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Although it is called the Icons of Horror Collection, the "horror" is more macabre mood than monster mash. The best (and best-looking) film in the set, 1935's The Black Room, is a wonderfully lurid costume romp with Karloff in a dual role: twin brothers who inherit a baronage but live under a family curse. One is good, one bad, and happily enough, the bad brother has the upper hand. Karloff is in terrific form, and the film features a secret chamber (complete with torture pit) that provides just the right Gothic oomph. Director Roy William Neill later did Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.
The Man They Could Not Hang, from 1939, is a solid mad-scientist picture. Karloff's Dr. Savaard has perfected a re-animation process, but the police arrest him before he can revive a student--and so the doctor is sentenced to death for murder. The hanging isn't a problem, not when the doctor's assistant has the process down pat, and now Karloff can take elaborate revenge. Before I Hang (1940) opens a similar vein, with Karloff once again sentenced to death and this time conducting experiments in prison (aided by Edward Van Sloan, filmdom's original Van Helsing). However, using a murderer's blood in the secret serum proves a fatal mistake.... These cheaply-made films are solid enough programmers of the era, and surprisingly literate--although it would be a stretch to call them scary.
The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) goes the comedy route, spoofing Karloff's image as a white-haired gentleman who should not be allowed to run experiments in the basement. An Arsenic and Old Lace vibe prevails (Karloff had been starring in the stage production), and the labored comedy has Karloff and Peter Lorre using boarders at an early-American hotel as subjects for experiments. Larry Parks and "Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom co-star. Lorre, who's in his slim Maltese Falcon period, is as sly and peculiar as ever; of course, he and Karloff would team up again for more horror-comedy in the 1960s: The Raven and Comedy of Terrors. --Robert Horton
If you are a Boris fan than this is a great collection. Fun, charming, spooky and enchanting!Published 2 months ago by Collector 23
Nice collection of four movies starring Karloff the Uncanny. All are entertaining: one a comedy and one a lurid costume drama and the other two unlikely stories of science gone... Read morePublished 4 months ago by A. Goodell
One of the classic horror actors. Can watch his films over and over again - I never get tired. Timeless.Published 5 months ago by Richard J Solomon Sr
As an avid movie buff, especially when it comes to classic films like this one, this is a definite welcome to my large and growing home library collection. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Wa2oosy
This is one of those movies you just have a craving for. Clean, well-acted, and a terrific job by the master of terror, Boris Karloff. Rent or buy this in HD. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Francis J Flanagan Jr
A Great film. A classic that I would recommend again and again for movie buffs of all generations. Excellent acting with interesting themes.Published 7 months ago by NiCole Bryan