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The Face at the Window1939

  • 3.7
Tod Slaughter was never well-known in the U.S. However, before Hammer Studios revived the genre in the late-1950s, Slaughter was British cinema's biggest (if also only) horror star. He'd successfully toured numerous grisly, vintage Victorian melodramas on the stage circuit for decades before someone thought of filming one in 1935. His surprise screen success resulted in ten such movies being released over the next five years (until the advent of World War II soured the public's taste for such campy mayhem). This later one, directed as usual by Henry King, was a bit glossier than most, reflecting the star's peak popularity. Here he plays a typical mustache-twirling dastardly villain, a wealthy aristocrat of 1880 Paris who schemes to marry a banker's unwilling daughter by any means. Meanwhile, a series of murders are being committed by the mysterious "wolf man" known as "Le Loup." As the written prologue makes clear, this feast of hammy hokum wasn't intended to be taken too seriously, but audiences at the time found them enjoyably shuddersome all the same. After his cinematic vogue ended, Slaughter returned to the stage (continuing to play villains such as "demon barber" Sweeney Todd) and later had a television suspense series. - Dennis Harvey

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Member Reviews (2)

A delightfully camp romp through fin de siècle Paris, complete with plummy English accents, terrifically bad acting and a moustachioed, caped, top-hat-wearing villain who actually says "MUHAHAHAHAHA" after every wicked deed he commits. There´s also a little bit of Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde thrown in for good measure, just to add a little gothic flavouring to the divinely prescribed nonsense.

How could anyone resist?

old school chiller is loads of fun. mustachio twirling baddies and dashing, never-say-die hero makes for a good time.