A brilliant scientist tries to bring a sailor back from the dead using large charges of electricity and a special serum. The experiment is only a partial success, but the Professor should be more concerned with his young wife and his sinister housekeeper, who is practising voodoo rituals in the cellar…
John Carradine’s at it again! Not content with growing new human glands, putting brains into cavemen and creating Astro-Zombies, here he’s trying to raise the dead! Of course, it’s for the benefit of humanity, and, of course, it all goes dreadfully wrong. For a change, Carradine is actually a genial, well-intentioned medical man, just a little misguided. His over enthusiasm leads to him electrocuting a drowned sailor he drags off the beach, and then experimenting on his wife’s pet pooch, a rather fearsome hound named Brutus. The results are variable, with the sailor up and about for a minute before a second death, and the dog turning into a murdering killer that can walk through walls. You can’t help thinking that a little more research may be necessary.
To complicate matters, his young wife (Claudia Drake) has the hots for his lab assistant, played by Robert Shayne. But any hope she has of a romantic intrigue takes a back seat once Shayne’s fiancée (Maris Wrixon) arrives on the scene. Unfortunately, housekeeper Rosa Rey has Drake’s best interests at heart and is busy conducting strange magical rites that lead to tragic consequences for everyone. It’s the price you pay for meddling in things that man must leave alone, I guess.
You don’t expect too much from a horror flick produced by Monogram Studios in the 1940s. They were always cut-price, bottom of the bill affairs that ran about an hour or so. A box-office ‘name’ who’d had minor success in major studio fright fest, or whose career was on the critical list, usually took the lead. Director William ‘One Shot’ Beaudine was in the chair for quite a few, and given that his nickname referred to a reluctance to do re-takes, the finished product was not usually of the greatest quality.
Carradine went on to a lengthy career in exploitation and horror cinema, and Shayne to play Inspector Henderson on TV’s ‘Superman’ with George Reeves. Wrixon was probably just relieved there were no more gorillas in her future, after her experiences on ‘The Ape’ (1940) with Boris Karloff, and the ridiculous ‘White Pongo’ (1945).
This is one of Monogram’s better efforts, despite the mismatched, awkward elements. Sure, the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and amounts to even less, but it’s good to see Carradine in a (somewhat) sympathetic role.
And who doesn’t enjoy watching a zombie dog that’s impervious to bullets?