Bowery at Midnight (1942) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Kindly soup kitchen operator and professor of criminology Karl Wagner uses his soup kitchen as a front for a criminal gang who commit a series of daring robberies and murders. When things get out of hand, Wagner kills his henchmen, who wind up as zombies in the cellar of the soup kitchen.


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  • During nights in a Bowery food shelter Karl Wagner (Bela Lugosi) takes in men who are hungry a cares for them by having his nurse assistant Judy Malvern (Wanda McKay) tend to their medical needs. Wagner uses this as a front for an organized recruiting location for criminals whom he uses for robberies and dispatches them, and allows his in-house doctor flunky to treat some with a drug that converts them into zombies whereupon he keeps locked up in a basement prison. During the day Wagner takes on the identity of New York University psychology professor Frederick Brenner who keeps his students riveted with his knowledge of human nature. Inspired student Richard Dennison (John Archer) decides to do some research for his term paper and goes to the soup kitchen where his girl friend Judy works, which happens to be where Brenner/ Wagner runs his criminal zombie activities. Wagner takes Richard in and turns him into an un-dead follower, and Judy gets suspicious of Richards absence and calls the police. Wagner attempts to escape when he takes a wrong step to avoid being arrested and some serious events take place.

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