Night Monster


1h 13m 1942
Night Monster

Brief Synopsis

A man uses mind over matter to replace his legs, then hunts the doctors who took them.

Film Details

Also Known As
House of Mystery
Genre
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Oct 23, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,504ft

Synopsis

Disturbed heiress Margaret Ingston catches her housekeeper, Sarah Judd, cleaning bloodstains off a staircase carpet, then tells her that she has asked the noted psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Harper, to come to the Ingston estate to prove Margaret's sanity. The housekeeper informs Margaret that Margaret's brother Kurt, an invalid, has already asked his own physicians to examine her. Meanwhile, Millie Carson, the maid, attempts to telephone the local constable, Cap Beggs, to report the mysterious goings-on at the Ingston estate, but is stopped by Rolf, the butler. Rolf threatens Millie when she attempts to quit, but Laurie, the chauffeur, comes to her rescue and offers to drive the young woman into town. Millie is forced to leave the car, however, when Laurie makes unwanted advances toward her. In nearby Hillsdale, Laurie picks up physicians Dr. King, Dr. Timmons and Dr. Phipps at the railway station, then heads back to the Ingston Towers. At the same time, Millie asks Beggs why he has not investigated the Ingstons more, particularly after the murder of local physician Dr. Kramer in the nearby marsh. That evening, Millie goes back to the estate to pick up her belongings, and is murdered near the marsh as she walks back to town. Later, mystery writer Dick Baldwin drives Lynne, who has partially witnessed Millie's murder, to the Ingston estate after her car breaks down. They are greeted by the physically disabled Kurt and his yogi, Agor Singh. After dinner, Kurt has Singh demonstrate his mystical powers of tissue regeneration for the physicians, during which he materializes a skeleton. The skeleton disappears, however, when Singh's trance is broken, and a blood stain is left on the carpet. Meanwhile, Millie's murdered body is found in the foggy marsh, and Beggs discovers footprints near the body leading to the Ingston estate. The constable goes to the estate, where Dr. King is discovered strangled to death. Soon after, Dr. Timmons is also killed, and Singh is arrested for the murders. The yogi states that he knows who the real murderer is, but will not name the culprit until he can prove his guilt. Laurie warns Phipps that he will be killed next, and offers to smuggle the physician out of the estate. Meanwhile, Lynne and Dick question Margaret about the murders, and Margaret tells them that she believes Kurt is the killer. Lynne then admits that she thought she saw Kurt walking in the fog at the same time that Millie was killed. As she is preparing to leave the estate, Lynne finds the murdered Phipps, and while searching the doctor's room, Dick and Beggs discover a secret passageway. The two then question Kurt about his paralysis, and learn that the disabled man is missing both his arms and legs. Afterward, Dick, Rolf and Beggs find the murdered Laurie hanging in his closet. Judd then tries to stop Lynne and Dick from leaving the estate, but Margaret holds the housekeeper back as the two make their escape. Margaret sets their locked room afire, and she and Judd are burned to death. Later, as they walk through the marsh, Lynne and Dick are chased by the murderous Kurt, who is now fully ambulatory using Singh's tissue regeneration process. Lynne's foot becomes trapped on a footbridge, and the mad Kurt catches them and strangles Dick into unconsciousness. Before he can murder Lynne, though, Kurt is shot and killed by Singh. The yogi then explains that he taught Kurt the secret of materialization, but the disabled man used his knowledge of the occult only to seek vengeance upon those who he believed had disabled or betrayed him. Dick, Lynne, Singh and Beggs then look on as the Ingston estate burns to the ground.

