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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Night of Terror (1933) - Benjamin Stoloff

This is yet again, another Old Dark House style movie. "Starring" Bela Lugosi in a very minor role, as the servant to the Hornsby family. The format is tired and boring, but the introduction of a slasher-type murderer makes it a bit more entertaining. The movie is full of fast-talking and quick witted remarks in only the best way the thirties had. The entire cast sounded like they were the wittiest combination of characters. Each had something to say and each said it quickly. Except for Bela. Bela never speaks very quickly.

Like I said above the movie is part of that old cliché. We have a bunch of young relatives that are staying in their fathers home for some reason. While they are staying in this... ahem... Old dark house, there is a killer on the loose and people start turning up dead! This fuels the siblings greed when the father is killed. The movie is littered with pretty decent suspense around the stabbings and killings. It paints a good who-done-it? from the beginning. Then we come to the ending, which for my safety due to the breaking of the fourth wall, I cannot reveal. However, I will tell you that the ending is pretty clever and entertaining as well.

Overall this is a solid film that does a good job of making this style it's own. The acting isn't the worst, but it is certainly a victim of it's time. Oscar Smith turns in the type of performance I have been used to seeing during this time. He portrays the Martin the Chauffeur, a black driver that acts as the comedy relief through the film. Then we have Bela Lugosi, the big star of the film. Hell, he even received top billing. However, he was only in the movie for a collected 10 minuets. He isn't the star, but I would recommend this movie to any Lugosi aficionado. He was a hot commodity after Dracula. Everyone wanted a piece of Bela. Your going to love it. It's not much more than Bela in his Chandu garb, but it serves it's purpose and does a fine job of keeping you on your seat.

Enjoy. 

  • The movie was panned by Leonard Maltin who gave it a BOMB rating. 
  • Some publicity production stills show Bela Lugosi's character wearing a mustache; he has none in the finished film. 
  • Released on television in 1958. 


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