Unheimliche Geschichten (1932 film)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (November 2016)
|Directed by||Richard Oswald|
The story is a merging of three separate short stories, Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club, set within a story frame of a reporter's hunt for a crazy scientist. It is a black comedy revisiting many of the classic themes of the horror genre. It was Paul Wegener's first talking movie.
A crazed scientist, Morder (Paul Wegener), driven even crazier by his nagging wife, murders her and walls her up in a basement, a la Poe's The Black Cat. He then flees as the police and a reporter, Frank Briggs (Harald Paulsen), set out to track him down. Morder eventually escapes, by pretending to be insane, into an asylum. Though here the patients has managed to free themselves, lock up the guards, and take charge (inspired by Poe's The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether). After Morder's final escape, he turns up as president of a secret Suicide Club (based on the short story by Stevenson).
Unheimliche Geschichten was released in Germany on 7 September 1932.
In contemporary reviews, Variety declared in 1932 that Oswald had "succeeded in creating an effectively gruesome picture", specifically praising the sound, acting and photography as "excellent". In 1940, Bosley Crowther reviewed the film under the title The Living Dead for the New York Times, declaring it "a nightmare reminder of the old pre-Nazi macabre school of German films, which did all right by such things as M, but apparently had its bad moments, too."