Tyler McVey
Character actor Tyler McVey died of leukemia in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 91. McVey enjoyed a long career in radio drama before taking on small movie roles -- some without screen credit -- in many "A" list films, including "From Here to Eternity," "All the Brothers Were Valiant" and "The Caine Mutiny." Cult-movie fans will remember McVey for his appearances in a handful of 1950s sci-fi and exploitation films, including some as a part of producer/director Roger Corman's familiar stock company. These include "Hot Car Girl," "Night of the Blood Beast" and "Attack of the Giant Leeches," all directed by Bernard L. Kowalski and produced by Roger and Gene Corman.

McVey, who began his screen career with an uncredited part in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," also worked extensively in television, appearing in such series as "Gunsmoke," "Dragnet," "I Love Lucy," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," "Maverick," "Wagon Train," "Sea Hunt," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Daniel Boone," "Highway to Heaven" and many others. His final role was in director Burt Kennedy's 1974 made-for-TV western, "Sidekicks," which starred Larry Hagman and Louis Gossett Jr., and boasted a "who's who" of familiar supporting players, including Jack Elam, Harry Morgan, Gene Evans, Noah Beery Jr. and Denver Pyle.

Carlos Rivas
Character actor Carlos Rivas has died of prostate cancer. He was 78. Although Rivas appeared in many "A" productions during the 1950s and '60s, including "The King and I," Alfred Hitchcock's "Topaz" and the John Wayne westerns, "True Grit and "The Undefeated," cult-film fans will remember him best for roles in a pair of films associated with stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O'Brien; "Beast of Hollow Mountain" and "Black Scorpion." Rivas also appeared in "Madmen of Mandoras." Director David Bradley used large portions of this low-budget thriller in his cobbled-together cult classic "They Saved Hitler's Brain." Among Rivas' other film credits are "The Unforgiven," "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold" and producer George Pal's "Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze." Rivas also worked extensively in television, appearing in such series as "Zorro," "Cheyenne," "Gunsmoke," "Daniel Boone," "Mannix" and "The A-Team." He was also one of the founders of "Nosotros," an organization that worked to improve the image of Hispanics in the entertainment industry.

Ren Yamamoto
Japanese actor Ren Yamamoto died following a cerebral apoplexy. He was 73. Yamamoto appeared in many of the early Japanese giant monster films made by the Toho studio in the 1950s and '60s. These include the original 1954 "Gojira," (which was released in the United States as "Godzilla"), "Gigantis, The Fire Monster," "Mothra," "King Kong vs. Godzilla," "Rodan, The Flying Monster," "Frankenstein Conquers the World" and others. His final screen appearance was in "The Battle of Okinawa," filmed in 1971.


Former actor Rod Lauren, star of director Herbert L. Strock's cult-horror classic "The Crawling Hand," was recently arrested in Sacramento, Calif., by U.S. marshals. Lauren, whose real name is Roger Lawrence Strunk, is wanted by authorities in the Philippines who suspect he may be implicated in the murder of his wife of 22 years, Filipino actress Nida Blanca. Blanca, aka Dorothy Jones, was found stabbed to death in her car in November. 2001. Strunk had moved from his home in the Philippines to the United States after an initial investigation appeared to vindicate him. The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation continued to seek evidence and, according to a State Prosecutor, Strunk remained the primary suspect, based largely on circumstantial evidence and statements from family members. An umbrella Strunk carried was found in Blanca's car after the murder, but, according to a witness, it had not been there earlier in the evening. Blanca's daughter claims that Strunk may have been angered by Blanca's refusal to continue sharing her money with him.

Strunk has maintained his innocence throughout, telling a television interviewer, "Being a husband, I was a target. I have nothing to do with this. I couldn't think of such a thing. I'm not clever enough." A U.S. District Court in Sacramento denied Strunk's bail petition, and sources believe he will be extradited to the Philippines. Philippine authorities say they now have a stronger case against Strunk, including proof that he hired Philip Medel to kill Blanca. Early in the investigation Medel admitted to killing Blanca, but later withdrew his confession in an animated court appearance. During the hearing, Medel collapsed into semi-consciousness several times, claiming he had been tortured into confessing and begging authorities to "Kill me now." Medel is now on trial for murder and has entered a plea of "not guilty."

