Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Before I Hang (1940)

I definitely have a love affair with Boris Karloff.  He's such a good actor that he can take an average movie and kick it up a notch or two simply by his commanding presence.  Such is the case with Before I Hang.  The premise is interesting:  A death row physician, who was convicted of a mercy killing, is granted a pardon and allowed to continue his experiments on a serum that could retard and even reverse the aging process.  The script is nothing special but it is Karloff's performance that makes it work.  His portrayal of Dr. John Garth is understated but menacing.  He's not your typical "mad scientist" but, instead, is the kind of doctor we could imagine living down the street from us.  For me this is far more interesting and haunting than the "He's alive!  He's alive!" mad scientist we're used to seeing in early horror films.  
A special treat is watching Karloff's hands and the way he holds the scarf he uses to dispatch his next victim.  It is beautiful work from a master actor.  If you're a Karloff fan, this one is definitely worth your time.  While Before I Hang will not make you jump out of your set with fright, it is a solid piece of work.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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