The Leopard Man (1943)

Article #87 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-11-2001
Posting date: 10-25-2001

When a leopard being used in a publicity stunt breaks loose, a series of deaths occur, seemingly as a result of attacks by the animal. However, the owner of the leopard does not believe the animal is to blame, and when the leopard is later found dead, the truth comes out.

This is often considered one of the weaker Val Lewton efforts, and in some ways, it is. The main characters are some of the most uninteresting people I’ve seen in a Val Lewton film, and their personal problems and conflicts are fairly dull. However, the movie is salvaged by some of the most memorable scare scenes in the entire canon of the producer, and it contains one of the greatest and most chilling scenes in horror movie history; everyone I know of who has seen the movie, if they remember nothing else about it, at least remembers the scene with the blood and the door. I also admire the sharp use of sound in the movie, especially the unnerving clapping of the castanets. This is one movie I enjoy a little more each time I watch it.

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