September 23, 2013

Spelunking in the Cave of the Vampires: A Devilishly Dreadful Double Feature

I haven't done much cave exploring in my lifetime. Once, a long, long time ago, the family stopped at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. I remember part of the passage narrowing to the point where even a human string bean like myself just barely fit through, and coupled with the dark and the damp, it was an uncomfortable, if not exactly terrifying experience. (Come to think of it, I wonder how the park handles today's plus-sized tourists? Do they sit and watch a movie while the select few who are thin enough go slipping and sliding in the real caverns, or do you suppose the park people have drilled out that area to accommodate everyone?)

Colossal Cave, Tucson, Arizona
This is one of the few decent photos I took at Colossal Cave.
Hey, they kind of look like vampire teeth, don't they?
My next most uncomfortable cave experience was years later at Colossal Cave in Tucson. The uncomfortable part was trying to figure out how to take decent pictures with my new point-and-shoot camera. I was so obsessed with the stupid camera that I forgot to appreciate the beauty in front of me. To date, that's been it for me and caves.

We normally associate vampires with dark, decaying castles. But dank, dripping caves would also seem to be a natural habitat for these night creatures. After all, bats love caves, and vampires love to turn into bats, ergo, vampires should love caves. (I guess that philosophy of logic class wasn't such a waste after all!)

If at this point you're saying to yourself, but I don't remember ever seeing a flick about cave-dwelling vampires, rest your weary mind. I've got two (count 'em!) B horrors with vampires hanging out in caves. And I just happened to stumble upon them recently. One dark and stormy night, I was mindlessly going through my Netflix Instant watch queue and finding nothing appealing, when I remembered I also had access to "free" videos through my Amazon Prime account. (Disclaimer: Your humble host does not accept gratuities or other compensation to promote any particular entertainment/media services, nor will I ever, unless they make it really, really worthwhile. However, since these services are an omnipresent fact of entertainment life, I reserve the right to mention them, and even praise or excoriate them, as appropriate.)

So I started mindlessly browsing through the Amazon Prime catalog. Given my affinity for B horrors and sci-fi, you can probably guess what kinds of titles ended up on my watchlist. And wouldn't you know it, the first two things I watched featured vampires in caves. (Okay, so the title of the first movie is a real tip-off, but I had no idea that the second movie in the queue, Devils of Darkness, also featured vampires in caves. Weird, huh?)

Poster - Double Feature: Tomb of Torture (1963) and Cave of the Living Dead (1964)
Now Playing: Cave of the Living Dead (aka Night of the Vampires, 1964)

Pros: Invents wacky new additions to vampire lore; Long on atmosphere
Cons: Too much time devoted to spooky talk and secondary characters, and not enough to the vampires themselves

In brief: Inspector Dorin (Adrian Hoven) is sent to a remote village to investigate the suspicious deaths of 6 young women in the last 6 months. Arriving at the outskirts of town around midnight, the electrical system in his car suddenly goes out, and even his flashlight won't work. He hoofs it to the local inn, where the power is out as well. The rough-looking innkeeper tells him spooky stories about vampires lurking in the grottos (a fancy-a** word for caves) outside of the village. Dorin goes to bed.

In the morning, the local Keystone Constables bang on his door. It seems the inn's maid, Maria, has become the latest victim in the room right next door to the inspector's. How embarrassing! Dorin talks to the village doctor (Carl Mohner), who has to be the most dim-witted, complacent M.D. in all of horror film. He casually informs Dorin that all the healthy young women died naturally of heart failure. When Dorin points out the marks on Maria's neck, he dismisses them as superficial scratches.

Karin Field and Adrian Hoven in Cave of the Living Dead (1964)
"Okay, take a left at the stalactites, go a hundred yards,
turn right at the stalagmites, and if you come upon
a bunch of vampires' coffins, you've gone too far..."
The innkeeper insists that Dorin see Nanny (Vida Juvan ?), the resident white witch. She fills him in all the habits and haunts of the area's vampires, who, due to their evil deeds, were cursed and exiled to the dank grottos. Next, Dorin is invited by the mysterious Prof. von Adelsberg (Wolfgang Preiss) to visit him in his decrepit castle on the hill. It seems the good professor laid claim to the castle and moved in about 6 months ago (hmmm…) and is obsessed with research on blood (hhhmmmmmmmm….!!) Fortunately, he has a beautiful blonde assistant, Karin (Karin Field), who seems very normal and level-headed, and, well, beautiful.

