The Mad Doctor of Market Street 1942
GENIUS – OR FIEND?…
I’ll be the most important man to have ever walked the earth!
Mad Doctor of Market Street is a lesser-known 1942 American horror film directed by Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy 1950). A product of early ’40s horror, the film is unintentionally campy and racially offensive as with the scene during Atwill’s wedding with Clarie Dodd when the ceremony is interrupted and perplexed by this he tells the chief to have the native men, ‘Dance… or something!”
The film tells the story of Dr. Ralph Benson (played by the classically trained actor Lionel Atwill who has enjoyed the role of over-zealous mad scientist with high-strung verve! ), a brilliant but deranged scientist who conducts unethical experiments on human subjects. Atwill is always arrogant and wild-eyed in films like The Pre-Code Doctor X 1932 and Murders in the Zoo 1933 beloved Universal monster movies like Son of Frankenstein 1939, to Poverty Row Pictures like Man Made Monster 1941 and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman 1943.
In this comedy/crime/horror drama, the allure of cinema’s obsession with the mad scientist, a character akin to Dr. Moreau, is on full display. Atwill possesses a messianic complex, feigning the ability to resurrect the dead to maintain control over his followers.
Una Merkel stars as Aunt Margaret Wentworth, Claire Dodd as Patricia Wentworth, Anne Nagel as Mrs. William Saunders, Milton Kibbee as Hadley, and John Eldredge as the ship’s officer Dwight.
Dr. Ralph Benson is wanted for murder and escapes on a ship bound for a remote tropical island. At the film’s outset, he escapes aboard a cruise liner bound for New Zealand, inadvertently landing on uncharted terrain alongside a group of fellow passengers. The island’s residents become suspicious of the mysterious doctor’s activities. As they investigate, they uncover Dr. Benson’s dark secrets and the horrifying results of his experiments.
Unfazed by his circumstances, he persists in his experiments, exploiting the locals as both convenient and susceptible test subjects. When a native woman falls into a coma from a heart ailment, he can’t resist showcasing his life-reviving “magic.” This act leads to him being anointed as the “God of Life” by the natives, and he promptly declares himself the island’s supreme ruler.
Unlike the traditional gothic laboratories of Univeral horrors, this story unfolds amidst a lush jungle backdrop. The remaining survivors from the civilized world include a callous ship’s officer who abandons his companions in a futile attempt to escape the island via canoe, only to meet his death at the hands of one of the natives.
A predictable romantic duo emerges, between Una Merkel’s niece Patricia (Claire Dodd) and Jim (Richard Davies) a former crew member from the sunken liner. Despite an initial clash, they are gradually drawn together. When Tanao’s wife (Rosina Galli) the old woman Atwill “resuscitates” urges him to take a wife—and he goes after Merkel’s niece Patricia to be his unwilling bride. By the end, his disdain for his followers and his being exposed as a charlatan not really able to work miracles ends with them turning against him.
This film made it’s television debut on 18 January 1958 on New York’s channel 7 (WABC).
The Mad Ghoul 1943
The Mad Ghoul is a 1943 American horror film directed by James P. Hogan. The film follows the chilling tale of a university chemistry Professor Dr. Alfred Morris (played by George Zucco another horror movie Mad Doctor classic), a brilliant scientist who discovers a secret ancient Mayan gas that can turn people into mind-controlled zombies.
After the unsuspecting Ted Allison (David Bruce) becomes an unwitting subject of Professor Morris’s (George Zucco) experiments, the professor’s mind wove a fanciful tapestry. He deludes himself into believing that Allison’s fiancée Isabel (Evelyn Ankers), the captivating concert diva engaged to Ted Allison harbors intentions of ending their engagement because she finds the professor more sophisticated. The truth is, Isabel’s heart dances to a different melody, one orchestrated by Eric Iverson, her devoted accompanist (Turhan Bey). To rouse Ted out of his trance-like state, Dr. Morris compels him to perform the macabre art of cardiectomy, on recently deceased and even living bodies, extracting the serum from their hearts needed as a short-term antidote. As a series of gruesome murders appear to coincide with Isabel’s concert tours, investigative journalist “Scoop” McClure (Robert Armstrong) takes it upon himself to pursue this unhinged mad scientist.
