Picking up a parcel from the local collection office,I was shocked to discover that an extremely kind IMDb'er had sent me a Mill Creek boxset,jam packed with a number of great sounding titles.With the "Horror Challenge" being held on the IMDb Horror board in a few days time,I decided to take a closer look at the titles contained in the set.Being in the mood of taking a look at another movie of Bela Lugosi's pre-Ed Wood low-budget era due to having found Lugosi's Ape Man to be a wild,wacky title,I was delighted to discover a more serious sounding Lugosi title contained in the boxset.
Keeping hold of the things that he held dear to his wife,despite her having recently left him for a younger man,Mr.Kessler celebrates their wedding anniversary all on his own, as a mark of respect for how deep the vows that he made to his wife are contained within his heart.
Distressed over seeing Kessler's waiting for his wife's return to have no end in sight,and also seeing Kessler's daughter become desperate to pull her dad out of this dark trance,loyal servant Jules begins to seriously wonder if he should tell Kessler that instead of being away with her boyfriend,his wife is actually hidden in a darken corner of the house,after being pulled from a car crash that has left her permanently brain damaged.Fearing that Kessler's and his wife's reaction to each other might make things worse than they already are,Jules decides to stay quiet,and keep the secret all to himself.
Getting ready for bed,Kessler suddenly hears a strange tapping noise coming from outside a window in the living room.Entering the living room,Kessler discovers that the tapping sound is being made by the "ghost" of his wife.Shocked at what he is seeing,Kessler finds himself unable to deal with the supernatural sight in front of him,which leads to Kessler's sweet nature being left in ruins,when "the image" causes Kessler to have a strong desire to go on a killing spree.
View on the film:
After having been disappointed by the flat directing style of past titles that I have seen in the public domain,I was happily caught by surprise,thanks to director Joseph H.Lewis showing a keen eye in creating a wonderful Gothic chill.Keeping 95% of the movies setting limited to the Kessler house,Lewis uses tracking shots to show the shadow that is being cast around the darkest corners of the Kessler's lives,and also expertly covers the movie in rain,so as to create a wonderful atmosphere of there being no where for the character's to run away from Kessler's murderous urges.
Whilst the screenplay sadly avoids trying to look at the psychological reasons behind Kessler's changing personality,the screenplay by Al and Helen Martin takes things into an unexpected,sharp proto-Slasher direction,with the Martin's making sure to keep the viewers on their toes by making Kessler attack and kill some of the main character's early on,in scenes,which impressively still have a real edge around them.
Showing both sides of Kessler's conflicting personality,Bela Lugosi gives a terrific performance which carefully balances Kessler's warm hearted,wholesome image with the monster that becomes unleashed when the "ghost" of his wife appears.Along with Lugosi,the very pretty Polly Ann Young gives a good performance as the Kessler's daughter Virgina,with Young showing Virgina being unable to stop the "invisible ghost" from taking over her dad's life.