Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)

  • The Monster (1925) - Plot Summary - Silent horror film in which the lunatics have taken over the asylum - literally. People are disappearing from a small town via a "human monster" who kidnaps victims via causing car wrecks on the highway with the use of a big mirror to make the driver think he's about to get in a head-on collision. In town, the film briefly diverses into a romantic comedy/love triangle about the slightly effeminate Johnny Goodlittle (Johnny Arthur), store "under clerk" who works under his rival, Amos Rugg - both competing for the love of pretty girl in town, Betty Watson (Gertrude Olmstead). Johnny is studying "How to Become a Detective" from a correspondence school, and is driven to use his "ingenuity" to try and solve the recent "disappearance" of a local man. Well, Amos and Betty are out for a drive one wild and stormy night where they end up driven off the road (yeah, the mirror) and wandering into the nearby, rumored to be abandoned, Sanitarium to look for help. Johnny is busy detecting and ends up there too - and the three of them are forced to bed down for the night by Dr. Ziska (Lon Chaney), the mad doctor who runs the place. Now we get into a real old-school haunted house story with spooky shadows, hidden passageways, a skeleton in the closet, hands popping out from behind furniture, and assorted creepy characters lurking about all while a storm is raging on outside. While our trio is trying to find a way out of this place, the doctor - once a famous surgeon - has a gruesome experiment he wants to perform: not to spill the beans, but it involves a "death chair" and the transferring of a soul from one body to another!

    Review - Okay, this is a dark story done with a quite a touch of humor throughout - so it doesn't really seem scary or anything. I get the impression that the filmmakers and actors were having a kick doing all this old spooky house stuff and really hamming it up! The version I saw of this was screened on TCM and included a pretty good music score, suitably spooky, for the scenes in the Sanitarium. A fun, quirky film - lightweight on the horror. Rating - * 8/10 stars *

    Director: Roland West
    Film Genre: Horror Farce
    Film Runtime: 86 minutes

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10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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