Old legends – strange tales – never die in the lonely swamp land. Villages and hamlets lie remote and almost forgotten. Small ferryboats glide between the shores, and the ferryman is a very important person. Day and night he is at the command of his passengers. On his little barge ride the good and the evil; the friendly and the hostile; the superstitious and the enlightened; the living and – sometimes – the dead.
Directed by Frank Wisbar from his own story, also co-written for the screen by Leo J. McCarthy. Make-up by Bud Westmore. Also co-starring Effie Laird as Martina Sanders, Nolan Leary as Pete Jeffers, Frank Conlan as Joseph Hart, Therese Lyon and Virginia Farmer.
This is a hauntingly beautiful re-make of director Frank Wisbar’s own 1936 German film Faehrmann Maria a retelling of the legend of Death and The Maiden. Which started Sybille Schmitz, the memorable victim of Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr (1931).
It’s an effectively creepy story from the Poverty Row Film Company PRC who brought us The Devil Bat and The Flying Serpent. While this is a low budget B movie, it is quite effective to watch as the ghost of Douglas seems to dissolve in and out of the darkness.
There is an essence of the slow and dreamlike stylization that is similar to Dreyer’s work, at work here in Strangler of The Swamp. The setting is a lonely backwoods swamplands where the villagers live under a terrible curse left by a wrongly accused man hung for a crime he did not commit.
Three women from the village including Martina Sanders glide down the bayou on the ferryboat with Joseph Hart, evoking a mythical quality as if used as augury like that of The Furies designating Joseph’s ill fated path for his sins of false witness and murder.