Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Monster Walks (1932)

In the Earlton household, young woman Ruth has come back for the reading of her late father's will. There's a disquieting atmosphere thanks to the shriekings of his pet ape, locked safely away...or so it seems. After a furry attempt on Ruth's life, her fiancee begins investigating, determined to see no harm come to her...

The Monster Walks is an interesting little horror film. Coming from 1932, it feels like an earlier prototype for a lot of the old dark house mysteries/comedies we saw in the 40s, complete with a suspicious ape too! Although in this case it's a real one, not a guy in a suit.

The film is a bit quiet, and a little slow, but never boring.

Despite these issues, it does some things very right! It builds up a good atmosphere of =  and oppression, and the cast is well utilised. While the characters aren't the most well-rounded, there's a small amount of them, and they're distinct enough. The girl, the old maid, the creepy guy, the handsome guy, the old guy, the old guy in the wheelchair, etc. This makes the mystery better than when you've either got too many or not enough suspects.

The plot element of the ape in the house is good. It doesn't feel too fanciful, and is a good =  means of building a spooky vibe where anything can happen. Well...I say anything, but really the = is incredibly specific, but you know what I mean!

Something that really hampers The Monster Walks is the complete lack of a soundtrack. Some movies can survive not having music, but this isn't one of 'em!

I like that they never blindly believe the ape's guilt until the last 5 minutes, but instead = frequently, to confirm or deny the theory, and always suspect something more is afoot/going on. However they are guilty of an incredibly stupid act in the climax, when they leave Mary alone with the only possible suspect remaining!

Brilliantly named Exodus, the comedy relief chauffeur is a great addition.
Oh no, when he knows there's danger on the loose, he packs heat! The dude's got a 44 magnum, and is ready to use it!

acting   but   sometimes weird enunciations. Coupled with the = cheesy dialogue, it's honestly comparable to Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, so if you like that show, you've gotta see this!

The leads here all do perfectly respectable jobs, despite a few lines coming out weaker than others. Mischa Auer is fine as the = creepy foreigner, and he's particularly god in the climax. Lastly, the most notable and recognisable performer is the great Willie Best. It's not his best performance, and he's much better in other films, but his natural charisma still shines through, and livens the proceedings. As the film's only source of comedy, he does his job well, and gets a few funny lines, namely one to end/close the movie out on.

The Monster Walks isn't an amazing example of its genre, but it's not bad, and has got some merit to enjoy.

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