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 first on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.
Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Cartaret, New Jeresey.
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Saturday, March 30: MOVIE OF THE WEEK -"WEIRD WOMAN" (1944). Starring Lon Chaney, Evelyn Ankers and Anne Gwynne. Suggested by Jay Maggio, Kingsman, AZ.
Reviews By Fans, Just Like You:
-Jay Maggio, Kingsman, AZ
"Yes, even you without knowing can commit murder."
Familiar Universal background music and familiar actors from the Universal stock company give this loose adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s unconventional pulp novel Conjure Wife* an almost comfortable feeling. While witchcraft is treated as an everyday reality in the book, for this version it becomes a mere superstition. Because this is “An Inner Sanctum Mystery” any supernatural elements are going to be explained away.
Since I had two movvie shows at had to work at, out of town, this past weekend, I was able to catch this earlier in the week. The much maligned "Inner Sanctum" series of movies is A-OK in my book. I think Chaney does an aexcellent job in a more subdued victim of circumstances in this particular feature. Plus, it's the one in this mystery series that has the most supernatural overtones with a palet of voodoo and witchcraft here. Story by author Fritz Leiber. Three strong female performances add to the power of this littlefilm. You have Anne Gwynne (as the accused "Witch Wife"), Elizabeth Russell as the over-bearing wifeand nosey neighbor obsessed with "position," and Evlyn Ankers logging in on an against-cast evil, jealous co-instructor at Chaney's college.
Above: An unsettling transformation in a creepy dream sequene from WEIRD WOMAN (1944).
Familar faces are everywhere, including good ol' Ralph Morgan as a wimpy husband. And - you get to see Chaney rough it up with a jealous college student who wrngly thinks Chaney is putting the movies on his girlfriend (thanks to Ankers character). You'll see lots of early Film Noir treatment with voice-overs and a wild, demented dream sequence.
The finale is open ended and the possibilty of supernatural intervention exists. A good one.
-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA
I love all the Inner Sanctum movies, so I was really excited when you announced WEIRD WOMAN as the movie of the week. Chaney is excellent and it's always a treat to see Evelyn Ankers in anything. The 1960s version, BURN WITCH BURN usually gets better reviews, but I like this version best. For a 1940s movie it's plenty creepy!
-Brian Nichols, College Station, TX
As stated before, if you overlook logic, the Universals can be a hoot. This second entry in the INNER SANCTUM series is silly as can be, but so much so that you just want to nuke some popcorn and watch it all unfold .A seriously miscast Lon Chaney Jr. as a Sociology Professor discovers his young wife (Anne Gwynne) has been practicing witchcraft to protect him. He persuades (or bullies more like) her to destroy all of her paraphernalia and from then on, his charmed life quickly goes to hell in a handbasket.
Although Lon was cast as an intellectual type in most of the INNER SANCTUM's, his character often comes across as a dummy. And Norman Reed (Lon) is a serious one, not to mention incredibly condescending (how I wanted to smack him for the way he refers to Paula (Gwynne) as a "child") and prone to endless voiceovers that seem to stretch on forever.
Despite this, WW is my favorite of the series because it's got an excellent supporting cast including Ralph Morgan (cursed again by bad luck as he always seemed to be), Elizabeth Russell (chewing the scenery with panache), Elisabeth Risdon (getting some of the best lines) and the beautiful Evelyn Ankers, who plays a full fledged bad girl for a change (and we are lucky enough to hear her incomparable scream in here too). Also, in addition to asking us to believe that Lon is a brain, we are encouraged to believe that he's a babe magnet as well! No less than THREE honeys are attracted to the big lug: Anne (who's married to him), Evelyn (as an old flame who still wants to indulge in a little spin the bottle-even if in real life, no love was lost between the two) and lovely Lois Collier as a student who practically has a case of the vapors when she finds out she will be working with him. In fact, it's hilarious to see how clueless Norman is around all these women.
So, not a classic by any stretch, but a lot of fun and you can also see early performances by Kay Harding (later in THE MUMMY'S CURSE-my wife with her eagle eye and affinity for faces pointed her out) and Phil Brown as Lois's boyfriend who went on to play Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen in STAR WARS (1977). ***