Dorin investigates the ghastly grottos with von Adelsberg's black servant John (John Kitzmiller), who is a decent, if superstitious fellow. John ends up saving the inspector from a falling stalagmite (or is it stalactite?). Before it's all over, Dorin will deal with missing bodies, hostile villagers, more midnight power outages, secret passageways, and beautiful, buxom vampires. All in a day's (and night's) work for a Eurohorror inspector!

Like most Eurohorror, Cave is long on atmosphere and short on any logical narrative sense or structure. Like a dream (or nightmare), characters react to missing bodies and vampires living in caves with a disquieting complacency. The dream atmosphere is further reinforced by the murky black and white photography. Hammer proved that vampires and technicolor could coexist, but to me night creatures are most at home in black and white worlds.

Finale of Cave of the Living Dead (1964)
It's lights out for the Master Vampire!
There are a couple of shots of elongated, human-shaped shadows with arms extended and hands clutching that could easily have been inserted into a much earlier film like Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). The eerie quirkiness is taken a step further when the inspector meets the village witch. If nothing else, Cave adds some amusing bizarro rules to vampire lore: they can only come out at midnight for 1 hour minus 1 minute to do their nefarious work; they can shut off all electric power, including battery power, during their jaunts; powder ground from the thorns of mountain roses and sprinkled on a vampire's victim's wound can restore the person to life; and so on.

But for all its inventiveness, Cave wastes too much time on rather mundane secondary characters like the dimwit doctor, an ignorant, thieving villager, and (even though he is a sympathetic character), von Adelsberg's servant. Although the aristocratic Von Adelsberg himself is given relatively short shrift, there are hints of a much deeper, darker character. It's as if the film's editor perversely chucked a bunch of his scenes in favor of filler with lesser characters.

Wolfgang Preiss as Prof. von Adelsberg
Prof. von Adelsberg (Wolfgang Preiss) burns the midnight
oil studying blood... and more blood...
Key player: Wolfgang Preiss, like many sophisticated-looking German actors of his generation, made something of a career playing Nazi officers in such films as The Longest Day (1962), Von Ryan's Express (1965), Anzio (1968) and Raid on Rommel (1971). Perhaps more interesting to thriller and horror fans is his appearance as the sinister master criminal Dr. Mabuse, first in Fritz Lang's The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960), and then again The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962), The Terror of Dr. Mabuse (1962), and finally as the Doctor's ghost in Dr. Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard (1963). Born in 1910, he worked right up to the mid-1990s, and died at the ripe old age of 92 in 2002.

Where to find it:
Available online

Amazon Instant Video

"Beyond the black mouth of the cursed cave lurk the unfleshed..."

Poster - Devils of Darkness
Now Playing: Devils of Darkness (1965)

Pros: Lush color photography; Attractive actors and actresses; Hammer-like look and feel
Cons: William Sylvester is a rather dull hero; Final scene "cheat" is lazy and unimaginative

In brief: In a pre-title scene set somewhere in the 19th century, we see a colorful group of gypsies joyfully celebrating the betrothal of beautiful Tania (Carole Gray) with a handsome, strapping young man. On her wedding day, joy turns to terror as a giant bat invades the encampment and strikes Tania. Some of the older gypsies blame Count Sinistre (Hubert Noel), who was condemned to be buried alive for his great crimes, and has returned as a vampire. Tania is buried by her disconsolate family and fiancee, but they don't take precautions to see that she stays put. Uh-oh!

Flash forward a hundred years or so, to a group of English tourists who are taking in the sights of Brittany (that's in the northwest of France, for those of you who are geographically-challenged). The vacation takes a turn for the worse when two of the party, Keith and Dave (Geoffrey Kenion and Rod McLennan), decide to explore some of the nearby caves. Keith discovers a vast cavern housing a group of mouldering coffins. To his horror, he sees a hand emerge from one of the coffins, and before he can react, he's grabbed by something from behind. Later, locals find Keith's body, but buddy Dave is still missing.

