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One Body Too Many

USA 1944
produced by
William H. Pine, William C. Thomas for Pine-Thomas/Paramount
directed by Frank McDonald
starring Jack Haley, Jean Parker, Bela Lugosi, Blanche Yurka, Lyle Talbot, Douglas Fowley, Fay Helm, Bernard Nedell, Lucien Littlefield, Dorothy Granger, Maxine Fife, William Edmunds, Lyle Latell, Ralph Peters, Bob Reeves
written by Winston Miller, Maxwell Shane, music by Alexander Laszlo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Misanthropic millionair Cyrus Rutherford has died, and he has left his relatives one of these wills where they have to spend a certain time in his mansion together to properly get at each others throats. There's another catch inthe will though: His body mustn't be buried but entombed in the mansion's own observatory, otherwise the will will be reversed (meaning those who were to get the smallest share would get the largest share and vice versa) - so the family lawyer Gellman (Bernard Nedell) calls a detective to watch over the body, but the detective never arrives. Instead, insurance agant Albert Tuttle (Jack Haley) shows up and is at first mistaken for the detective, and later talked into substituting for the detective after he saved pretty Carol's (Jean Parker) life. However, Tuttle is not too good at playing the detective as he is soon knocked out and the body is indeed stolen (but doesn't get far). Now Gellman decides on a different approach and persuades Tuttle to pretend to be leaving only to wait inside the coffin for whoever will steal the body ... and as a result of that, Gellman is murdered, and Tuttle, inside the coffin, is thrown into the pool by some greedy relatives and only saved in the nick of time by Carol. Cyrus' body meanwhile is stolen once more.

Rather by accident, Tuttle discovers a system of secret passageways, sliding doors and secret panels that leads all through the mansion and would allow the killer to show up anywhere - but as a result of that, he is only suspected to be the killer and locked up in the observatory - where he and Carol find Cyrus' body inside the telescope. Eventually, the real villain of the piece is revealed to be Henry (Douglas Fowley), one of the relatives who desperately tried to optimize his share any way possible, be it by reversing the will or bumping off all other relatives - but Tuttle chases him up the mansion's roof, where he is knocked off by the observatory's revolving telescope ...

And in the end, Tuttle gets Carol.

Bela Lugosi has an amusing supporting role as a butler who as a running gag continues to offer coffee to everyone in the least appropriate moments - and it is suggested at one point that the coffee is actually poisoned.

 


A nice and pulpy horror/murder mystery of the old dark house variety with all the key elements in place, from the stormy night to trap doors, secret passageways, sliding doors, hidden panels, creepy butlers and disappearing bodies. However, this film plays more like a comedy, and Jack Haley handles this aspect of the film rather well without exaggerating too much while Bela Lugosi, playing it straight, proves to be a wonderful running gag.

Quite entertaining and enjoyable, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

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
Amazon!!!