The Cat Creeps (1946)

Article #1111 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2004
Posting Date: 8-27-2004
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Featuring Lois Collier, Fred Brady, Paul Kelly

The attempt to solve a fifteen-year-old murder and the possibility of finding a hidden treasure of two hundred thousand dollars lead several people to an old house on an isolated island.

By the time this movie made it to theatres, the “old dark house” genre had been done to death and had largely vanished from theatres. In fact, the opening few minutes of the movie made me wonder if it was going to be an “old dark house” film at all, being concerned as it was with a politician coming under suspicion for an old murder and possibly losing an election as a result. It also never feels like an “old dark house” movie; the characters all speak in hushed tones and take it all very seriously. Even Noah Beery Jr.’s comic relief photographer underplays everything. It’s almost like the movie is trying to take on the mood of a Val Lewton film or a film noir. This might have actually worked if the movie had had more substance than it does; unfortunately, it really is nothing more than an “old dark house” film, only gloomy, somber, and not much fun at all. As such, it almost seems a death knell for this subgenre, and one of Universal’s weakest horror entries. Even the Paula Dupree series looks pretty good compared to this one.

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