The Ghost Walks

January 22, 2013 at 3:12 am (7 Heads, Ghost Walks) (, , )

The Ghost Walks – 1934 – United States

As a thunderstorm rages, a playwright and a theater producer are driving down a secluded road. Inevitably, their car stalls and they seek shelter in an old manor. Inside the manor, a cast of kooky characters is having a dinner party. There’s a beautiful girl and her forceful suitor, plus a psychiatrist and his deranged psychic patient. Mysteriously, the playwright knows these folks. Once dinner is served, the psychic becomes increasingly distraught. Apparently, today is the anniversary of her husband’s death. Soon spectral figures and phantom bloodstains manifest. At the climax of this eerie display, the manor’s electricity shuts off and the room plunges into darkness.

The theater producer flees the room in terror. As the lights power back on, the whole ghostly episode is revealed to be a joke on the producer, arranged by the playwright. The house’s zany occupants are all hired actors. But during the charade, one of the actors is genuinely murdered. Embarrassed at being fooled, the producer refuses to believe that the joke is over and someone is really dead. Soon, a guard from a nearby asylum arrives to report an escaped lunatic in the area. Shortly after, people begin mysteriously vanishing. Coincidentally, the house was once owned by an insane homicidal doctor. In the final weird twist, the guard is actually the escaped lunatic himself, coming to the house to reenact the doctor’s twisted plastic surgery experiments.

As you can tell, The Ghost Walks is a quite unpredictable. It stands beside countless other flicks inspired by The Old Dark House (1932). However, its madcap kitchen-sink plot separates it from similar fare. The pacing is taut as one strange revelation follows another, and bodies disappear through the manor’s myriad secret passages. Fans of the genre will dig this wild flick. It’s enjoyably mysterious, horrific, and funny.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. No such flick is complete without a revolving bookcase door and an eyeless painted portrait to spy through. The Ghost Walks satisfies on both accounts.

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