Thursday, October 15, 2009

'The Monster Walks' is a mediocre early talkie

The Monster Walks (1932)
Starring: Rex Lease, Sidney Bracy, Mischa Auer, Vera Reynolds and Willie Best ("Sleep 'n' Eat")
Director: Frank Strayer
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

The night following the death of Earlton Manor's master, those gathered for the reading of his will are menaced by a killer who seems to move unseen through the sprawling house's shadow-filled rooms. Will Dr. Clayton (Lease) discover the identity of the killer in time to save the prime target, his fiance, Ruth (Reynolds)?

A slightly dull example of the "Dark Old House" mystery films that flourished in the early days of the talkies, "The Monster Walks" has a couple of respectable twists and tense moments. It's not the strongest example of this faded film sub-genre, but it's decent enough.

I wonder: Is this one of the first examples of an ape being the possible killer in a mystery film? It seems like by the late 30s, every fourth low-budget thriller or comedy featured an ape (or a guy in a gorilla suit). Is this where the trend started? (One of the sources of dread of the film is a large, violent chimp that's kept in a cage in the house's basement.)


  1. Have you thought about adding some new tags for posts, such as "Apes", "Violent Chimps" and/or "Gorillas"?