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The Mysterious Doctor

USA 1943
produced by
Warner Brothers
directed by Benjamin Stoloff
starring John Loder, Eleanor Parker, Bruce Lester, Lester Matthews, Forreser Harvey, Matt Willis, Grank Mayo, Phyllis Barry, David Clyde, Clyde Cook, Art Foster, Hank Mann, Creighton Hale, Harold De Becker, Stuart Holmes, Crauford Kent, Leo White, Jack Mower, William Hopper
written by Richard Weil, music by Howard Jackson, William Lava, Hans Sommer

American World War II Propaganda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

The locals 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 again.


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.


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