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Haunted Strangler


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Product Details

  • Actors: Boris Karloff, Anthony Dawson, Jean Kent, Elizabeth Allan, Vera Day
  • Directors: Robert Day
  • Writers: John Croydon, Jan Read
  • Producers: Charles F. Vetter, John Croydon, Richard Gordon
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (PCM Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305079749
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,952 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Haunted Strangler" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Boris Karloff stars in this terrifying story, reminiscent of the unsolved Jack the Ripper case. Set against the sinister background of London in the gaslight days, a man is driven by an inner compulsion to kill, becoming a human beast that strikes again and again, brutally murdering a number of young women.

Amazon.com

The first half of The Haunted Strangler is a civilized look at Victorian London, with socially minded novelist Boris Karloff investigating a 20-year-old murder case. Still, it's Karloff, right? So when the elegant, snow-haired king of horror movies finally wanders into a graveyard in the middle of the night, shovel in hand, intent on digging up the bones of a serial killer, the viewer can breath a sigh of relief: we're back on familiar turf. Freshly dug turf, that is. This is not the last surprise in this neatly turned picture, which has some genuinely disturbing moments mixed into the cut-rate atmosphere. The plot borrows from the legends of Dr. Jekyll and Jack the Ripper, and the presence of Karloff specifically invokes his earlier horrors in Val Lewton's moody shockers, Bedlam and The Body Snatcher. The horror maestro, 70 years old, is exceptionally agile; stripped to the waist and fighting a straitjacket, he looks as though he's about to outwrestle his two burly attendants down at the local insane asylum. You go, Boris! Weirdest thing about this movie: the inordinate amount of footage devoted to can-can dancers--no, the star is not involved; Karloff wasn't that agile. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Good suspense and all the rest.
Clark Lerch
This is one of the best horror movies that Boris Karloff made and he really shows his acting talent.
alan young
Still, some strongly dark atmosphere and intriguing storytelling are present.
Andrew R. Oerman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
An exceptional American/English co-production (owing much to 1958's Jack the Ripper) featuring wonderfully B-grade production standards, exceptional British casting and two of the best can-can scenes of the decade. Boris Karloff gives a beautifully hammish performance as a mystery novelist and amateur criminologist operating out of London in the late 1880s. Attempting to clear the name of an innocent man mistakenly hung for a series of ripper-style murders committed in Soho twenty years before, Karloff and his young American assistant set out to track down the surviving witnesses and locate the original murder weapon; a surgical instrument reputedly buried with the body of the innocent man.
The trail leads directly to the Judas Pit, a deliciously British house of ill-repute where the final murder occured two decades before. On entering the establishment, Karloff and his understudy are immediately confronted by a seven girl cancan troupe, the first great surprise of the movie.
The cancan is a full production number, lasting a good five minutes (including several spliced-in shots of the usual suspects lambasting in the audience), and featuring all the best routines: high-kicks, cartwheels, handsprings, flip-overs, kicklines and a brief solo. Gratuitous close-ups of frilly white briefs and black suspender stockings are offered up to the spectator, while the dancers are obviously professionals (rather than the usual mediochre herd of extras shoved in front of the camera after five minutes¡¯ rehearsal).
As with most Brit-flicks, the costumes are immaculate and the characterisation superb. Karloff watches bemused from the dress circle as the girls whirl through their number with wild cat-calls and flailing petticoats.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2001
Format: DVD
It's too bad Image didn't offer a double-bill platter of this and Corridor of Blood, as was done on laser; the films are short and were made at the same time by the same team--that would have made this an irresistible bargain, rather than a necessary luxury for Karloff lovers. The first five minutes are superb, as realistic a depiction of a Newgate hanging and all the attendant merriment (concluding with a neat window flirtation) as you will see. The picture grows routine with its Jekyll/Hyde slasher story; but there's nothing routine about Boris, who enters broadly smiling and devolves scene by scene into total madness. Does the plot have holes (like his ability not to get blood on his clothes)? Of course, and who cares. The scene where he goes bonkers in his cell beating on the walls is amazing--try to imagine another 70-year-old pulling it off. Then there's the transformation makeup: He doesn't wear any! Just squints and bites his lip and no one recognizes him, and you not only buy it, but spend the rest of the day squinting any biting your lip. This was his last great horror fest (he is relatively subdued in Black Sabbath and the overrated Targets) and he goes for broke. Also Anthony Dawson is a good guy but never looked more evil, and the much undervalued Elizabeth Allan, a veteran of '30s classics here making her last appearance, brings much feeling to a small role. Hard to believe this was the stuff of kiddie matinees back in 1958.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Freeman on February 14, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I dont see why this movie gets such poor reviews. Boris does a great facial contortion with paralisis when possesed by a dead murderer. Great victorian costumes help set the stage for a pretty good mystery. I guess most of todays audience expect special effects to replace acting. No twisting heads or spewed pea soup here. While its not as good as Frankenstein, The Mummy or the afore mentioned Corridors of Blood, its still a pretty good Karloff movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 2, 2006
Format: DVD
Filmed in '58, 'The Haunted Strangler' is a somewhat entertaining English horror/murder mystery from '58 starring the legendary Boris Karloff.

Plot: Set in London, England circa 1860, accomplished writer James Rankin (Boris Karloff) develops an obsessive interest in a twenty year old series of can-can girl killings. His investigation into the matter eventually unveils a harsh (and I might say totally expected) reality bringing dire and deadly circumstances when the truth is finally uncovered.

While Boris Karloff delivers a fine performance, the real interest in this now OOP DVD is the presence of the very sexy Vera Day in the role of the ill-fated Pearl, the first victim in a new series of killings. Vera was a very popular model in England in the mid-to-late fifties. Of the few films she appeared in, 'The Haunted Strangler' is the most successful at showing this incredible beauty to the appreciative audience.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "mrfeeby" on May 15, 2000
Format: DVD
Image Entertainment's release of THE HAUNTED STRANGLER is similar to many of their other DVD releases of old horror films: it's very cool that they're releasing the movie, but special features are kept to a bare minimum. With HAUNTED STRANGLER, the only added bonuses are a scene access menu and a trailer.
I am a big Boris Karloff fan, and I really enjoy old black and white horror movies, but I'm at a loss to explain why this movie has frequently received positive reviews. The story is quite obvious and plods at a snail's pace. Karloff is good as the kindly old doctor, but his Jekyll & Hyde transformations are surprisingly unconvincing and juvenile. Several dance sequences in an annoying burlesque show hinder the movie further.
The movie is still watchable, however, and for any Karloff collector, a must. Consider carefully, though, before you buy the DVD at this price. Even with the trailer, the disc only runs 80 minutes. Image also released another, vastly superior Karloff film of the same period that I'd recommend over THE HAUNTED STRANGLER. It's called CORRIDORS OF BLOOD and also stars Christopher Lee.
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