Videos

Movie Clip

Night Monster (1942) - I Didn't Send For Any Psychiatrist Butler Rolf (Bela Lugosi) inducts shrink Dr. Harper (Irene Hervey) and crime writer pal Dick (Don Porter), leading to the first scene for Ralph Morgan as Ingston, lord of the spooky manor, hoisted by driver Laurie (Leif Erikson) and introducing Nils Asther as guru-like Singh, early in Universal's Night Monster, 1942.
Night Monster (1942) - They Call It Cosmic Substance The paralyzed master of the house Ingster (Ralph Morgan) gives the floor to his yogi (Nils Asther as Agor Singh) who explains to the group (doctors Francis Pierlot and Frank Reicher, butler Bela Lugosi, mystery writer Don Porter, shrink Irene Hervey and patient Fay Helm) about creepy Eastern theories, in Universal’s programmer Night Monster, 1942.
Human Monster, The (1939) - Dearborn's Home For The Destitute Blind Having just dismissed a suspicious copper, Bela Lugosi as insurance impresario Dr. Orloff, takes a shot of something, whereupon we follow Lou (Arthur Owen) to the blind home, greeted by creepy Jake (Wilfred Walter), then joining proprietor Dearborn, who might (?) also be Lugosi, in Dark Eyes Of London, 1939, a.k.a. The Human Monster.
Night Monster (1942) - After What I've Seen And Heard Joining the expository opening for this semi-ensemble Universal programmer, Millie (Janet Shaw), maid in the mansion, expresses her discontent to Bela Lugosi as the butler Rolf, who’s not happy with her or the chauffeur Laurie (Leif Erikson), in the first feature by the noted Hollywood craftsman Ford Beebe, Night Monster, 1942.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
House of Mystery
Genre
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Oct 23, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,504ft

Articles

Night Monster


The bodies keep turning up in and around a remote mansion known as Ingston Towers, the home of a reclusive invalid, his mentally fragile sister, and a staff of suspicious characters who all seem to be hiding some secret. Part horror movie, part supernatural thriller and part murder mystery, Night Monster (1942) is a B-movie old dark house picture produced by Universal Studios, home to the great monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s. It went into production in July of 1942 under the working title House of Mystery with top billing given to Bela Lugosi, the star of the studio's first horror hit Dracula (1931).

Despite Lugosi's star billing, the odd low-budget programmer is more of an ensemble piece with Lugosi at the center of it all as the butler of Ingston Towers, overseeing the arrival of the three doctors who oversaw the treatment that left the master of the manor crippled. The film makes efficient use of sets leftover from The Wolf Man (1941) and The Ghost of Frankenstein(1942) and of the studio lot and of Universal's stock company of players. Along with Lugosi, the impressive cast includes Lionel Atwill as one of the famous physicians called to the mansion; Ralph Morgan as the crippled Kurt Ingston; Leif Erickson constantly chewing toothpicks as the womanizing chauffeur; and Nils Asther underplaying the mansion's resident yogi. The romantic duties were left to Irene Hervey, who plays the psychiatrist called by Ingston's tremulous sister; and Don Porter as Dick Baldwin, a neighbor and "who-dunnit" author invited for the festivities. Maybe the romantic sparks were for real. Porter remembered the film as "great fun... one of the reasons being I'd been nuts about Irene Hervey for years."

Lugosi's star had fallen precipitously in the years since Dracula and he bounced between starring in Poverty Row pictures and taking supporting roles in studio projects, but his name was still a draw in the horror genre. Lionel Atwill--another familiar face from the Universal horror films and a Lugosi co-star in Mark of the Vampire (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939)--was facing his own career troubles at the time. He had become notorious for alleged orgies at his mansion, but Universal supported the actor by giving him second billing. Shortly after completing shooting, Universal reunited Atwill and Lugosi in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), with Lugosi in the role of the creature he had turned down in the original Frankenstein.

Night Monster marked the feature debut of director Ford Beebe, a veteran of short films and serials, and he remembered the film fondly to horror movie historian Richard Bojarski. "Though it was a quickie, I was always kind of proud of it. Hitchcock, who was also making a picture on the lot, screened a rough cut because he was interested in Janet Shaw for a part in his film, was impressed with Night Monster and seemed to think it was a much more important picture than the studio thought. He couldn't believe the film was shot in 11 days." Beebe had previously directed Lugosi in the serial The Phantom Creeps (1939) and had nothing but praise for the actor. "I never enjoyed working with any actor more than I enjoyed working with Lugosi," he recalled. "He was not only a finished craftsman, but he was a gentleman in every sense of the word."

Night Monster was released to theaters on the bottom half of a double feature with the horror sequel The Mummy's Tomb (1942). And along with the reused sets, you can hear music cues recycled from The Wolf Man and The Ghost of Frankenstein as well.

