“What am I? Alive or dead? Man or beast? What have you done to me?”
A mad doctor (George Zucco) turns his student (David Bruce) into a zombie, forcing him to excavate hearts from fresh corpses to fuel his own temporary antidote.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Mad Doctors and Scientists
This above-average B-level Universal horror flick is sure to appeal to fans of the genre. At just over an hour in length, the storyline moves quickly while offering plenty of melodrama: a mad doctor (Zucco) — eager to learn whether his preliminary success using a toxic chemical to turn monkeys into zombie-like creatures:
… will work on humans — experiments on his own naive assistant (Bruce):
hoping to win Bruce’s girlfriend (Evelyn Ankers as a concert singer) for himself:
— only to find Ankers has fallen for her accompanist (turgid Turhan Bey), who must also be gotten rid of.
Zucco is quietly effective as the calculating doctor, while Bruce — whose zombie make-up is creepy without overpowering:
— eventually wins our sympathy as the unwitting Jekyll-and-Hyde who loses both his humanity and his girl.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine performances by George Zucco and David Bruce as “partners in crime”
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, but it’s worth watching, and fans of Universal horror flicks should definitely seek it out.