HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Room, The Oh Brother
Year: 1935
Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Robert Allen, Thurston Hall, John Buckler, Torben Meyer, Katherine DeMille, Henry Kolker, Colin Tapley, Edward Van Sloan, Egon Brecher, Helena Grant, Marion Lessing, Robert Middlemass
Genre: Horror, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: In his castle, the Czech Baron de Berghman (Henry Kolker) waits tensely for news of his wife giving birth. When she does, the event is not a happy one for him, as it raises the possibility of the family curse being revived - his wife has given birth to twins. Legend has it that this family line was created in the murder of an older brother by the younger and this will happen once more, but as the babies are twins, how could this come true now? The doctor points out that Gregor was born a minute ahead of the younger Anton, so the prophecy could still play out, and the Baron is not going to be persuaded otherwise. Time passes, and the Baron and his wife die, leaving the land to Gregor, but he grows up to be hated by the populace for his cruel ways. Now, ten years after the brothers (Boris Karloff) last saw each other, they arrange to meet again...

For some reason Boris Karloff never starred in a Hammer Horror, but with The Black Room you can imagine what it would have been like if he had, with its draughty castles, middle European Gothic chills and the spectre of death hanging over everyone, not mention the grumbling villagers ever-present: it's like the template for the British studio's future played out twenty-five years before. Scripted by Henry Myers and Arthur Strawn, who also devised the story, the film awards Karloff with one of his best roles, as this being the tale it is, one of the twins, Anton, is the thoroughly decent one, and the other, Gregor, is the thoroughly evil and hissable one.

Karloff offers a performance to relish as Gregor, alternating between glowering and grimly grinning as he exploits the villagers, but paranoid with it as just about everyone wants him dead. When Anton turns up with his big dog at the local tavern, of course the chatter stops and so does the music, as is traditional, but Gregor, unwilling to leave his castle, sends someone to go and fetch him; during the carriage ride, a shot is taken at Anton by a would-be assassin hoping to kill Gregor and the mild-mannered Anton is suitably shocked. But not as shocked as he will be when he finds out that his brother, who treats him with hospitality, has a penchant for murdering the local young women.

It's not all moody, as there is a pair of uninteresting lovers as part of the plot, Thea (Marian Marsh), the daughter of Gregor's right hand man Colonel Hassel (Thurston Hall), and her beau, the dashing Lieutenant Lussan (Robert Allen). Naturally, Gregor has his eye on Thea and works out a way to marry her which unfortunately involves bumping off Anton in the dreaded Black Room, which everyone thought had been walled up to prevent any prophecy coming true. Gregor lures Anton inside (the trick photography to render the two Karloffs in the same scene is excellent throughout) and pushes him to his death into the pit of bodies - now there's no way that the younger brother can kill the elder, or is there? As Gregor imitating Anton, the star is surprisingly subtle, lifting what could have been a run of the mill historical thriller to higher realms - he's also great fun to watch and the ending is inspired. Good dog!
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3786 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: