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House of Mystery (1934)

An ancient curse and a killer ape are contained inside an old dark mansion.

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(screenplay) (as Albert De Mond), (play) (as Adam Hull Shirk)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ed Lowry ...
Dylan 'Jack' Armstrong
...
Ella Browning
John Sheehan ...
Harry Smith
Brandon Hurst ...
Hindu Priest
Joyzelle Joyner ...
Chanda (as Laya Joy)
Fritzi Ridgeway ...
Stella Walker
Clay Clement ...
John Prendergast aka John Pren
...
David Fells (as George Hayes)
...
Geraldine Carfax
...
Prof. Horatio Potter (as Harry Bradley)
...
Police Insp. Ned Pickens
Mary Foy ...
Hyacinth Potter
Sam Godfrey ...
Jerome Ellis (as Samuel Godfrey)
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Storyline

An ancient curse and a killer ape are contained inside an old dark mansion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What Was This Phantom Murderer? What Was This Midnight Menace? And Why Did Its Victims Die A Horrible Death? See more »

Genres:

Mystery

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Curse of Kai  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Balsley and Phillips Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Horatio Potter: I shan't be able to go my dear. I must be at the museum. They're going to unwrap the mummy of Ramses the Fourth.
Mrs. Hyacinth Potter: Listen, you worm: you'll be at Mr. Pren's house tomorrow night and forget all about Ramses the Fourth or I'll make a mummy out of Potter the First!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Ape (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Invitation To A Curse
19 December 2014 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

An obnoxious archaeologist insults the locals in Asia and has to flee, but not before grabbing a hoard of Asian treasures as he scurries back to the U.S. His investors back home want part of the fortune that he brings back with him. So he invites them all to his two-story mansion, but informs them that an Asian "curse" befalls those in possession of the fortune. His proposition is that the investors stay in his house for awhile and see for themselves what happens.

It's a silly story concept. But it does offer a neat little puzzle for whodunit fans to solve. The plot involves a séance, some incense, and tom-tom drums. There are multiple plot holes, at least one of which is revealed by means of dialogue. The solution to the puzzle includes a psychological concept called "conditioned response". But the application of it to this story is not very credible.

Characters are poorly developed, which is not surprising, given the short runtime. There are eight or so suspects, none very interesting, apart from a grouchy old woman lording over her henpecked husband. The insurance salesman is a bit annoying. The cops are rather nondescript and bumbling. I could have wished for a Charlie Chan.

In the version I watched, sound quality was not very good, and neither was the B&W cinematography. The visuals tended to be unnecessarily dark and somewhat blurry, probably a result of inferior technology in the 1930s. Casting is okay. But acting is exaggerated, also likely resulting from an era just emerging from silent films.

Aside from poor visuals and sound, which we might expect for that era, the main problem is a not very credible story premise, compounded by poor characterization. Even so, the film might still appeal to viewers who like animated puzzles, which is what a whodunit film really is.


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