The Undead (1957)

Such a cool movie poster. Such a terrible movie.

According to this Roger Corman film, the secret to time travel is through hypnosis and Satanism. Basically a psychic discovers that through hypnosis, he can send a soul back in time to previous lives. Unfortunately when he does this to a prostitute, she gets stuck and alters past events, which means her soul will likely be stamped out of existence upon death instead of reincarnating properly. To give her soul a chance, he manages to travel back using her mind to let her know her options: she can either die the next morning on the headman’s block and be reincarnated or live a full life there and then cease to exist. And he has to compete with her lover, a pair of opposed witches, and Satan.

At least I think that is what happens. The whole thing seems rather convoluted and ridiculous, and the cast makes a shoddy attempt at Ye Ole English. Also, madness makes you sing popular songs but add in words like “coffin,” “corpse,” “rats,” “filth,” etc. The acting is about as great as the script, and the sets…well, let’s just say there is a fight sequence that causes a “stone” wall to wobble a fair bit. Satan even introduces the film, Zardoz-style.

But there is an imp! He’s probably the best thing about this film, which isn’t saying much. If you want to watch this, you can always check out the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. It’ll provide a bit more levity for all the problematic and bizarre cheapness.

Hey, Leonard Maltin liked it.

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