Day 18: Spooks Run Wild (1941) & Ghosts on the Loose (1943)
Cast: Bela Lugosi as Nardo (Spooks Run Wild)/Emil (Ghosts on the Loose)
Leo Gorcey as Muggs
Huntz Hall as Glimpy
Ava Gardner as Betty (Ghosts on the Loose)
Angelo Rossito as Luigi (Spooks Run Wild)
Written by Carl Foreman & Charles R. Marion (Spooks Run Wild) and Kenneth Higgins (Ghosts on the Loose)
Directed by Phil Rosen (Spooks Run Wild) & William Beaudine (Ghosts on the Loose)
Plot: In Spooks Run Wild, the East Side Kids are arrested and sent to a camp for underprivileged youth. There, they discover a killer is loose in the woods and they stumble upon a mansion owned by Mr. Nardo. Is he creating zombies? Is he really a killer or is there more going on? In Ghosts on the Loose, The East Side Kids are fixing up a spooky old house as a wedding gift for some newlyweds but it appears to be haunted.
Personal Thoughts: The East Side Kids/Bowery Boys are an acquired taste. Personally, I have to be in the mood for their movies but Lugosi always helps. These are poverty row low budget flicks that generally move along quickly at just over an hour long. Lugosi is a lot more fun to watch in Spooks Run Wild where he plays a magician with hints of his old friend Count Dracula. Unfortunately, whereas the boys are a lot more fun to watch in the haunted house setting of Ghosts on the Loose, Lugosi turns in a rather boring performance as a spy. These are best seen as a double feature on a cloudy Saturday afternoon. There are some fun moments worth your time.
- Spooks Run Wild is the second of Lugosi’s nine films for Monogram.
- Ghosts on the Loose is Ava Gardner’s first film.
- Leo Gorcey starred in 7 Dead End Kids movies (various roles), 21 East Side Kids movies (as Muggs) and 41 Bowery Boys movies (as Slip) from 1937 to 1956.
- Supposedly several four-letter words made it past the censors.
- Both films are in the Public Domain.