Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Walking Dead

(1936) **

Framed by mobsters for a murder he did not commit, ex-con John Ellman (Boris Karloff) is sent to the electric chair. Despite evidence strongly proving his innocence he is promptly executed. In a bizarre effort to find out what happens to the soul after death, mad scientist, Dr. Evan Beaumont, acquires John’s corpse and reanimates him for “research” purposes. Although John, who can barely speak and is only able to shuffle around, does not know who framed him, he develops a special power that enables him to “sense” those who are responsible for his death. Rather than directly killing them John gives them the old “evil eye” and they end up killing themselves in panic-induced accidents. Ultimately it is suggested that God is using John as an instrument of divine justice. God works in mysterious ways, right?
Although it always a pleasure to watch Boris Karloff onscreen, The Walking Dead is a lightweight affair that attempts to ask big questions, which are never answered in a satisfactory manner (i.e. Prometheus). The line “Leave the dead to their maker. The Lord our God is a jealous God” is used twice and I suppose it is the moral of the story. All that matters, really, is that Karloff is essentially playing Frankenstein’s Monster without the makeup. His reanimation scene is straight out of Frankenstein along with the predictable line, “He’s alive!” Karloff is great as always and in The Walking Dead he does an excellent job at conveying a man in limbo, caught between the living and the afterlife. Part hardboiled mobster movie and part monster movie, The Walking Dead never really finds its footing. Watch it to see Karloff but only while you are cooking dinner or ironing your clothing for the next day.


DCD said...

Do you really iron your clothes for the next day?

JPX said...

I just did!

AC said...

hey, i didn't know we could do chores while watching! that's a game-changer!

(just kidding)

Catfreeek said...

Who irons anymore?

Octopunk said...

Gay men. (cough)

What I meant to say was their go-to quote about God doesn't really match the plot: the guy comes back supposedly with God's power and He whacks all the dude's enemies from life? That's awesome! Why leave that alone?

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I liked this movie way more than you JPX but I admit that giving it ***** was a tad hasty. I'm going to go back to my rule of not ranking a movie ***** unless I've seen it at least 3 times, preferably over several years.

I must ask - did you watch a crappy quality version of this movie? It's one of those public domain movies and watching a shitty copy can ruin the experience.