Tuesday, October 16, 2018

31 Days of Halloween - Day 16 - Movie 1

There are many films in which Boris Karloff plays a kindly doctor, or social reformer, with good intentions, who ends up being turned into a murdering fiend. The Haunted Strangler (1958) is one of the better ones. Here he plays a novelist investigating a case in which a one armed man was hanged for a series of murders that were half strangulations, half slashings. He's convinced the wrong man was hanged and instead believes that the doctor who performed the autopsy on the hanged man was actually guilty of the crimes, especially since he suffered from left arm paralysis. Seeking the doctor's missing surgical knife, he finds it in the coffin of the convicted man. A exhumation is refused, so Karloff's character dig it up himself. He finds the knife, and once it's in his grasp he finds his left arm paralyzed and his facial features grotesquely contorted. He also finds himself compelled to murder. Once he returns to normal, he finds that no one will believe his story when he tries turning himself in, and the weird compulsion comes over him again, and again...

This film was very enjoyable, even though it starts off following the formula of many other films with a similar plot/theme. The film really takes on life during Karloff's desperate attempts to convince everyone of his own horrible crimes. Karloff puts in a great performance.

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