Saturday, June 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

The Corpse Vanishes (1942) directed by Wallace Fox

A series of young society brides die at the altar. If this isn't sensational enough, those brides' bodies are stolen on the way to the morgue! Reporters are fascinated and the police are baffled. One plucky society columnist discovers the linking clue between the murders/snatches--each bride was wearing a special orchid with a strange, sickly-sweet smell. Her editor, figuring the clue is a red herring, gives her the go-ahead to investigate. She goes to visit a horticultural expert in the country. The horticulturalist is played by Bela Lugosi, so you know that's bad news for her. His house is full of creepy people who ham it up in their performances. Horror ensues.

Lugosi is good but not at his best (like White Zombie and Dracula). Luana Walters also does a good job as the reporter but the other regular characters are a bit flat both in their performing and in the writing. This is a typical B-movie horror film from the 1930s and 1940s, diverting but not riveting. That's a shame since the premise could be a lot of fun if played out with more verve.

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