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, April 18, 2023

Horror Movie Guide: The Black Room

Well, that was a nice week off to refresh. Getting back to the Horror Movie Guide, the next entry was yet another Boris Karloff picture from 1935 called The Black Room where he got to play two roles.

Twin brothers Gregor and Anton (both played by Karloff) become entwined in a family prophecy that states the younger brother will inevitably kill his sibling in an area inside their estate called The Black Room.

I liked this one well enough. I don't think I found it quite as engaging as the recently watched Bedlam, but I did relish Karloff performing the dual role. It was definitely one of his best performances. I wonder if he had a flash of déjà vu when he was being chased by the angry mob at the end.

Clocking in at less than seventy minutes, it moves along at a good clip, especially at the hop where there are some break-neck House of the Dragon-sized time jumps. The direction by the esteemed Roy William Neill was solid, as were the sets. They got some good mileage out of the Black Room and that pit that swallows more than a few bodies.

Boris Karloff as brothers Gregor & Anton.

Though Karloff commits several murders over the course of the movie, the film is decidedly reserved with what it shows onscreen, presumably to placate the Hays Code. I found the ending satisfying, even if it became abundantly clear that Gregor was going to fuck himself over and I was just waiting to see the how and when. Thank Heavens for good doggos!

The Guide certainly liked it, I think this may the highest rated one yet!

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