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Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Ghost Walks (1934) - Frank R. Strayer

Predictable and over the top. It's another old dark house movie that throws the crowd for a loop with... gasp! Twists! Actually a ton of twists with a lot of shill screaming! That doesn't necessarily equal a thrilling feature that can keep you on the edge of your seat.

The playwright Prescott Ames, his secretary, and Producer get into a car accident and need to find shelter for the night. They come upon Dr. Kent's house and he gladly takes them in. While at the house, Prescott Ames discovers his fiancee there already along with Terry Grey and his psychic sister Beatrice. The latter being treated by Doctor Kent for hysterics. However, something appears to be in the house with the group and it is killing people off left and right. Or is it all an elaborate hoax?  

This movie blends right in with all of the other horror movies released in the twenties and thirties. The old dark house storyline is tried and true. At least to this point in time. I have to hand it to Frank Strayer. He did throw me for a loop. I hadn't read about the film before viewing and I didn't expect the twists and turns. That was a really ballsy move for directors like that in the era. This movie has so many twists it actually borders on the edge of being entertaining. 

The effects are non-existent. Aside from the ending, everything happens off camera. Murders happen when you hear a shrill screech and perhaps a slump to the ground. It isn't scary. So don't worry about that. The movie is actually pretty funny. Our good friend Johnny Arthur delivers the bulk of the jokes. He uses his strongest effeminate act to deliver his humor, and there is tons of it. 

The movie doesn't deliver the scares. It barely delivers the entertainment. A product of it's time. It's hard to understand and at sometimes hard to pay attention to. The twists are actually executed pretty awesomely but the ending feels thrown together. Check out this movie and tell me but I think this movie was the best of the worst, it at least had a few things right.  

Herman Wood: Was tha - was that the clock?
Homer Erskine: Ye - yes, I - I - I guess so. I - I - I think so. It must have been. But it's a union clock.
Herman Wood: What do you mean?
Homer Erskine: Well, it strikes any old time.

  • This was released on DVD as part of a double-feature with A Walking Nightmare.
  • Originally produced by Invincible Pictures Corp.

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