The Frozen Ghost – USA, 1945 – overview

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[Total: 6   Average: 2.7/5]


The Frozen Ghost is a 1945 horror mystery film starring Lon Chaney Jr and Evelyn Ankers. Directed by Harold Young, it is the fourth film in the Inner Sanctum series that was spun of the popular radio show of the era. It was a Universal production.


Chaney plays Alex Gregor, a stage psychic whose career is shattered when a drunken skeptic that he has invited onto the stage days while in a trance. While the authorities put it down to natural causes, Gregor is convinced that his powers killed the man and immediately quits as a stage performer and retires from public view.

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His manager, George Keene, arranges for Gregor to work for Mme Valerie Monet (Tala Birell), who runs a wax museum, where the other employees include mentally unstable former plastic surgeon Rudi Poldan (Martin Kosleck) and Valerie’s niece Nina Coudreau (Elena Verdugo). Gregor is soon caught up in a mess of frustrated desires – Valerie is jealous of the attention he pays to her niece, Rudy is also jealous of Gregor’s appeal to Valerie and Nina, and Gregor’s stage assistant and fiancee, Maura Daniel (Evelyn Ankers) reappears in his life. Things come to a head when Valerie is apparently killed, one again by Gregor’s psychic powers. But has she really been killed, or is there a sinister plot afoot? Fans of such murder mysteries will need no clues in order to make their minds up.


Notably lacking in ghosts, frozen or otherwise, this is nevertheless an entertainingly lurid affair, with Chaney playing the hapless – not to say gormless – victim character that he excelled at. It’s also good to see him reunited with The Wolfman star and scream queen Evelyn Ankers too.


Like all the Inner Sanctum films, The Frozen Ghost is introduced by a distorted head seen within a crystal ball, who tells us that the Inner Sanctum is “a strange, fantastic world controlled by a mass of living, pulsating flesh” (which could actually be a description of the producers). This introduction and standard credit sequence makes the Inner Sanctum films closer to a TV series than a regular movie (and sure enough, that’s what it later became).


Posted by David Flint

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