Our buddy, Jim Nolt, one of the world's premier chroniclers of all things related to the classic George Reeves "Adventures of Superman" TV series wants one and all to know that, even though he is no longer issuing his regular e-mail and print "The Adventures Continue" newsletter, his Web site continues to be updated regularly with news of interest to the program's devotees. Thanks to Jim's well-known devotion, it's just about the best repository of knowledge regarding the series available anywhere. For instance, Larry Ward only recently published an authorized biography of Noel Neill aka Lois Lane. Noel and Larry Ward will sign each copy that is purchased through Jim's "The Adventures Continue" site:

And, according to Jim, "Randy Garrett continues to favor us with his wonderful rendition of 'Superman and the Secret Planet,' using the 1957 script for the feature film that was never produced. Randy's version includes many of our favorite character actors from the series in new roles. I'm sure you'll enjoy it." If you are as yet unfamiliar with "The Adventures Continue," speed like a bullet to:
And tell 'em without hesitation that the B Monster sent you!

Fan's of director Sam Raimi's trilogy of "Evil Dead" films might consider a trip to Toronto where they can catch the debut of "Evil Dead 1 & 2: The Musical." The stage show based on Raimi's low-budget horror flicks will debut August 14 at Toronto's Tranzac Theater. According to director Chris Bond, "The trilogy delves further and further into farce and camp ... turning them into a musical was just the next logical step." StudioCanal and Anchor Bay Entertainment, who control the rights to the film properties, enthusiastically sanctioned the production, which features such show-stoppers as "Cabin in the Woods" and "Do the Necromonacon!" The show is being staged by Beyond Chutleigh Productions, a Kingston, Ontario, theater company that, according to publicity, is composed of "up-and coming theatre professionals with the mandate of promoting work by emerging directors and creating diverse and unique performance pieces in unconventional venues." For more information check out:
And, by all means, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!

Bowing to pressure from some Asian-American groups, the Fox Movie Channel abruptly canceled their Charlie Chan Film Festival. According to sources, the groups feel that the Chan films depict Asians and Asian-Americans in a negative way. The Fox Movie Channel had planned to show 24 of the Charlie Chan films that were restored two years ago. Die-hard Chan fans say this decision will likely prevent the classic Chan films from ever being released on DVD.

The following is from a Fox Movie Channel statement: "Originally restored to meet the requests of mystery fans and film preservation buffs, Fox Movie Channel scheduled these films in a showcase intended to illustrate the positive aspects of these movies such as the complex story lines [and] characters and Charlie Chan's great intellect. Additionally, numerous subscribers to Fox Movie Channel, as well as film historians, have long requested that Fox Movie Channel broadcast these films. However, Fox Movie Channel has been made aware that the Charlie Chan films may contain situations or depictions that are sensitive to some viewers. Fox Movie Channel realizes that these historic films were produced at a time where racial sensitivities were not as they are today. As a result of the public response to the airing of these films, Fox Movie Channel will remove them from the schedule."

In a letter to FMC's Senior Vice President and General Manager Mark Devitre, Dr. Howard Berlin, author of "The Charlie Chan film Encyclopedia" and "Charlie Chan's Words of Wisdom," stated, "I think that you and your firm have taken a hypocritical position in bowing to pressure from Asian groups who point to only the few negative aspects of perhaps the most popular series of Hollywood's golden age but condone many of the stereotypes that are staples in many of today's Kung Fu-like movies. The real gripe here is that the older Chan movies had a non-Oriental actor in the lead role and ignores that the movies highlight the positive side of Oriental culture, much of which the rest of the world could profit from ... I am also sure that many [fans] will now scrutinize each of your future film offerings to see if you waver from your hypocrisy and will remind you of the day you pulled the plug on Charlie Chan." According to the "Tory's Mystery Movies Newsletter," the channel's Chan message board was inundated with pro-Chan sentiments. FMC later amended its initial statement to indicate that the Chan film's had been suspended and could be rescheduled depending on feedback from its viewers.

The B Monster grew up watching the classic Chan films and continues to enjoy them. In every one of them, Charlie is depicted as the smartest guy on the screen. This is a BAD thing? True, white men portrayed the Asian detective (twice, in silent films, Chan was played by Asian actors), but white actors were also cast as bungling foils who interfered with Chan's investigations, serving to showcase Charlie's intellectual superiority.

