Our resident Horrorthon psychologists JPX, AC and Mr. AC would surely get a kick out
of this really, really old exploitation
film. The movie pretends to be educating the audience about mental illness but
it’s really just an excuse to be as trashy as possible. Every few minutes they’ll
flash a little lesson about insanity onscreen before returning to the positively ludicrous plot.
The story centers around Don Maxwell, a failed actor who gets mixed up with
a mad scientist obsessed with reanimating the dead. When the scientist asks him
to kill himself so that he may experiment on his body, he does what any one of
us would do - he shoots the doctor and assumes his identity. Throughout the film Don
becomes more and more insane. I originally flirted with the idea of focusing on
descent-to-madness flicks this year and this was where my research led.
Clearly they were still struggling with the transition from silent movies to
talkies when they put this together and the result is a hilarious and epically
over-emoted piece of work. To help illustrate the crazy they include a lot of
old footage of devils from earlier silent movies. It worked and I loved it!
The biggest surprise was the inclusion of the oldest nude scenes I have ever
encountered. To be honest I didn’t know they even had boobs in the 1930’s. Until
now I have lived under the assumption that they were invented in the late 50’s
by Roger Corman.
I highly recommend this one and it shouldn’t be too difficult to track down
as it’s in the public domain.