Carole Gray as Tania, Devils of Darkness (1965)
"Wake up sleepyhead, and follow me to the end of time!"
A gypsy warns Anne, Keith's beautiful sister (Rona Anderson), that her life is in danger. Heedlessly, she goes for an evening stroll with a suave member of the local upper crust, Sinistre. They pause on a scenic bridge. When Anne looks down at the water, she can see her reflection, but not her companion's-- double uh-oh! Sinistre abducts Anne, but carelessly drops a curious-looking medallion in the shape of a bat in the process. The alpha male of the touring group, Paul Baxter (William Sylvester), finds the medallion while looking for Anne. He is frustrated when the local police inspector (Peter Illing) won't take the disappearance seriously. Later, when Anne's body is found in the lake, the inspector blithely concludes it was an accident.

After one of the worst vacations ever, Paul gives up on the local authorities and takes the survivors and the bodies back to London. But that's not the end of it. Upon arrival at the airport, the bodies mysteriously disappear. Paul starts to think that maybe the superstitious Brittany local-yokels aren't so crazy after all. He enlists the aid of an open-minded scientist friend, Dr. Kelsey (Eddie Byrne), who suggests some reading material on black magic and talismans like the one he found on the bridge. Later, Paul finds his apartment ransacked, and learns that Kelsey is dead. It seems as if the tour group has stirred up an ancient, evil hornets' nest.

Hubert Noel and Carole Gray, Devils of Darkness (1965)
Even vampires have domestic
squabbles now and then.
Even in the middle of all the chaos, Paul finds time to attend the party of his quirky antique-dealer friend Madeleine (Diana Decker). There, he's introduced to an alluring artists' model Karen (Tracy Reed). Little does he know that he will soon be competing with the sinister Sinistre (is that redundant?) for the soul, so to speak, of the beautiful Karen. And little does Sinistre know that soon he will be dealing with the wrath of his current vampire squeeze, Tania, as he prepares to make Karen his new bride.

Tiny Planet Film Productions, which produced a handful of films in the '50s and '60s and distributed a handful more, got a lot of bang for their buck (or should I say pound sterling) with Devils of Darkness. It has the sumptuous technicolor look of a Hammer film, interesting sets and locations, and some bewitching actresses, particularly Carole Gray (Tania) and Tracy Reed (Karen). Hubert Noel, who reminds me of a French version of Udo Kier, is suitably suave and menacing as Sinistre. The main problem with the cast is American TV actor William Sylvester, who is a colorless, plodding fish out of water surrounded by far more interesting, quirky and attractive players. If you've seen any U.S. television from the '70s, you've probably seen William. At best, he was a "yeah, that face looks kind of familiar"-type of actor. English B producers often employed American actors to secure financial backing and make their product more attractive in the all important American market (Devils was released in the U.S. on a double bill with another British B, Curse of the Fly, with… you guessed it… an American actor, Brian Donlevy. Somehow, I doubt the kids making out at the drive-ins where it played came up for air long enough to think to themselves, "where have I seen that guy before?)

"Bleeding" painting of Karen
Apparently the artist put his blood, sweat and tears into
this painting... but mostly blood...
The few kids at the drive-in who were paying attention saw a pretty competent, if somewhat slow-moving Hammer horror imitation. Its combination of vampirism and a devil-worshipping cult menacing innocent tourists is very reminiscent of Hammer's Kiss of the Vampire (1963). There's also a touch of The Brides of Dracula (1960), with its emphasis on women as predators as well as victims. There's even what seems to be an homage to one of the UK's all-time greats, Curse of the Demon (aka Night of the Demon; 1957), when Kelsey and his laboratory are destroyed by an unseen demonic presence that first announces itself by the chattering of nervous lab animals, then literally blows into the place to claim the terrified scientist. Another scene in which a character slashes at a painting of Karen, and it starts bleeding, is, if not exactly original, nevertheless effective.

The final scene has a "we ran out of money, had an unfinished script, and couldn't pay anyone to finish it up"- kind of feel to it. Still, if you've seen all the Hammers multiple times, but want to see something new with that Hammeresque ambiance, Devils of Darkness might just be a Prime (as in Amazon Prime) candidate.

Diabolic Detail: IMDb's trivia section states that Devils was the UK's first vampire film set in the present day. While the U.S. had beaten Britain to the punch with John Beal as the scientifically-produced The Vampire (1957), and even had Count Dracula haunt a modern California town (The Return of Dracula, 1958), in the mid-'60s Hammer was still plugging away with Gothic settings in things like Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966). Hammer wouldn't get around to updating the Count to the present day until Dracula, A.D. 1972 (1972).