Vintage movie mystery buffs and Chan advocates are urging fans to convey their opinions at:

Not so long ago, the B monster told you all about Thom Lange and his labor of love, "Horror Incorporated." Lange writes, co-produces and co-hosts the program screening vintage horror flicks every Saturday on Minneapolis' KSTC TV FORTY5 at 3:00 p.m. and midnight. Lange and company garnered some positive press recently in an article appearing in Minneapolis' Sun newspapers. Lange relates how he grew up in the 1970's watching the locally produced "Horror Incorporated," never dreaming that he would one day host the show himself. Lange, aka "Uncle Ghoulie," and partner Tim McCall had been collaborators in local theater for many years as well as working together in video production. Eventually, the two produced a feature-length film. A friend introduced the pair to the station manager at KSTC. "We met with KSTC.TV FORTY5 and put together a 10-minute intro tape showing what we do," Lange told the Sun. "That tape included a trailer for the movie we had made." The station decided to air the film. It drew a sizable audience, and they were offered the "Horror Incorporated" gig. Lange predicts that regional "horror hosts," long a staple of local late-night TV, are making a comeback. "The whole horror host thing has been a dying breed, but now you're seeing a big resurgence across the country." Find out more at:

The Fourth Annual BlobFest, held in Phoenixville, Pa., a one-time steel town just outside Philadelphia, drew several hundred devotees who took part in a re-enactment of the "The Blob's" climactic scene. When the signal was given, the crowd that had packed into the historic Colonial Theater came bounding out the front door, fleeing the deadly Blob just as cast members had done in the classic 1958 film. Mary Foote, executive director of the Association for the Colonial Theatre, told the AP, "Every year this event has taken on a life of its own ... I'm glad so many people came out for it." Attendees were attired in everything from 1950s greaser garb to gorilla suits. (One enthusiast was dressed as game show personality Kitty Carlisle.) Of course, screenings of the film are a part of BlobFest, as are classic cars and vintage music. Best of all, the original Blob -- that is, the prop used in the film -- is displayed by its owner, science fiction fan and movie memorabilia collector, Wes Shank.

How esoteric can cult-film fans get? There is a considerable audience devoted to the work of Timothy Carey, a compelling and truly unusual character actor perhaps best known for his disturbing performances in the Stanley Kubrick classics "The Killing" and "Paths of Glory." No actor's career wandered the film map like Carey's. From "Poor White Trash" to "One Eyed Jacks" to "Chesty Anderson, USN" to "Beach Blanket Bingo," he also appeared in several episodes of "Columbo," the Monkee's experimental "Head," Elvis Presley's nadir "Change of Habit," and worked with maverick filmmaker John Cassavetes. There is a fanatical following devoted to "The World's Greatest Sinner," a truly bizarre, nearly indescribable 1962 film Carey wrote, directed and starred in. It chronicles the life of a salesman who leaves his job, enters politics and cultivates a following that refer to him as "God." A film so offbeat would have to spawn a following, so it naturally follows that there would be a "World's Greatest Sinner Timothy Carey Film Fest." Hosted by Romeo Carey, the fest took place recently at the Maestri Gallery in Bakersfield, Calif. "Actor Timothy Carey worked with Dean, Brando, Cassavetes, Zappa and more," says festival publicity, "but his own rare films are known worldwide for their unique vision and incredible strangeness!" The Carey-fest marked the Bakersfield Alternative Movie Society's 21st presentation. For information on future events, e-mail:

MTI Home Video recently sent out an alert that after a 12-year hiatus, they're back in the horror film biz. The announcement is accompanied by their release of "Arachnia," a new film from director Brett Piper, whose name has been associated with such minor cult-classics as "Psyclops," "They Bite" and a dubious 1986 collaboration with producer/director Sam Sherman, "Raiders of the Living Dead." According to hype, "Arachnia" is the "film, where grad students become spider food." Look for an August 5, 2003, release.

Can't get enough of "The Creature?" The Tallahassee Film Society, promoters of Creaturefest, offer you the opportunity to fill your gills with all things Creature-related at their one-of-a-kind gathering billed as "The Creature From the Black Lagoon/Wakulla Springs Film Event," featuring "Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning together ... for the 50th anniversary of the filming."

