House of Fear (1939)

Article #713 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-26-2003
Posting Date: 7-26-2003
Directed by Joe May
Featuring Irene Harvey, William Gargan, Alan Dinehart

An actor is murdered during a performance of a play, and his body vanishes soon afterwards. A year later, a policeman tries to solve the mystery by reopening the play in the same theater, now said to be haunted by the actor’s ghost.

Cross your basic “old dark house” movie with “The Phantom of the Opera”, and this is what you get; an “old dark theater” movie. This one is slightly better than average for this kind of thing, with some interesting and surprising plot twists, as well as a fairly entertaining array of characters. The cast also features JUST IMAGINE’s El Brendel as (surprise, surprise) a Scandinavian stagehand. The director’s name also rang a bell with me; Joe May directed a couple of Fritz Lang scripts during the silent years, including THE INDIAN TOMB.

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