The Mad Ghoul co-stars Charles McGraw, Milburn Stone, and Rose Hobart. Costume design by the fabulous Vera West and distinctive ghoulish makeup by Jack P. Pierce who was responsible for Universal’s parade of memorable characters- especially beloved is his work on Boris Karloff’s expressive Frankenstein’s monster. A must-mention for the moody cinematography by the brilliant Milton R. Krasner (The Woman in the Window 1944, The Dark Mirror 1946, A Double Life 1947, The Set-up 1949, No Way Out 1950, All About Eve 1950, Beneath the Planet of the Apes 1970).
The Mummy’s Ghost 1944
The Mummy’s Ghost is a 1944 American horror film directed by Reginald Le Borg and part of Universal Pictures’ Mummy film series. The movie continues the story of the ancient Egyptian mummy, Kharis, and the cursed love that binds him. The film is set in the United States, where Kharis (played by Lon Chaney Jr.) and Princess Ananka/Amina (played by Ramsay Ames) are still entwined in a tragic love story from their past lives. Kharis, the living mummy, is brought back to life by an Egyptian priest who wants to reunite him with Princess Ananka, who has been reincarnated in the body of a young woman named Amina.
Journeying from Egypt to America, a high priest (George Zucco) embarks on a quest to reclaim the earthly remains of the ancient Egyptian princess, Ananka, and her guardian mummy, Kharis. Discovering that Ananka’s ethereal spirit has been reborn into a new vessel, he seizes a young woman of Egyptian heritage who bears an enigmatic resemblance to the long-lost princess. Yet, in his insatiable greed, the high priest unwittingly unleashes forces beyond his control, setting in motion a series of deadly events that defy the bounds of his control over Kharis.
As Kharis seeks to find and reunite with his love, he embarks on a reign of terror and destruction. Archaeologists and authorities must stop him before he reaches Amina, who is unaware of her past life and the danger she’s in.
The Mummy’s Ghost continues the themes of love, reincarnation, and supernatural vengeance that are characteristic of the Mummy film series. It’s known for its moody and atmospheric portrayal of Egyptian mythology and the tragic fate of its titular character, Kharis.
John Carradine’s performance in The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) is a notable aspect of the film and adds to its charm within the context of Universal Pictures’ Mummy film series. In the movie, Carradine portrays Yousef Bey, an Egyptian priest who is responsible for resurrecting Kharis, the living mummy, in his quest to reunite him with the reincarnated Princess Ananka.
Carradine’s portrayal of Yousef Bey exudes an air of mystery and malevolence and is shrouded in secrecy and driven by an unwavering commitment to his mission, making him a formidable and enigmatic antagonist. His performance contributes to the overall atmosphere of Egyptian mysticism and supernatural intrigue that is characteristic of the series. While “The Mummy’s Ghost” is not as well-known as some other entries in the Universal Mummy franchise, John Carradine’s performance as Yousef Bey remains a noteworthy element, adding to the film’s enduring appeal among fans of classic horror cinema. The film also co-stars George Zucco as the High Priest, Robert Lowery, and Barton MacLane.
Macabre is a 1958 American horror film directed by William Castle.
Small-town Dr. Rodney Barrett (William Prince) has been given a gut-wrenching task: he has become ensnared in a sinister vendetta where he must rescue his little girl who has been abducted and buried alive. He must find her before her air runs out. He races against the merciless ticking clock, with mere hours to unearth her before the suffocating darkness claims her life. Producer-Director William Castle extended He provided every attendee with an official certificate, underwritten by Lloyds of London, assuring them of a $1,000 insurance coverage in the unlikely event they died of fright!
William Castle, known for his innovative and gimmicky promotional techniques, added an extra layer of excitement to the release of “Macabre.” He introduced a promotional gimmick called the “Fright Break,” where audience members were provided with certificates of life insurance in case they were to die of fright while watching the movie. Additionally, Castle hired nurses to be present in theaters during screenings to assist any patrons who might be overwhelmed by fear. These marketing tactics were a precursor to Castle’s later, even more elaborate gimmicks used in films like House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler. The film also stars Jim Backus as Police Chief Jim Tyloe, Christine White as Nancy Wetherby Tyloe, Jacqueline Scott as Nurse Polly Baron, Ellen Corby as Miss Kushins, Dorothy Morris, Phillip Tonge, and Susan Morrow.
