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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Night Monster (1942)

I have to go against the majority of critics’ opinions on this film, including Alfred Hitchcock, and say that Night Monster is predictable, boring stuff.  Yes, it’s well acted and decently filmed [great fog!], but it left me saying “Who cares?”  The biggest letdown is that Lionel Atwill and Bela Lugosi receive top billing.  However, both play minor roles with Atwill disappearing from the second half of the film altogether and Lugosi being reduced to playing the butler….again!  It’s a waste of two talented actors.

Director Ford Beebe [Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe] knows what he’s doing.  He gets strong performances from all of his actors.  They put tons of energy into each and every line, but are given very little to work with.  There is lots of pseudo-science and passionate speeches but they amount to very little in the end.

The story takes place in the spacious Ingston Manor.  A groups of doctors have been invited to this old mansion by its owner who is crippled.  One by one the doctors end up dead and there is talk of a “monster” whose very presence silences the frogs and crickets…but who cares!  There are no interesting plot twists.  It’s strictly by the book.  When the “monster” is revealed it’s exactly who you think it would be!

I imagine 1940’s audiences would have enjoyed Night Monster but it’s not very compelling in 2014.  If you’re a Lugosi or Atwill fan, you time is better spent elsewhere!


For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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