During the running of the film,the "Punishment Poll" lets YOU decide the fate of Mr. Sardonicus!
A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more grotesque results! The audience gets an opportunity to vote--via the "Punishment Poll"--for the penalty Sardonicus must pay for his deeds...
William Castle was one of the few filmmakers who elevated the B-Movie to an artform and, with Sardonicus - a wacked-out amalgamation of Eyes Without A Face, Dracula and The Man Who Laughs - his ability to give audiences what they want reaches its crackpot conclusion. He literally allows us to choose the fate of the title character, appearing on screen before the ending and asking us what we'd like to see. This is both hilarious and brilliant but don't let the gimmick undersell Sardonicus. It also works as a creepy gothic chiller of the best kind. There are a couple of expertly executed moments of suspense that beat anything Hitchcock did, for my money, along with a a wickedly…
Review movie. Very much a product of its time.
A cautionary tale of the evils of playing the lottery. William Castle created an effective Gothic horror.
William Castle gives us one of the truly great evil henchman in MR. SARDONICUS: Krull! Easily ranking up there with henching greats like Lobo and Torgo, Krull (not to be confused with the sentient teleporting mountain) is a single-minded and devoted man-servant. Willing to go the extra mile to do his master's bidding and sink to whatever depths necessary, even if it means a bitch gotta get cut.
But, as with most henchman, Krull has a softer side. A sensitive side that belies his talents as a human lapdog. The complexities of this subordinate duality truly shine through here, as the role of craven toady is elevated to new heights. Krull will make you laugh! He will most certainly make you cry. But most of all, Krull poses the timeless questions: aren't we all just someone's henchman?
Chilling Castle film
My second favorite William Castle film behind The Tingler.
Middling Bill Castle movie, this one involves a muscle doctor who is asked to help an evil man whose face is stuck in a creepy, toothy grimace. It’s a lacklustre effort for many reasons, including the lack of suspense and lame duck plot (muscle relaxing as a major plot point?). The gimmick, in which Castle pretends to count the “votes” of the audience for the finale doesn’t really work either.