Saturday, October 20, 2012
31 Days of Halloween - Day 20 - Movie 2
The Raven (1935) stars Bela Lugosi as an egotistical surgeon obsessed with Poe to the extent that he builds a torture dungeon filled with devices from Poe's stories in his basement. After saving the life of a dancer he becomes obsessed with her. When he learns he can't have her, he goes mad. He disfigures the face of a wanted criminal and forces him to do his dirty work with the promise he'll restore his face if he obeys.
Lugosi is deliciously cold and cruel in this movie which is one of his better roles for Universal. Karloff is sympathetic as Lugosi's disfigured puppet who turned to the mad doctor in the hopes that getting a new face would mean he could begin a new, honest life, little expecting Lugosi to cruelly trick him into a role as an accomplice in murder.
Even though the movie honestly claims that it was "suggested" by the works of Poe, rather than attempting to do a straight adaptation, the way Poe and his works are used is a real strength and provides the movie with some good atmosphere.