Guests of honor include:
Ben Chapman (Original Gill Man in all land-based sequences)
Ricou Browning (Underwater Gill Man and surrogate father of "Flipper")
Julie Adams (The lovely object of the Gill Man's affection)
Ginger Stanley (Adams' swimming stuntwoman and a former Wekie Wachie Mermaid)

In addition to film screenings, autographing and meet and greet opportunities, festival highlights include a twilight river cruise touring the locations where the Creature films and Tarzan pictures were shot and a special VIP, "creature-themed" dinner (Rotenone on your salad, sir?) with Ben, Ricou, Julie and Ginger in the fabulous Wakulla Lodge dining room. (These features are available to VIP pass holders who have ponied up the $50 VIP fee.)

You have plenty of time to plan, as the festivities don't commence until November 7th, 2003. For more information contact:
Or call (850) 386-4404
By all means, tell 'em the B Monster sent you!


Say what you will about corporate monolith Disney, but when it comes to giving their classic works the DVD treatment, nobody does it better. For instance, we'd love to review their spectacular "Davy Crocket" set, but it falls a little beyond the B Monster's purview. However, their two-disc "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" package is right up our street, and it is no less amazing. They've put more loving care into creating an eye-popping, inviting, easily navigable DVD interface than most filmmakers put into the actual movies. Hunting and pecking is half the fun, and the incredible extras that comprise this set will keep you entertained for days.

There is a "making of" featurette that's as informative as any documentary we've seen concerning genre-films. It chronicles the film's genesis from its beginnings as an embryonic idea of production designer Harper Goff, through Disney's desire to transform the classic story into an animated feature and finally, its complicated execution as one of the most ambitious live-action films of its time. Goff, matte artist Peter Ellenshaw (whose paintings, profiled in some detail in the film, are jaw-dropping), director Richard Fleischer and others appear on camera with eloquent recollections. Especially entertaining and informative are Kirk Douglas and collector/historian Bob Burns, whose trove of behind-the-scenes knowledge is an ongoing source of amazement.

We also get to see the famed, "sunset squid fight," which Disney deemed unsatisfactory (wires and cables are clearly visible, and the squid appears rigid and unwieldy.) He ordered it re-shot, this time in a raging storm. There's also a guided tour of the Nautilus, one of filmdom's most memorable and truly unique props, as well as a featurette called "Jules Verne and Walt Disney: Explorers of the Imagination," which compares the lives and contributions of the two visionaries. Want more? There's footage of the Humboldt Squid (a real-life giant of the deep), a Disney studio album, unfilmed script excerpts, a production gallery, cartoons, trailers and audio extras that include original radio spots, snippets of Peter Lorre's looping session, Captain Nemo's organ music and commentary from Fleischer and author Rudy Behlmer.

Oh, yeah, the movie's not bad, either. We all know the story of the enigmatic, world-hating Captain Nemo, his abhorrence of war-mongering men and his search for sanctuary beneath the sea. The film embellishes Jules Verne's original narrative -- thank God! (Fleischer describes in the documentary how he was "appalled" to discover upon reading the book that there was absolutely NO plot). Screenwriter Earl Felton wisely reckoned that "20,000 Leagues" should resemble "a prison-break picture," and proceeded to fashion a compelling script that places sailor Ned Land, Prof. Pierre Arronax and his assistant Conseil at the mercy of Nemo, prisoners aboard his undersea ship. James Mason is terrific as the brooding Captain, as is Kirk Douglas as the irascible seadog Ned. But the real star of the film is the Nautilus. Few film props can be deemed truly "timeless," but I think this retro-futuristic-Victorian-atomic-1950s-sci-fi submarine easily qualifies.

Let's browse through the musty catalog of video categories. What am I in the mood for? There are B-movies. There are horror B-movies. There are Mexican B-movies. There are Mexican horror B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling horror B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling WOMEN horror B-movies. That's the one! Just what the doctor ordered. In this case, the "Doctor of Doom." For those as yet unfamiliar with the Mexican wrestling horror sub-genre, we can think of no finer initiation than this feckless frolic of a film. It is one of many imported by master salesman and schlockmeister K. Gordon Murray in the early 1960s. While we make no claims to specialization in this very special film category, a quick primer for the uninitiated is warranted: All of the Mexican Bs seem to star the same actors and were apparently all made by the same director, producer, writer and crew. More significantly, they all have essentially the same plot. (Mad doctor murders women. Wrestlers to the rescue.) They were played relentlessly on the late, late show throughout the early 1960s.

