Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Poverty Row thriller with a unique twist, though one that some find to be tasteless. Ralph Morgan is a concert pianist and Wanda McKay is his daughter. At a concert, creepy scientist J. Carroll Naish sees McKay, who resembles his dead wife Lenore (a Poe-ish touch), and becomes fixated on the idea that McKay is her reincarnation. Naish pesters the girl, who already has a fellow (Terry Frost). Morgan threatens to go to the police if Naish keeps it up, so Naish knocks Morgan out and injects him with the virus which causes acromegaly, a disorder that causes hideous deformity of the head, hands, and feet and will leave Morgan looking like a cousin of the Elephant Man. His hands are affected first and, since he is unable to play the piano, he cancels all of his bookings and retreats to his study. Morgan's doctor knows the name of a good endocrinologist, who of course turns out to be Naish, who is working on a cure and willing to let Morgan be his guinea pig if Morgan will "give" him McKay. There is a mildly complicated backstory involving Naish's dead wife, who killed herself when he gave her the same disease to punish her for leaving him, but that's not crucial to the climactic action, which involves guns, an ape, and Naish's loyal assistant (Tala Birell) who is eventually moved to help Morgan in his fight against Naish. Morgan's makeup is good for a sub-B film, though other production values are poor. Morgan and Naish are good, and the movie is short, which is a plus here. Glenn Strange, who later played the Frankenstein monster and spent years on Gunsmoke as the bartender, plays Naish's muscle thug. [DVD]

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