THE BOOGIE MAN WILL GET YOU (1942) Reviews and overview

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The Boogie Man Will Get You is a 1942 comedy horror film directed by Lew Landers and starring Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.

This was the final production Karloff made under his contract with Columbia Pictures, and it was filmed in the wake of his success in the Broadway production Arsenic and Old Lace.

As he had done several times previously, Karloff played the part of a “mad scientist”, Professor Billings, who is using the basement of his inn to conduct experiments into using electricity to create a race of super-humans. The inn is bought by a new owner, who is initially unaware of the work Billings is conducting.

Reviews:

“The dialogue is deliciously archaic throughout as if a drunken Vincent Price was mocking passages in some old Victorian novel. Someone had a good time writing this, and the actors ride that spirit. Lorre gets a great glint of mischief in his eyes. Karloff riffs on his zillion past mad scientists.” Acidemic

“So some bad dialogue more suited to the stage and an uneven supporting cast are clear demerits here, but more than anything the script is what keeps this from being better than it could (and should) be. In particular, what little of a plot there is falls completely off the rails once the fascist suicide bomber arrives on the scene, demanding to be taken to the nearby munitions plant.” Scared Silly

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“Karloff and Lorre are hilarious here, playing off each other like a time honoured comedy double act. If they weren’t so talented at other things they could have made a career of playing roles like this like a more sophisticated Abbott & Costello.” Apocalypse Later

” … frightening people in theatres takes more ingenuity and adroitness than the authors of this screenplay put into it”. New York Daily News (1942)

” …an absurdist comedy, somewhat in debt to Arsenic and Old Lace (which Karloff was appearing in on stage at the time), played strictly for laughs and so lacking any sense of maliciousness. Billings’ experiments seem a satire of Captain America, and his ‘victims’ are rather less dead than is first implied, making this a wholly victimless romp. Karloff seems to be having fun with a comedy variation on his tragic characters […] slight but amusing…” The Reprobate

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