Lugosi had to make a buck so we have movies like this one. B
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 09/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Only the glandular secretions -- and please don't ask for any more details -- of young virgins can keep the rapidly deteriorating body and mind of the crazed old amateur horticulturalist's wife fresh and youthful. Since, like most people except those taking part in medical trials, virgins seldom give up their secretions willingly, Dr. Lorenz (Bela Lugosi) arranges for them to be abducted and preserved. He'll do the extracting himself.
What a great cheese ball of a premise for a low budget horror movie. If The Corpse Vanishes turns out not to be the Havarti of horror, as a plain limburger it leaves an interesting aftertaste.
Sure, the acting is almost awful except for the actors fortunate enough to be playing the crazed dwarf (Angelo Rossitto, who later played The Master in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome); his crazed brute of a brother, Angel (Frank Moran), who grunts a lot and has a fetish for the virgins' hair; the crazed mother of the two (Minerva Urecal); the crazed wife (Elizabeth Russell), who sleeps in a plush coffin and, of course, the crazed doctor (Lugosi).
An enterprising young reporter, Patricia Hunter (Luana Walters) tracks down the doctor because of a strange orchid with a peculiarly sweet odor that had been worn by the victims. When the doctor and his wife invite Pat to stay the night, a raging storm immediately breaks out. That clue tells us some raging violence is about to erupt inside. Since it's well known that in Hollywood at this time all unmarried young women were virgins, Pat may have some unpleasant surprises to deal with. They include dark passages, a crusty laboratory where a near dead virgin is stored, a basement mausoleum and, later, a direct threat to Patricia's own glandular secretions. If she survives, what a story she'll have to give her editor.
If you sample this moist slice of moldy Velveeta (and why not? Don't be superior), don't judge Bela Lugosi by the company he keeps here. He had a huge impact in Dracula (1931), but my favorite movie of his is The Black Cat (1934). As Dr. Vitas Werdegast he's a sad, ironic man protective of his two young friends. When he finally takes a scalpel to Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff) and begins to flay the man alive, ah, well, it's a great scene.
The Corpse Vanishes is in the public domain. The version I saw may not be worth the effort."
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 05/28/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bela Lugosi gave his all in every film he made. "The Corpse Vanishes," a 1942 Monogram quickie produced by Sam Katzman, is no exception. In this 64-minute gem, the horror icon plays Dr. Lorenz, a scientist who kidnaps young brides for the purpose of providing body fluids to restore the beauty of his 80-year-old wife. Bela is in his element - whether sleeping next to his wife in matching coffins or searching for new brides with his tiny assistant (Angelo Rossitto of "Freaks" fame). Elizabeth Russell stands out among the supporting players as the aging countess. Though the Lugosi Monograms are hardly classics, they remain a schlock lover's delight."