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The Climax

USA 1944
produced by
George Waggner for Universal
directed by George Waggner
starring Boris Karloff, Susanna Foster, Turhan Bey, Gale Sondergaaard, Thomas Gomez, June Vincent, George Dolenz, Ludwig Stössel, Jane Farrar, Ernö Verebes, Lotte Stein, Scotty Beckett, William Edmunds, Maxwell Hayes, Dorothy Lawrence, Ernie Adams, Gertrude Astor, Grace Cunard, William Desmond, Francis Ford, Stuart Holmes
screenplay by Curt Siodmak, Lynn Starling, based on a play by Edward Locke, adaptation by Curt Siodmak, librettos by George Waggner, music by Edward Ward

Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ten years ago, opera physician Doctor Hohner (Boris Karloff) was in love with Marcellina (June Vincent), a celebrated opera diva, and the two had a relationship ... but he couldn't stand sharing her voice with other people, so he strangled her, but made it look as if she just diappeared.

Now: Theatre owner Count Seebruck (Thomas Gomez) has just discovered a virtually unknown girl, Angela (Susanna Foster), whose voice is simply amazing and the first voice in 10 years to equal Marcellina's - so in rather a hurry, Seebruck makes her his new diva, to rave reviews. Hohner, who still works at the opera house, also notices the similarity of the voices, and immediately thinks Angela - or at least her voice - is his too ... and hypnotizes her to never sing again, only to then offer her abode in his home, which she, under his spell, accepts.

However, Hohner's maid Louise (Gale Sondergaard), who was once Marcellina's maid and madly in love with her, helps Angela's boyfriend Franz (Turhan Bey) in getting her out of the Doctor's clutches, and with the help of the teenage King (Scotty Beckett) - what, a teenage King ? - he makes her sing again.

When Hohner realizes he's totally losing his grip on Angela and that even the cops are after him, he locks himself into the room where he keeps Marcellina's body - which for some reason the maid never stumbled upon in her ten years with him -, accidently sets the place on fire and burns to death ...

 

It's hard to imagine a film that's more devoid of any kind of climax than this one - which is even more surprising given the film's title, which I have no idea what it's referring to. Climax was promoted as a Technicolor horror film hot on the heels of the very successful (but rather disappointing) Phantom of the Opera from a year before, even using much of the same sets, but in fact the film is simply a directionless melodrama that lacks any kind of tension or suspense, that features a climax (if you can even call it that) that is a total letdown, and that even the great Boris Karloff who at least is properly menacing and on top of his game, cannot save. A total waste of time.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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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