Murders in the Rue Morgue (2/21/1932) Lugosi & Florey’s consolation prize for not being chosen for Team Frankenstein and it may contain one of Bela’s best performances…I think it’s better than his Dracula. Beyond the expressionistic set design, great scenery chewing and Grand Guignol voyerism….at it’s heart, it is torture porn with a beastiality chaser or just another madman using hokum science as an excuse to torture young women to death. I am sensing a theme here. Seriously the CSI voodoo science makes absolutely no sense, so don’t dwell on it. If you are working in a sideshow, I seriously doubt you have a medical degree…just saying.
The structure is unusual, we are given the movie’s horror scene pretty quickly instead of building up to it. And considering the outrage that we just witnessed, putting the mother’s violent murder and the abduction behind closed doors seems backwards. There is also some sort of coded commentary on the perfect blood of the sweet young thing versus the unclean blood of the streetwalker. It’s never quite clear why Erik the ape strangles his owner, perhaps he didn’t want her transformed her into ape, he wanted to whisk her off and mate with her just as she was. Oh ain’t that sweet?
The plot maybe nonsense but there is no arguing the film is beautiful, the expressionist set design makes one want to freeze frame just to look at it. Even the costumes and hair are way over the top for a Universal Horror movie. This one never makes you think it is set in Universal’s quasi-bavarian monsterland. I just wish they had put all this effort into a better story.