evolved was dead and buried. Or that with a release in 1980, it sat in an uncomfortable time frame. It looks for all the world like a 70's movie that has just been found, and hurriedly pushed out. The Monster Club was put together as a last gasp Amicus type effort. Milton Subotsky produced, wanting to give one last anthology a push before giving up on them. Amicus was gone by the time it was made, so he formed a new company for this effort. Everything else reeks Amicus through and through. Story A writer of horror stories Chetwynd-Hayes (John Carradine) meets an old gentlemen Eramus (VincentPrice) in the dark streets near a bookstore. The gentleman looks ill and is hungry, and asks for help. Chetwynd-Hayes obliges, and helps the old man, and as payment, is invited to the "Monster Club", a disco where the denizens of the night get to dance, eat, drink blood, and find a new date. Over dinner, Eramus repays Chetwynd-Hayes with stories that he might be able to use for subsequent books. This gives us our anthology of three tales: Shadmock Story A young couple live by stealing from the rich, and giving to themselves. After a drought of adequate victims however, things arn't looking so good. That is, until George (Simon Ward) see's an advertisement in the local newspaper for a person to catalog a collection of antiques in a remote mansion. Taking the job, his partner, Angela (the beautiful Barbara Kellerman) meets the single resident of the house, Raven (James Laurenson). Before she is able to complete her theft however, Angela will find out the origins of her employer, and learn his secret. You see, Raven is a Shadmock! (if you want to know what a Shadmock is, watch the film! Vampire Story Lintom Busotsky (Anthony Steel) is a film Producer. He is visiting the Monster Club to give a viewing of his latest film, based on his own childhood. The story covers his period of going to school at a young age. He is a thin waif of a boy, and is the victim of much bullying. Lintom's father only comes out at night, and even then doesn't get to spend much time with his son. Even when Lintom asks why this is, his father is vague, and appears not to want to give an answer. Lintom's mother (Britt Ekland) is a pretty normal woman, and she cares for the boy during the day. She warns Lintom to never talk to strangers, which his father follows up with, "Beware of men with violin cases!" However, after a days bullying, Lintom is approached in the street by a member of the clergy (Donald Pleasence). The clergyman seems overly interested in Lintom's family, especially his father? Humegoo Story A filmmaker, Sam (Stuart Whitman), is working on a new horror film. He's frustrated that his crew has yet to be able to find a suitably creepy village for him to use in one important segment, proclaiming, "I'll find it myself at the weekend!" Sure enough, Sam drives off, searching country roads in search of a perfect location. Finally, driving through some strange mist, he comes upon a spooky village, a village that seems to have transported him 100's of years back in time. It's a perfect location, but will the locals allow him to leave? And perhaps more importantly, why does all the food and clothes "arrive in boxes?" Commentary When Amicus was in the business of anthology films, they turned out classics of the genre. However, no-one could accuse them of going for all out horror. Instead, they kept their tongue firmly planted in cheek. More often than not, there were equal measures of comedy and horror. With one exception, The Monster Club changes the balance a little bit - humor is most evident here. With a cast that is a veritable who's who (Vincent Price, John Carradine, Anthony Steel, Barbara Kellerman, Simon Ward, Donald Pleasence, James Laurenson, Britt Ekland Stuart Whitman, Patrick Magee) it's just as much fun to see familiar faces as it is to absorb the stories. Still, just because comedy is high on the agenda, does not mean the film itself doesn't have some moments that go beyond the funny bone. The Shadmock Story is actually quite a sad affair. Its story deals with loneliness, with being different yet trapped forever in a hostile world, and its repeated line "you could learn to love me" is not without pathos. The final story, Humegoo, is actually spooky in parts. With a comedic denouement, the rest of the segment is quite horrifying and scary. Stuart Whitman does a good job portraying an overly self-confident man, marooned by the simple cutting of wires. Stuck in a remote location, with nothing but fear to keep him company, he quickly learns that he's fighting for his life. If you're in it for the horror, this is the tale that will most impress. Still, if you think this is simply an Amicus wannabe with more humor, you're missing a key element - The Monster Club itself. You see, The Monster Club is a disco for werewolves, ghouls and googly-eyed monsters. And what is a disco without music? In a first, each story is broken up by a live band, performing a song (a couple of which have horror-related themes). We get to see a performance of the songs, interspersed with monsters on the dance floor. Now, I actually found myself singing along to the songs, which have good hooks. However, the names of these bands have mostly been lost in the sands of time. Among them are B.A. Robertson (Sucker for your Love), Night (Stripper), and The Pretty Things (The Monster Club). Modern day audiences won't likely appreciate 80's pop, and the bands look dated and rather silly. Still, it's a new element, and believe it or not, the songs are catchy and fun. The framing device is Carradine and Price, sitting either side of the coffin table, sipping blood from glasses and exchanging stories. In between the stories we hear about the genealogy tree of monsters (that's where you'll learn what a Shadmock is), and even get to see Price boogying on down on the dance floor. The final scenes of the film is moralizing to the extreme, as a human himself is admitted as a member of the club. Brushing aside complaints that humans are not horrible enough, Price goes off on a campy tirade about the atrocities man has wrought both upon himself and the planet. From "gas chambers" to 'nuclear bombs", everything is brought to the fore. Once done, the other monsters are more than pleased to admit humans to the monster club - case proven, they really are HORRIBLE.