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Well-meaning Doctor Lloyd Clayton (George Zucco) has killed his evil
twin Elwyn (also George Zucco) in self defense ... but that doesn't keep
Elwyn from returning from the dead as a vampire, as he has studied black
magic & stuff in India. At first he sucks dry a few townsfolks,
leaving good Lloyd baffled, then he pays Lloyd himself a visit,
threatening to destory his life, & to that end he desides to start
with Lloyd's lovely niece Gayle (Mary Carlisle), whom he doesn't suck dry
in one go, but takes more of her blood every night.
Neither Lloyd - who at first refuses to believe in his brother's return
- nor Gayle's fiancé David (Nedrick Young) can explain her condition,
only the village's madwoman Kate (Fern Emmett) for some reason has come to
all the right conclusions & ofers her help, but at first to no avail,
who would believe a madwoman. Only eventually can Lloyd bring himself to
listen to her.
... but then, when trying to find Elwyn's coffin & coming too close
to the truth, she is killed by Elwyn's servant Zolarr (Dwight Frye). The
townsfolks, hearing of that, decide to form a lynchmob & lynch Lloyd,
whom they now believe to be guilty, & only with the greatest of
efforts can the sheriff (Hal Price) calm them down.
... but then a illager sees Elwyn leaning over another fresh corpse,
& believes him to be Lloyd (since he doesn't know & wouldn't
believe that Elwyn has come back as a vampire), so now the lynchmob closes
in on doctor Lloyd's house for real - but the doctor is out, because he
has figured out that Elwyn might be residing in his own house, & goes
there for a final showdown ... during which the house catches fire &
they both die, with the lynchmob, who has since found out where Lloyd is,
watching, & upon seeing both brothers, realizing the villain wasn't
Lloyd after all.
Al St.John, in Fuzzy-attire
has a little role as the man who discovers dead Kate.
Basically an inofficial remake of Universal's
Dracula (even with Dwight Frye in
the same role), Dead Men Walk is amople proof that an effective
spooker can be produced for a small budget on a hectic shooting schedule,
by a director who churns film out by the dozen: Much of the sets are
hidden in darkness, not only to obscure their cheapness but also to
heighten the brooding atmosphere, the film's story avoids (costly) action
which only contributes to the eerie mood, & the deliberate slow pace
of the film also works towards feeriness.
Not one of the more famous, but one of the best PRC