Where to find it:
Available online

Amazon Instant Video

"The mysterious cult of Count Sinistre has arisen!"

September 12, 2013

Lions and tigers and Atwill, oh my!

Poster - Murders in the Zoo (1933)
Now Playing: Murders in the Zoo (1933)

Pros: Lionel Atwill is pitch-perfect as the quietly menacing villain; Shock scenes keep the viewer off balance; Kathleen Burke is captivating
Cons: Charlie Ruggles quickly becomes tiresome in his comic relief role

Did you hear the one about the Chinese zoo officials who tried to pass off a dog, a large Tibetan mastiff, as a lion? Apparently they got away with it for awhile until the "lion" started barking at the zoo visitors.  The official explanation was that the real lion had been temporarily sent off to another facility to breed. Apparently it didn't occur to them to put up a sign. Although, switcheroos like this have apparently been a common practice. The same zoo people placed a white fox in a leopard den and another dog in the wolf enclosure. (To be fair, the Tibetan mastiff is a spectacular-looking animal. I'd never seen one, even in photographs, before reading the article. It might just be worth a couple of bucks to see one up close.)

I was tempted to think that this was all a big put-on, that the zoo officials were just having some fun and the visitors were being spoilsports. But then it occurred to me that there has never been an official or bureaucrat in the history of the human race that had anything that could remotely be called a sense of humor. That is exactly why they get put in charge of things -- someone has to pretend to be the adult while the rest of us are lobbing spitballs and running with scissors. So how to explain such a lame charade?

The regal Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff is a magnificent-looking beast.
I can't speak to China, but its seems that in this country, officials at every level harbor a deep, abiding disrespect for the intelligence of the common folk. Magnificent, meretricious b*st*rds like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Anthony Wiener dare the commoners not to vote for them. And in between marathon viewings of The Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo, we fall for these con artists (almost) every time. Passing a dog off as a lion is kids' stuff compared to the epic cons that are run every day in the good ol' US of A.

Murders in the Zoo features a.) a zoo (duh!), and b.) a con of sorts on the part of one of the characters, but in this case the dishonesty is just the tip of a jealous, raging psychotic iceberg…

The film opens in an especially gruesome fashion -- so much so, you may wonder how it could be an American movie of the 1930s. (It's important to note that it was released by Paramount in Hollywood's pre-Code days, before the Motion Picture Production Code -- devised by chief censor Will H. Hays and others with 19th century Victorian sensibilities -- went into practical effect. The Code aimed to protect innocent moviegoers from scenes just like this and other Very Bad Things.) After establishing the setting as the jungles of French Indo-China (later to become Vietnam), we see a couple of native men holding the legs of a man struggling on the ground, while another older man (Eric Gorman, played by Lionel Atwill), is positioned at the victim's head, furiously working his arms up and down. A native and some conveniently placed vegetation in the foreground screens most of what is going on, but it doesn't look good.

As he finishes up and observes his work, Gorman blithely observes, "he'll never lie to a friend again… or kiss another man's wife!" After Gorman and his henchmen leave, the man, his hands bound, struggles up, and we see to our horror that Gorman has been practicing his cross-stitching-- on the poor man's mouth! Back at camp, when Gorman's wife Evelyn (Kathleen Burke) wonders where Bob Taylor is, Gorman tells her that he ventured out on his own. "Well what did he say?" she asks. "He didn't say anything," Gorman responds, barely suppressing the faintest of evil smiles.

Lionel Atwill as Eric Gorman and Charles Ruggles as Peter Yates
Millionaire sportsman Eric Gorman (Lionel Atwill) looks very much
in his element surrounded by wild animals of every description.
On board the ship bound for home, we learn that Eric Gorman is a millionaire "sportsman" who has collected a menagerie of wild animals for the Municipal Zoo. He may be good at capturing animals, but he's not so good at capturing young women's hearts -- Evelyn seems to gravitate to just about anything wearing pants except her creepy husband (and who can blame her?). First she gets poor Bob killed, then, on the ship, she meets secretly with debonair young Roger Hewitt (John Lodge), who's also wealthy, but better yet, not psychotically jealous. Hewitt tries to convince Evelyn to leave the madman, but she is justly afraid… very afraid.

