Welcome Groovy Ghoulies to the lucky 13th installment of Monsters & Memories. We return to a tried and true formula for horror fans this time. There’s nothing like an old dark house with secrets! And bad thunderstorms, and a gorilla caged in the basement! Throw that all together and you have a fine ‘pull the covers over your head’ film. Greed can make people do some drastic things, so what will befall Vera Reynolds in “The Monster Walks”?
This movie was released in 1932 by Mayfair Pictures Corporation. I’m not sure if it’s pre-code still, or one of the first after the code had been adopted. Maybe one of the ghoulies out there could enlighten us. It was written by Robert Ellis and nothing else stood out from his body of work that I’ve seen. Frank R. Strayer directed it, and I thought he did well; the pace moved well. I didn’t find myself bored at any point. He also directed all 13 films of the Blondie and Dagwood series. That would be a nice franchise to revisit someday.
The movie tells the tale of Ruth Earlton, whose father has passed away. She and her fiance (I’ve noticed that none of the female characters are married yet in all of these) return to the family estate for the reading of the will. He meets her Uncle Robert Earlton, crippled in his wheelchair, and the house help, Hanns and Emma Krug. Ruth is getting the estate unless something happens to her and it will go to the next in the bloodline. Of course, Ruth is being set up to be killed in the mansion, but by whom? And we can’t forget her father’s ape still caged in the basement, who seems to know when people are arriving at the house and does not like Ruth.
Of course, the house is a great set piece. I love these kinds of horror films. They have really grown on me. I like to see how the director is going to shadows to hide things. Where there will be a creak to make me jump or a flash of lightning to send popcorn everywhere. I thought the cast was good. Vera Reynolds played Ruth well. I liked Misha Auer who played Hanns Krug. He was intense in some scenes and reminded me of Lurch in some of his deliveries. Another character that made me laugh, was the chauffeur Exodus played by Willie Best or “Sleep N’ Eat” as he was named in the credits. Unfortunately, his role of the scaredy black man was typical of that time but he still made me smile.
Check this one, it’s available in the public domain and it’s worth watching some stormy night.
With all of the superhero movies going on this summer, I thought I would share a cool playset I had as a kid. Milton Bradley released the Marvel World Playset in 1975. I don’t think I had it that early, maybe there was a reissue a few years later. It was a really cool strip of New York City in the Marvel Universe. The Daily Bugle, Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Santorum, Peter Parker’s apartment, and The Baxter Building. The only thing missing is the Avengers Mansion. There was approximately 36 cardboard figures that came with it. You stage all your own battles and destroy New York. I had it for a short time, as it was made of cardboard and well, I really would play with my toys till there was nothing left! I had the figures longer than the actual playset. And it was just a real lot of fun to stage the battles. In the days of big computer game versions of this, it’s nice to look back at this.
So, that’s all for this time! I’m off to feed my own beast in the basement. Though, I think just some dog treats will do for now. Until next time, watch the skies!