George Zucco in The Mad Ghoul (1943)

The Mad Ghoul (November 12, 1943)
Cast:        George Zucco as Dr. Alfred Morris
                David Bruce as Ted Allison
                Evelyn Ankers as Isabel Lewis
                Robert Armstrong as Ken McClure
                Turhan Bey as Eric Iverson
                Milburn Stone as Macklin

Story by Hans Kraly
Screenplay by Brenda Weisberg & Paul Gangelin
Directed by James Hogan

Plot: Mad scientist Dr. Morris uses an ancient Mayan gas to turn a medical student into a murderous ghoul.

Richard’s Review: The Mad Ghoul often gets overlooked and even looked down upon as it’s unfairly compared to other superior Universal horror classics. However, I personally enjoy The Mad Ghoul for what it is. Clocking in at 65 minutes, it’s a breezy afternoon matinee flick that has Zucco playing a typical mad scientist who falls in love with Isabel, the fiancée of medical student Ted. So, in a weird way to get to Isabel, he decides to use Ted as his test subject of an ancient Mayan gas that turns Ted, and eventually himself, into a ghoul. It’s not great but a well-made film with a good cast. Its harmless fun and worth checking out. Going in some lower expectations and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Trivia:

  • Evelyn Ankers also starred in other Universal horror classics such as The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Son of Dracula (1943) and The Frozen Ghost (1945). She retired from acting in 1950 and died of ovarian cancer in 1985 at the age of 67.
  • While David Bruce had 78 film credits, his only other horror genre appearances were in Calling Dr. Death (1943) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944). He died in 1976 at the age of 60 of a heart attack.
  • Robert Armstrong is best remembered for his more prominent role of Carl Denham in King Kong (1933) and Son of Kong (1933).
  • Turhan Bey is well-known for other genre films The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), The Climax (1944) and The Amazing Dr. X (1948).
  • Milburn Stone was a native of Burrton, Kansas and starred in numerous other Universal horror films, including Invisible Agent (1942), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Strange Confession (1944), Jungle Woman (1944) and The Frozen Ghost (1945). However, he’s best known for his role of Doc Adams in 605 episodes of Gunsmoke between 1955 and 1975.  
  • Writer Paul Gangelin also gave the world the 1957 classic, The Giant Claw.
  • Brenda Weisberg also wrote Weird Woman (1944), The Scarlet Claw (1944) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944).
  • This was the last film for director James Hogan. He died eight days before the film’s release of a heart attack at the age of 53.

Availability: The Mad Ghoul is available on the Universal Horror Collection Volume 2 Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.

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