Murders in the Rue Morgue [VHS]

ISBN 13: 9786302526080

Murders in the Rue Morgue [VHS]

 
9786302526080: Murders in the Rue Morgue [VHS]
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Review:

There isn't much of Edgar Allan Poe left in this stylish but gruesome thriller. Bela Lugosi followed Dracula with a scenery-chewing performance as Dr. Mirakle, a mad scientist and sideshow hypnotist who uses his sideshow, which also features his trained gorilla (a stunt man in a phony, flea-bitten costume), as a cover for his sadistic experiments. His ape kidnaps street women whom Mirakle lashes to a crucifix-like pillory, strips to their underwear, and injects with simian blood. They inevitably die horribly, and he discards the bodies via a trap door over the river. When the ape falls in love with a lovely young Parisian miss (Sidney Fox), Mirakle sends him to abduct her from her attic room (one of the few elements left intact from Poe's story). Director Robert Florey, who inherited the project after losing Frankenstein to James Whale, shows his debt to the German expressionists with a gloomy, shadowy world of foggy alleys, misty riverbanks, and near-perpetual night (beautifully captured by cinematographer Karl Freund, later the director of The Mummy). Unfortunately ill-conceived comic relief too often breaks the carefully controlled mood of menace and the unsettling undercurrent of perversity, but Florey's striking images and inventive direction are enough to pull the film through the dead spots. --Sean Axmaker

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