Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932) – By Brian Morton

 In the 1930s, when you said mad scientist, only two people would immediately jump to your mind, either Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi. The mere mention of either of these two would send chills down my spine when I was but a lad. So many Saturdays were spent in front of the TV with one or both of these horror legends on the screen that I felt that they were part of my family! In fact, there were probably actual family members that I felt less attached to than either of these icons. So, when I was told that the roundtable this month was to be about mad scientists, I knew that either Boris or Bela would once again haunt my TV.

Now, my first instinct, and I think I’m not alone in this, when I head mad scientist is to head right for Frankenstein, but I controlled myself and dug a littler deeper into the video store and found a Bela Lugosi movie that I hadn’t seen! That’s right, I must have been on vacation with the family or sick in bed the Saturday that this was on, because I had never seen Murders In The Rue Morgue. In this movie, Bela plays the evil Dr. Mirakle, a name that I’m sure wasn’t contrived by the writers at all! Dr. Mirakle is convinced that men evolved from apes, and he’s out to prove it by finding a woman who has the right kind of blood to mix with the blood of his ape, Erik. Now, what the mixing of the blood will prove or what kind of blood is needed isn’t really explained, remember it was 1932 and I’m sure that this kind of forensic science was almost magic, and the movie is set in 1845, making this technology even more improbable.

As Dr. Mirakle hunts down and kills women on the street with his insane experiments, he also works in a carnival with his ape, this allows him to get a closer look at the ladies that are there for the show. When he fixates on a girl named Camille, he’s sure that her blood is perfect to mix with Erik’s, and he begins his evil scheme to capture her and inject her with ape blood! Murders In The Rue Morgue is Bela Lugosi at his best…aside from Dracula. He’s evil, manipulative and is out to prove his point, no matter what the cost in human lives, and what more can you ask from a mad scientist?? I’ll tell you, nothing, this is a mad as it gets. He’s got a pet ape that he can talk to, he’s got an evil henchman who get rid of dead bodies for him and he’s got a mono-brow that just won’t quit! It’s Murders In The Rue Morgue and it’s just one of so many classic horror movies that really deserve another look! I know for some of you younger people, black and white movies are a near blasphemy, but try again, you might be surprised of the great horror classics that you’re missing!

I’m giving Murders In The Rue Morgue four out of four cigars, because with Bela, and ape and dead hookers on giant crosses, it just doesn’t get much better than this! So, until next time, when I’ll reveal that the results of a recent blood test confirmed that I’m genetically half couch, the doc says it’s from years of couch potatoeing, remember that the best movies are bad movies!

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Rogue Reviewers Roundtable Topic: Mad Scientists

Brian’s Review Site: The Bad Movie Guy