Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a ... See full summary »
Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a radio broadcast. The voice announces that before the night is over each one will be systematically murdered unless they manage to outwit their ninth guest Death. Based on the mystery novel The Invisible Host (1930) by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning. Written by
This is a very tough-to-find classic studio horror film from the golden age of horror films. Above all, it deserves to be seen by more fans of the films of that era. While it is very obvious from the beginning as to who the killer is (fans of this type of film will know based on formula), the film is consistently entertaining and very well-directed. Unlike many slow and stagy productions from the early 30s, this one is very fluid and Roy William Neill, who would later direct many of the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films, has an excellent grasp on how to effectively move his camera. It is refreshingly unpretentious and almost sickly stylish at times and not stagy as a Monogram and Mascot feature almost inherently at some level must be. It is Grand Guignol fun with a stylish Art-Deco apartment where eight guests are trapped by the titular "ninth guest", a voice from the radio that commands their ill-fated party. It is reminiscent of Ulmer's 'The Black Cat' from the same year, in how it uses a modern design to decorate its' house of horror. The cast is very good and includes Donald Cook, who next year made a fine Ellery Queen and Edwin Maxwell and Samuel S. Hinds lend their usual solid performances for this type of film. It was made by Colombia Pictures.
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