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Undead, The

Entry updated 20 June 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (1957). American International Pictures. Produced and directed by Roger Corman. Written by Charles Griffith and Mark Hanna. Cast includes Billy Barty, Val Dufour, Pamela Duncan, Richard Garland and Allison Hayes. 71 minutes. Black and white.

Low-budget fantasy inspired by the best-selling book The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956) by Morey Bernstein, an allegedly nonfiction account of Hypnotic regression. This early Corman film adds a speculative element to the Reincarnation theme and explores the possible consequences of Time Travel to the past. Hypnotist Quintus Ratcliff (Dufour) regresses the present-day prostitute Diana Love (Duncan) to a previous life in medieval times, where she alters the timeline by helping her previous incarnation Helene (also played by Duncan) to escape imminent execution for witchcraft. The hypnotist later physically follows her back to the past by merging his brainwaves with hers to observe the situation and possibly control it. Helene is ultimately faced with the ponderous decision of whether to follow through with her escape from the axe, dooming her successive future incarnations to vanish from existence, or to sacrifice herself to allow her future selves to be born. The plot in some ways anticipates the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" (1967). [LW]


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