A mad scientist is forced to leave San Francisco when his experiments become known. He lands on a tropical island, takes control and terrorizes the local populace. The survivor of a ... See full summary »
Dr. Alfred Morris, a university chemistry professor, rediscovers an ancient Mayan formula for a gas which turns men into pliant, obedient, zombie-like ghouls. After medical student Ted Allison becomes a guinea pig for Morris, the professor imagines that Allison's fiancee, beautiful concert singer Isabel Lewis, wants to break off the engagement because she prefers the professor as a more "mature" lover but in reality loves Eric Iverson, her accompanist. In order to bring Ted back from his trance-like states, Morris commands him to perform a cardiectomy on recently deceased or living bodies in order to use serum from their hearts as a temporary antidote. When the serial murders seem to coincide with Isabel's touring schedule, ace reporter "Scoop" McClure gets on the mad scientist's trail.Written by
This was the only "Universal" horror film that touched upon the subject of Zombies. See more »
I can't help feeling a sense of evil in all this.
Dr. Alfred Morris:
Moral concepts? I'm a scientist. To me there is no good or evil, only true or false. Work with one; discard the other.
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Even in a magically sentimental series such as the Universal Monsters there is bound to be a clunker now and then. THE MAD GHOUL is one of the least effective entries out of the 1940's for the horror studio.
George Zucco is usually reliable as a ruthless madman, but he doesn't seem sufficiently menacing this time around. He subjects a student of his to a poisonous gas and turns the unsuspecting victim into a zombie-like...well, ghoul. But the events that transpire come off as flat and dull and not as interesting as they should be.
Evelyn Ankers, Universal's Scream Queen of the 1940's, is cast as a singer here. The musical segments with her crooning really begin to grate on the nerves after awhile and add boredom to an already limp movie.
Turhan Bey is wasted as a love interest with nothing to do but look dashing.
There are quite a few enjoyable horrors from 1943 in the Universal stable (FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN and SON OF DRACULA for example) but THE MAD GHOUL is not one of them.
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