Neither "Doctor of Doom" nor "Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy" strays very far from the very sketchy premise outlined above. In the former, there is indeed a crazed medico bent on transplanting the brain of an ape into the body of a woman. I'm not exactly sure why. Failure after failure ensues until he finds a female body strong enough to endure the surgery. Yep, a woman wrestler! Only with the aid of the voluptuous Gloria Venus and the ravishing Golden Rubi can the feckless police force stop the murderer's rampage. The second tier of this double bill features the same pair of body-slamming babes going toe-to-toe with a Fu Manchuish madman who's after ancient Aztec treasure. (With a title like "Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy," do you really need a more detailed synopsis?) Both films feature the formidable feminine attributes of Lorena Valazquez and Elizabeth Campbell as Venus and Rubi, respectively.

This disk is part of Something Weird Video's "K. Gordon Murray Collection" available through Image Entertainment, and a significant highlight is the edifying booklet included in this "special edition." "The Wonder World of K. Gordon Murray" is an amusingly illuminating article, much of it culled from cult-film expert Charles Kilgore's "Ecco" magazine. Kilgore writes with wit and clarity of Murray's life and career in exploitation cinema, and the piece is punctuated by the recollections of master exploitationist David F. Friedman.

This is the 1963 Robert Wise version, not by any stretch to be confused with the wretched and misguided overhaul that appeared a couple of years ago. It's just one of the best spooky movies ever made. It pulls no punches, offers no natural explanations for the supernatural phenomena that occurs; it takes its ghosts very seriously, even though the film is leavened with just a touch of wry humor. The first time I saw the film (on television, long after its theatrical release), at its conclusion, I felt compelled to switch on a sitcom, a documentary, a newscast -- anything that felt "less real" than the eerie claustrophobia created by "The Haunting." Should you watch the film with anyone born post-"Exorcist," you'll likely witness a different reaction on their part; perhaps an inappropriate "seen-it-all" chuckle, or a blase "not bad for its time." But I'd like to be a fly on the wall as they watched it alone in a darkened room. I'm betting that their less-jaded, truer colors would show. By now, the ghost-hunter premise -- housebound psychic investigators exploring the supernatural -- is timeworn, but rarely has it been done better.

Wise's direction is deft and unfussy; there are few gimmicky shots (the famous "breathing door" is a notable exception) and together with cinematographer Davis Boulton he renders a dreadful atmosphere with the simplest of strokes. In large measure, the burden of convincing the audience falls on the shoulders of a very small cast: Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn and especially Julie Harris. They approach the material with conviction. They seem like real people, and Nelson Gidding's clever script supplies them with dialogue that rings authentic. They say things that real people might say. Simplicity and authenticity as opposed to computer graphics and jingoistic catch phrases. Real people versus malevolent ghosts. That's what makes "The Haunting" so doggone scary. That could be ME trapped in that house!

This is the movie that exploited 3-D best, packed with memorable scenes that utilize the gimmick to maximum effect -- wax statues decomposing and tumbling forward in the catastrophic fire, the cloaked cadaver-snatcher stalking Phyllis Kirk through gas-lit New York, Vincent Price's disfigured mug in close-up and, of course, Reggie Rymal's paddle balls. Interestingly, the film was directed by Andre de Toth, who had only one eye and couldn't appreciate the effect. (At a screening at the American Film Institute attended by the B Monster, the bespectacled audience emitted an audible "oooh!" when the eye-popping titles hit the screen.) But the true test is this: Strip away all the 3-D gimmickry, the in-your-face visual starts that had that AFI audience hopping, and you've still got one snappy, scary little movie.

Based on the once-lost horror classic "Mystery of the Wax Museum," a spectacularly grisly exercise (for 1933) filmed in primitive Technicolor by Michael Curtiz and starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray and Glenda Farrell, "House of Wax" could be dismissed simply as a remake with 3-D paddle balls. But keep in mind, the original was then thought "lost," and Warner Brothers reckoned (correctly) that its premise was well-suited to 3-D exploitation. "House of Wax" isn't better or worse than "Mystery of the Wax Museum," it's just different in significant ways. The 1953 film is able to amplify different aspects of the story just by virtue of the personalities of the lead actors. Vincent Price is a far more tragic figure than Lionel Atwill could EVER be. Don't get me wrong, Lionel Atwill is a B Monster favorite -- but he's Lionel Atwill! There's only so much sympathy one can muster for one so gleefully deranged. Price is more a romantic than a wacko, his cultured delivery lending great legitimacy to his tragedy.

