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  • Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection (Calling Dr. Death / Weird Woman / The Frozen Ghost / Pillow of Death / Dead Man's Eyes / Strange Confession)
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Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection (Calling Dr. Death / Weird Woman / The Frozen Ghost / Pillow of Death / Dead Man's Eyes / Strange Confession)


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Frequently Bought Together

Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection (Calling Dr. Death / Weird Woman / The Frozen Ghost / Pillow of Death / Dead Man's Eyes / Strange Confession) + Universal Horror: Classic Movie Archive (The Black Cat / Man Made Monster / Horror Island / Night Monster / Captive Wild Woman) + The Boris Karloff Collection (Tower of London / The Black Castle / The Climax / The Strange Door / Night Key)
Price for all three: $48.51

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jr. Lon Chaney, David Bruce, Evelyn Ankers, Acquanetta, Douglass Dumbrille
  • Directors: Reginald Leborg, John Hoffman, Wallace Fox, Harold Young
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 382 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FWHW90
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,176 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection (Calling Dr. Death / Weird Woman / The Frozen Ghost / Pillow of Death / Dead Man's Eyes / Strange Confession)" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Get ready for unlimited thrills and chills as all six of Universal's classic Inner Sanctum Mysteries come to DVD for the first time ever. You'll have a hauntingly good time with horror icon Lon Chaney, Jr., as he gives timeless performances in these spooky feature-length films: Calling Dr. Death, Weird Woman, Dead Man's Eyes, The Frozen Ghost, Strange Confession and Pillow of Death. Based on the popular radio shows of the 1940's, this collectible set is a must-own for every classic mystery and horror fan. Death, dementia, dark arts…it's just another day in the forbidding and fascinating world of the Inner Sanctum! Calling Dr. Death (1943): A distraught doctor is tormented by voices in his head that are urging him to end his unhappy marriage - forever. Weird Woman (1944): Sorcery and superstition take a walk down the aisle when a professor marries a woman raised in the jungle by voodoo witchcraft practitioners and then dismisses her ominous warnings. Dead Man's Eyes (1944): When an artist loses his sight in a freak accident, his future father-in-law promises to bequeath his own eyes upon his death - which ends up being much, much sooner than anyone could foresee. The Frozen Ghost (1945): Things are certainly not what they seem when a hypnotist takes refuge in the spectacular mansion of a female friend who made her money from a creepy wax museum. Strange Confession (1945): A brilliant chemist with the key to the cure for influenza is force to take drastic measures when his greedy boss prematurely releases the unfinished drug to the public. Pillow of Death (1945): A psychopathic killer is on the loose, so the eccentric and wealthy Kincaid family calls in a psychic investigator to put an end to the mysterious murders haunting their household.

Amazon.com

"This is the Inner Sanctum...." And this is the world of B-movies, where Hollywood studios churned out entertaining little numbers to fill out an evening back in the Golden Age. Universal's Inner Sanctum series, released in 1943-45, was inspired by the successful radio show of the same title. They're gathered on Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection, a fun grouping of a minor cinematic achievement.

All six films star the phlegmatic Lon Chaney Jr., and most begin with a floating head in the crystal ball, welcoming us to the inner sanctum, "A strange, fantastic world, controlled by a mass of living, pulsating flesh... the mind." The vaguely supernatural promise of this grabby opening is rarely fulfilled by the movies, which tend to be acceptable murder mysteries with--despite the wacky titles--very little horror content. Chaney plays a man of some distinction (a professor in Weird Woman, famous mentalist in The Frozen Ghost, physician in Calling Dr. Death) who runs afoul of women (among them Evelyn Ankers and Patricia Morison) and murder. At some point in each movie he has some elaborate voice-over agony, making clear the connection to the radio series' interior monologue. The one-hour-and-change productions are handsome, considering their budget restrictions, and Universal's prints are well-preserved; the literacy of the writing is surprisingly high--although decent writing can't put much zip into the proceedings.

Weird Woman is probably the best of the bunch, an adaptation of Fritz Leiber's novel Conjure Wife (later filmed as Burn, Witch, Burn!). Chaney is an expert on superstition who marries a voodoo-obsessed woman, whose spells might be responsible for his rapid professional rise. The influence of Cat People is as strong as the source novel. Calling Dr. Death, the first in the series, is duller, with a hypnotism-minded Chaney bedeviled by a wanton wife who conveniently dies under mysterious circumstances. Dead Man's Eyes and the amazingly-titled Pillow of Death are more fun, the former a variation on the old eye-transplant story and the latter a whodunit with lawyer Chaney accused of his wife's murder (the supernatural touch this time: séances).

Strange Confession has Chaney as an honest chemist battling an evil pharmaceutical tycoon (J. Carrol Naish), and The Frozen Ghost combines two horror staples, the unstable mentalist and the wax museum. It's just crazy enough to be entertaining, even if there's no ghost (and hardly any freezing). All in all, the DVD set is a good look at Universal's second-tier output of the era. And then there's Chaney, whose jowly steadfastness can become weirdly fascinating if you watch a few of these close together. Universal put him hard to work after the success of 1941's The Wolf Man, and alongside his monster-movie excursions and his singular triumph in Of Mice and Men, the Inner Sanctum pictures represent Chaney's best moment as a leading man. Despite his limitations, he'll always have his spot in the Universal galaxy. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

I glad I picked it up.
Thaellar
If you enjoy film noir type movies, you probably will enjoy these.
tl
The transfer to DVD is excellent, both video and audio.
Robert M. Mihalo MD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Rondell Gunn on June 16, 2006
Verified Purchase
I purchased these on VHS years ago. And, over the years, I have watched them several times. They are some of Universal Studios best short movies and well deserve wide distribution. I must admit that I am a great fan of Lon Chaney, Jr. and the additional talents of Evelyn Ankers in any Universal production is a definite plus. Without previewing each episode, I will summarize in saying that these short movies are well worth the money, the time, and I am grateful to Universal for releasing them. They are a treasure and a collection of movie history.
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100 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Ghoulchick on June 12, 2006
From the silent era to the late 1940's no other studio could do horror and mystery films like Universal. The lighting, shadows, great sets, music, awesome camera work and actors gave their films a very distinct atmosphere. They gave us Dracula, The Mummy, The Old Dark House and the Wolfman making legends of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr. Now Universal has opened up their movie vaults once more, to give us another classic collection. The Inner Sanctum films were based on the popular radio series of the same name.

