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Revisiting the Classics: NIGHT MONSTER

Bela Lugosi starred in a lot of the “off-Broadway” type movies, and by that I mean B-list films from secondary and independent studios, in the years after the apogee of his career at Universal, but 1942’s NIGHT MONSTER is actually a minor film *from* Universal. Here Bela is given what amounts to a bit part with very little to actually do onscreen—it could be argued that his part is superfluous to the overall plot—though he received top billing because he was Bela Lugosi. Lionel Atwill, who starred with Lugosi in MARK OF THE VAMPIRE as well as appearing in several of Universal’s FRANKENSTEIN pictures and HOUSE OF DRACULA, has in a supporting role only a little more to do than Bela but is nevertheless given second billing. Name recognition, people. Kinda sucks for the members of the main cast, you could say, but on the flipside they got to appear in a movie alongside Lugosi and Atwill, so it’s both a good and bad thing.

The plot of NIGHT MONSTER is kinda silly, concerning a multiple amputee who is able to “grow” legs and an arm by psychic concentration in order to commit murders; its ending is in some ways a blatant rip-off of Alfred Hitchcock’s REBECCA, which came out two years earlier, and is even more of a rip-off of DOCTOR X, which came out a decade before (and also starred Lionel Atwill), but it’s a lot of fun anyway, if you’re a fan of old black-and-white Horror movies or a Lugosi completist.

TheCheezman • January 18, 2019


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