Night Monster film poster
|Directed by||Ford Beebe|
|Produced by||Ford Beebe|
|Written by||Clarence Upson Young|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||October 20, 1942 (U.S. release)|
|Running time||73 min|
Night Monster is a 1942 American black-and-white horror film featuring Bela Lugosi and produced and distributed by Universal Pictures Company. The movie uses an original story and screenplay by Clarence Upson Young and was produced and directed by Ford Beebe. For publicity value, star billing was given to Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill, but the lead roles were played by Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey and Don Porter, with Atwill actually in a character role as a pompous doctor who becomes a victim to the title character, and Lugosi in a small part as a butler.
In a small town bordering a swampy region, unexplained murders and rumors of mysterious happenings surround the swamp-based home of the reclusive but respected Curt Ingston (Morgan). Ingston uses a wheelchair, and has invited to his home the three doctors who were trying to cure him when his paralysis set in. Already in the household are his grim-humored butler Rolf; a lecherous chauffeur, Lawrie; a mannish housekeeper, Miss Judd; an Eastern mystic, Agar Singh; and Ingston's allegedly mentally-ill sister, Margaret. Outside, the gate is watched by a shrivelled old hunchback called Torque.
Coincident with the arrival of the three male physicians is the appearance of a woman psychiatrist, Dr. Lynn Harper, summoned secretly by Margaret to prove she is not insane and help her secure freedom from the control of Ingston and Miss Judd. She arrives accompanied by neighbor mystery-writer Dick Baldwin, who has rescued her after her car's broken down in the swamp. Neither Ingston nor Miss Judd welcome her presence, but must contend with keeping her overnight until her car can be fixed.
Following dinner, at which Ingston's conviction that the three doctors are directly responsible for his current condition, the party witness an exhibition of materialization of an Egyptian skeleton by Agar Singh. Dr. Harper is forbidden to meet with Margaret. Then, one by one, the doctors are frightfully killed as they prepare for bed. Suspecting Ingston, Dick and police Captain Beggs confront him in his room, but discover he is actually not paralyzed but a quadruple amputee. Suspicion then falls on Lawrie, who was last seen driving a murdered ex-employee of the household back to town; but he too winds up dead.
In the climax, Dick confronts the killer outside the estate as he menaces Lynn, and discovers it is Ingston after all: by studying under Agar Singh, he has learned how to materialize arms and legs, hands and feet for himself, long enough to accomplish his evil deeds. As Dick struggles with him to the death, Margaret sets fire to the unholy house, committing suicide while taking the malevolent Miss Judd with her. As the house burns to the ground, Dick and Lynn are saved by Agar Singh, when Singh shoots Ingston. Only Beggs apparently escapes the burning house.
|Lionel Atwill||Dr. King|
|Irene Hervey||Dr. Lynn Harper|
|Ralph Morgan||Curt Ingston|
|Don Porter||Dick Baldwin|
|Nils Asther||Agar Singh|
|Fay Helm||Margaret Ingston|
|Frank Reicher||Dr. Timmons|
|Doris Lloyd||Sarah Judd|
|Francis Pierlot||Dr. Phipps|
|Robert Homans||Constable Cap Beggs|
- Night Monster at the Internet Movie Database
- Night Monster at AllMovie
- Night Monster at Rotten Tomatoes