The Inner Sanctum Mysteries Complete Movie Collection set includes the following films:

Calling Dr. Death (1943)
Weird Woman (1944)
Dead Man's Eyes (1944)
The Frozen Ghost (1945)
Strange Confession (1945)
Pillow of Death (1945)

Check out their upcoming Karloff Collection as well!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A. Gammill VINE VOICE on September 26, 2006
Once again, the folks at Universal have given us something to get excited about. Here are all 6 of the studio's "Inner Sanctum" mysteries in one low-priced set. Fans of Lon Chaney Jr. who were disappointed with Image's recent "Lon Chaney Collection" will certainly find much to love here. I'll readily admit that he lacked the acting chops of his contemporaries like Karloff and Lugosi, but his roles here are varied and give this "black sheep" of Universal horror a chance to shine.

Remember, these feature-length (well...most of them clock in at just over an hour) films were based on the popular radio series of the same name. As such, they tend to be a bit "talky." But the production values are high, and a couple of the stories actually generate some suspense. In addition to the sharp black & white photography, the best thing about these films is probably the supporting cast. Frequent Chaney co-star Evelyn Ankers, as well as Universal players Anne Gwynne and J. Carroll Naish are on-hand to lend support to the affable Chaney. Some of the humor hasn't aged well, but that's hardly uncommon for films of this period.

I hope Universal will continue the trend set by this and the "Boris Karloff Collection," and release more of their lesser-known films from the vaults, such as Man Made Monster and Night Monster. For now, we can enjoy these almost-forgotten gems from Hollywood's Golden Age.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Max Fraley on February 15, 2007
Little is Better. This B movie collection is the perfect medicine for staying up a little late to watch a weird little story, but not wanting to short change a reasonable night's sleep or stress out on a heavy duty of serious.

These little gems are just what was intended... escape. You can imagine the squeaking door if you need, but

for the most part it's sheer pleasure watching some of the best character actors ever in Universal's B movie business.

Lon Chaney, Jr. has the lead in all five features so I recommend the viewers put a special focus on the Hall of Fame performers that give superb support. The mixed bag of men: Milburn Stone, Thomas Gomez, J. Carrol Naish, Paul Kelly, David Bruce, Ralph Morgan, Douglas Dumbrille, J. Edward Bromberg and that creepy little guy who snakes rather than sneaks, Martin Kosleck, are genuine characters. The gals, Brenda Joyce, Jean Parker, Patricia Morison, Anne Gwynn, Ramsey Ames, and ultimate screamer, Evelyn Ankers, are all accomplished actresses with better than good looks who deserved but never got the star treatment.

I'd give the nod to Weird Woman as the best movie of the lot, but each has its own merits and memorable moments. It's a wonderful little package for the true classic B film fan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a viewer on September 14, 2007
Verified Purchase
On Sunday afternoons when I was growing up, our local station used to have a program called "Horror Theater". I remember every one of these movies popping up once in a while. The one that stood out for me back then was "Weird Woman". When VHS released this set a few years ago I nabbed it immediately. Imagine my elation when I saw this for sale on DVD! I didn't even know they were releasing them. This films are moody, funny and sometimes even a little creepy with top-notch production values the only way Universal could do them. Sure they're B films, each only over an hour in length but they move along at such a brisk pace that they are fun to watch! I'll pull these out on a late Sunday afternoon (right before dark of course)and have a ball. Highly entertaining and worth getting. They are all good but I'll rank them in order of my preference:
1. Weird Woman 2. Pillow of Death 3. Dead Man's Eyes 4. The Frozen Ghost 5) Dead Man's Eyes and 6) Strange Confession. Enjoy!!
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on May 13, 2007
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In the days before television really took over, the rough equivalent of TV series were put out by movie studios. Churned out quickly by "B" movie units, these movies tended to be produced every few months and short (like TV shows, they would all run around the same length). For example, Universal put out a whole series of Sherlock Holmes and Abbott and Costello movies. Another example from Universal Pictures was the Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a series of six mystery movies all starring Lon Chaney, Jr. The Inner Sanctum of the title was the mind, which as the Spirit of the Inner Sanctum would warn us at the beginning of every movie (but the last one) was capable of plotting murder.

The earlier Inner Sanctum movies would provide voice-over "thoughts" from Chaney to demonstrate his inner turmoil, a gimmick which diminishes as the series goes on. In general, the movies also are plotted similarly, with Chaney accused of a murder and his attempts to vindicate himself. Even this storyline would eventually get a little more variety in the final movies.

The first disc in this two disc set features three movies: Calling Dr. Death, Weird Woman and Dead Man's Eyes. In Calling Dr. Death, Chaney is a neurologist accuses of killing his wife while having an affair with his nurse. It also features Patricia Morison, most notable in Dressed to Kill as the villainess who matches wits with Sherlock Holmes in the final Rathbone movie. (Since these movies all featured contract players, actors repeatedly show up in all sorts of Universal movies).

Weird Woman has Chaney as an anthropologist who marries a woman who believes in witchcraft. When he destroys her magic charms, bad things begin to happen.
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