In Spain, Leon is born on Christmas day to a mute servant girl who was raped by a beggar. His mother dies giving birth and he is looked after by Don Alfredo. As a child Leon becomes a ... See full summary »
Dr. Alfred Morris, a university chemistry professor, rediscovers an ancient Mayan formula for a gas which turns men into pliant, obedient, zombie-like ghouls. After medical student Ted Allison becomes a guinea pig for Morris, the professor imagines that Allison's fiancée, beautiful concert singer Isabel Lewis, wants to break off the engagement because she prefers the professor as a more "mature" lover but n reality loves Eric, her accompanist. In order to bring Ted back from his trance-like states, Morris commands him to perform a cardiectomy on recently deceased or living bodies in order to use serum from their hearts as a temporary antidote. When the serial murders seem to coincide with Isabel's touring schedule, ace reporter "Scoop" McClure gets on the mad scientist's trail. Written by
Evelyn Ankers hoped to do her own singing for the film, but because of the tight production schedule producer Ben Pivar used stock recordings of Lillian Cornell for the scenes in which Ankers' character sings (and the songs are obviously older recordings since their sound quality is inferior to the rest of the soundtrack). See more »
Dr. Alfred Morris:
[Lecturing to his class]
We have lethal gases which are usedfor a definite purpose... to kill. The poison gas of the natives had a definite purpose, but it not bring death though, but death in life, or, if you prefer, life in death.
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In between the films with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman, Universal Pictures occasionally turned out the oddball horror film not belonging to anyone of the series they did. Such a film is The Mad Ghoul and it stars a whole lot of players most familiar with the Gothic horror genre.
Head of the cast is George Zucco who gets control of the mind and soul of David Bruce who was a former medical student of his before Zucco turned to ghoulish experiments. He's discovered an ancient gas used by the Mayans to turn people into mindless and soulless killing machines who obey commands by whomever controls the gas flow.
In this case Zucco has a mad case of ghoul type lust for Bruce's fiancé Evelyn Ankers who is a concert singer on tour with her accompanist Turhan Bey. And Bruce is jealous of Bey being around Ankers and working so close with her.
Later on in the Forties Zucco did some horror films for poverty row Monogram Pictures. This one is far from as bad as those were, but compared to other Universal fright fests it's second rate.
Others in the cast are cops Milburn Stone and Charles McGraw and reporter Robert Armstong whose quest to find the Mad Ghoul ends in tragedy. They all make The Mad Ghoul better than a typical Monogram product, but that's not saying much.
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