“My life is consecrated to a great experiment: I tell you I will prove your kinship with the ape!”
When mad Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) plots to kidnap beautiful young Camille (Sidney Fox) and “mingle” her blood with that of his giant ape, Erik (Charles Gemora), it’s up to Camille’s boyfriend, a medical student named Pierre (Leon Ames), to save the day.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bela Lugosi Films
- Horror Films
- Mad Doctors and Scientists
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary seems less than enamored with this unusual Universal horror flick, based in-name-only on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. While acknowledging the power of Karl Freund’s “expressionistic photography”, he barely touches upon the film’s remarkably risque premise (the “perverse sexuality… implicit in Dr. Mirakle’s work”), a topic discussed in much greater detail in DVD Savant’s review. While I agree that the film possesses some egregious flaws (the alternating use of a chimpanzee and a man in an ape suit to play Erik is especially noticeable), I disagree with Peary that some of the most powerful scenes — such as “Lugosi draining the blood from a streetwalker” — are “tasteless”. As noted by DVD Savant, Murders in the Rue Morgue may be a bit of a mess, but it’s nonetheless a “hugely enjoyable” one.
Note: Many have pointed out this film’s visual similarities to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and the association is apt.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Expressionistic set designs
- Countless memorable images
- Karl Freund’s atmospheric, shadow-filled cinematography
- A remarkably risque premise
No, but it’s recommended.