When the ship arrives in port, the zoo's new press agent Peter Yates (Charles "Charlie" Ruggles) is dispatched to meet Gorman and the zoo's latest acquisitions. Peter apparently has a problem with the bottle, and has gotten himself fired from every newsroom in town-- the zoo press agent gig is his last chance. He also is afraid of his own shadow. So naturally much of the film -- way too much -- is devoted to Yates' not-so-hilarious encounters with a varied assortment of wild things. (We also have to forgive the filmmakers and moviegoers of the era for thinking that alcoholism was something of a hoot.)

Along the way we also meet the zoo's resident toxicologist, Dr. Jack Woodford (Randolph Scott) and his assistant (and naturally his fiancee), Jerry Evans (Gail Patrick). Gorman introduces Woodford to one of his acquisitions from India, a new, deadly species of green Mamba snake, telling him that it's responsible for hundreds of deaths a year. Woodford good-naturedly takes on the assignment of finding an antidote for the venom (which will save his life later).

Randolph Scott and Charles Ruggles
Randolph Scott looks a bit out of his element surrounded
by lab equipment. Where's the cowboy hat?
After inspecting Gorman's menagerie, the zoo curator Dr. Evans (Harry Beresford) expresses his concern that due to recent budget cuts, the zoo doesn't have the resources to take them all. Bumbling but good-hearted Yates proposes that they hold a fund-raising dinner for generous society types-- to be held right in the zoo among all the lions and tigers and bears. After a brief pause, the curator and Gorman pronounce it a splendid idea-- Gorman in particular is very keen on it, so we know he's up to no good.

Gorman makes a special trip to Hewitt's penthouse apartment to persuade the young millionaire to come to the fundraiser and help out the zoo. While he's talking with Hewitt, he sees lipstick on a glass on the coffee table, confirming his suspicions that his wife is seeing the young man. Hewitt will pay for his indiscretions--- bwwwaaahahahahahahahha!!!

And pay he does. At the gala affair, held appropriately enough in the carnivore house, the cream of the city's financial elite gathers to partake of a sumptuous banquet amidst the caged big cats and other assorted beasts. Yates rises to make his clumsy opening remarks, trying desperately to get the bored newspapermen in attendance to take photos. In the middle of his speech, Hewitt yells, then drops to the floor, shaking uncontrollably. It looks like he's been bitten, but by what? The staff quickly discover that the green mamba is not in its box, and all hell breaks loose as the society guests scramble for the exits.

Randolph Scott, Kathleen Burke and (lying down) John Lodge
Evelyn (Kathleen Burke) is bummed by the death of her
lover. (Actor John Lodge would ultimately recover and
become a congressman and governor of Connecticut.)
For Evelyn Gorman, her lover's death by escaped mamba is just a bit too convenient. Alone with Gorman, she accuses him outright of killing Hewitt. "Evelyn!" he protests, "you don't think I sat there all evening with an eight foot mamba in my pocket, do you?" (Freud help us! As we see later, it wasn't the mamba, but rather a mechanical, pocket-sized snake's head devised to inject venom through needle fangs.)

While Dr. Woodford, who wasn't born yesterday, is pondering why the spread of the puncture wounds in Hewitt's leg don't match the fang spread of the real mamba, Evelyn decides she can't wait any longer-- in the dead of night she hurries to Woodford's lab on the zoo grounds to tell him her suspicions. Gorman follows and intercepts her on the quaint wooden bridge that spans -- of all things -- the zoo's alligator pit (where is OSHA when you need 'em?). His efforts to placate her are to no avail. It looks like the alligators might just get an unexpected midnight snack… Before it's all over, Woodford gets to test his new mamba venom antidote on himself, and a desperate Gorman really gets in touch with his wild side by releasing all his animal friends from their cages.

In my last post on Dead Men Walk (1943), I related how that film, with its leisurely pace and action taking place off screen, seemed to be about 10 years behind its time. Murders in the Zoo seems vastly ahead of its time, and perhaps from a different universe altogether. For the gore hounds, it's got that unforgettable opening shock scene. It dispenses with the traditional whodunnit mystery, choosing instead to let us know right upfront how psychotic Gorman really is. Instead of wondering whodunnit, we wonder who he's going to do next and how. It unsentimentally takes the most beautiful and sympathetic character (Kathleen Burke, who the year before had been the Panther Woman on Island of Lost Souls) and literally feeds her to the alligators. And it features some of the more uncomfortable "strange" lust scenes between a husband and wife you're likely to see.

