Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chamber of Horrors (1940)

Original title: The Door with Seven Locks

Director: Norman Lee

Writers: Edgar Wallace, John Argyle, Gilbert Gunn, Norman Lee

Composer: Guy Jones

Starring: Leslie Banks, Lilli Palmer, Romilly Lunge, Gina Malo, David Horne, Richard Bird, Cathleen Nesbitt, J.H. Roberts, Aubrey Mallalieu, Harry Hutchinson, Ross Landon, Philip Ray, Robert Montgomery, George Street

More info: IMDb

Tagline:Blonde captive enslaved in an asylum of horrors!

Plot: Dr. Manetta is a mass murderer with a penchant for puzzles. He lures several heirs to a fortune to their deaths in his maze-like mansion, which is festooned with cryptic clues leading to the location of a valuable treasure. He goes too far when he abducts June, whose boyfriend invades the mystery house, rescues the girl, and puts an end to Manetta's perfidy.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Here's a case where it would have been OK to have one of those 1930s/40s hour long films instead of 86 minutes.  It drags a little but there's a bit of redundancy in an effort to pad it out to feature length.  They had a composer but there's not much music in it which would have helped a lot to have more. It's a tidy little murder mystery that's got a great ending in how the villain meets his fate.  That's the best part. I just watched another film the other day that was from this era and was kind of slow but picked up by the end to deliver a great finale.  It's got a few laughs, though.

Insp. Cornelius 'Andy' Sneed (Richard Bird, on the right): Women are like tiger cats. They ought to be caged at 16 and shot at 20!

There's nothing really all that lacking except for the movie being a bit tedious and slow.  But there are a few torture devices that are fun to see.  There's a lot going on so much that it requires more attention on the audience's part than what you'd typically get from this time.

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