MORD39 RATING: *** out of ****
I have always loved this strange little film, even as a kid. Bela Lugosi has one of his greatest roles as the insane Dr. Vollin, a part which ranks right up there with Dracula and Ygor. It's also one of those rare times where he actually upstages Boris Karloff.
At only 60 or so minutes, the 1935 version of THE RAVEN is brisk entertainment with all the golden elements of a fine horror movie: a crazed doctor, his misshapen assistant (Karloff), secret rooms and lots of thunder and lightning. There are trap doors, a creepy dungeon, and a torture chamber. This film doesn't pretend to be profound or a literary rendition of Poe's works... it's just Bela and Boris - the two greatest horror stars of all time - doing what they do best.
The comedy in the film is rare, and doesn't detract from it. The main issue at hand is Dr. Vollin's jealous need for revenge to satisfy his own tortured soul...by inflicting horror on those he feels have caused his misery. The moment where Bela blackmails Karloff and cackles maniacally has no equal.
A perfect companion to THE BLACK CAT, it's not cinematically as good, but I have always had much more fun with it. Highly recommended for fans of "classic" horror!
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