When I came to casting a retrospective of the Universal Inner Sanctum Mystery movies, I decided to watch them all fairly close together. As such, due to the similarity in style and substance, combined with the fact that Lon Chaney Jr. starred in all sic of the, a blurring of the narratives came about.
In the case of The Frozen Ghost, I found that I struggled to bring to mind what actually occurred without looking it back up again. This is surely an indicator that the movie had little or no impact on me, which says a lot about my connection to the movie.
When I did research back into it again, the visuals soon sprang to mind and I was left pondering about why it didn’t resonate so well.
My resolution comes down to that the film was just a bit messy in its delivery.
The tale presents Chaney Jr as mentalist Alex Gregor, who is provoked by an intoxicated non-believer in his audience that he is a fake, so out of anger, hypnotizes the individual spurring a heart attack that leads to the man’s untimely death.
Gregor is now consumed with grief and then turns within himself, ending his relationship with assistant Maura (Evelyn Ankers in a subdued performance, albeit still a strong one) and runs away to work as a lecturer for an old friend, Mme Valerie Monet (Tala Birell).
Trouble creeps up once more however when Valerie also turns up dead and Gregor becomes prime suspect number one.
The continuing theme involved with the Inner Sanctum Mysteries centres around mystery, intrigue and in the case of the movies, a wronged man troubled with murder most foul.
The Frozen Ghost has to shift and change on numerous occasions to accommodate the plight of its lead protagonist, who tries to figure out if he truly is responsible for the death of these individuals through the use of paranormal abilities.
The road isn’t a straight one to the conclusion and the perpetrators are all too obvious, so the attempt at clever deception is lost much to the detriment of the film.
The performances are still strong regardless, but unfortunately the executions is just too weak.
- Saul Muerte