The 1933 original was set in contemporary New York and audiences identified with feisty firecracker Glenda Farrell whose rapid-fire one-liners provided welcome relief from the grim goings on. "House of Wax" is a period piece, however, and even though Kirk and Carolyn Jones look like the very contemporary 1950s ingenues they are, there's no slang or snappy patter to alleviate the suspense. Paul Picerni is a standout as the aspiring sculptor and de facto hero of the piece, and crusty, tenacious Frank Lovejoy is -- no matter WHAT period the film is set in -- crusty, tenacious Frank Lovejoy.

So, Atwill or Price? Primitive Technicolor or 3-D? "Mystery" or "House?" It's apples and oranges, really. Just be thankful that, as is so often the case with remakes, we didn't end up with a lemon.

Spoiler warning! Let's get the obvious out of the way. We all know what Soylent Green is made from. Charlton Heston's over-the-top, climactic declamation is one of several elements that ensures this film's cult status. Based on a Harry Harrison novel, "Soylent Green" is an effective treatise on overpopulation set in the New York of 2022 that hosts some 40 million under-fed residents. (That's less than 19 years away! Better get busy, New Yorkers!) Heston is Detective Robert Thorn, who uncovers the secret ingredients of Soylent Green, the only foodstuff plentiful enough to feed so many starving maws. (Another spoiler warning: Colonel Sander's seven herbs and spices are NOT a part of the recipe.) Thorn's mentor is elderly Sol Roth, effectively played by Edward G. Robinson in his final screen appearance. Robinson's performance is the heart of the movie and the scene depicting his demise -- in a voluntary euthanasia chamber -- is genuinely moving and a highlight of the film (made more poignant by the fact that Robinson died prior to the film's release, and was awarded a posthumous Oscar for lifetime achievement).

In fact, a very interesting cast is one of the best reasons to watch "Soylent Green," as it features Joseph Cotten, Chuck Connors, Brock Peters, former Tarzan Mike Henry, even Whit Bissell in a smallish role. Director Richard Fleischer was no stranger to large-scale sci-fi, having helmed "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Fantastic Voyage." With Richard H. Kline behind the camera, and photographic effects by Matthew Yuricich and Robert R. Hoag (Hoag had worked with George Pal on several productions), Fleischer presents a convincing depiction of our overcrowded future. Some hail "Soylent Green" as a classic. It's just shy of "classic" status, but well worth examination.

This is arguably the least seen and very best non-Universal Karloff film. Its release on DVD is long overdue (thanks, Columbia!) and anyone passingly familiar with the Karloff canon who has not had the opportunity to see this film is in for a real treat. Studio notwithstanding, it's one of Boris' best showcases. Karloff plays Dr. Julian Blair, a mad but well-meaning scientist obsessed with communicating with his dead spouse. To achieve this, he assembles a round table of the recently deceased and, surrounded by laboratory equipment of his own design, holds an electronic seance. This premise may sound strained, but the otherworldly feel created by director Edward Dmytryk and cinematographer Allen G. Siegler is as chilling as anything concocted for the classic Universal thrillers. (Siegler was a Columbia studios workhorse with hundreds of films to his credit including entries in the Blondie, Whistler, Lone Wolf and Three Stooges series. He also photographed the underrated Karloff thriller "The Black Room," as well as the low-budget "Journey to the Center of the Earth" knockoff, "The Unknown World.")

Karloff is convincing, as always, as the tortured scientist. This is the period in his career when he played essentially the same melancholy medico in rather bland and low-budget shockers like "The Ape," "Before I Hang" and "The Man with Nine Lives." (In addition to these titles, he also appeared in "Black Friday," "British Intelligence," the horror/comedy "You'll Find Out" and two "Mr. Wong" flicks ALL in 1940!) But 1941's "The Devil Commands" is head and shoulders above any film he made the previous year. One gets the feeling that all involved really cared about this one.


Michael F. Blake, whose books are available through Vestal Press or at

Harris Lentz III, whose books are available at

Bob Madison, founder and CEO of Dinoship, Inc.

Bryan Senn, whose books are available at and at

Tom Weaver, whose books are available at and at


"Wherever you sit it watches you and makes you part of the show!" -- The Hypnotic Eye

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