The heirs to a family fortune are required to attend a seance at the spooky old family mansion. However, throughout the night members of the family are being killed off one by one.

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(as Ben Stoloff)

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, (story "The Public Be Damned") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Tom Hartley
...
Mary Rinehart
...
John Rinehart
...
Richard Rinehart
Gertrude Michael ...
Sarah Rinehart
George Meeker ...
Prof. Arthur Hornsby
Mary Frey ...
Sika
Matt McHugh ...
Detective Bailey
...
The Maniac
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Storyline

The heirs to a family fortune are required to attend a seance at the spooky old family mansion. However, throughout the night members of the family are being killed off one by one.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A mad murdering midnight menace! (poster). See more »


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Release Date:

24 April 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

He Lived to Kill  »

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(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Some publicity production stills show Bela Lugosi's character wearing a mustache; he has none in the finished film. See more »

Quotes

Martin the Chauffeur: I was right! When I said they was... undertakers!
Degar: Remember... you have seen... NOTHING!
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User Reviews

 
NIGHT OF TERROR (Ben Stoloff, 1933) **
8 March 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This Columbia "B" thriller features many of the typical 'old dark house' trappings (which proliferated throughout the late 20s up till the mid-30s) and is therefore quite predictable; still, the denouement is rather effective – and it's all capped by an amusing (if hammy) interpolation by the maniac killer of the main narrative, which sees him coming back to life to warn cinema patrons not to reveal the twist ending!

A mere two years after his runaway success with Dracula (1931), the film already sees Bela Lugosi reduced to playing thankless roles because, even though he receives sole above-the-title billing here, the horror icon's presence constitutes a red herring and nothing more (the way he's made to intimidate his spiritualist wife during a séance proves especially pointless) and is further hindered by the unflattering Hindu attire (turban, gypsy earrings) he is saddled with throughout. Frankly, after having seen several films of Lugosi's (and with a handful more coming up), I still can't make up my mind whether his unique (i.e. sluggish and heavily-accented) delivery of lines is an asset or a liability!

To get back to the 'monster' of the film, again, his involvement results to be irrelevant to the central mystery (with an inheritance at stake, members of a wealthy family are getting bumped off one by one): familiar heavy-set character actor Edwin Maxwell is credited with playing the role, but he was unrecognizable behind the make-up. Lovely Sally Blane (who happens to be Loretta Young's sister!) and Wallace Ford (insufferable as the fast-talking reporter hero, a role he virtually reprised in a later Lugosi cheapie – THE APE MAN [1943]) provide the obligatory romantic interest; another requisite – and equally resistible – is the politically incorrect comedy relief supplied by the household's 'scaredy cat' black chauffeur.

Given a somewhat harsh BOMB rating by Leonard Maltin, I knew not to expect much from the film – but, ultimately, it's a harmless way to kill 60 minutes or so…and, in any case, the script does come up with a handful of undeniably hilarious lines: when a delegation of scientists arrives at the mansion to assist to a dangerous experiment, the chauffeur remarks that they look like undertakers – later, when he sees these same men transport a coffin in which his current master is about to be buried alive, he observes that he had been right all along!; driven as much by jealousy as the promise of a scoop, Ford bursts into the household to see Blane – noticing four other hats in the parlor (belonging to the illustrious guests), he asks her whether she had been entertaining the Marx Bros.; when the bodies start piling up and the police is called on the scene, Ford offers his help but is told off by the investigating officer – however, on asking for the generalities of all the persons in the room, the response of one of the scientists comes in the form of an unpronounceable foreign name and, so, the befuddled cop gladly relinquishes the writing duties to the newspaperman!; still, my favorite bit is when a hand-cuffed Lugosi asks the detective guarding him if he can smoke, and the latter – with quite unwarranted hostility – snaps back "I don't care if you burn!"


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