In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: Before I Hang

I am beginning to wonder if this Horror Movie Guide should have just been titled The Complete Filmography of Boris Karloff. I'm barely in the B's and I've already seen like four of his movies. I'm not complaining mind you, it's just that watching so many in such a small space of time is a little jarring. If they were all as good as Bedlam, it wouldn't be an issue, but alas they are not. This is my roundabout way of saying that I watched Karloff's 1940 film Before I Hang

A doctor (Boris Karloff) on death row creates a serum that cures aging. However, after testing it on himself, he discovers it comes with some very nefarious side effects.

I'm really starting to see how much modern science, which was surprisingly astute in this for a film made in 1940, played in these silver screen horror movies (and how often Karloff was in them). I mean, the mad scientist is a timeless trope, but I'm seeing that it was never more prevalent than during the atomic age.

The Guide seemed to proclaim that Karloff looked bored in this movie, but I found his presence was still pretty strong in this, even if the subject matter may not been enough to fill a feature. I also maintain there are some interesting angles to Before I Hang. It's curious that the idea of assisted suicide still remains as objectionable some eighty years later and I did notice the DNA of things to come decades later like Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episode Escape Clause and Eric Red's script for Body Parts (I'm sure there are earlier movies featuring killer parts possessing their owners, but that's the one that comes to mind) in this movie, as well. 

Boris Karloff as Dr. Garth in Before I Hang.

This was a short one, clocking in at just over sixty minutes, but it seemed to drag at points. Well, maybe not drag, but it did get rather repetitive as the cycle of Karloff trying to cure someone and then just strangling them instead occurred over and over during the course of the picture. Not much more to say on this one. It wasn't anything special, but my opinion isn't as harsh as that of the Guide.

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