16 user 5 critic

House of Mystery (1934)

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


William Nigh


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




Cast overview:
Ed Lowry Ed Lowry ... Dylan 'Jack' Armstrong
Verna Hillie ... 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
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... David Fells (as George Hayes)
Dale Fuller ... Geraldine Carfax
Harry C. Bradley ... Prof. Horatio Potter (as Harry Bradley)
Irving Bacon ... Police Insp. Ned Pickens
Mary Foy ... Hyacinth Potter
Sam Godfrey Sam Godfrey ... Jerome Ellis (as Samuel Godfrey)
Learn more

More Like This 

The 9th Guest (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie Albright
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

During a stormy night at an old dark mansion, people who claim to see ghosts roaming the halls are later found murdered.

Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: John Miljan, June Collyer, Richard Carle
Certificate: Passed Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

People in an old dark house on a stormy night are menaced by a killer ape.

Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds, Sheldon Lewis
Action | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

The East Side Kids try to fix up a house for newlyweds, but find the place next door "haunted" by mysterious men.

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan
The Ghoul (1933)
Action | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An Egyptologist returns from the dead to take revenge on those who have violated his tomb.

Director: T. Hayes Hunter
Stars: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger
Fog Island (1945)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

An inventor recently released from prison invites a group of former business associates to a holiday in his island home, intending to exact revenge on them.

Director: Terry O. Morse
Stars: George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The town's leading citizen becomes a homicidal maniac after his wife deserts him.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, John McGuire
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When corpses drained of blood begin to show up in a European village, vampirism is suspected to be responsible.

Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

An insurance investigator arrives at a creepy mansion to protect a millionaire who has had death threats made against him.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Jack Haley, Jean Parker, Bela Lugosi
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The unsolved murder of a Hollywood actor several years earlier and an enigmatic psychic are the keys to help Charlie solve the Honolulu stabbing death of a beautiful actress.

Director: Hamilton MacFadden
Stars: Warner Oland, Sally Eilers, Bela Lugosi
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Twenty years after 3 murders occur in a castle's "blue room", three men who each want to marry a beautiful girl decide to spend a night in the room to prove their bravery to her.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Gloria Stuart, Paul Lukas
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Walter Summers
Stars: Kenneth Kent, Judy Kelly, Peter Murray-Hill


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Out of the Mystic Temples of Old India crept this terrible Monster ... to wreak vengeance of the Hindu Gods ... One by one its victims fell with not a trace of the bloody assassin. See more »


Horror | Mystery


Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast in New York City took place Friday 12 May 1950 on the Night Owl Theatre on WPIX (Channel 11). See more »


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 »


Version of The Ape (1940) See more »

User Reviews

An entertaining, but forgettable, dark house flick
4 October 2010 | by Shattered_WakeSee all my reviews

Based on the play by Adam Shirk, 'House of Mystery' tells the tale of John Prendergast (Clay Clement), an archaeologist sent from his home country to seek the wisdom of the Hindu religion. While in Asia, John "accidentally" (read as "drunkenly") kills a sacred monkey at a Hindu temple and is soon exposed as a thief (in the future). His fate is then cursed, along with the fates of his descendants. Twenty years pass and the Curse of Kahli still follows him. The investors of his expedition have gathered together at his mansion to seek their share of the fortune that he earned, with the only demand being that the inheritors must remain in the old mansion long enough to claim their money. Unfortunately for all, anangry killer that may be a result of the curse is loose and out for blood.

Like many "dark house" horrors of the early twentieth century, 'House of Mystery' isn't a very complicated film. While it does have a deeper background to it than similar films (many of which feature a lost couple who stumble upon a decrepit manor without much more), the overall feel and style still remains in line with the others of its subgenre. In fact, there isn't much to separate 'House of Mystery' as being very special at all. That's not totally a bad thing, however. It's just one of those decades-old films that have been mostly forgotten because, well, it's fairly forgettable.

The story is entertaining enough (which is really what matters most in a film like this). I liked the backstory set in Asia and the progression to the "present" (i.e. the early 1930s). However, once it gets to the present, it loses the originality that was being built by the introduction and fades into the standard fare of this style of film. Nevertheless, it does remain quite enjoyable with a funny cast of characters and some interesting plot turns. Also, the old mansion is one of the better "dark house" settings I've seen and director William Nigh (who had an astounding 120 directorial credits to his name over his 34-year career including another "killer monkey"-themed film 'The Ape' starring Boris Karloff). Other than that, there isn't a whole lot more to say. The film comes in at a lightning-fast 62 minute runtime, making it worth the short investment for the entertainment value. Overall, fans of the "dark house" subgenre should give it a look as they'll find more enjoyment in it than others, but it's still a fun time regardless for anyone who wants to give it a go.

Final Verdict: 6.5/10.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ape See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Balsley and Phillips Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.

Recently Viewed