Saturday, June 4, 2011

Valley of the Zombies (1946)

Blood is discovered missing and soon good doctor Maynard is visited by a strange man sporting a strange back story. It seems the good doctor once committed the creepy Murks to an insane asylum and he never forgave him for it. Murks faked his death using a technique he learned in the Valley of the Zombies, where he appears dead, but isn't. One side effect is that he needs blood. Lots of it, and preferably his type. Guess what? Doc Maynard is his type.

Well, with Maynard dead and strange things afoot, hunky doctor Terry (Robert Livingston, I presume) and the hot nurse Drake (Adrian Booth aka Lorna Gray) are on the case. Klutzy amateur sleuths bumble about while being impeded by incompetent police. This stuff just writes itself.

With a run time of just under an hour and no big names to speak of, don't confuse this Republic picture with anything other than a B cheapie. That said, they did a fair job with it. Decent score, convincing sets, decent pace. Not too creepy but maybe that was because I watched it during daylight hours. I get the impression it could have been a fairly good one had they spent just a little more effort on it. It just seemed to lack something. Zombies, for instance.

Crazy Murks faked his death and in the Haiti Voo Doo tradition, that qualifies. But, Voo Doo zombies are slaves of the Voo Doo priest. Nurse Drake does get hyptnotized, but no. There are no zombies here. Or valleys for that matter. It has the elements of Crazy and Supernatural so it fully fits the Horror genre, but no zombies here.

So, with little to say about the picture, let's poke some fun at the actors. Lorna Gray was born Virginia Pound, married a man with the last name Brian, and changed her name to Adrian Booth. Identity crisis? She worked with the Stooges and Buster Keaton, had small roles in medium pictures, larger roles in bad ones, and never worked after 1951. She lives still, pushing a hundred.

Bobby Livingston did a lot of nothings throughout the 30's, 40's, and 50's, and his last three movies were Girls for Rent, The Naughty Stewardesses, and Blazing Stewardesses. I haven't seen them so I can't say if he went out with a bang or a wimper. If IMDb ratings mean anything, these cheesecakes are better left unseen. As for Valley of the Zombies, AMRU 2.5.

No comments:

Post a Comment