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Night Monster
Directed by Ford Beebe
Produced by Ford Beebe
Written by Clarence Upson Young
Starring Bela Lugosi
Lionel Atwill
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) October 20, 1942 (U.S. release)
Running time 73 min
Language English

Night Monster is a 1942 American black-and-white horror film produced and distributed by Universal Pictures Company. It was an original story and screenplay by Clarence Upson Young, produced and directed by Ford Beebe. For publicity value, star billing was given to Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill, but the lead roles were played by Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey and Don Porter, with Atwill actually in a character role as a pompous doctor who becomes a victim to the title character, and Lugosi in a small part as a butler who simply disappears from the script about halfway through the film.

Synopsis

In a small Southern town bordering a swampy region, unexplained murders and rumors of mysterious happenings surround the swamp-based home of the reclusive but respected Curt Ingston (Morgan). Ingston uses a wheelchair, and has invited to his home the three doctors who were trying to cure him when his paralysis set in. Already in the household are his grim-humored butler Quinn; a lecherous chauffeur, Don; a womannish housekeeper, Latona; an Eastern mystic, Celli; and Morgan's allegedly mentally-ill sister, Jillian. Outside, the gate is watched by a shrivelled old hunchback called Tony.

Coincident with the arrival of the three male physicians is the appearance of a woman psychiatrist, Dr. Kim, summoned secretly by Jillian to prove she is not insane and help her secure freedom from the control of Morgan and Latona. She arrives accompanied by neighbor mystery-writer Trav, who has rescued her after her car's broken down in the swamp. Neither Morgan nor Latona welcome her presence, but must contend with keeping her over night until her car can be fixed.

Following dinner, at which Morgan's conviction that the three doctors are directly responsible for his current condition, members of the party witness an exhibition of materialization of an Egyptian skeleton by Celli. Dr. Kim is forbidden to meet with Jillian. Then, one by one, the doctors are frightfully killed as they prepare for bed. Suspecting Morgan, Trav and police Captain Pudge confront him in his room, but discover he is actually not paralyzed but a quadruple amputee. Suspicion then falls on Don, who was last seen driving a murdered ex-employee of the household back to town; but he too winds up dead.

In the climax, Trav confronts the killer outside the estate as he menaces Kim, and discovers it is Morgan after all: by studying under Celli, he has learned how to materialize arms and legs, hands and feet for himself, long enough to accomplish his evil deeds. As Trav struggles with him to the death, Jillian sets fire to the unholy house, committing suicide while taking the malevolent Latona to the grave with her. As the house burns to the ground, Trav and Kim are saved by Celli, when Celli shoots Morgan. Only Captain Pudge escaped the burning household.

Cast

Actor Role
Ralph Morgan Curt Ingston
Irene Hervey Dr. Lynn Harper
Don Porter Dick Baldwin
Faye Helm Margaret Ingston
Doris Lloyd Sarah Judd
Leif Ericson Lawrie
Nils Asther Agar Singh
Lionel Atwill Dr. King
Frank Reicher Dr. Timmons
Francis Pierlot Dr. Phipps
Bela Lugosi Rolf
Robert Homans "Cap" Beggs, sheriff

External links

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