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Weird Woman

USA 1944
produced by
Ben Pivar, Oliver Drake (associate) for Universal
directed by Reginald Le Borg
starring Lon Chaney jr, Anne Gwynne, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Morgan, Elisabth Risdon, Lois Collier, Harry Hayden, Elizabth Russell, Phil Brown, Kay Harding, David Hoffman, Hanna Kaapa
screenplay by Brenda Weisberg, based on the novel Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber jr, special photographic effects by John P. Fulton, musical director: Paul Sawtell

Inner Sanctum, Universal horror cycle

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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While studying voodoo on a South Seas-island, Professor Reed (Lon Chaney jr) falls in love with and marries voodoo princess Paula (Anne Gwynne). When he brings her back home to Monroe College where he lectures though, he has to realize that she still practices what she calls white magic, which he desperately tries to persuade her is mumbo-jumbo.

In the meantime, Reed's ex Ilona (Evelyn Ankers) desperately tries to win him back, by bad-mouthing Paula and calling her a witch, by blackmailing Reed's colleague Millard (Ralph Morgan) and driving him to suicide, by making one of Reed's students, Margaret (Lois Collier), first fall in love with him and then, when he ignores her advances, accuse him of rape, by making Margaret's boyfriend David (Phil Brown) threaten Reed with a gun and get killed in the process, by trying to convince Paula that she is under a bad voodoo spell, and by trying to turn Millard's wife Evelyn (Elizabeth Russell) against Reed ... which is when Reed finally begins to realize the manifold ways Ilona is conspiring against him and especially against Paula, and he turns the tables on Ilona, by making up a voodoo curse that will kill her in seven days unless she confesses everything - which ultimately drives Ilona to despair and makes her confess minutes before her time is up, according to the made up curse. 

Still, in the end, she dies just like predicted in Reed's curse. So, is there some truth in voodoo after all ?


Basically, Weird Woman is nothing more than an overconvoluted and quite boring mystery with some (totally misunderstood) voodoo thrown in just for a few spots of colour. Unfortunately the whole voodoo-mumbo-jumbo does little to make the film any more interesting, so at the end of the day we are left with a dull piece of genre cinema that's simply not really worth your while ...


By the way, the novel this film was based on, Fritz Leiber's Conjure Wife, was made into the film Night of the Eagle/Burn Witch Burn by Sidney Hayers in 1962 in the UK - to more impressive results.


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