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The Haunted Strangler (1958)

Grip of the Strangler (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery, Horror | 24 April 1959 (Netherlands)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer

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ON DISC
A researcher investigating a notorious serial killer who was hanged 20 years earlier seemingly becomes possessed by the long dead strangler.

Director:

Robert Day

Writers:

John Croydon (as John C. Cooper), Jan Read (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Boris Karloff ... James Rankin
Jean Kent ... Cora Seth
Elizabeth Allan ... Barbara Rankin
Anthony Dawson ... Supt. Burk
Vera Day ... Pearl
Tim Turner ... Dr. Kenneth McColl
Diane Aubrey Diane Aubrey ... Lily Rankin
Max Brimmell Max Brimmell ... Newgate Prison Turnkey
Leslie Perrins ... Newgate Prison Governor
Jessica Cairns Jessica Cairns ... Asylum Maid
Dorothy Gordon ... Hannah
Desmond Roberts ... Dr. Johnson
Roy Russell Roy Russell ... Medical Superintendent
Derek Birch Derek Birch ... Guyse Hospital Superintendent
Peggy Ann Clifford Peggy Ann Clifford ... Kate
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Storyline

A writer investigating the execution of a serial killer known as "The Haymarket Strangler" 20 years previously begins to suspect that the wrong man might have been hanged. However, when he picks up a scalpel used by the murderer, he finds himself possessed by the killer's spirit and begins committing similar murders. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

KING OF THE MONSTERS! KARLOFF IN HIS NEW HORROR HIT! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Mystery | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 1959 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Haunted Strangler See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£70,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Amalgamated Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Croydon wrote this film and First Man Into Space (1959) back-to-back. See more »

Goofs

In the graveyard scene, the bones of Edward Styles are displayed so that his hip bones are placed up by his shoulders, perhaps indicating scapula. See more »

Quotes

James Rankin: You mean he killed while in some sort of trance?
See more »

Connections

Featured in 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Just a so-so b-movie horror even if it could have been a lot better with some key changes
22 June 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The infamous serial killer "The Haymarket Strangler" may be long dead but writer James Rankin is convinced that the wrong man was hanged and sets out to investigate the crimes and the killer for himself. He makes progress into the case and it begins to appear that he is correct. However when he recovers the scalper supposedly used by the murderer he finds himself compelled to kill as his personality splits – with his normal, composed self becoming more and more desperate to prevent further deaths.

This film has got so-so reviews and, always one to stick my nose in where not required, I'd like to agree with everyone who simply said "is OK" about it, because it is. Some have ripped into it and I think that is unfair because really the film delivers a basic B movie horror that didn't bore me even if it wasn't what I hoped it would be. For me the film falls down in its aspirations because it seems happy to be basic when it could have been more complex and engaging. The film takes too long to get to the point of finding the knife (and making the transformation happen) and up to this point, yes, it is a little dull. The bigger downside of this delay, though was that it mean the second half of the film (the potentially strongest half) is too short and rushed. So instead of a complex story where Rankin struggles with a demon from inside himself mostly it is just a straight "pull a face, get to killing" story.

To make this work it does need to be urgent and scary but sadly it doesn't really deliver on that either, allowing the viewer to wander in their thoughts and think of what might have been. It is perfectly fine as a bit of Karloff b-movie and it does have some nice atmosphere and twists to the delivery but what with what "could" have been and all the weak material that does take up time in the first half, it only comes out as "OK". Karloff has his moments and I did think he was very good when Rankin was near-frantic as he understood what he was doing but mostly he just contorts his face and lurches forward in the time-honoured fashion. His supporting cast are OK but nobody really stuck in the mind – which I think speaks volumes.

So an OK film but nothing special whatsoever. Meeting it on its own terms will help but it still isn't that good and one cannot help look at it and see several major ways that it could have been a lot better.


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