The casting is also refreshingly old fashioned, favoring seasoned character actors over more marketable pretty young faces. Usually cast in comic relief supporting roles, Monaghan acquits himself well here as a more subdued, relatable character. John Speredakos makes a fine villain as the leader of the rival gang of grave robbers, and Brenda Cooney conjures the spirit of Hammer movie sirens like Ingrid Pitt as Willie and Arthur’s saucy apprentice Fanny. Scrimm and Perlman don’t have a lot of screen time, but they make the most of what they’re given, hamming it up in a manner that would have brought a devilish smirk to Vincent Price’s face. But it’s Fessenden, himself a director of several horror films (Habit, Wendigo, The Last Winter), who steals every scene he’s in as the crassly comical Willie.
This is writer/director/producer Glenn McQuaid’s first film, and as such it’s an impressive achievement. Some nitpickers have pointed out a few anachronisms and inaccuracies, which seems kind of pointless given the tone of the film. Besides, considering the budget, the period set design and costuming are more than sufficient to create the necessary atmosphere. The special effects are also well done. There’s no CGI here, just practical make-up and a few bits of old-school trick photography. On the downside, the movie could stand to flow a little better, and not every one of its episodic vignettes packs as much of a punch as one might like. There’s also a revelation about Perlman’s character that appears to be meant as a surprise, but any viewer paying even the slightest attention will see coming a mile away. One can’t completely gloss over those issues, but they’re still not enough to prevent the film from being a great bit of fun and a refreshing change of pace. 3 out of 4 stars.