Night Monster (1942), starring Ralph Morgan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill
In Night Monster, Kurt Ingston is a rich recluse. He invites the doctors who left him a hopeless cripple to his desolate mansion in the swamps. And one by one, they meet horrible deaths. But who can be killing them? Is the answer supernatural?
In short, Night Monster is a murder mystery with a supernatural twist. A rich, crippled recluse has an unusual household. And, he invited the three doctors that he blames for his crippling to an evening at his mansion. He demonstrates, with the help of an Indian guru, matter creation by mental energy alone.
And then, the doctors (and others) begin dying one by one. But who’s committing the murders? And how?
A subplot deals with Ingston’s mentally ill sister, Margaret. But she’s convinced that she’s not mentally ill. And she’s summoned lady psychiatrist, Dr. Lynn Harper, to prove she’s not insane and help her secure freedom. In turn, Dr. Harper’s neighbor, mystery writer Dick Baldwin, has come along after helping her with her broken-down car.
Cast of characters
- Ralph Morgan (Weird Woman) as Curt Ingston. He’s the rich, reclusive, bitter cripple who hosts the evening at his remote mansion. Accent on bitter. And since Western science has failed him, he’s been experimenting with Eastern Mysticism.
- Irene Hervey (Cactus Flower) as Dr. Lynn Harper. The psychiatrist who Margaret summons to evaluate Margaret.
- Don Porter (Bachelor in Paradise) as Dick Baldwin. The murder mystery writer who helps Dr. Harper to arrive. Strangely, Curt Ingston’s a fan of his work.
- Fay Helm as Margaret Ingston. The mentally unstable sister … who may not be mentally unstable after all.
- Nils Asther as Agar Singh. The Indian guru who demonstrates the ability to create matter from energy, by making a physical skeleton appear. And, he’s been teaching Ingston as well.
- Leif Erickson (Strait-Jacket) as Lawrie. The skirt-chasing chauffeur, who chases all females. A truly unlikable character, due to good acting.
- Doris Lloyd as Sarah Judd. The unlikable, stiff, housekeeper who keeps Margaret under her thumb.
- Robert Homans as Police Captain “Cap” Beggs. Thee typical movie homicide detective. He’s befuddled with good reason. Since the murders seem to violate natural laws.
- Lionel Atwill (Son of Frankenstein) as Dr. King. He’s one of the three doctors that Ingston blames. One of the first doctors to die.
- Frank Reicher (The Mummy’s Ghost) Dr. Timmons. Another doctor, doomed to die.
- Francis Pierlot as Dr. Phipps. The third of the doctors.
- Bela Lugosi (The Devil Bat) as Rolf. Ingston’s butler, who runs the household with a firm hand.
- Janet Shaw as Millie the maid. She’s the first person to leave the household. Lawrie molests her, and she mysteriously disappears. Hmm …
Editorial review of Night Monster courtesy of Amazon.com
Night Monster is horrific tale filled with strange characters, secret passages, dark storms and a murderer who has mastered the art of “mind over matter”. Kurt Ingston (Ralph Morgan) is a helpless cripple due to the incompetence of three doctors (Lionel Atwill, Frank Reicher, Francis Pierlot). He invites them to visit him at his estate on the pretext of donating money to medicine. One by one, the doctors are mysteriously murdered. The spooky mansion is filled with strange characters, any one of whom could be the killer. There is the ominous butler (Bela Lugosi), the grim housekeeper (Doris Lloyd), the lecherous chauffeur (Leif Erikson), a mystic (Nils Asther) and Ingston’s demented sister (Fay Helm). Trying to solve the murders – and stay alive – are a psychiatrist (Irene Hervey) and a mystery writer (Don Porter).