Strange People (1933)

Article #922 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-23-2003
Posting date: 2-20-2004
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Featuring John Darrow, Gloria Shea, Hale Hamilton

Several people are called to a spooky mansion late at night, and discover that they all sat together in the same jury during a murder trial.

Once the characters start recognizing each other from the trial, you know what’s coming, and so do they; in fact, the characters harp so persistently on the fact that they’re in an ‘old dark house’ situation (where a murderer out for revenge picks off his victims one at a time) that this should clue you off to the fact that things aren’t what they seem. And indeed, they’re not; in fact, the plot twists in this forgotten horror are almost sublimely jaw-dropping, and there is something so charming in the silly audacity of this movie that it wins me over. Actually, it starts winning me over even earlier; when a woman is preparing to leave the house, she is stopped by a man who waxes so melodramatically about the terror that may be waiting for her out in the rain that I was tempted to write down the whole speech and quote it here; the reason I didn’t is that it turns out to be a joke that is best left untold until you have a chance to see the movie yourself. As far as forgotten horrors, this one is a knockout, but a sense of humor is an absolute must for this one. The only two names I recognized in the cast list were Walter Brennan (as the radio repairman) and Jack Pennick (as the plumber); if you don’t recognize the name of the latter, you’ll know him instantly when you see the face.


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