Weird how Terry Gilliam’s animations for Monty Python’s Flying Circus always seemed a bit scary, but his titles for CRY OF THE BANSHEE, a Vincent Price horror flick, are mainly just funny.
Weird also how the movie, which is part of AIP/Tigon’s series of period horrors including also WITCHFINDER GENERAL and BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW, is so unlikable. The earlier WITCHFINDER benefited from a realistic approach with no supernatural elements and an admirable seriousness of purpose by its director. The later CLAW has a thoroughly goofy narrative but again tackles it with sincerity and verve — the writer had been influenced by accounts of the Mary Bell case, in which a little girl murdered a little boy: the idea of evil infecting children was taken seriously, even if the filmmakers don’t bring much in the way of sensible ideas to the situation.
BANSHEE is really just a parade of nastiness, most of it directed at young women. The only really interesting thing after the opening credits is the ending, which to my mind was swiped by THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, which could be seen as an unofficial remake in gangster form of BANSHEE. Bob Hoskins may seem an unlikely replacement for Vincent Price, but really he’s not.