22 October 2014

The Human Monster (1939)
76 min.
Directed by Walter Summers.
With Bela Lugosi, Greta Gynt, Hugh Williams, Edmon Ryan, Wilfrid Walter, Alexander Field.
Bela is terrific as Dr. Orloff, the manager of a shady insurance company.

How shady? Well, first, he gets folks to buy heavy-duty life insurance policies, policies that name himself as beneficiary.

Then, he asks his newly-insured clients to make a small donation to one of his charities, namely the nearby Dearborn Home for the Blind.

Once there, the poor saps are killed by Jake (Walter), a huge, malformed man with superhuman strength. Jake then dumps the bodies in the Thames.

The police discover the corpses, rule them accidental deaths...and Orloff collects the insurance money from the underwriters.

For even more easy cash, Orloff simply repeats the process. Pretty shady, huh?

But when the daughter (Gynt) of one of Orloff's victims decides to investigate her father's untimely death, she discovers the sinister connection between Orloff and the Dearborn Home is much more bizarre than she could have imagined!

Based on a novel by Edgar Wallace, this 1939 horror is a whole lotta fun. With Orloff, Lugosi gets a role to sink his teeth into, and he does so with relish.

Dearborn's Home for the Blind proves a creepy setting: a group of sightless transients are constantly weaving baskets for sale...while Orloff commits gruesome crimes just upstairs.

There a few standout moments, including the scene where Lugosi (heartlessly) destroys the hearing of one his blind accomplices - so that the chap won't be able to hear the questions posed by the police.

But the best part of The Human Monster is its climactic end scene: dirty - but perfect! - justice.

Also known as Dark Eyes of London.

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