The single photo on the police station wall is that of Edward D. Wood Jr.. An unconvincing attempt has been made to turn it into a wanted poster by sticking a piece of paper above it with the word 'Wanted' written on it.
When Wade Williams acquired the rights to Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) in 1982, Wood's widow, Kathy Wood told him of this never-released film that was being held by a post-production house because the lab fees hadn't been paid. Williams paid the fees and acquired this film, finally releasing it, 23 years after it had been filmed.
Reviewer Rob Craig suggests that the film could be in part based on an earlier film, Sucker Money (1933), produced by Willis Kent. The two films have significant similarities in concept. In the earlier film, Swami Yomurda (Mischa Auer) and his minions stage an elaborate scheme to extort money from gullible victims. Yomurda and his group use technological means to convince their victims that they are receiving sounds and images from the "other world". Craig himself, however, notes that this film cannot be considered a straightforward remake, since Edward D. Wood Jr. used the same template to tell a quite different story from the 1930s melodrama.
SPOOLER: There are notable similarities between this film and one of its contemporaries, The Unearthly (1957) by Boris Petroff. In both films the characters gather at an isolated location far from the city; a charismatic deceiver exploits others for his own purposes, promising them extraordinary services; undercover lawmen manage to expose the conspiracies; and the villains meet their fates at the hands of someone they previously exploited. Tor Johnson also plays a character called "Lobo" in both films, and both characters are working for the main villains. Both films were shot in 1957, though it is unclear if one was intentionally modeled after the other.
The narrative notion that the house by Willow Lake is a recently constructed building is contradicted by the actual image of the house, which seems to be old and in disrepair. Reviewer Rob Craig suggests that the house would not look out of place in a Hooverville.
Edward D. Wood Jr., his face hidden by a dark veil, doubles for the Black Ghost in several shots. According to Paul Marco, Wood could not get Jeannie Stevens to film these scenes, so he wore the costume and acted as a replacement.
The séances featured in the film have some atypical elements. Skulls are set on the séance table and skeletons are sitting around it. The sound effects and floating trumpet would not be out of place in 19th-century séance, though the electronically produced voice of the deceased is a far more recent element.
Although claimed to be a follow up to Bride of the Monster (1955), this film featured only two characters from that film (Kelton and Lobo), and it is claimed that Lt. Bradford had worked on the earlier case when he in fact appeared nowhere in "Bride". There was no room for Harvey B. Dunn, who played police Capt. Tom Robbins in "Bride", to reprise his earlier role. Instead, he was given a small supporting role as a frightened motorist who encounters one of the "ghouls".
Edward D. Wood Jr. finished the principal photography and rough cut of the film by late 1957, but could not afford to pay fir the post-production work. The film laboratory opted to keep the negative footage until the bill could be paid. It consequently kept the film "hostage" for decades. By the 1980s film historians either considered this a lost film or suspected that the film never existed to begin with. There was a theory that it was nothing more than a figment of Wood's imagination, and that the director claimed to have completed more films than he actually did. However, film archivist Wade Williams managed to locate the film, paid the long overdue bills to the lab and obtained ownership of it.
According to the recollections of Paul Marco, this film did have a theatrical premiere in 1959. However, Edward D. Wood Jr. was not satisfied with the result and felt it needed further editorial changes. A letter from Wood to Anthony Cardoza, the film's associate producer, records some of his plans for the film. He wanted to edit out part of Criswell's scenes and replace them with footage of Bela Lugosi. He was also considering a title change. It is unlikely that the film had more than a preview showing and/or brief release in the 1950s, and Wood was never able to make his intended changes.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The film has two ghost women concurrently active, the fake White Ghost and the real Black Ghost. The notion of a genuine ghost and a fake one that are active on the same area is not unique to this film. The Ghost Breakers (1940) has a real ghost appear in the end, Spook Chasers (1957) has a real ghost among several fakes, and Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) has a real ghost residing in a "fake" haunted house.