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At one of his shows, famous hypnotist Alex Gregor (Lon Chaney jr) is
challenged by a drunk member of the audience (Arthur Hohl) to hypnotize
him - but when Alex does, the man drops dead on the spot.
Alex thinks he has killed him by hypnosis since he has detested the man
and wished him dead, but when he wants to give himself up to the police,
Inspector Brant (Douglass Dumbrille) simply won't accept his confession
and lets Alex go free against his protest.
Alex realizes he needs a break from everything, so he breaks up the
engagement to Maura (Evelyn Ankers), who also served as medium in his
shows, and gives up his profession as hypnotist. Instead he finds shelter
at the wax museum of Valerie Monet (Tala Birell), who's secretly in love
with him, where he gives guided tours. However, the situation in the
museum is also somewhat strenuous, since young Nina (Elena Verdugo),
Valerie's niece who works in the museum, has fallen in love with Alex,
much to the dismay of Valerie, who wants Alex for himself, and much to the
dismay of Rudi (Martin Kosleck), the museum's borderline mental resident
sculptor, who is madly in love with Nina. When one day, Maura pays the
museum and especially her ex-fiancé Alex a visit, the whole situation
seems to explode when after Maura's gone, Alex and Valerie get into a
fight and Alex starts to hypnotize Valerie and ... suddenly finds himself
out on the docks, with no memory of the last few hours ... so has he
hapnotized Valerie to death like the drunk man in his show ?
And where is Valerie ?
Actually, Rudi has hidden the corpse of Valerie among the wax figures
of the museum, where it is impossible for everyone to find her ... except
for Nina, who somehow stumbles over the body and is soon hunted by Rudi,
who likes to throw knives. In her desperation, she first turns to Alex,
but when she finds Valerie's scarf in his hands - he has no idea how he
got it - she concludes he must have something to do with the killing too
... and soon enough, Nina has disappeared s well.
Alex now has the perfect idea of how to solve the crime: Maura, whom he
will put in a trance so she becomes a telepath (what ?) and tell him what
went on ... and wouldn't you know it, of all people George Keen (Milburn
Stone), Alex' good-natured business manager is behind the murder of
Valerie, because he wanted to drive Alex insane to get his hands on Alex'
wealth, and he used mad Rudi as his tool. In the end, George Keen can be
overcome by Alex and inspector Brant, Nina is saved from the furnace Rudi
wanted to throw her into and Rudi is thrown into the furnace he wanted to
throw Nina into and burned ... and after all, Alex gets the girl, Maura
that is ...
Another weak entry in the generally weak Inner Sanctum series of
mysteries with horror undertones. Interestingly this one borrows heavily
from the (even weaker) first film in the series, Calling
Doctor Death, which also features Lon Chaney jr overcome by guilt,
amnesia, and the use of hypnotism to solve the crime. Of course, using
these ingredients for a second time doesn't necessarily make a better
story, now does it ? So once again the outcome is an overconvoluted and
less than convincing murder mystery that is not really worth your while.