Neither Dead Nor Alive – The Frozen Ghost (1945)

Starring as a hypnotist, Lon Chaney Jr. is Gregor the Great, a man who can hypnotize people into doing whatever he wants. One night he is mocked by an audience member, saying that what he does he does with mirrors which really does not make any sense but to prove that he is not a fake he calls the man on stage. Gregor is a little angry at the man and when the audience member dies while being hypnotized, Gregor believes that it was his fault and thus quits his chosen profession feeling shame and anger at himself. All is not lost though as Gregor is given a new job as a speaker at a wax museum. He looks at it as starting over but when emotions flare between him and another employee and then his employer Valerie goes missing and is presumed dead, things do not look too bright for his future.

the-frozen-ghost4The Frozen Ghost is an entertaining picture though quite silly at times in what it wants you to believe. Hypnotists and what they can do have always been impressive, those that have not been outed as fakes but what the lead character Gregor does is perhaps the most outlandish moment of the entire film. It seems that once Gregor puts you in that trance, he can essentially unlock your mental abilities and make a person telepathic. And while it might have been all right leaving it as a stage trick, Gregor uses it to solve the big mystery in the film. It is ridiculous to the utmost and whether you watched this movie when it was first released or whether you watch it now, it is all just a little bit ludicrous. Still, when watching a movie of any sort, and particularly when it comes to horror, science-fiction or that of the mystery genre, a suspension of disbelief is needed.

the-frozen-ghost3Chaney is good in this fourth Inner Sanctum Mystery though not as strong as he was in Dead Man’s Eyes. Little is called upon him to do and while he has the lead role of the film it is Martin Kosleck who really stands apart from everyone else as one of the villains of the picture. Kosleck was never really leading man material and often took on villainous roles as he excelled in them, this film included. Also starring in the picture is the always talented Evelyn Ankers, a woman who was no stranger to being in Universal films or from working with Chaney. The two have always had good chemistry on film and watching them work is always a joy to behold.

This film also marks the first time that Reginald Le Borg was not involved, this time being directed by Harold Young and while he does a good job along with the players of the film, The Frozen Ghost turned out to be an average sort of picture. The movie was definitely not exceptional but neither was it a bad film. If anything, the film was simply middle-of-the-road. If you are a fan of Chaney then it is worth a watch, but otherwise, there are better films to spend your time on.

3 out of 5
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