Noble-born cad Denis (Stapley) has been tricked into a forced stay at the eerie manor of the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), an evil madman who can't get over the death of his beloved, twenty...
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Noble-born cad Denis (Stapley) has been tricked into a forced stay at the eerie manor of the Sire de Maletroit (Laughton), an evil madman who can't get over the death of his beloved, twenty years after she married his brother (Cavanagh) instead and subsequently passed away during childbirth. Maletroit is determined to have his revenge: the brother has been stowed away in the dungeon for two decades, while he's convinced his disreputable house guest will make a suitably hellish husband for his niece. As luck would have it, the young couple manage to fall in love, and with the help of manservant Voltan (Karloff), they try to make their escape, but not before a final confrontation with Maletroit in the dungeon's crushing deathtrap.Written by
Stephen Cooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Standout Performance From Laughton In This Universal Horror-Thriller
A drunken, barfighting, womanizing, nobleman is set up- by a mysterious cabal- to be lynched.
However, while he is running for his life, he happens upon a door, and enters it...only to find out that it can only be passed through in one direction.
Now he's trapped...in a mansion...with a deranged man, who immediately has him arrested by guards. The man- Sire Alain de Maletroit (played brilliantly by Charles Laughton)- informs him, he is to be wed to his niece in an arranged marriage.
It soon becomes clear, however, that this man does not have the young woman's best interests at heart. Not only has he killed the love of her life- for no good reason. He is also keeping her father hostage, and torturing him by subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishments.
Having witnessed, first hand, what she is going through, the young nobleman starts to feel bad for the stunning young maiden...and seeks to help her escape. Which triggers her to truly acquire feelings for him.
And, seeing as this was not part of the evil malcontent's plan...he moves toward an even more sinister plot- placing them both in a booby trapped cell, with her imprisoned father.
Now, their only hope, is that Voltan (played by Boris Karloff)- the last person remaining loyal to her father. His former servant, and confidant.
Will Voltan be able to save them before it's too late- or will they all end up perishing together? This is a solid little black and white horror thriller from Universal, with a romance angle. The acting is strong- particularly Laughton's performance as the misogynistic Maletroite. And that booby trapped cell is pretty badass! While not a masterpiece or anything, this is a thoroughly enjoyable horror thriller.
6 out of 10.
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