Forgotten Nightmares: Night Monster (1942) (USA)

The standard old dark house template gets a little shot in the arm thanks to some bullshit Eastern mysticism and small roles for Lugosi and Atwill in this early forties thriller from Universal.

There’s gonna be a whole lotta trouble at Kurt Ingston’s swamp enclosed mansion when he invites the three doctors who failed to prevent him from a crippling deformity years ago. Added to the guest list is a psychologist who was contacted by Kurt’s sister because she fears for her own sanity and a mystery writer who is one of the few guests Mr. Ingston allows on the grounds after the men of medicine came up short. Kurt now has a yogi/mystic in his employ (actually a Swedish actor with a spray tan but I won’t say anything if you don’t) and wants to show his skeptical guests a few cool tricks.

Skeptics gonna skept

Apparently all matter is just cosmic vibrations and with enough practice one can manipulate those vibrations. Vibrational manipulating allows you to materialize solid objects from one place to another…like a skeleton with a ruby…or maybe a pair of legs and hands for stalking and strangling your victims? Faster than you can scream “PLEASE DON’T CHOKE ME!” the trio of doctors are ending up dead and it seems the town gossip about a monster roaming the swamps may have some truth to it.

Gasp! Ice cream before dinner? Savages.

When the bodies begin popping up, the author and the psychologist begin doing some investigating. It doesn’t help that the mansion staff, whether they be a pervy driver or Bela fucking Lugosi, are all acting suspicious and the constable who is looking for a former employee (she gone!) probably couldn’t solve his way out of an open door. Margaret (Kurt’s sister) slowly comes to realize she may not be insane and that there is an evil within the family estate. It’s all pretty damn fun and Lionel Atwill (along with his lovely pencil thin mustache) puts in a few minutes of screen time. Secret passageways, blood trails and fog all add to the budget project. I love these big studio produced empty pocket classics. 7/10

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