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The Corpse Vanishes

USA 1942
produced by
Sam Katzman, Jack Dietz for Monogram (Banner Productions)
directed by Wallace Fox
starring Bela Lugosi, Luana Walters, Tristram Coffin, Elizabeth Russell, Minerva Urecal, Angelo Rossitto, Joan Barclay, Kenneth Harlan, Gwen Kenyon, Vince Barnett, Frank Moran, George Eldredge, Gladys Faye, Eddie Kane, Murdock MacQuarrie, Frank O'Connor
story by Sam Robins, Gerald Schnitzer, screenplay by Harvey Gates, musical direction by Johnny Lange, Lew Porter

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Someone is poisoning brides so they die in the middle of the ceremony, then steals their bodies ... however, the police doesn't seem to do anything in the case, only one society reporter, Pat Hunter (Luana Walters) realizes if she could follow this story through it would be her big break - even though her boss (Kenneth Harlan) would rather like to see her to do society reports for the rest of her life than snooping around.

Anyways, Pat soon discovers a rare kind of orchid that was given to all the dead and missing brides and that was apparently poisoned, and she soon finds the only man in all of the USA who grows this orchids - Doctor Lorenz. And since Doctor Lorenz is played by Bela Lugosi, it only comes natural that he is indeed the bridekiller/bodysnatcher.

Doc Lorenz actually needs young women to keep the beauty of his wife, the Countess (Elizabeth Russell) restored (why the women need to be brides I don't know, and how the brides restore the beauty of his wife also eludes me) and thus kidnaps brides on a regular basis, helped by an old hag, Fagah (Minerva Urecal), and her two sons, the brute giant Angel (Frank Moran) and the midget Toby (Angelo Rossitto).

Eventually, Pat arrives at Doc Lorenz' house together with family Doctor Foster (Tristram Coffin), whom she soon falls in love with, and at first she doesn't suspect anything bad about Lorenz, who even invites her to stay for the night  ... until at night, she wakes up with Angel leaning over her and follows him down to the cellar where Lorenz keeps the brides' bodies. And when she witnesses Lorenz kill Angel, she faints ...

... only to wake up in bed at Lorenz' place the very next morning. And Lorenz doesn't even have any objections to her leaving, even though he has overheard when she told her adventures from the previous night to Doc Foster ...

By now, Pat is (understandably) convinced that Doc Lorenz is indeed behind the case of the missing brides, and he persuades her boss to stage a phony wedding, just to lure Lorenz out into the open. Lorenz though is one step ahead of her, and instead of the phony bride (Gwen Kenyon), he drugs and kidnaps Pat herself, and the cops, when seeing him getting away, only manage to shoot midget Toby ...

Back at his lab, Lorenz wants to operate on Pat, but Fagah has grown angry at him because through him, she has lost both her sons, so instead of assisting him in the operation, she stabs him ... and he strangles her to death with his dieing breath. When Pat awakens, she finds them both dead, and all that is left for the police that arrives just now to do is to arrest the Countess.


Of course the film is cheap, of course it's silly, and of course it has more plotholes and leaps of reason than one can count - but it's also pretty entertaining, provided you don't take it too seriously: The story moves along at a reasonably fast pace, the dialogue is fittingly snappy, Bela Lugosi is naturally an enjoyable villain, and Luana Walters makes a spunky leading lady who manages to carry large portions of the film.

One of the better Monogram shockers.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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