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  Frozen Ghost, The Look Into My Eyes...
Year: 1945
Director: Harold Young
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Evelyn Ankers, Milburn Stone, Douglass Dumbrille, Martin Kosleck, Elena Verdugo, Tala Birell, Arthur Hohl
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gregor the Great (Lon Chaney Jr) is a world famous - and rich - hypnotist who tonight is performing his act on national radio with the help of his assistant Maura (Evelyn Ankers). Under his influence, she manages to psychically see social security numbers of members of the audience and while this impresses most of them, there's a drunk among them who boorishly protests that it's all done with mirrors and a trick. Irritated, Gregor invites the man up on stage and attempts to place him under a trance, but so obnoxious is this man that just for a second, Gregor wishes him dead. And he gets his wish...

What's this? Lon Chaney Jr looking pained and narrating in a whispery voiceover? It must be another Inner Sanctum mystery, although this time the mystery element takes a back seat as The Frozen Ghost tends to spell out its thrills, so that we know who the killer is before the good guys do. It should be noted that there isn't a ghost featured here, frozen or otherwise, so fans of spooks will be feeling let down. It should also be noted that the most fantastical aspect for this series is once again that Chaney is able to have the ladies fall at his feet: there are three of them vying for his affections this time, which never convinces.

The mystery death is not the one we witness in the first ten minutes, however, it's one that occurs later on. No, that drunk simply had a bad ticker and the stress of being on the radio did him in, but no one can persuade Gregor that it wasn't his fault as he knows in his mind that it was his special powers that are responsible for the demise. Stressed out, he cancels his public appearances and tells Maura that his engagement to her is off for good, despite her protestations. To recuperate, he takes up the offer of an admirer, Madame Monet (Tala Birell), to stay at her mansion, which just happens to be a wax museum as well.

One good thing about these Inner Sanctum thrillers was that they usually employed a cult forties B-movie actor or actress to back up the talents of Chaney, so here along with the ever-reliable Ankers we had Martin Kosleck as the dodgy wax sculptor Rudi. He used to be a surgeon until an accident lost him his job, so now skulks around the museum chatting to the exhibits - too obvious a red herring to be a villain? Don't you believe it! He is jealous of the attention Madame Monet's niece Nina (Elena Verdugo) is showering upon our troubled hero and when Gregor's powers appear to make Monet collapse, could Rudi be involved with her subsequent disappearance? Not that she's too far away... There's a nice touch of the macabre about the wax dummies (actual dummies, too! Not extras standing very still!), as there always is in such chillers, but the plot's reliance on hypnotism, here akin to magic, is likely to elicit snickers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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