The Invisible Ghost (1941)

APRIL 2, 2008


Did they have trailers before the movies back in the 40s? I like to imagine they did, and that there was a particularly sarcastic audience member who pointed out how many of the movies coming out were identical to the one they were about to see: bunch of folks in a house run by a horror icon, a couple of murders, a street smart detective, the idea that the causes for the murders is supernatural when its not, and really kind of lame to boot... Imagine going to see Shutter and seeing the trailers for One Missed Call, Pulse, The Eye, The Grudge, The Ring, and Dark Water... Christ.

Anyway, The Invisible Ghost (which doesn’t feature a ghost, or Chevy Chase*) is just like a bunch of other movies I’ve already watched/written about from the Horror Classics set, so I really don’t have much to say about it. It’s good to see Bela Lugosi in a rare ‘normal’ role (he’s the killer, but he’s possessed when he kills, and the rest of the time he’s quite pleasant, if terrible at chess). Also, the African American character (Clarence Muse) isn’t played as a stereotype, unlike Jeff in King of the Zombies, so that’s a plus.

He also has my favorite line in the movie. At one point the cops suspect him of being the killer. One cop says “Where were you the other night?” to which Muse responds “Have you had your coffee yet?” The cop says no, and instantly forgets all about that whole ‘possible killer’ thing. I plan to use this very same ruse the next time I am suspected in a murder. I just hope I have some coffee around. It’s always embarrassing when you try to distract someone away from the idea that you are a bloodthirsty murderer by offering them some coffee, only to discover you’re completely out.

The one good thing about all of these old movies is that they are ridiculously short. At 64 minutes, this one is over before you realize how boring it is. Lugosi’s possession sequences aside, the rest of the movie is just folks talking about not very interesting things, or accusing one another of killing everyone else; which is kind of moot when we are shown almost right from the start that Lugosi is the killer. Oh well.

What say you?

*Speaking of which, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man is airing on the HDNet movie channel this week! See the only film Carpenter didn’t put his name above the title on in glorious high def! Watch Chase’s career (this was his last non family movie) disappear literally and figuratively in 1080p!


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