Sources:
The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi, Arthur Lennig. University of Kentucky Press, 2003.
The Very Witching Time of Night, Gregory William Mank. McFarland and Company, 2014.
Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, Tom Weaver. McFarland, 2017.
AFI Catalog of Feature Films
IMDb

By Sean Axmaker
Night Monster

Night Monster

The bodies keep turning up in and around a remote mansion known as Ingston Towers, the home of a reclusive invalid, his mentally fragile sister, and a staff of suspicious characters who all seem to be hiding some secret. Part horror movie, part supernatural thriller and part murder mystery, Night Monster (1942) is a B-movie old dark house picture produced by Universal Studios, home to the great monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s. It went into production in July of 1942 under the working title House of Mystery with top billing given to Bela Lugosi, the star of the studio's first horror hit Dracula (1931). Despite Lugosi's star billing, the odd low-budget programmer is more of an ensemble piece with Lugosi at the center of it all as the butler of Ingston Towers, overseeing the arrival of the three doctors who oversaw the treatment that left the master of the manor crippled. The film makes efficient use of sets leftover from The Wolf Man (1941) and The Ghost of Frankenstein(1942) and of the studio lot and of Universal's stock company of players. Along with Lugosi, the impressive cast includes Lionel Atwill as one of the famous physicians called to the mansion; Ralph Morgan as the crippled Kurt Ingston; Leif Erickson constantly chewing toothpicks as the womanizing chauffeur; and Nils Asther underplaying the mansion's resident yogi. The romantic duties were left to Irene Hervey, who plays the psychiatrist called by Ingston's tremulous sister; and Don Porter as Dick Baldwin, a neighbor and "who-dunnit" author invited for the festivities. Maybe the romantic sparks were for real. Porter remembered the film as "great fun... one of the reasons being I'd been nuts about Irene Hervey for years." Lugosi's star had fallen precipitously in the years since Dracula and he bounced between starring in Poverty Row pictures and taking supporting roles in studio projects, but his name was still a draw in the horror genre. Lionel Atwill--another familiar face from the Universal horror films and a Lugosi co-star in Mark of the Vampire (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939)--was facing his own career troubles at the time. He had become notorious for alleged orgies at his mansion, but Universal supported the actor by giving him second billing. Shortly after completing shooting, Universal reunited Atwill and Lugosi in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), with Lugosi in the role of the creature he had turned down in the original Frankenstein. Night Monster marked the feature debut of director Ford Beebe, a veteran of short films and serials, and he remembered the film fondly to horror movie historian Richard Bojarski. "Though it was a quickie, I was always kind of proud of it. Hitchcock, who was also making a picture on the lot, screened a rough cut because he was interested in Janet Shaw for a part in his film, was impressed with Night Monster and seemed to think it was a much more important picture than the studio thought. He couldn't believe the film was shot in 11 days." Beebe had previously directed Lugosi in the serial The Phantom Creeps (1939) and had nothing but praise for the actor. "I never enjoyed working with any actor more than I enjoyed working with Lugosi," he recalled. "He was not only a finished craftsman, but he was a gentleman in every sense of the word." Night Monster was released to theaters on the bottom half of a double feature with the horror sequel The Mummy's Tomb (1942). And along with the reused sets, you can hear music cues recycled from The Wolf Man and The Ghost of Frankenstein as well. Sources: The Immortal Count: The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi, Arthur Lennig. University of Kentucky Press, 2003. The Very Witching Time of Night, Gregory William Mank. McFarland and Company, 2014. Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, Tom Weaver. McFarland, 2017. AFI Catalog of Feature Films IMDb By Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was House of Mystery. The Hollywood Reporter review states that this was Donald H. Brown's first film as an associate producer. Hollywood Reporter production charts include Elyse Knox in the cast, but she did not appear in the released film. Modern sources state that she was replaced in the role of "Millie Carson" by Janet Shaw. Modern sources also state that actor Cyril Delevanti, who plays "Torque" in the film, was the father-in-law of producer-director Ford Beebe.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1942

Released in United States on Video August 6, 1996

Released in United States 1942

Released in United States on Video August 6, 1996