Monday, January 23, 2012

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

As I was taking a walk into the early stages of Sci-Fi and Horror, I felt that my night would not be complete unless I ventured into the mind of my favorite master of terror, Edgar Allan Poe.  What a better way to close my evening but with a classic tale starring one of the greatest horror icons of all time Bela Lugosi, in the often overlooked 1932 adaptation of Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Plot/ In 19th Century Paris, the maniacal Dr. Mirakle abducts young women and injects them with ape blood in an attempt to prove ape-human kinship. He constantly meets failure as the abducted women die. Medical student Pierre Dupin discovers what Mirakle is doing too late to prevent the abduction of his girlfriend Camille. Now he desperately tries to enlist the help of the police to get her back.

I love movies based on the works of Poe (albeit loose adaptations), in fact, I can never get enough of them when I find them. Sure, some are better than others, but in same ways they always carry at least some of the flair that was woven into them decades before their transition to the silver screen. This adaptation, while running only about 80 minutes, is definitely worth watching. Filmed by Universal Studios, after their initial foray into horror, this flick features great set design and perfect atmosphere. The acting is solid, but it is Bela Lugosi that is amazing, captivating the screen during every second of his screen time. Yes, there are some flaws. Some of the cinematography is so-so and editing was uneven.  In the end, this is a classic early example of Universal Studios mastery and a film that is definitely worth watching.

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