(director: James Hogan; screenwriters: Paul Gangelin/Brenda Weisberg/story by Hans Kraly; cinematographer: Milton Krasner; editor: Milton Carruth; music: Hans J. Salter; cast: David Bruce (Ted Allison), Evelyn Ankers (Isabel Lewis), George Zucco (Dr. Alfred Morris), Robert Armstrong (‘Scoop’ McClure), Turhan Bey (Eric Iverson), Milburn Stone (Sgt. Macklin), Andrew Tombes (Egan, mortician), Rose Hobart (Della Elliot, reporter), Addison Richards (Editor Gavigan), Charles McGraw (Det. Garrity), Gus Glassmire (First cemetery caretaker); Runtime: 66; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ben Pivar; Universal Pictures; 1943)

Saved from its unpleasant grim story by its excellent cast.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Veteran B filmmaker James Hogan (“Bulldog Drummond Escapes”/”A Close Call For Ellery Queen”/”No Place For A Lady”)directs in a workmanlike way this stylish but creaky horror film that’s saved from its unpleasant grim story by its excellent cast. The stagey mad scientist story is by Hans Kraly and is written byPaul Gangelin and Brenda Weisberg.

Chemistry professor Dr. Alfred Morris (George Zucco) tells his prize medical student Ted Allison (David Bruce)that over the summer recess he needs Ted to be his assistant and they will experiment in secret on an ancient Mayan poisonous gas used by the natives in their sacrificial ritual ceremony. The gas is used for diabolical purposes to keep the vic alive but in a state of death. The nerdy Ted is in love with the lovely concert classical singer Isabel Lewis (Evelyn Ankers), who can’t bear to hurt the harmless vulnerable medical student by telling him she doesn’t love him and has fallen in love with her more worldly new piano accompanist Eric Iverson (Turhan Bey) that Ted introduced her to. During a visit to the professor’s house for dinner, Isabel confides in Morris that she no longer loves Ted. Morris believes she loves him and to get Ted out of the way administers the poison gas to him. Ted is now a zombie slave to Morris’s wishes and is kept alive through grave-robbing, as the heart of a fresh corpse keeps him living temporarily by mixing the heart fluids with special herbs and injecting it into Ted. When the mad scientist finds out that Isabel loves Eric, he sics Ted on him. On the case is hotshot local journalist Scoop McClure (Robert Armstrong) and dumb detective Macklin (Milburn Stone), who are baffled when cemetery corpses keep appearing with hearts cut out in a medically professional way in all the cities where Isabel is performing in her concert tour.

REVIEWED ON 10/13/2012 GRADE: B-