Mingling Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with the exploits of Jack The Ripper, this literate horror thriller brought Boris Karloff – who was approaching 70 years of age – back to British films after more than 20 years away.
For the occasion, screenwriter Jan Reed contributed a fascinating plot that involves novelist and social reformer James Rankin (Karloff ) investigating an old murder case and the execution of serial killer Edward Styles – known as “The Haymarket Strangler” – 20 years previously.
Intending to prove that Styles was, in fact, innocent, Rankin discovers a lot more than he bargained for. When he eventually obtains the knife used in the murders, it unlocks a dark secret within himself, and the movie takes a very unusual turn.
There’s a splendidly atmospheric ending (heightened by Lionel Banes’ vivid black-and-white photography), with Karloff in a graveyard, unravelling the mystery at last – to his own cost.
Karloff achieved the transformation into a grotesque figure simply by taking out his dentures!
Released in some markets as The Haunted Strangler.
Dr Kenneth McColl
Newgate Prison Turnkey
Newgate Prison Governor
Peggy Ann Clifford