6.3/10
1,035
40 user 19 critic

Night Monster (1942)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Horror | 20 October 1942 (USA)
Kurt Ingston, a rich recluse, invites the doctors who left him a hopeless cripple to his desolate mansion in the swamps as one by one they meet horrible deaths.

Director:

Ford Beebe

Writer:

Clarence Upson Young (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bela Lugosi ... Rolf
Lionel Atwill ... Dr. King
Leif Erickson ... Laurie (as Leif Erikson)
Irene Hervey ... Dr. Lynne Harper
Ralph Morgan ... Kurt Ingston
Don Porter ... Dick Baldwin
Nils Asther ... Agor Singh
Fay Helm ... Margaret Ingston
Frank Reicher ... Dr. Timmons
Doris Lloyd ... Sarah Judd
Francis Pierlot Francis Pierlot ... Dr. Phipps
Robert Homans ... Constable Cap Beggs
Janet Shaw ... Milly Carson
Eddy Waller ... Jed Harmon
Cyril Delevanti ... Torque
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Storyline

Dr. Lynn Harper, psychologist, has been called out to the old Ingston Mansion, a dark and mysterious place with a very bad reputation, in order to make an assessment of the sanity of Margaret Ingston, daughter of patriarch Kurt Ingston. She claims to be sane, but she is clearly very disturbed; we can't be certain, although the doctor gives her a clean bill of health. But then Dick Baldwin shows up on the scene, just when Dr. Lynne has been receiving thinly veiled threats from the inhabitants of the house. He's our hero. Three medical doctors have been invited out to the mansion as well, Dr. Timmons, Dr. Phipps and the sleazy Dr. King (Lionel Atwill). One by one the doctors are mysteriously murdered. Dick Baldwin must figure out who is doing the killings, and he must do so before whoever it is can kill his new love interest, Dr. Lynne Harper. But the only one he can trust is Kurt Ingston himself, since Ingston has no legs and can't have perpetrated these murders. Is it sinister Rolf, ... Written by Jim Knoppow

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House of Mystery See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock attended a screening of this film, as he wanted to cast Janet Shaw in his Universal production, "Shadow of a Doubt, " thoroughly enjoyed it, and was amazed at how quickly it was shot, from July 5-18, 1942, to be released October 23, on a double bill with "The Mummy's Tomb. " See more »

Goofs

[dramatic license] When one of the doctors is about to be killed, the killer's shadow on the wall becomes larger as he approaches. Of course, this means that the killer is actually moving closer to the light, and therefore, away from his victim. See more »

Quotes

Const. Cap Beggs: I see it but I still don't believe it.
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User Reviews

Nightmare Monster
1 April 2005 | by wdbasingerSee all my reviews

Universal made a great hit with this one due to the way the story is put together. This had to be one of the best "spooky house" films. The use of atmosphere in terms of foggy nights, shadows on the wall, creepy facial expressions (this is why "The Ring" was such a hit), creaky doors, puddles of blood, a skeleton materializing in a room, Bela Lugosi looking mysterious, frogs/crickets coming to a sudden silence, sinister residents of "The Towers" and more, make this one of the best shockers of the 1940s.

Ever spook yourself in a darkened room ? (Great fun!) Ever get spooked by inanimate objects in a room based on their shadows on the wall? (I used to have nightmares as a child (about 5 years of age) due to the wood patterns on a dresser that looked like ghoulish figures. My mother told me that I used to run high fevers as a child and this may account for it.) Not being a psychologist, I am not familiar with a lot of the theory underlying why this sort of thing happens, perhaps it is based on subliminal reactions to the unknown, but it is very simple to scare oneself by associating objects,shapes or shadows with some sort of subconscious fear. In any case, this movie does the same thing to an extent by creating an atmosphere of overwhelming dread by tuning to the subconscious anxieties (such as the proverbial "things that go bump in the night" ) which exist in all of us.

I am a great Bela Lugosi fan and even though he plays a red herring butler in this film, through the use of creepy facial expressions, he adds to the nightmare quality of this film. Some fans think he would have been better off in the Angar Singh role (as he played in another great film, "Night of Terror" 1933), but he is fine as the sinister butler this time. Lionel Atwill is also fun to watch. The ladies Fay Helm and Irene Harvey are great eye candy. In the last reel of the film, people are knocked off one by one until the film reaches a ghoulish climax (I won't give the ending away).

The film is similar to "Night of Terror" (1933) (one of my B-movie favorites) which is equally creepy and equally fun. The difference is that in "Night Monster", a supernatural element is added.

10/10.

Dan Basinger


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