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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Monster Walks

Not too long ago, I reviewed five movies from the silent film era of the 1920's.  Due to favorable responses from the membership of Horror-Movies.ca, I have decided to continue moving forward through the years by reviewing five movies from each subsequent decade- right up to the most recent one.  To kick off this trek, let me present the first of the ones from the 1930's... "The Monster Walks"...

Ruth Earlton returns home after years away for the reading of her father's will.  Soon, the stormy night is filled with the chilly touch of death as some inhuman monster stalks through the halls.  It's up to Ruth's fiance, Dr. Ted Carver to figure out what is happening before Ruth becomes the next victim...

This is a sad... sad movie.

It seems that in the transistion from silent to talking films, some of the art was lost.  The sets aren't all that interesting or creative... nor is the story.  While the camera work is still simplistic, you can start to see some innovation in the use of panning and tracking shots.  There is also some interesting use of shadow in this movie as well.

The acting is wooden and almost hesitant- possibly, once again because of the recent transition from silent to talking films... after all, it's not like they HAD to remember their lines in silent films, right?  The best acting is given by the ape in my opinion.  The only other "saving grace" in this film was the comic relief provided by Willie Best as the unfortunately stereotypical black servent- but at least he lives.  I found Rex Lease as Dr Ted Clayton to be rather overbearing and arrogant, making me wish he would be one of the ones knocked off by that monster that's walking.  Vera Reynolds isn't bad looking... but I kept getting distracted by the size of her forehead in this movie- sorry, but it's pretty damn massive.  I'd just like to say that I kinda enjoyed Sheldon Lewis' portrayal of her uncle, Robert, even though I was hoping he'd get killed too.  The role that annoyed me the most was that of Hanns Krug- played by Mischa Auer.  I didn't find him likable, interesting... or even all that sinister of a character... though he does deliver one line that I do love, in reference to the ape, "They never forget their hatred..."

I really felt sorry for Willie Best and the ape for having to appear in this film.

There is no way to avoid saying it- but this movie fits solidly within The Ugly.  This monster should've just kept walking out the door...

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