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Crimes at the Dark House
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from 299 votes
Release: March 1940 (UK) /

Crimes at the Dark House

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: George King,
Stars: , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: A madman murders Sir Percival Glyde. Taking on his victim's identity, the man returns to the Glyde ancestral home, Blackwater Park, in hopes of claiming a large inheritance. However, the estate is heavily in debt. Still hungry for wealth, the false "Glyde" takes advantage of a long-standing betrothal promise to marry young and beautiful heiress Laurie Fairlie. Having his true identity revealed could ruin everything, but this lascivious and diabolical "Glyde" is more than willing to kill anyone who stands in his way... This story is loosely based on Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White. Written by L. Hamre

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Critic Reviews

Tod Slaughter. 60 years ago he dominated British B movies, 30 years ago no one remembered him, to-day he is being re-discovered and given the respect he has always deserved. Welcome back Tod! Modern film historians compare him to Boris Karloff and while that is a nice accolade it is not entirely appropriate. If we have to compare Tod to another British screen villain I would choose Lionel Atwill. Oh yes, Boris could be menacingly evil but there was always a motivating force behind him, a drive that so obsessed him he lost sight of everything else (check out THE DEVIL COMMANDS or THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES or even BEFORE I HANG to see what I mean.) Lionel and Tod were evil for no other reason than they simply WANTED to be; they were mean and they liked it!

That having been said now lets discuss this movie. You know you are in for a great time when the picture has only just begun and a killer strikes by hammering a wooden spike into the ear of a sleeping man! That killer is our Tod (what a surprise!) and he impersonates the dead man, Sir Percival Glyde, to take possession of a large inheritance. Trouble rises when Tod discovers he has inherited nothing but a big stack of bills and if he wants to avoid Debtor's Prison he'd better find a rich wife right away! Is that a problem? Not for Tod, he has set his sights on a lovely young maiden in a nearby estate. So what if she is young enough to be his daughter she is rich and who knows, she just might have an . . .er . . . "accident" not long after the wedding.

This is melodrama at its best. The false Sir Percival is hardly inside his manor house before he begins canoodling with a buxom chambermaid. When she informs him that she is expecting his child he leads the gullible girl to the boat dock where he strangles her ("You wanted to be a bride? I'll make you one! A bride of Death! Heh, heh heh!") Meanwhile there is another woman hanging around who claims that Sir Percival is already married . . . to her, and they have a daughter! Honestly stealing a fortune is such a very complicated thing! Tod has to find a way to eliminate them too. Does he? You will find out.

Part of the fun of watching a Tod Slaughter film is seeing just how perversely evil he can be and knowing that at the end his fate will be a fitting one; this movie does not disappoint on any level.

Is this his best film? Some people say so; though my personal favourite is THE FACE AT THE WINDOW. Now sit back, imagine yourself in a British theatre back in the Victorian days and enjoy the show. Feel free to hiss the villain and cheer the hero and heroine. Enjoy!

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