Since the original Poe story had been done several times earlier, Hessler and Wicking decided to approach it at a different angle. Set in period France, the story centers on an acting troupe who perform Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue as a spectacular Grand Guignol-style stage play. The troupe is led by Cesar Charron (Jason Robards in one of his few exploitation roles) who is married to the much younger Madeleine (Christine Kaufmann). Madeleine keeps having strange, surreal dreams about an axe murderer and other macabre apparitions. In the meantime, members of the acting troupe are being nastily offed by the masked Rene Marot (Herbert Lom). Marot is believed to be dead, but he’s alive and well and seeking revenge by pouring acid on anyone connected with his scarred appearance (leading to a bogus suicide) and his doomed relationship with Madeleine’s late mother (Lilli Palmer). —DVDdrive-in.com
Gordon Hessler (born 12 December 1930 in Berlin, Germany) is a British film and television director, screenwriter, and producer.
He was raised in England and studied at the University of Reading. While a teenager, he moved to the United States and directed a series of short films and documentaries. Universal Studios hired Hessler as a story reader for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series. He became story editor for two seasons (1960–1962) for that series, then served as the associate producer for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour from 1962 until its cancellation in 1965. He directed episodes of that series and several other shows (including Hawaii Five-O).
In 1969, he directed his debut feature film, The Oblong Box, starring Vincent Price. It was the first of three horror films Hessler would direct with the veteran horror star, the other two being Cry of the Banshee (1970) and Scream and Scream Again (1970). Hessler’s other films include Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971… read more