George Zucco in Dead Men Walk (1943)

Dead Men Walk (April 19, 1943)
Cast:        George Zucco as Dr. Lloyd Clayton/Dr. Elwyn Clayton
                Mary Carlisle as Gayle Clayton
                Nedrick Young as Dr. David Bentley
                Dwight Frye as Zolarr
                Fern Emmett as Kate

Written by Fred Myton
Directed by Sam Newfield

Plot: It’s a tale of two brothers, one good and one evil, as one returns from the grave in a tale filled with murder and Satan worship.

Richard’s Review: This is a fun public domain entry in George Zucco’s mad scientist resume. Here, he plays a dual role, that of the evil Elwyn, presumed dead, and his good brother Lloyd. Local eccentric Kate has accused the late Dr. Elwyn of evil deeds and she is proven to be right as he was involved in black magic. Elwyn rises from the grave to seek revenge upon his brother by turning his niece into a vampire. This is a film desperately in need of a better print that we will likely never see. Despites it’s obvious flaws and cheap budget, there’s a really good and creepy tale hidden in the shadows and I highly recommend it, especially to watch Zucco pull off a great dual role. Frye is great here as well, once again playing a sidekick to an evil madman.  

Trivia:

  • Fred Myton was an established writer with 171 credits from 1916 until 1954. He was prolific in the western genre, including the cult classic, Terror of Tiny Town. He also wrote The Mad Monster and The Black Raven.
  • Sam Newfield has 277 directing credits, including The Monster Maker (1944), The Black Raven (1943) and Nabonga (1944).
  • Dwight Frye was a native of Salina, Kansas and is best remembered for his roles of Renfield in Dracula (1931) and Fritz in Frankenstein (1931). However, he had a prolific career in horror films of the 30s and 40s, also starring in The Vampire Bat (1933), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), which was his last genre film. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 44 on November 7, 1943.
  • This was the last film, and her only entry in the horror genre, in the career of Mary Carlisle. After 65 films, she married and walked away from Hollywood. She died in 2018 at the age of 104.
  • This was only the second film in the relatively short career of Nedrick Young. His only other horror film was in an uncredited role of Leon Averill in House of Wax (1953) with Vincent Price. After 28 film and TV credits, he was blacklisted by Hollywood after refusing to speak during the infamous 1953 witch hunt on un-American activities. This was even more tragic as he fought for the U.S. during World War II. He was also a writer and went on to win the Oscar for Best Screenplay for The Defiant Ones (1958), under the pseudonym of Nathan E. Douglas.  He also a co-writer of the screenplay for Inherit the Wind (1960). He died in 1968 at the age of 54 due to a heart attack.
  • Fern Emmett started acting in 1927 at the rather old age of 31, at least by Hollywood standards. Despite her late start, she amassed a total of 248 film credits by 1947, usually in small and uncredited roles. Unfortunately, she died in 1946 at the age of 50.   
  • The estate of Dr. Clayton is the same as Zucco had in The Mad Monster (1942).
  • This was filmed in only six days in 1942 but not released until April 1943.

Availability: Dead Men Walk is in the public domain and available on wide variety of home media releases and streaming options.

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