Thursday, October 17, 2013

Night of Terror #17: 'Invisible Ghost'

Due to poor planning and me getting lost on the way home tonight (don't ask how this happened, I don't know), I'm stuck with the sort of dull but still charming Invisible Ghost, part of a bunch of movies Bela Lugosi made at Monogram (pbuh) in the 40s.

Invisible Ghost sort of follows the whodunit template in a lot of ways (series of murders occur in a creepy house, police are baffled), with the interesting wrinkle that we know practically from the start that it's Bela doing the killing. Don't misunderstand me, I don't mean that we "know" as in how could you cast Bela Lugosi in a movie like this and not have him be the killer, I mean that we see him go into a trance and kill someone in the first or second reel.

The police aren't as lucky as we are though, so they end up hauling away Bela's daughter's would-be fiance (he's already married to a woman who refuses to give him a divorce, this is that kind of movie) and then executing them for killings that he had nothing to do with. The cops don't seem to feel to bad about this though, so why should we?

Possibly assuaging their guilt is the appearance of Ralph's twin brother, who inexplicably shows up only AFTER his twin has been executed. I thought for a bit to try to ascertain why this unusual storytelling device was used, and I couldn't think of anything good. Maybe it was a budget issue.

Anyway, some more stuff happens, Bela shows off his ability to act alternately creepy and charming, and does that thing where he glares right into the camera. There are no ghosts, let alone any invisible ones. Bela is eventually discovered to be the killer and goes away peacefully, presumably to freak out his fellow inmates in prison. The end.

Sorry to resort to plot synopsis, but there just isn't a lot of invisible meat on these invisible bones. Still, I can recommend it for fans of this kind of low-budget chiller (you know who you are), and for Bela completists.

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