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The Mad Doctor of Market Street

USA 1942
produced by
Paul Malvern (associate) for Universal
directed by Joseph H. Lewis
starring Una Merkel, Lionel Atwill, Nat Pendleton, Claire Dodd, Richard Davies, John Eldredge, Anne Nagel, Hardie Albright, Mala, Noble Johnson, Rosina Galli, Al Kikume, Milton Kibbee, Byron Shores, Tani Marsh, Billy Bunkley, Dave Willock
written by Al Martin, musical director: Hans J. Salter

Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Benson (Lionel Atwill) experiments in suspended animation, but unfortunately he's not very good at it yet, so instead of bringing his first human guinea pig (Hardie Albright) back to life, he kills him - and is theerefore wanted for murder.

Soon enough, Benson finds himself on a ship to New Zealand to evade the law, but even though he has assumed a new identity, the law is already after him and knows he's on the ship. So Benson kills a detective (Byron Shore) who has come too close to the truth and later sets fire to the ship's engines to get out of a tight spot ... and suddenly he finds himself stranded on an island full of savages (led by noble Johnson) with a motley crew of survivors: Dwight (John Eldredge), the cowardly first officer of the ship, Red (Nat Pendleton), a boxer who provides the muscles of the group, Jim (Richard Davies), the heroic lead of the film, Patricia (Claire Dodd), his love interest and the leading lady, and her aunt Margaret (Una Merkel).

Before long, this little group has of course fallen captive to the natives and are to be burned - when Benson, with a bit of adrenaline and smelling salt brings Tanoa (Rosina Galli), wife of the cheiftain, back to life - and suddenly he is worshipped as the God of Life - ideal circumstances to continue his experiments in suspended animation far away from the society that is against him. Thing is, now he of course cannot let the others leave the island, otherwise they would spill the beans to the police, so he has them live in a hut outside the village and denies them the access to any kind of boat.

After a while, Benson figures he needs a companion, and he picks Patricia because she is the prettiest. And to keep Jim, her love interest, from interfering, he puts him in suspended animationand has him walled up - but ultiamtely Pat agrees to become Benson's wife only if he restores Jim back to life ... which he does, and this time successfully.

In the meantime, cowardly Dwight has tried to steal a boat and make it off the island, but when doing so, he killed a native, Barab (Mala), whose body our heroes find just before Pat is married to Benson, and he bring the corpse to the village, and the chieftain immediately wants Benson to survive Barab - but other than Jim, who was in suspended animation and not dead at all, and Tanoa, who just needed some adrenaline after her heart attack, Barab has died from drowning and Benson simply has no remedy against drowning, and suddenly the natives get very angry and kill him. The others meanwhile are collected by a rescue plane, just before the native could catch up with them to kill them too ...


Usually described as a particularly bad Universal shocker of its time, this is actually a fun mix of horror and scif-fi elements (of the mad scientist variety with South Seas adventure and a spot of crime drama. Of course, the film is silly as hell, and of course it's far from any kind of classic, but in its carelessness concerning genre boundaries it's also way more entertaining than most other Universal horrors of its time.

Actually, I would almost recommend this film.


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




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