Atwill and Kathleen Burke
Kathleen Burke seems to be pondering how she got stuck
in the second depressing horror film in as many years.
Murders in the Zoo does make some concessions to its decade. The most egregious is the presence of character actor Charles Ruggles in an unfortunate comic relief (or should I say grief?) role. Charlie must be in about 2/3 of the movie's 62 minute runtime, bumbling around, stammering and getting spooked by the zoo's inhabitants at every turn. Like Jerry Lewis, a little of Charlie goes a long way. A scene or two of his shtick might have been acceptable, but he's so ubiquitous in this thing, he's given top billing! Charlie would go on to bigger and more popular films like Ruggles of Red Gap (1935, with Charles Laughton) and Bringing Up Baby (1938 with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant), but in Murders he kills the menacing mood and suspense at every turn.

Ruggles does have at least one good moment. After the disastrous banquet, he's enlisted by the curator to help clean out the animal cages. As he's moving some straw around, he looks down and realizes the escaped deadly green mamba is trapped under his pitchfork. Paralyzed with fear, he yells for help. After the mamba is recaptured, he still seems unable to move.
Jerry Evans: Peter, Peter, listen to me! Say something to me!
Yates: Is there a good laundry in this town?
No animals were harmed in the making of this picture -- at least I hope not!
Hey, who let the Tibetan Mastiffs out?
Wait, those are lions! Run!!!
But of course, the real morbid attraction of Murders in the Zoo is the slimy, psycho presence of Lionel Atwill. He cavalierly dispatches perceived rivals for Evelyn's affections, while reserving his most passionate intensity for clumsy attempts to woo back the woman who's come to loathe him. In an early scene with Ruggles in the hold of the ship, surrounded by caged beasts, he sums up his philosophy of the jungle:
Gorman: Mr. Yates, never be afraid of a wild animal. If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone-- that's more than you can say of most humans.
Yates: You don't mean to say you really like these beasts?
Gorman: I love them. Their honesty, their simplicity, their primitive emotions… they love, they hate, they kill.
Eric Gorman is faithful to his philosophy through the entire film -- he loves, he hates, he kills. In his book Hollywood's Maddest Doctors: A Biography of Lionel Atwill, Colin Clive and George Zucco (Luminary Press, 1998), Gregory William Mank suggests that the real Atwill was not all that different from the villains he portrayed (or at least that's what he wanted his public to think). Mank quotes liberally from an interview Atwill gave to Motion Picture magazine around the time of Murders in the Zoo. Atwill sounds like he's channeling Eric Gorman as he tells the reporter about his home life:
"My wife tells me that I am cruel -- that I have a streak of cruelty. And what do I do when I am cruel? Nothing. NOTHING! To do nothing is the most blood-curdling, most demoniacal form of cruelty there is. Because it is mental cruelty… And so, I do nothing when I am being cruel. I am cold. I am silent."
Atwill and Burke in a particularly intense scene
Is he acting, or is this the real Lionel Atwill?
Who cares? Enjoy the show!
Later in the early '40s, Atwill's eccentricities would get him in hot water. An orgy held at his home resulted in sensational rape charges. Mank details how Atwill bribed friends into lying to the grand jury. He plead guilty to perjury charges, but a loophole in the law allowed him to withdraw his plea and he was ultimately exonerated by a lenient judge. However, by the beginning of 1943 the disgraced actor was finding it hard to get work except in ultra-low budget Poverty Row studio films. He died on April 22, 1946, at the age of 61.

Whatever you think of his personal life, Atwill -- one of the best B movie villains ever -- gives one of his most masterful performances in an unusual horror-thriller that managed to test boundaries right before Will Hays and his gang stepped in and killed all the fun. Fortunately, a very nice print is available from TCM's Universal Cult Horror Collection.

Where to find it:
Available on DVD

TCM Shop

"He'll never lie to a friend again… or kiss another man's wife!" WARNING: Contains graphic depiction of cross-stitching!