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Murders in the Rue Morgue

USA 1932
produced by
Carl Laemmle jr for Universal
directed by Robert Florey
starring Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Waycoff (= Leon Ames), Bert Roach, Betty Ross Clarke, Brandon Hurst, D'Arcy Corrigan, Noble Johnson, Arlene Francis, & as gorilla Charles Gemora
screenplay by Tom Reed, Dale Van Every, with additional dialogue by John Huston, based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe & its adaptation by Robert Florey, cinematography by Karl Freund

Universal horror cycle, Universal's Edgar Allan Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Paris 1845: Pierre (Leon Waycoff) & Camille (Sidney Fox) visit the gorilla-show of doctor Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) at a carnival, where Pierre is almost strangled by the gorilla (Charles Gemora), while Camille catches the eye of the Doctor.

What nobody knows though is that the Doctor is collecting women at night & has the strange idea of reversing evolution & turning them back into gorillas by injecting them gorilla blood - with the result that these women regularly die & soon everybody suspects a run-of.-the-mill serial killer - but not so Pierre, a medical student who has developed an almost unhealthy interest in the case ... & soon discovers gorilla blood in the women's veins. & he only knows one man with a gorilla, Mirakle, who by the way is desperately trying to get a date with his girlfriend. & then Pierre finds out that Mirakle doesn't leave town with the rest of his carnival but puts up camp in an abandoned house with his gorilla ...

Eventually, Mirakle & his ape not only kidnap Camille & kill her mother but also manage to put the blame on Pierre ... & he is hard-pressed to convince everyone to accompany him to Mirakle's house instead, where Mirakle is already preparing to give Camille her a gorilla blood infusion ... when his own ape objects, kills his master & drags the girl off over the Paris rooftops. Only when he puts the girl down for a while to make menacing gestures towards his pursuers does Pierre manage to shoot him ...


Murders in the Rue Morgue has little to do with Edgar Allan Poe's classic, groundbreaking detective tale (but stay comparatively fatihful to its source considering Universal's later Poe adaptations The Black Cat & The Raven, which isn't saying much). Instead the audience is presented with a pulp tale about mad scientists, gorillas & Paris in the fog (London would probably have been more appropriate, actually). It is silly alright, but if you can see past that, it's also a beautifully photographed, atmospheric film, done in wonderfully artificial Paris sets, & Bela Lugosi, naturally, is great.


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