The Haunting of Morella (1990) from Tuna

Tuna's comments in white

A Roger Corman production, The Haunting of Morella is a titty flick based on a story of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. Jim Wynorsky directed, and tried to include homages to both early Italian horror masters and Corman's Poe films from the 60s.

Morella, a witch in Colonial America, is put to death via crucifixion and having her eyes put out with a hot poker. She warns her husband that she will return in the body of their baby daughter, Lenora. Cut to the future, and Lenora is nearly 18, but has been kept a virtual prisoner by her father, who is now blind. She is under the care of her governess (Lana Clarkson).

When a handsome attorney from town arrives to talk with Lenora about her inheritance, her father refuses to let them meet. The governess arranges the meeting anyway, and it is not long before we learn that she is actually working as an agent for the long-dead witch, Morella. Lenora and Morella are both played by Nicole Eggert. Before it is over, we are treated to virgin sacrifices. I am getting the idea that virginity has historically always been a serious liability, much the same as winning Aztec championships.

The film does drag on way too long, especially for a film with an obvious outcome. Still, it concentrates several 80s scream queens in one handy place, and some of the sets and photography are rather good for a small budget film.

Scoop's comments in yellow:


just like before ...

it's yesterday once more.


The amazing thing to me is the date of this film: 1990, not 1960.

I am not a young man, 56 as I type these words, but Roger Corman was already producing low budget adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories 45 years ago, when I was in sixth grade in Ike's America. The USA and USSR were at odds over Cuba for the first time after the Castro/Guevara revolution when Vincent Price starred in Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher that year. I saw it at a drive-in, from the back seat of my parents' Studebaker. Within five years Corman and Price would team up for seven more Poe adaptations: Premature Burial, Pit and the Pendulum, Poe's Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, and the Tomb of Ligeia. As I write this some 40 years later, Corman has produced at least 360 films, and those Poe adaptations from the early 60s may still be his best body of work. Those eight films are all in his career top twenty as a producer.

  1. (7.21) - Plančte sauvage, La (1973)
  2. (7.06) - The Intruder (1962)
  3. (6.78) - Ginga tetsudô Three-Nine (1979)
  4. (6.77) - House of Usher (1960)
  5. (6.68) - Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
  6. (6.66) - The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
  7. (6.63) - Suburbia (1984)
  8. (6.50) - Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)
  9. (6.49) - The Raven (1963)
  10. (6.42) - A Bucket of Blood (1959)
  11. (6.28) - Tales of Terror (1962)
  12. (6.18) - The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)
  13. (6.15) - The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
  14. (6.14) - Saint Jack (1979)
  15. (6.14) - X (1963)
  16. (6.07) - The Haunted Palace (1963)
  17. (5.88) - The Shooting (1967)
  18. (5.86) - The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)
  19. (5.77) - Death Race 2000 (1975)
  20. (5.75) - The Premature Burial (1962)


If one considers only the films which Corman has directed personally, those films comprise eight of his top thirteen, and five of the top seven. (The scores vary slightly from list to list because of IMDb's weighting system, which is on double secret probation and cannot be revealed upon pain of death.)

  1. (7.20) - The Intruder (1962)
  2. (6.79) - House of Usher (1960)
  3. (6.70) - Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
  4. (6.69) - The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
  5. (6.51) - The Raven (1963)
  6. (6.48) - A Bucket of Blood (1959)
  7. (6.33) - Tales of Terror (1962)
  8. (6.18) - X (1963)
  9. (6.18) - The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)
  10. (6.16) - The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
  11. (6.13) - The Haunted Palace (1963)
  12. (5.92) - The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)
  13. (5.82) - The Premature Burial (1962)

Fast forward thirty years from that summer night in my parents' Studebaker. I was then a 40-year-old man living in Norway, working with a major oil company, trying to figure out how to attend my 25th high school reunion, an ocean away, without missing any work in the process. Fortunately, jet travel had become commonplace, and I could hop from Oslo to Rochester for the weekend. Ike had long since joined the choir invisible, and several presidents had come and gone in those years since I had first seen The House of Usher. Man had walked on the moon. The USSR and East Germany had disintegrated. There were no longer many drive-ins, which had been the natural outlets for Corman's films and the summer Saturday night parking places for my parent's Studebaker. That car had long since been scrapped, and even its brand name existed only in nostalgic remembrances and trivia contests.

And Corman? Still producing low budget adaptations of Poe films, similar to his old ones, except that Vincent Price had been replaced by breasts. Except for Castro, Corman must have been was the most constant element of the past 45 years.

I expect that the last thing I will see in my life, as I lie on my deathbed trying to distract myself with a newspaper or cable TV, will be an ad for a new straight-to-video film called Roger Corman's The Cask of Amontillado.



  • poor quality transfer
  • no widescreen
  • no meaningful features


  • Nicole Eggert's nude scenes are done by a body double.

  • Lana Clarkson shows breasts and buns, and is also seen in a pair of wet panties that reveals a lot of detail at the juncture of her thighs.

  • We also have breasts and buns from Maria Ford as Clarkson's lesbian lover, and from Gail Harris and Deborah Dutch as virgin sacrifices.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed $1.5 million.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-. Adequate, if uninspired genre fare.

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