Sound of Horror
Starring James Philbrook, Arturo Fernández, Soledad Miranda, José Bódalo, Ingrid Pitt, Francisco Piquer | Written by Sam X. Abarbanel, Gregg G. Tallas, José Antonio Nieves Conde, Gregorio Sacristán de Hoyos | Directed by José Antonio Nieves Conde | 91 minutes | 1966
Sound of Horror provides a novel, but stunningly obvious, answer to the perennial sticky question faced by low budget horror filmmakers everywhere, “How do we feature a convincing monster?”
“Make it invisible!”
A trio of post-war adventurers (James Philbrook, José Bódalo, Antonio Casas) track a cache of looted ancient treasure to its possible hiding place in a mountain cave in the remote Greek countryside. Using dynamite to blast away a rock section, the men discover what appears to be a prehistoric petrified egg. In the rush to finally uncover the mcguffin—er, fabulous plunder of their dreams—a second egg goes unnoticed, hatching and rapidly growing into an invisible monster.
Nevermind why the eggs are not invisible, or later, the creature’s blood when wounded.
Stravos (Francisco Piquer), the team’s Greek archeological assistance, is the first to meet his fate, flailing his arms and recoiling from the lacerations of unseen talons. The scene is less ridiculous than it sounds. With the camera not defining a tangible creature, it almost serves as a point-of-view shot from the monster’s perspective.
As indicated by its title, Sound of Horror fills in the spaces around its invisible monster with the dread of its approach, signaled by the onslaught of uncanny shrieking. Not knowing the location of the source, the human victims are left only with the growing fear of an unknown menace. Unfortunately, the shrieking more often resembles the hysterical screams of a final girl in a slasher movie than a threatening prehistoric predator.
Overall, the film benefits from its earnest approach to the material, and is surprisingly better than suggested by capsule summaries. Don’t let the dismissive “shrieking invisible dinosaur” tag fool you, this is a legitimate–if not entirely successful–horror movie, not camp or a spoof played for laughs.
The cast also benefits from two early appearances by future horror icons. Hammer favorite Ingrid Pitt (The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula) and Jess Franco muse Soledad Miranda (Vampryros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy) play the female companions, although they are not given much to work with here. Well, except for two oddly atonal, back-to-back musical interludes. While the men plan over their treasure maps, Pitt twists and shakes to a mod pop song on the radio, followed by Miranda’s clumsy attempt at a traditional Greek dance.
As an apropos-of-nothing bonus, the movie throws in a rope-bound mummy, also revealed after the dynamite blast—but no, it’s not invisible.