Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dead Man's Eyes

(1944) ***

Dead Man's Eyes is one of 6 Universal Studios B-movies based on a popular radio series that ran from 1941-1956. Lon Chaney Jr. stars in all 6 murder mysteries.

The two Inner Sanctum movies I've watched thus far inexplicably begin with a bored and depressed head in a jar giving the exact same introduction: "This is the Inner Sanctum, a strange, fantastic world controlled by massive living, pulsating flesh. The mind - it destroys, distorts, creates monsters, commits murder. Yes, even you without knowing it can commit murder." Ok, whatever you say, weirdo.

In Dead Man's Eyes, Lon Chaney Jr. plays a struggling artist on the verge of completing what he believes will be his masterpiece. He hopes that fame and fortune will prove to his fiancée’s wealthy father that he is a worthy suitor.

Tragedy strikes when he goes blind after accidentally washing his eyeballs with acetic acid instead of boric acid. (Keeping the two bottles of the same size next to each other in his bathroom cabinet was pretty idiotic but o’well, that’s what happened.) The doctor informs him that the only way he will ever see again is if he can find a willing eye donor. Almost immediately after his future father-in-law arranges to donate his eyes upon his death he is found murdered in his home. Lon Chaney Jr. is the prime suspect although there are several other characters with legitimate motives including his fiancée Heather and his model Tania, who is unmistakably in love with him.

Dead Man's Eyes is hardly profound but it's still a fun little film. I originally disliked Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man movies because of his continuous why me? self pity but I started to love him once I grasped that it is precisely his gimmick. He built a legendary career out of playing the role of the good natured chum that bad things happen to and he was damn good at it. And who needs fancy pants special effects when he can do this? 


Catfreeek said...

This sounds good and that is one creepy eye pic.

Octopunk said...

Why wash your eyes with any kind of acid, really?

I dig that spooky head! Wish he wasn't full of crap.

Landshark said...

Awesome review. Love the intro--I'll pass on the pulsating flesh, thanks.

JPX said...

I have watched and enjoyed this film series and everything you say is spot on, especially the quip about the "host". Hilarious.

DCD said...

I was wondering that about the acid too, Octo. Great review,JSP!

50PageMcGee said...

and while we're on the topic, foot creme shouldn't come in a tube that looks like a toothpaste tube.

in fact, *nothing* should come in a tube that looks like a toothpaste tube, except toothpaste.