The Black Sleep

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Black Sleep
Blacksleepposter.jpg
Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Produced by Howard W. Koch
executive
Aubrey Schenck
Written by John C. Higgins
Based on story by Gerald Drayson Adams
Starring Basil Rathbone
Akim Tamiroff
Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Carradine
Bela Lugosi
Herbert Rudley
Tor Johnson
Narrated by Basil Rathbone
Music by Les Baxter
Cinematography Gordon Avil
Edited by John Schreyer
Production
company
Bel-Air Productions (Prospect Productions)
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • June 1956 (1956-06)
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $225,000[1]

The Black Sleep is a 1956 independently made American black-and-white horror film, scripted by John C. Higgins (from a story by Gerald Drayson Adams) and developed for producers Aubrey Schenck and Howard W. Koch, who had a four-picture finance-for-distribution arrangement with United Artists. The film was directed by Reginald LeBorg and stars Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Bela Lugosi (in his final film role), and Akim Tamiroff in a role originally written for Peter Lorre. In a supporting role is Ed Wood-regular Tor Johnson.

The film was released as a double feature with the British science fiction monster film The Creeping Unknown. The Black Sleep was re-released in 1962 under the title Dr. Cadman's Secret.

Plot[edit]

Set in England in 1872, the story concerned a prominent, knighted surgeon whose wife has fallen into a coma caused by a deep-seated brain tumor. Due to medicine's state of the art at the time, he does not know how to reach the tumor without risking brain damage or death to the woman he loves, so he undertakes to secretly experiment on the brains of living, but involuntary, human subjects who are under the influence of a powerful Indian anesthetic, Nind Andhera, which he calls the "Black Sleep". Once he has finished his experiment, surviving subjects are revived and placed, in seriously degenerated and mutilated states, in a hidden cellar in the gloomy, abandoned country abbey where he conducts his experiments.[2][3]

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Produced during 1955, the film was released to theaters in the early summer of 1956. This was just ahead of the TV syndication, through Screen Gems, of two decades of Universal monster movies, under the package title Shock Theater. Writer Higgins, director LeBorg, and stars Rathbone, Chaney, Carradine, and Lugosi had all been significantly associated with Universal horror films or related B movies. The Black Sleep is similar to Universal's two "houseful" of monster films released in the mid-40s, House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, only relying on a completely new cadre of human monsters.

Home Video[edit]

The Black Sleep was released by Kino on Blu ray in 2016 and contains audio commentary by Tom Weaver and David Schecter.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tom Weaver, Interviews with B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup McFarland, 1 Jan 2006 p 211
  2. ^ Warren, Bill (2017-01-12). Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, The 21st Century Edition. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625058. 
  3. ^ Rhodes, Gary Don (2012-06-01). Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers. McFarland. ISBN 9781476600772. 

External links[edit]