Friday, October 22, 2010


Fairly nifty low-budget "old dark house" thriller, almost completely forgotten today but worth seeing. One rainy night, old Mr. Wood, a Broadway producer, his prissy secretary Homer, and promising playwright Prescott Ames wind up stranded at the Kent mansion when the road becomes impassable. Ames knows the family and as it happens, an interesting batch of people have collected at the house (including Ames's girlfriend Gloria and her former boyfriend, Terry, who remains jealous of Ames) for a seance held by the loony psychic Beatrice. She conjures up the ghost of a man who was killed in the house two years ago, maybe by Terry, maybe by Ames. [Spoiler!!] 20 minutes into the movie, we suddenly catch on, as Mr. Wood does, to what's really happening: the houseful of people are actors, putting on Ames's new play for the producer's benefit. However, just as the ruse is exposed, Beatrice is found dead and all bets are off. Is a ghost really present? Is one of the guests an escaped asylum inmate? And to where have Terry and Gloria disappeared? After the initial surprise is revealed, the remaining plot twists are not especially surprising, but it's fun to watch it all play out. It's a Poverty Row film so there are no big names, but the acting is adequate, with John Miljan a standout as Ames, and Johnny Arthur fun for a while doing his some screamingly effeminate shtick before he gets tiresome. The public domain print on the Alpha DVD is in poor shape but watchable. [DVD]

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