Wartime Cornwall, a region covered by moor, fog and creepy legends,
like the one of the headless man roaming the moor of Morgan's Head - which
is why noone in the region wants to work in the tin mine, despite Great
Britain's dire need for the metal.
One night, Doctor Holmes (Lester
Matthews) arrives at the local inn of Morgan's Head, claiming he's on a
walking trip to Cornwall - and he's immediately suspected to be a German
spy by the distrusting locals, who won't trust him even after he has
proved them wrong.
The next day, when walking through the moor, he's
attacked and killed by the headless man, and the locals are quick to point
fingers at first their superstitous believes, and then at slightly
retarded Bart Redmond (Matt Willis), who had been at the scene of the
crime, but only because Letty (Eleanor Parker), niece of the hooded
innkeeper (Frank Mayo) has sent him to watch over Holmes.
almost immediately want to lynch Redmond, and constable Hilton (Bruce
Lester), incidently Letty's boyfriend, has his hands full to save
Redmond's life - but Letty is able to spring Redmond free and investigate
the Docotr's murder with him, soon finding a clue leading to the local
abandoned mine ... and to the home of Sir Henry Leland (John Loder), the
local squire, a man of German descent who now does his best to support the
German cause - but he's not one to let himself be caught that easily, and
soon he's got Letty, Redmond and constable Hilton, who has picked up
Leland's trail as well, at his mercy - when the hooded innkeeper steps in,
fights and ultimately kills Leland.
Only now does the hooded man
identify himself as not being the innkeeper at all but Doctor Holmes, a
gouvernment agent hot on Leland's trail. The innkeeper, it turns out, was
killed in his stead, but since Leland - dressed up as teh headless man -
beheaded his victim (wearing a gas mask at the time of his death and
therefore being unrecognizable) to be in line with local legends, nobody
knew the difference.
In the end, the locals pick up work at the mine
In writing, this might sound like just another
convoluted propaganda film with horror elements, but on film, this is a
pretty effective little horror thriller in which oddly enough the
propaganda elements don't seem out of place one bit (except for the cheesy
ending with a bunch of singing miners of course). The horror of this film
is pretty much old-school, with headless ghosts and hooded men taking
prominent positions, along with moors shrouded in fog and creepy mines -
and all this makes the film totally charming. A great ensemble cast and a
script that actually makes sense (despite the occasional plothole of
course) don't hurt one bit either.
Pretty good, actually.