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The Raven

USA 1935
produced by
Carl Laemmle jr, David Diamond (associate) for Universal
directed by Louis Friedlander (= Lew Landers)
starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Irene Ware, Lester Matthews, Inez Courtney, Samuel S.Hinds, Ian Wolfe, Spencer Charters, Maidel Turner, Arthur Hoyt, Walter Miller
written by David Boehm, somehow suggested by the poem by Edgar Allan Poe, make-up by Jack Pierce, music by Clifford Vaughan

Universal horror cycle, Universal's Edgar Allan Poe

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware) has a car accident & seems to be beyond saving, Doctor Vollin (Bela Lugosi) reluctantly agrees to save her life upon her father Judge Tatcher's (Samuel S.Hinds) begging ... & during the rehabilitation phase, he falls in love with the girl, & she becomes a bit inafatuated with him too.

However, her father wants her married off to Dr Holden (Lester Matthews), & instead of showing gratitude to Vollin for saving his daughter, he forbids him to see her ... & what's even worse, Jean, ignorant about his feelings towards her, tells Vollin she is going to marry Doc Holden.

Vollin is furious, which is when a cutthroat, Bateman (Boris Karloff) crosses his path & wants plastic surgery to get a second chance. Instead, Vollin asks him to kill Judge Thatcher, but Bateman, honestly wanting to reform himself, refuses. So, Vollin agrees to the plastic surgery, but gives him the ugliest face imaginable, & tells him that he will only operate on him again if Bateman helps him exact his revenge on Judge Thatcher, his daughter & his associates.

To that end, Vollin invites them all for a weekend to his mansion, as a sort of reconciliation, & at first he is the perfect host, only his servant, Bateman, seems a bit scary. But ultimately, Vollin uses all tricks of the trade imaginable to scare the heebeegeebies out of his guests, including all sorts of racks, a room that turns into an elevator, secret passageways & even a hidden dungeon in the cellar.

Soon, Judge Thatcher is stretched to a rack with a pendulum swinging above him, coming ever closer to his body (as in Edgar Allan Poe's Pit and the Pendulum), while Jean & Doc Holden are locked away in a room with the walls closing in on them, intent on squashing them.

But Vollin has not taken into account that Bateman would eventually change sides, fight against his mad master & release Jean & doc Holden. He is shot by Vollin for that, but has just enough life left inside of him to lock Vollin into the room with the moving walls, & ultimately Vollin is squashed while Judge Thatcher can be saved ...

 

Why Universal even claimed this is was somehow based on Edgar Allen Poe is left at anybody's guess, the film's story as well as predilection for fancy, spooky gadgets & disfigured killers all clearly originate from pulp literature of its time.The film however doesn't quite hold up to  its promise, the pure fun of telling a pulp story & fascination of its subject gets lost somewhere in the rather muddled plot & the compulsion to every now & again quote lines from Poe's poem, even if they are completely out of place.

Oh well ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD