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Pillow of Death

USA 1945
produced by
Ben Pivar for Universal
directed by Wallace Fox
starring Lon Chaney jr, Brenda Joyce, J. Edward Bromberg, Rosalind Ivan, Clara Blandick, George Cleveland, Wilton Graff, Bernard Thomas, Victoria Horne, J. Farrell McDonald, Lee Phelps, Harry Strang, David Hoffman
screenplay by George Bricker, based on a play by Dwight V. Babcock, musical director: Frank Skinner

Inner Sanctum, Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Attorney Wayne Fletcher (Lon Chaney jr) is unhappily married but has an extramarital affair with his secretary, Donna Kincaid (Brenda Joyce), much to the dismay of her rich aunt, Belle (Clara Blandick), aho is more concerned for the family's reputation than the happiness of her niece.

Then Wayne's wife dies, and aunt Belle is quick to point a finger at Wayne as the culprit ... but after a night in jail, Captain McCracken (Wilton Graff) realizes there is unsufficient evidence to hold him. Now though aunt Belle hires spiritualist Julian Julian (J.Edward Bromberg) , who was also a personal friend of Wayne's wife, to find some evidence against him ... but of course, all the evidence he gathers won't hold up in court.

Then though, Wayne starts hearing the voice of his wife which draws him to the crypt she rests in, and from here on Wanye has a black-out, not able to remember anything until he woke up the next morning. However, the next morning, Donna's uncle (George Cleveland) is found dead, and the day after aunt Belle as well, and Wayne might be a suspect, as might Bruce (Bernard Thomas) be, Donna's neighbour who is madly in love with her and who knows about all the secret entrances into the Kincaids' manor ... but no, Captain McCracken soon comes to the conclusion that Julian Julian has to be the murderer. Then though, Donna's other aunt, Amelia (Rosalind Ivan), goes totally bonkers and tries to gas both Wayne and Donna to death ... and they are actually saved by Julian Julian, who was just released due to lack of evidence.

Then, in a sudden plottwist, Wayne goes totally mad, thinks he hears the voice of his wife and - more to himself than anyone else - confesses to having murdered all those people - however, Donna and Captain McCracken listen in ... ouch.


Far from great, Pillow of Death is quite possibly the best entry into the Inner Sanctum series. True, the mystery plot is about as far-fetched and unbelievable as can be, but at least the film has to offer a suitably spooky atmosphere and moves along at a steady pace - which all makes it an ok B-picture if certainly not more.

... and all of that said, at least in my book, a film that features a character called Captain McCracken simply cannot be all bad.


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