Mill of the Stone Women 1960
”Trouble began with a woman…”
Mill of the Stone Women alternative title Drops of Blood” The Horrible Mill Women -is a stylish 1960s Gothic Italian Euro-Cult horror film directed by Giorgio Ferroni and based on the Flemish writer’s short story by Pieter Van Weigen. It is quite Hawthornesque – giving a nod to his short story ‘Rappacini’s Daughter’ as well as the 1953 film House of Wax starring Vincent Price and of course the mythos of Ovid’s Pygmalion & Galatea and a bit of a derivative story based on Franju’s Eyes Without a Face that was released that same year, but nearly as poetic. Ferroni imbues the film with a claustrophobic and hallucinogenic tone, with a nostalgia for the above stories.
The opening scene of the Mill underneath a ponderous sky as Scilla Gabel stares – secretly dark and broken -behind the drapery. Carlo Innocenzi’s score bellows an unsettling lament. In 19th century Holland, a professor of fine arts Professor Gregorius Wahl, and the strange rogue surgeon Wolfgang Preiss as Doctor Loren Bohlem (who secretly desires Elfie ) run a secret lab where the professor’s daughter (Scilla Gabel) who suffers from a strange and rare blood disorder, is kept hidden in the house and forbidden to leave the mill as she must receive blood transfusions with the help of Dr. Bohlem and kidnapped female victims who are later transformed into macabre statuary art. A young journalist Hans von Arnim (Pierre Brice) is sent to Holland to write a piece on the famous ‘carousel’ powered by the windmill, its artist, and the Mill’s famous exhibition of waxen women subjected to gruesome torture and death and becomes fascinated by the work of the brilliant yet reclusive sculptor, Professor Gregorius Wahl (Herbert A.E. Böhme) renowned for his lifelike figures of strikingly beautiful women, who are known to be eerily realistic tableaus. Professor Wahl lives on an island in a historic old windmill the locals call the ‘Mill of the Stone Women.
Hans eventually discovers that the professor’s sculptures are created from the preserved bodies of women who have mysteriously died (sacrificed for their blood in order to sustain Elfie ). In some of the horrifying sequences a wide-eyed Gabel leans over a bound and gagged Dany Carrel and Böhme looms over a kidnapped victim about to have her blood drained, her death soon to come, he has a look of righteous madness on his face as the camera frames him from underneathThe young journalist falls under the spell of Wahl’s alluring daughter Elfie (Gabel) though his true love is Liselotte (Dany Carrel). Eventually, Liselotte’s life will become threatened when Wahl seeks to make her his next victim. Wahl is determined to achieve perfection in his art, and he believes that only the bodies of women who must die can provide the ideal subjects to keep Elfie alive and used for his sinister waxworks. The film works on a grotesque level due to its Gothic Guignol of mechanized forms that emerge forcefully through a door – revolving around a stage of expressionist, historical icons whose fates were shocking and violent – Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots – life-size figurines from a music box meeting the camera as they turn – eerie specters of the victims in a nightmarish procession upon a rotating carousel.
As Hans delves deeper into Wahl and Dr. Bohlem’s (Wolfgang Preiss) disturbing and ghastly transgressions against the local women of the village who go missing, he becomes increasingly entangled in a web of dark secrets and surreal horrors. There is a nightmarish sequence where Wahl and Bohlem subject Hans to a potent hallucinogenic that plunges him into a surrealistic realm where the boundaries of reality and fantasy converge.
He is drawn into a nightmarish descent as he uncovers the truth about the mill, the mysterious deaths, and the professor’s obsession with creating his morbidly aesthetic masterpieces. Ultimately the phantasmic figures go up in flames, a close-up spectacle of grotesquery, the melting reflections of Wahl’s work, shown in Technicolor – for example, Elfie’s glowing scarlet boudoir hinting at the theme of blood and the moment when she is revealed beneath the lid of her glass coffin holding bright yellow roses in contrast to her deathly pale complexion. All thanks to the art direction by Arrigo Equini and cinematography by Pier Ludovico Pavoni who employs a color palate that recalls Pressburger and Powell’s body of work.
Mill of the Stone Women (1960)stars Pierre Brice as Hans von Arnim, Scilla Gabel as Elfy, Wolfgang Preiss as Doctor Loren Bohlem, Dany Carrel as Liselotte, and Herbert A.E. Böhme as Wahl, Olga Solbelli as Selma and Liana Orfel as Annelore.
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly aka Girly 1970
Everyone is dying to meet Girly!
