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Night Monster

USA 1942
produced by
Ford L. Beebe for Universal
directed by Ford L. Beebe
starring Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Leif Erickson, Irene Hervey, Ralph Morgan, Don Porter, Nils Asther, Fay Helm, Frank Reicher, Doris Lloyd, Francis Pierlot, Robert Homans, Janet Shaw, Eddy Waller, Cyril Delevanti
written by Clarence Upson Young, musical direction by Hans J. Salter

Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!

Paralyzed Kurt Ingston (Ralph Morgan) invites the three doctors who have botched up his operation (Lionel Atwill, Frank Reicher, Francis Pierlot) to his mansion somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where they are to attend a demonstration of hindu scientist Agor Singh (Nils Asther) in which he creates a skeleton out of thin air using nothing but willpower. When Singh breaks concentration though, the skeleton disappears, only a puddle of blood is left behind. Soon, the three doctors are mudered, strangled, yet still a puddle of blood is found besides each of them ...

Police constable Beggs (Robert Homans) is investigating the case, but he doesn't even know where to start - and honestly, can you blame him. He receives assistance from mystery writer Dick Baldwin (Don Porter) and from Ingston's thought-to-be-insane sister's (Fay Helm) psychiatrist Lynn Harper (Irene Hervey), but even though they come up with revelation after revelation, there's nothing to stick the murders on anyone, and there's a house full of suspects, too (among them Bela Lugosi as creepy butler, Leif Erickson as chauffeur with a raping habit and Doris Lloyd as housekeeper in love with her crippled employer). Eventually, Baldwin figures the killer just has to be Ingston himself, and he accuses him of only faking his paralysis. Ingston admits to not being paralyzed, but reveals he actually is an amputee - and that's something you just cannot fake ...

After much to and fro, Ingston's sister is driven over the edge to such an extent that she burns her brother's mansion down, while Baldwin and Lynn, escaping the fire, are attacked by ... Ingston, walking after all, and not only that, walking on monster feet. He almost kills Baldwin, when he is shot dead by Agor Singh. Turns out Agor Singh has taught Ingston to use his willpower to improve his pitiful condition, but has too late discovered that Ingston was using it for evil - like having his revenge on the three doctors. When Ingston is dead, his monster legs, attached to him only by willpower, disappear ...


I freely admit, my synopsis sounds silly as hell, and under closer observation, the move indeed does make only very limited sense - but somehow it works still, basically because despite gaping plotholes and leaps of reason, it's still well-structured, it's smoothly directed putting about equal emphasis on pacing and atmosphere, and it features a decent cast playing believable characters.

Now all of this doesn't make Night Monster a genre classic, far from it actually, but certainly one of the better horror flicks Universal released in the 1940's.


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