Friday, February 10, 2012


A group of people show up one stormy night at the isolated house of the Richmonds, on an island attached to the mainstream by a causeway, invited for a ghost-hunting party. Folklore has it that years ago the island was a pirate hideaway, and one night the lighthouse malfunctioned and a boatload of pirates were killed in a wreck; supposedly a pirate ghost appears down at the wreck at midnight. Among the guests are Josh and his lovely sister Ann; the squabbling, recently divorced couple Sylvia and David; Sylvia's twin sister Cynthia; and some guy named Homer. But the guests are all surprised to find out that the Richmonds didn't actually send out the invitations; since they're all there, they make the best of it, have cocktails, and go out to see the ghost. First though, they hear a radio report that a Dr. Dexter is on the loose, having stolen some radium from a local hospital. Then they are joined by a guy named Blair, a mechanic who brought Josh and Ann over when their car broke down. We know he's not really a mechanic however, and we see him disable all the other cars so everyone will have to stay overnight. At the site of the wreck, they see a ghostly figure rise from the mist and Sylvia faints away. But she's not scared, she's dead. She's also only the first to die before the mysteries of who is who and who done what & why are solved.

This is a Republic B-thriller in the "old dark house" mode complete with ghosts and storms and secret passages, and as such, a passable entry. It's a little too obvious who's nice and who's naughty here, so the playing-out of the tangled relationships has few surprises. Peter Cookson as Blair is B-hero handsome so you know he's a good guy, and Lorna Gray (Ann) is fine as the good girl that he flirts with. Kirk Alyn, the first live-action Superman, is effective as Josh; B-film queen Veda Ann Borg has the dual role of the twin sisters. In more Superman trivia, John Hamilton (Perry White in the Superman TV series) is Richmond, and Roy Barcroft (who guested on a Superman episode) is David. Willie Best is ill-used as the scared black butler. There are plotholes best not thought about, but overall this hour-long mystery is mostly fun. [Netflix]

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