The Black Sleep

1956

Action / Horror / Sci-Fi

3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 33%
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 1067

Synopsis


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Cast

John Carradine as Borg aka Bohemond
Basil Rathbone as Sir Joel Cadman
Lon Chaney Jr. as Mungo
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
582.76 MB
1280*694
English
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 1 / 0
1.23 GB
1920*1040
English
23.976 fps
1hr 22 min
P/S 2 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mackeral 10 / 10

Terrific Cast of Veteran Horror Actors

I first saw "The Black Sleep" 48 years ago and was most impressed by the overall atmosphere and genuinely creepy nature of many of the scenes.

Upon more recent viewings and further reflection, I must say that this film still fascinates me. I am hard-pressed to recall another Basil Rathbone performance (other than his work as Sherlock Holmes) to equal this one. Sure, he chews the scenery unashamedly, but that is a big part of what makes this movie fun. Add in the first rate supporting cast of Lon Chaney, Jr., Akim Tamiroff, Bela Lugosi, and especially John Carradine and you have a veritable "Who's Who" of horror and film noir icons of the period. One must not forget the contributions of Tor Johnson and the lesser known actors filling out the cast.

The best scare occurs when we first meet Lon Chaney as "Mungo". The imaginative "point-of-view" camera work, focusing on Chaney's hands is very original and creative - especially for a low-budget production such as this one. My favorite scene, though, occurs quite late in the movie when the surgical "recoverees", led by the always riveting (although over-the-top) John Carradine, make their escape.

Sadly Bela Lugosi's character is mute and we are thus deprived of the exquisite pleasure of hearing his unique voice and diction. His character induces sympathy - even pity, rather than horror. In my opinion, this represents his best work from the declining days of his career. I must also single out Akim Tamiroff for the unctuous humor he provides as Rathbone's procurer of surgical subjects.

I give high marks for creative use of obviously cheap sets and evocative camera work. This is a movie which should not be missed by serious fans of films of the 50's. This is an excellent reminder of how they used to make effective horror films without soaking the screen with blood.

10 points out of 10.

Reviewed by beejer 6 / 10

Not as Bad as Some Would Have You Believe

Most ratings of this film give it a one star or bomb rating, however, "The Black Sleep" is not as bad as some would have you believe. Mind you it's not a great film, but in fact is an adequate programmer that compares favorably with any thing turned out by Universal or Monogram in the 40s.

Basically, it's a mad scientist film with Basil Rathbone emoting as usual, in the lead role. But then old Basil was always way over the top. Herbert Rudley is the nominal hero - the good scientist who is rescued from the gallows by Rathbone.

In the supporting cast are many seasoned veterans. Akim Tamiroff is good as the procurer of Rathbone's "subjects". Playing various mutants are Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine (in yet another over the top performance) and poor old Bela Lugosi.

Lugosi nearing the end of his life looks sick, tired and underweight. Chaney is totally wasted. Had the producers beefed up his part, "The Black Sleep could have been a much better picture. They could have combined his role with that of the Rudley character, for example.

Given all of its limitations, "The Black Sleep" is good way to pass an hour and twenty minutes if you don't expect too much going in.

Reviewed by tavm 7 / 10

The Black Sleep should be noted as Bela Lugosi's final active role on film

While Plan 9 from Outer Space is often considered to be Bela Lugosi's last film, considering that movie consisted of test scenes meant for a different movie, the actual final picture of which Lugosi actively participated in should actually be this one. He plays a mute butler who doesn't really do much but still has somewhat of a presence and is nothing to be ashamed about. He is joined here by fellow horror stalwarts John Carradine (gloriously hammy here), Lon Chaney, Jr., and fellow Ed Wood-directed series castmate Tor Johnson. The star is Basil Rathbone as a mad doctor who performs brain surgeries because of a secret I don't want to reveal here. Herbert Rudley is his reluctant assistant and Patricia Blair (or Blake as she's credited here) is the daughter of Chaney who plays another mute who was once a functioning human being. There's also an amusing performance by Akim Tamiroff as another associate of Rathbone's. Other cast members worth noting: Phyllis Stanley as Rathbone's nurse, Sally Yarnell as another of the underground "patients", Claire Carleton as a "customer" of Tamiroff's, and John Sheffield as a Scotland Yard detective investigating the whole thing. I thought this was a very effective chiller that was underrated considering the cast. So on that note, I'm recommending The Black Sleep.

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