Friday, August 20, 2010

Karloff slays 'em dead when
meeting Abbott and Costello

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer (aka "Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff") (1949)
Starring: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Boris Karloff and Lénore Aubert
Director: Charles Barton
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

When Freddy (Costello), a dim-witted but harmless bellhop, is suspected of murdering a high-powered attorney, the arrogant hotel detective at the Lost Cavern Hotel, Casey (Abbott) decides to help him clear his name by prove that one of the other guests--many of whom were about to be ruined by the tell-all memoirs the attorney was about to publish. As evidence against Freddy starts to plie up (along with more bodies), a mysterious masked figure targets him for death as well... and wacky hi-jinx ensue.

"Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer" is a fast-paced, hilarious comedy that mixes the Bud and Lou's fast patter with a who-dunnit spoof. There are plenty of sinister suspects (with Boris Karloff leading the pack as a murderous swami), but the mystery isn't truly over until the final punchline (which is, literally, a punch line in this film).

Although the mystery elements of the script are weakened by virtue of having too many red-herring suspects, so virtually none of them are given any real development or screentime (with Karloff and Aubert being the only exeptions), the comedy aspects of the film are grand. The sequence where it's proven that some people truly are too dumb to die, and Freddy whiling away the time while waiting for the killer to arrive in the caverns from which the hotel draws its name, are priceless.


  1. I've owned this for quite some time and never watched it for some reason, but last summer when I was making an effort to see all of the Karloff I could find, I eventually got around to this flick. Maybe it was movie fatigue at the time, but I found it quite dull. Abbott and Costello can be a bit hit and miss for me, so I chalked it up to that.

    Then this summer I dug out some choice Karloff efforts and gave them another viewing, this one included and I found it much more enjoyable. So my first impression was wrong.

    Rip Off

  2. Steve, Rip and anyone else out there: If you enjoy classic horror-comedies like "Abbott & Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff" you may enjoy my blog-to-book project, "Scared Silly: Classic Hollywood Horror-Comedies." I am reviewing the majority of films in this genre that were released from the 1920s through the mid 1960s. The book will include a foreword by character actor Daniel Roebuck. You can check out the blog at - enjoy!

  3. I've been looking at your blog for a while, Paul. Good luck with the book!

    Rip: I find that I need to be in a certain kind of mood to enjoy Abbott & Costello. Maybe the time just wasn't right the first time you watched this one. That said, I think there are a number of them that are indeed better movies.