Human Monster 1994 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
First off, I am reviewing the Roan release of this movie, which comes on a double bill with Mystery Liner. As is always the case with Roan, the digital restoration is top notch. You will not see a better release of this title, and although it is pricier than the Alpha release, it is the only version to consider. Roan is one of the few companies that give old, forgotten gems the prestige treatment they deserve.
And this film truly deserves the prestige treatment. One thing the old poverty row studios had in spades was imagination, and this title certainly proves the point. Without giving away too much, Bela Lugosi (in one of his best performances for Monogram Pictures) plays an insane con man, Dr. Orloff, running an insurance scam and using a London home for the blind as a front. In addition, he uses the lost, blind workers at this home as his unknowing henchmen. The scenes of this “home” must be seen to be believed - kind of a cross between The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the workshop of Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Orloff has a “hospital” at this home, complete with a huge, black electrical device with pinchers, which when placed in a blind man’s ears and fired up, will render him deaf as well as blind amidst hysterical screaming (thus rendering him useless to the increasingly curious police); and a large copper tub, used for placing straight-jacketed victims into for methodical drowning. Creepiest scene: Greta Gynt is shown around the home by Dr. Orloff, and she draws a crowd of blinking, stumbling men, pausing a moment from their endless, ill-defined labor. “Are her eyes dark like ours?” asks one of them hopefully, pawing gently at the air around her face.
All very Gothic and very, very creepy. In this film, the blind are somnambulant lost souls in some terrible limbo of wet stone and shadow, always stumbling, groping with their hands outstretched; the nearby Thames is a black, bubbling sludge, thick with dead bodies(the River Styx) and Bela Lugosi, with his horrid grin and black skull cap of hair, the Devil overlord.
Great performances all around, with Hugh Williams as the elegant Det. Holt, the gorgeous Greta Gynt as the daughter of one of Orloff’s victims, and Edmon Ryan as the American Cop visiting the Yard. Ryan (Lt. O’Reilly from Chicago) is particularly American, charmingly eager to beat suspects into confessions with a rubber hose, which he seems to produce from a pocket in his coat, and dismayed at the way his English counterpart doesn’t simply spray led at every opportunity. In one scene, when he and Det. Holt stumble upon another drowning murder, our ugly American proclaims, “doesn’t anyone get shot in this country?” Later, after taking a pot shot at a fleeing suspect, he says, “aw, I missed. But it sure was great hearing the old music box again!” You gotta love this guy.
Oh, yes. Wilfred Walter plays “Jake,” Suffice to say that Walter was a Shakespearian actor from the old vic, and his portrayal of the swollen, teeth-jutting Jake is in the same class (more scary but lacking the pathos) as Karloff’s much, much more famous human monster.
Great Bela - Great, moody editing and cinematography - Great digital restoration.
Fantastic!—- Mykal Banta