Condemned to Live

May 3, 2016 at 1:35 am (5 Heads, Condemned to Live) (, )

Condemned to Live – 1935 – United States

In Condemned to Live’s opening scene, a doctor and a pregnant woman are in Africa being hunted by natives. They hide in a cave filled with vampire bats and the pregnant woman is bitten. The next scene is in a village, presumably in Europe. A mysterious creature is killing the villagers by tearing their throats out. The villagers believe it is a vampire bat. In actuality, it is the village’s beloved professor. The professor is the son of the pregnant woman in the first scene. Whenever he is in complete darkness, he enters a trance and kills people without realizing it. When the professor finally discovers that he is the murderer, he commits suicide by diving into a pit.

Condemned to Live is an emotional and tragic story. The professor is kind and generous, and it is sad when he realizes the horrors he has committed. Meanwhile, his hunchbacked assistant accepts blame for the murders to protect the professor. When the professor commits suicide, the hunchback kills himself too. Another of the film’s conflicts involves a young woman who is betrothed to the older professor. She admires the professor’s kindness and wisdom but struggles to decide if she really loves him. Meanwhile, she feels guilty as she develops a romance with her childhood boyfriend.

Condemned to Live effectively mixes horror and melodrama. Its characters are unbelievably virtuous, but its tragic theme is no less evocative as a result.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Despite Condemned to Live’s gothic ambiance and focus on vampire bats, it has no actual vampires.

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