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The Frozen Ghost

USA 1945
produced by
Will Cowan (associate) for Universal
directed by Harold Young
starring Lon Chaney jr, Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone, Douglass Dumbrille, Martin Kosleck, Elena Verdugo, Tala Birell, Arthur Hohl, Pauline Drake, William Haade, Leyland Hodgson, David Hoffman, Dennis Moore
screenplay by Bernard Schubert, Luci Ward, based on a story by Harrison Carter, Henry Sucher, musical director: Hans J. Salter

Inner Sanctum, Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

 

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