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USA 1946
produced by
Val Lewton, Jack J. Gross (executive) for RKO
directed by Mark Robson
starring Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, Billy House, Richard Fraser, Glen Vernon, Ian Wolfe, Jason Robards sr, Leyland Hodgson, Joan Newton, Elizabeth Russell, Vic Holbrook, Skelton Knaggs, John Beck, Frankie Dee, Hamilton Camp, Robert Clarke, Harry Harvey, Foster H. Phinney, Robert Seiter, Larry Wheat, Ellen Corby, John Goldsworthy, Bruce Edwards, Victor Travis
screenplay by Carlos Keith (= Val Lewton), Mark Robson, suggested by the painting Bedlam Plate #8 - The Rake's Progress by William Hogarth, music by Roy Webb

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD!

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The UK, the 1700s: Young Nell (Anna Lee) lives a comfortable enough life as the protégée of Lord Mortimer (Billy House), and the lord isn't really too demanding as long as she brings laughter to his home. Then though, as a lark, she goes on a tour through Bedlam asylum - and the poor condition the inmates have to live in concern her dearly. So she tries to improve things in Bedlam, to the extent that she makes Lord Mortimer try to use his influence on the asylum's evil head, Master Sims (Boris Karloff). Sims though is much too clever to be cornered by the girl, and thus promises reforms - that would hit Lord Mortimer rather dearly in terms of taxes. When Lord Mortimer backs out, Nell tries, with the help of her as-good-as-boyfriend, quaker Hannay (Richard Fraser), to secure the support of radical journalist/politician John Wilkes (Leyland Hodgson), who's more than interested in Nell's cause - but has a myriad of other things on his plate as well. However, when Lord Mortimer learns - from Sims, no less - that Nell has sought help from Wilkes, he's easily persuaded by Sims to have her declared insane and thrown into Bedlam. Bedlam almost breaks Nell, if it wasn't for Sims who comes by every once in a while to gloat and mock her - and especially his mockery makes her see what she can do to improve conditions, even while on the inside, by simply using common compassion. Seeing he has created an angel in his own asylum makes Sims mad enough to lock her into a cell with the most violent of inmates, Tom (Vic Holbrook) which should have been a death warrant, but with compassion Nell manages to tame even him. And eventually, she can instigate the other inmates to put Sims on trial, a trial that almost certainly won't end too well for Sims ...


During his short time with RKO, Val Lewton has produced some of the most memorable horror movies of the era, and Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie most readily spring to mind, though there were more. Bedlam was the last movie he ever produced for the studio - and frankly not of the best ones. That said, the film's heart is in exactly the right place and the film's cause sure enough commendable. What the film lacks though is subtlety: Good and evil are just too easily discernable (despite Boris Karloff playing his villain as suave as possible), the film's cause is just too straight-forward and the heroine just too unwaivering - all of which makes the whole thing very much on-your-nose. That's not to say this is necessarily a bad film, it's still a well-crafted period drama that's heavy on atmosphere and boasts some very fine acting. It just at the same time feels a little routine, especially when compared with Lewton's earlier genre efforts.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





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