19 December 2014

The Haunted Strangler (1958)
78 min.
Directed by Robert Day.
With Boris Karloff, Jean Kent, Vera Day, Elizabeth Allen, Anthony Dawson, Diane Aubrey, Tim Turner.
All things considered, The Haunted Strangler is much better than it has a right to be.

The plot is yet another variation on Stevenson's classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the supporting cast verges on bland (with the exception of co-star Kent), and there's an ever-so-slight whiff of going through the motions.

But dammit all, if Karloff doesn't save the day!

He parlays the mediocre material into a fun madman-on-the-loose romp! The setting is Victorian London. Karloff plays James Rankin, a writer investigating a series of murders committed 20 years ago, and attributed to the notorious "Haymarket Strangler."

He's convinced the wrong man was hanged for the brutal killings, that somehow the real "Haymarket Strangler" was the doctor who performed the post mortems on the dead victims.

But Rankin gets more than he bargained for, when he uncovers the original murder weapon - a doctor's scalpel - inside the coffin of one of the victims.

He becomes possessed by the spirit of the psychopathic "Strangler"...and finds himself compelled to kill and kill again!

Not surprisingly, Karloff is the best thing about this late '50s thriller; here, the horror legend injects a real watchability into the oft-used premise of a mild-mannered gentleman transformed into a hideous creature of impulse.

Also known as Grip of the Strangler, add this to your list of flicks to watch on a rainy night.

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