Invisible Ghost 2003 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
Invisible Ghost was released in 1941 10-years after Bela Lugosi became a star on the rise starring as Count Dracula in the horror classic Dracula. Fact of the matter is Lugosi never really fully capitalized on the success of Dracula and while his career did sort of go downhill after Dracula he was still making movies under Universal and having a pretty good career, but he never had a character quite as Iconic as Dracula. He starred in quite a few movies with Boris Karloff in the 30s, but around the 40s is when Lugosi hit Poverty Row, which was a slang for low budget studios.
As much as I love Bela Lugosi for me Boris Karloff is the king of the horror genre, but even for those who prefer Lugosi his career never quite took off like Karloff’s and let’s be honest; Lugosi was a better actor than given credit for, but he doesn’t have the range Karloff did. By the time of the release of Invisible Ghost, Lugosi was starting to hit hard times. He did star in a few movies for major studios, but in general he was reduced to a small role that was beneath him and in a lot of the movies it was a role that essentially any actor could have played. Lugosi appeared in the RKO release of The Body Snatcher with Boris Karloff in 1945 and by this time when Lugosi had a role in a movie under a major studio it was either a cameo or in the case of The Body Snatcher he was just sort of there and had no lines at all or in this case very little dialogue. So that shows you how Bela Lugosi went from this greatness to struggling for roles, which was really quite a shame.
Even when Bela Lugosi would get a starring role in a movie by the likes of Universal like The Ghost of Frankenstein, by that point the series was now seen as a B-movie rather than an A, but even with a movie like Ghost of Frankenstein being seen as a B movie it’s still light-years ahead of Poverty Row. Despite the fact Lugosi was reduced to Poverty Row he was still making some enjoyable movies. The best way to describe this movie for a modern audience is if there had been VHS and or DVDs Invisible Ghost would have been a movie that went DTV.
The screenplay by Al & Helen Martin is quite poor; while not the worst script out there it was poor with weak characters and an even weaker plot. Nothing is explained plot wise and the characters were rather boring. Lugosi plays Charles Kessler and we find out his wife left him for another man we also find out she was in a car accident and the guy died, but she lived. For some reason the Gardner keeps her hidden and she sometimes wanders off and when Kessler sees her he becomes hypnotized and kills people.
The reason the Gardner keeps her hidden is he doesn’t want Kessler to see what she’s become since it seems she has some brain damage. Wow great explanation. And why exactly does Kessler become hypnotized and go on a killing spree? Well your guess is as good as mine. Truth is by a certain point of the movie I wasn’t really paying full attention so if a reason was given I must have missed it. The biggest flaw with the movie is we know Kessler is the killer and it take away from the movie.
And what I find funny is people are being killed in the house and yet not one person suspects anyone else and nobody bothers to lock their doors. I don’t know about you, but if people in my house are being killed I’m gonna be suspicious of the other people and make sure my door is locked. Invisible Ghost really is just an idiotic movie.
Director Joseph H. Lewis fails at brining any suspense or any tension. In fairness he doesn’t much to work with. Making something out of this script would be no easy task. But the one good thing I can say is the actors aren’t half bad. For such a low budget flick the acting wasn’t bad well some of the actors were poor, but some were fairly decent. But even with that Joseph H. Lewis never is able to get much going.
Over the years the horror genre has had many great suspenseful and scary movies, but there’s just something about horror from the 30s and 40s that has never been captured again. These movies often had this really eerie look that was loaded with atmosphere and again over the years many horror flicks have had that, but not like they did in the 30s and 40s, but Invisible Ghost really has none of that at all.
Many have called Invisible Ghost the so bad its good movie and I suppose you can make a case for that, but for me this was just so bad it’s well bad. There are moments that are fun in how bad they are, but in general I was just bored. Invisible Ghost only runs at about 65-minutes, but personally it felt a lot longer. It’s quite a shame Bela Lugosi got stuck making movies like this and it would get even worse for him in the 50s. To go from starring in Dracula and movies along side Boris Karloff is a huge drop in the acting food chain.
I can see how this movie would appeal to some viewers, but for me it was just mostly a waste. You can find so many better horror flicks from this era that it’s best to just skip this. The only reason to watch it is if you are a big Lugosi fan like I am. Lugosi was excellent, but he has such lousy material to work with there’s only so much he can do.