Ghoulchick | Bronx, New York United States | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the silent era to the late 1940's no other studio could do horror and mystery films like Universal. The lighting, shadows, great sets, music, awesome camera work and actors gave their films a very distinct atmosphere. They gave us Dracula, The Mummy, The Old Dark House and the Wolfman making legends of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr. Now Universal has opened up their movie vaults once more, to give us another classic collection. The Inner Sanctum films were based on the popular radio series of the same name.
The Inner Sanctum Mysteries Complete Movie Collection set includes the following films:
Calling Dr. Death (1943) Weird Woman (1944) Dead Man's Eyes (1944) The Frozen Ghost (1945) Strange Confession (1945) Pillow of Death (1945)
Check out their upcoming Karloff Collection as well!
Who Woulda' Believed It ????
Rondell Gunn | Lawrenceburg, Tennessee United States | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased these on VHS years ago. And, over the years, I have watched them several times. They are some of Universal Studios best short movies and well deserve wide distribution. I must admit that I am a great fan of Lon Chaney, Jr. and the additional talents of Evelyn Ankers in any Universal production is a definite plus. Without previewing each episode, I will summarize in saying that these short movies are well worth the money, the time, and I am grateful to Universal for releasing them. They are a treasure and a collection of movie history."
Horror is Universal (and so is Mystery!)
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 09/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once again, the folks at Universal have given us something to get excited about. Here are all 6 of the studio's "Inner Sanctum" mysteries in one low-priced set. Fans of Lon Chaney Jr. who were disappointed with Image's recent "Lon Chaney Collection" will certainly find much to love here. I'll readily admit that he lacked the acting chops of his contemporaries like Karloff and Lugosi, but his roles here are varied and give this "black sheep" of Universal horror a chance to shine.
Remember, these feature-length (well...most of them clock in at just over an hour) films were based on the popular radio series of the same name. As such, they tend to be a bit "talky." But the production values are high, and a couple of the stories actually generate some suspense. In addition to the sharp black & white photography, the best thing about these films is probably the supporting cast. Frequent Chaney co-star Evelyn Ankers, as well as Universal players Anne Gwynne and J. Carroll Naish are on-hand to lend support to the affable Chaney. Some of the humor hasn't aged well, but that's hardly uncommon for films of this period.
I hope Universal will continue the trend set by this and the "Boris Karloff Collection," and release more of their lesser-known films from the vaults, such as Man Made Monster and Night Monster. For now, we can enjoy these almost-forgotten gems from Hollywood's Golden Age. "
Six with Chaney
mrliteral | 05/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the days before television really took over, the rough equivalent of TV series were put out by movie studios. Churned out quickly by "B" movie units, these movies tended to be produced every few months and short (like TV shows, they would all run around the same length). For example, Universal put out a whole series of Sherlock Holmes and Abbott and Costello movies. Another example from Universal Pictures was the Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a series of six mystery movies all starring Lon Chaney, Jr. The Inner Sanctum of the title was the mind, which as the Spirit of the Inner Sanctum would warn us at the beginning of every movie (but the last one) was capable of plotting murder.
The earlier Inner Sanctum movies would provide voice-over "thoughts" from Chaney to demonstrate his inner turmoil, a gimmick which diminishes as the series goes on. In general, the movies also are plotted similarly, with Chaney accused of a murder and his attempts to vindicate himself. Even this storyline would eventually get a little more variety in the final movies.
The first disc in this two disc set features three movies: Calling Dr. Death, Weird Woman and Dead Man's Eyes. In Calling Dr. Death, Chaney is a neurologist accuses of killing his wife while having an affair with his nurse. It also features Patricia Morison, most notable in Dressed to Kill as the villainess who matches wits with Sherlock Holmes in the final Rathbone movie. (Since these movies all featured contract players, actors repeatedly show up in all sorts of Universal movies).
Weird Woman has Chaney as an anthropologist who marries a woman who believes in witchcraft. When he destroys her magic charms, bad things begin to happen. This movie also stars Evelyn Ankers, a frequent Chaney costar (including The Wolf Man and Son of Dracula). In Dead Man's Eyes, Chaney is an artist accidentally blinded; a corneal transplant provides a possible chance at sight, but he is accused of killing the donor.
Frozen Ghost (the first of three movies on the second disc) has Chaney as a hypnotist who believes he can kill with his gaze. Much of this movie takes place in a wax museum, where death and intrigue occur, and once again, Evelyn Ankers costars. The last two movies have Brenda Joyce as the female lead. Strange Confession has Chaney as a chemist developing an influenza cure, only to be derailed by his duplicitous boss. And while Pillow of Death may have the weakest title in the bunch, it offers a bit of a different plot, with Chaney - as in Calling Dr. Death - accused of murdering his wife to be with his assistant. This is also the longest of the movies, at 67 minutes.
Unlike the two actors Chaney is often associated with, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, Chaney comes off as relatively normal, which is why he is often given normal romances; relationships featuring Karloff or Lugosi tend to be either sexless or warped. As an actor, however, Chaney is just average and these movies are only passable. There are more than a few cliches in the writing and even at just an hour, the films can sometimes drag. They're not awful movies and at least they look reasonably good. On the other hand, with no extras, I can only give the set a low three stars. If you are a fan of these old movies, there will be some value to getting this set, but there are also a lot better movies available; this set should only be for either novelty value or for completists. "
Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection
Max Fraley | costa mesa, CA. United States | 02/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Little is Better. This B movie collection is the perfect medicine for staying up a little late to watch a weird little story, but not wanting to short change a reasonable night's sleep or stress out on a heavy duty of serious. These little gems are just what was intended... escape. You can imagine the squeaking door if you need, but for the most part it's sheer pleasure watching some of the best character actors ever in Universal's B movie business. Lon Chaney, Jr. has the lead in all five features so I recommend the viewers put a special focus on the Hall of Fame performers that give superb support. The mixed bag of men: Milburn Stone, Thomas Gomez, J. Carrol Naish, Paul Kelly, David Bruce, Ralph Morgan, Douglas Dumbrille, J. Edward Bromberg and that creepy little guy who snakes rather than sneaks, Martin Kosleck, are genuine characters. The gals, Brenda Joyce, Jean Parker, Patricia Morison, Anne Gwynn, Ramsey Ames, and ultimate screamer, Evelyn Ankers, are all accomplished actresses with better than good looks who deserved but never got the star treatment. I'd give the nod to Weird Woman as the best movie of the lot, but each has its own merits and memorable moments. It's a wonderful little package for the true classic B film fan.