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CORPSE VANISHES, THE (director: Wallace W. Fox; screenwriters: Harvey Harris Gates/Sam Robins/Gerald J. Schnitzer; cinematographer: Art Reed; editor: Robert Golden; music: David Porter; cast: Bela Lugosi (Dr. Lorenz), Luana Walters (Patricia Hunter), Tristram Coffin (Dr. Foster), Elizabeth Russell (Countess Lorenz), Minerva Urecal (Fagah), Angelo Rossitto (Toby), George Eldredge (Mike), Gwen Kenyon (Peggy Woods), Kenneth Harlan (Keenan), Joan Barclay (Alice Wentworth), Frank Moran (Angel); Runtime: 64; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jack Dietz/Sam Katzman; Monogram; 1942)
“A creaky Povery Row mad scientist film from yesteryear that stars a past his prime Bela Lugosi.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A creaky Povery Row mad scientist film from yesteryear that stars a past his prime Bela Lugosi. It supplies enough entertainment to be slightly better than most such low-grade films of the genre. It’s adequately directed by Wallace W. Fox and written by Harvey Harris Gates, Sam Robins and Gerald J. Schnitzer.

There’s an epidemic in the city, of brides dying at the altar and their corpses vanishing before they reach the morgue. Hardboiled reporter of the Chronicle, Pat Hunter (Luana Walters), gets her crusty editor Keenan (Kenneth Harlan) to assign her the story. Pat discovers all the vanishing brides wore a rare orchard not sold in florists but raised by eccentric European botanist Dr. Lorenz (Bela Lugosi). Pat hitches a ride with young Dr. Foster (Tristram Coffin) to the upstate mansion of Dr. Lorenz to interview him. Forced because of a rainstorm to stay overnight in the strange house with the eccentric Lorenz and his crabby wife Countess Lorenz (Elizabeth Russell), Pat discovers the couple sleep in coffins, there are unannounced visitors in her room who appear through a secret passage, the basement has many crypts with young women and that her orchard with the distinctive sweet smell (a rarity since orchards don’t smell) that put the brides in a coma (not actually killing them as first thought) has disappeared. Lucky to get out alive, she has her newspaper splurge to set a trap for Lorenz by having a fake wedding with an actress friend named Peggy she hires to be the bait. The plan works in smoking out Lorenz, but he evades capture by kidnapping Pat and taking her back to his lab. But Pat is lucky to be rescued in the nick of time through the efforts of Lorenz’s freakish house servant, a bizarre mother with two sons–a dwarf and a lecherous bestial one. It’s finally learned that the scientist uses the body fluids of his young women vics to rejuvenate and keep forever young his eighty-year-old wife.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”