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly 1970’ is a cheeky British horror-comedy, an Impish yet grisly shocker released as Girly outside of the U.K. directed by cinematographer turned director Freddie Francis. Collaborating with writer Brian Comport, this quirky film emerged under the direction of cinematographer-turned-director Freddie Francis. It unfolds within the atmospheric Oakley Court, a location frequently favored by Francis for his film exteriors.
The film’s origins trace back to Maisie Mosco’s two-act play, “Happy Family.” Screenwriter Brian Comport ingeniously adapted this play into a novella titled “Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly.”
At a secluded manor house in the remote England countryside, the eccentric lives of four peculiar characters play a bizarre role-playing pastime called ’The Game.’ Here, they immerse themselves in their archetypal personas.
The family members engage in a bizarre and disturbing game in which they “adopt” unsuspecting strangers from the outside world, bringing them into their home and forcing them to participate in their twisted role-playing scenarios. These scenarios start innocently enough but gradually become increasingly dangerous and deranged. Girly seduces unsuspecting men into their eerie world. Once hooked they are they have no choice but to join this unsettling hobby. As the family’s games take a darker turn, tensions rise, and their unsuspecting guests become trapped in a nightmarish world of manipulation and violence.
Girly: Nasty Nanny is no good! Chop her up for fire wood! When she’s dead, boil her head, make it into gingerbread!
Refusal leads to a dreadful death, preserved on film by the camera-wielding Sonny for the family’s morbid indulgence. However, a ‘New Friend’ their latest captive designs a way to use the internal conflicts of the four captors and begins to drive a wedge between them.
Mumsy: [Girly is visibly upset by the super 8 snuff reel her family is watching] Girly, come back here and watch the lovely film![Girly bites her nails and sits back down to watch the snuff reel]
The principle of The Game lies in the complete abandonment of each primary character to shed their true identity and choose a new role. Mumsy (Ursula Howells) domineering and eccentric assumes the role of the mother figure, Pat Heywood becomes Nanny, a strict and authoritarian caregiver, Sonny (Howard Trevor) a rebellious, mentally unstable son, and Vanessa Howard is the enchanting yet dangerous child-like Girly, the seductive daughter who is the naughty siren luring men to their doom. Amidst the cryptic rules governing this twisted world, one commandment remains constant: “Rule No. 1 – Play the Game!”Things go awry after one fateful night, Girly and Sonny attend a swinging party in London and meet a prostitute (Michael Bryant) who is accompanied by his client (Imogen Hassall) When Girly fancies ‘New Friend’, she and Sonny entice the couple to join them for a wild night of mischief. At a playground, they push the woman off a giant slide and somehow convince the dazed guy that he murdered his paying date in a drunken stupor.
Girly [Girly watches as Sonny and the other man try to get the man’s girlfriend to go down the slide] Go on!… bitch.New Friend: Yeah, go on!Girly [Smiling slyly] Cowardy-cowardy-custard[Sonny nods his head and then grabs the girlfriend’s leg, causing her to trip]Girlfriend: AHHHH!!![the girlfriend falls several feet to the ground below, breaking neck. The man stares down in shock while Sonny and Girly pick up the girlfriend’s veil from her body]Girly:[In a childish voice] What’d you push her for, Mister?
They succeed in luring the ‘New Friend’ back to the manor, where he undergoes a rebranding of his identity, and forced to assume the appearance of a schoolboy, and is subjected to humiliating ordeals. His past client serves as a haunting reminder of his alleged crime, designed to keep him in his place.
When Mumsy and Girl both desire New Friend, it creates conflict within the family as he sows the seed of jealousy, conflict, and dissension between the women and turns the family against each other. The question lingers: Who will ultimately join the makeshift graves of their former ‘friends’?
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly is a rare British cult classic known for its unique blend of humor and horror, creating an unsettling and satirical commentary on societal norms and the dysfunctionality of family dynamics.
The original poster art for the film was an eerie black and white family portrait of “The Family,” dressed in traditional English attire (six form uniforms for Girly and Sonny, a maid’s outfit for Nanny, and a World War II era dress for Mumsy). Though this iconography would have struck a chord with British viewers, it was deemed that US audiences wouldn’t understand the image. For the US release, the distributor commissioned a poster of an anonymous girl standing in for Vanessa Howard wearing a cutoff skirt and clutching a doll in one hand and a bloody axe in the other.