CREEPY CLASSICS presents...
Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.
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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942)
Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942). This was suggested by Herb Salisbury, Everett, WA. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch it sometime over the weekend!
Poverty Row horror hits the movie night! I had seen THE CORPSE VANISHES maybe only once before. Believe it or not, I never saw it on television. It wasn't until the early 1980s when I saw it on VHS. I remembered it not being very good. However after watching it this past weekend, I've changed my tune. It's fun. Never a dull moment through the proposterus plot.
Lugosi steals fresh corpses of young women right off the altar. He kills them with a poison that is on orchids, handed to the bride from "The Groom." Shades of WHITE ZOMBIE with the spiked flowers. But, it's suce a ridiculous place to kill and steal young women. In front of dozens of witnesses. Why not go for the back alley method? But, Lugosi pulls it off with zeal and some crazy smirks and mugging.
He steals the young women's bodies to use them for a way of restoring his wife's youth.
Creepiest awards....what a line-up of secondary creepsters in this movie: "Angel" the Lenny-like goon played by Frank Moran, his brother Toby (a weirded out Angelo Rosito), Fagah (Minerva Urecal) - their battle-axe of a mother, and the winning creepiness must go to Elizabeth Russell, Lugosi's wife in this. An 80 year-old woman that needs the vital fluids from young women to revert to a 30 year old. But she is so very nasty and plain screwed-up...why on earth would Lugosi want her restored?!
In one seen Russell smacks lead actress Luana Walters a good one across the face...holy cow! It looks like she really slapped her a good one for real as Luana's hair flies from the impact.
Low budget entertainment that is non-stop.
-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
“The Corpse Vanishes” was the first Bela Lugosi Monogram picture I saw. I had read about it and his other “poverty row” pictures, but never were they shown on our local Boston area Creature Features (we got the Universal classics, terrible 60 era Godzilla pictures, and nothing else… not that I am complaining! Well, the Godzilla movies were awful but…). So when I found a copy in the budget VHS bin oh about 1985, I simply couldn’t resist.
What a great surprise! The film is engaging, mostly well acted, genuinely spooky, and sometimes genuinely funny (love Kenneth Harlan who plays the any minute about to have a nervous breakdown newspaper editor)! Oh sure there are some cracks in the plaster here and there, but nothing distracting from the story which, as absurd as it is, plays out with earnest.
In order to keep his aging wife (Elisabeth Russell) youthful, the brilliant yet insane Professor Lorenz (Lugosi), fakes the deaths of brides at the alter. abducts the catatonic women, which he then later extracts glandular fluid from, mixes with his own strange potion, which keeps his wife looking her best!
Lorenz is not alone in his mission, he has assembled a “family” of freaks including Toby (long time Lugosi co-star Angelo Rossito), his brute-like brother Angel (Frank Moran), their crazed mother Fagah (Minerva Urecal), and some guy named Mike who I assume is just a run of the mill hired thug since he displays none of the eccentricities of the other characters.
Society page newspaper writer Patricia Hunter (played by Luana Walters who would later play Superman’s Kyrptonian mother in the Kirk Alyn serial) discovers that every dead bride wore the exact same orchid. That special orchid was ‘hybridized’ by none other than, yes you guessed it, Professor Lorenz!! So she, with the aid of kindly Dt. Foster (played by future rocket man Tristram Coffin), makes her way to the Lorenz home and slowly (actually fairly quickly) the mystery unfolds.
No, the brides are not really dead, but soon Angel is, incurring the wrath of Fagah, who truly goes over the edge when Toby is also killed!! The message here is: Don’t mess with Fagah!! She offs Lorenz and manages to also slice up his wife (all beautifully done off screen) before dying herself from Lugosi’s attempted strangulation!! Had Lorenz not killed Angel and not left Toby to die in the street (did cops really just shoot people back then without identifying themselves or shouting “Halt!”?) then Fagah would not have killed him and in spite of our heroine’s best efforts, probably would have gotten away, or at very least been arrested. But in the end just about everyone involved, except Dr. Foster (just what was he working on with Lorenz if Lorenz already had his potion concocted and his ‘plan’??) is dead. Oh and the stolen brides, too, are assumed to be returned to their homes, none the worse for wear (it isn’t really mentioned).
To me this is the best of Lugosi’s Monogram\PRC efforts. Maybe because I saw it first? I don’t know. The other films have their moments, but this one is engaging from beginning to end. Highly recommended for all genre fans!
Paul Tait, Peabody, MA
It was good visiting this old thriller once again!!
Bela Lugosi is at his best as a menacing mad doctor who takes fluids from the bodies of young women to keep his ageless wife young and lovely.
A great concept and a fast moving film. I loved it.
Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, ID
Here are my thoughts on THE CORPSE VANISHES.
An orchid with a “peculiar, sweet odor” – you can see the plot coming from a mile away.
Angleo Rossitto was a lot like Rondo Hatton. He wasn’t especially gifted as a performer but he became a mainstay in horror films because of his appearance. Hey, it’s a job.
I love the scenes of Bela in the lab. Low rent horror at its finest.
THE VANISHING BRIDE would have probably been a more accurate title although it doesn’t quite have the same zing to it.
Due to stock music and the fact that it survives on high-contrast, dupey prints, the films seems much older than it really is.
The story is so goofy and cliché-ridden that it’s hard to evaluate it objectively. It’s more like a cinematic fever dream.
The finale – betrayal, a knifing and the cops come to the rescue. Things sure wrapped up in a hurry.
THE CORPSE VANISHES is my favorite of the Monogram Nine. THE INVISIBLE GHOST is a better movie and VOODOO MAN is campier but CORPSE has a creepy vibe that really stays with me.
“Another kidnapping of a dead bride. What a story!”
Saturday at 7:30 with dinner we watched THE CORPSE VANISHES!
It was the first time my wife Eileen had seen one of Bela Lugosi's Monogram Poverty Row movies. It was fun witnessing her amazement / amusement.
I could just imagine Ed Wood watching this one as a teenager and thinking "some day I'll write dialog just as good as that".
And then near the end his housekeeper/assistant Minerva Urecal (one of my favorite bit players that I could never remember the name of) reminds him the woman reporter he's about to stick a godawful syringe into was not a bride. And he say "It doesn't matter". IT WHAT! Then why has he been going through this whole bride switcheroo thing. I JUST LOVE Sam Katzman logic. Not until dear Ed Wood would we be so entertained.
Oh no! Eileen wants to watch all nine of Bela's monogram movies. Help!
Busy weekend, so just now got to watch The Corpse Vanishes.. I've owned this Madacy Home Video Bela triple DVD feature for awhile but never watched any of the movies. This was one crazy but highly entertaining film. I wasn't up to speed on the Monogram Poverty Nine history but now have fully researched the matter, boy what I was missing.
As an aside , I went to SUNY Albany in the early seventies and took two film courses from Arthur Lennig in my four years there. He is the Lugosi historian of some note. We did see "Dracula" as one of the films in the intro course but he never dusted off any of these wacky ones for us.
Hey Gang, Just Watched "The Corpse Vanishes" for the SECOND time this past week! These Monogram Movies may really be criticized in some circles for being poorly made- but in this case, this film really holds up pretty well!
The pacing is pretty quick, some of the dialogue is really good and SNAPPY. I LOVE THE PERFORMANCE OF ACTRESS LUANA WALTERS as the wise-cracking hard-boiled newspaper reporter Patricia Hunter in this film!--It evokes comparisons and reminds me of actress Rosalind Russell`s potrayal of character Hildy Johnson in director Howard Hawk`s ("The Thing") classic comedy "His Girl Friday" (1940) co-starring the great Cary Grant.
Hey Folks, maybe this film`s success influenced Patricia`s performance in "The Corpse Vanishes"! (you never know!!) AFTER ALL, IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY! The acting never fails to engage you into the story.
Great Cast Too Here! Bela Lugosi as always is great as the mastermind villian (this time it`s using orchids instead of bats to do his dirty work for him!), Minerva Urecal, Frank Moran and Angelo Rossitto are alot of fun (and creepy!) as his assistants/boarders who ultimately all feel the wrath of the mad doctor who is trying to restore youth to his aging, decreped wife (played wonderfully to the hilt by the great character actress and Val Lewton film veteran Elizabeth Russell) Elizabeth had a brief, but memorable part in "Cat People" during this same year. Her scene when she slaps Patricia in the face is quite shocking and brutal for it`s time! (Can`t imagine what the story was during that cut!) In my opinion she really steals the show in this one during a few key scenes!
Ultimately, the "good" doctor kills off all of his helpers, gets stabbed himself by Fagah while he is trying to help his wife and they all perish. Meanwhile, all of the comatose brides (yeah- they were still alive!) awaken and presumably are O.K. Although not much is elaborated on about all of this! And then on top of it, our resident heros (Pat Hunter and Dr.Foster) have fallen in love during the proceedings and decide to get married! Wow! Talk about a slam-bang ending! All in All this is a fun,quick little movie!
My rating: 2.25/5 stars. (I found it to be a little bit better made than "The Devil Bat") -Dan Brenneis-Strongsville, Ohio- Monster Bash Staff Member and LifeTime FilmFan Extroadinairre.
You can get the DVD of THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942) in the Complete DVD Catalog on-line at Creepy Classics.