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The Boris Karloff Collection [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Black Castle
Boris Karloff returns to his old Universal stamping grounds in the mild horror item Black Castle. The plot is motivated by a brace of 18th-century aristocrats, Beckett (Richard Greene) and Count Von Bruno (Stephen McNally). Invited to visit Von Bruno's castle in Austria, Beckett accepts, hoping in this way to prove that the count is responsible for the deaths of two of his friends. The sadistic Von Bruno toys with his guest, intending to subject Beckett to a horrible demise at the first opportunity. When Beckett meets the Count's reluctant bride Elga (Paula Corday), he vows to free her from the accursed castle. Karloff has a smallish role as the Count's humanitarian physician, while his fellow horror-star Lon Chaney Jr. does his usual as a mute but deadly manservant. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Tower of London
Basil Rathbone's real-life son, John Rodion, has his head chopped off early on in this historical melodrama often mistakenly referred to as a horror film. Yes, a second-billed Boris Karloff does stomp about on a club-foot as the Duke of Glouchester's chief executioner, Mord, but Karloff's presence is really more colorful than horrifying. Rathbone is the main villain here, as the Duke of Glouchester, the deformed second brother of Edward IV (Ian Hunter), whose throne he covets. But before he can place himself on that exalted chair, there are quite a few relatives and pretenders to be rid off. The exiled Prince of Wales (G.P. Huntley) is dispatched during a battle, and his father, the feeble-minded Plantagenet King Henry VI (Miles Mander), who steadfastly refuses to gracefully die of old age, is murdered by Mord. Half-brother Clarence (Vincent Price), meanwhile, is drowned very picturesquely in a vat of Malmsey wine and when Edward IV dies of natural causes, only his two young sons remain. To the horror of Queen Elizabeth (Barbara O'Neil), Glouchester is named their protector -- which of course means that Mord the executioner will be working overtime once again. But the evil duke, now Richard III, has not counted on the heroic John Wyatt (John Sutton), who, by looting the treasury, is able to bring back from exile in France yet another pretender, Henry Tudor (Ralph Forbes). The latter's invasion proves victorious at the famous battle of Bosworth Field and the brutal reign of Richard II, and his executioner, comes to an end. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Climax
The Climax was hurriedly and economically filmed on leftover sets from Universal's super-production The Phantom of the Opera. In his Technicolor debut, Boris Karloff plays Dr. Hohner, a brilliant but unstable theatrical physician who murders a beautiful opera star when she rejects him. Ten year later, a beautiful young opera singer named Angela (Susannah Foster) makes her debut at the Royal Opera House. Convinced that Angela is the reincarnation of his murdered sweetheart, Dr. Hohner fiendishly hypnotizes the girl so that she will be unable to sing. The spell is broken by the combined efforts of Angela's boyfriend Franz (Turhan Bey) and an opera-loving "boy king" (Scotty Beckett). As for Hohner, well, what usually happens to Boris Karloff in films of this nature? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Strange Door
Reunited for the first time since 1932's The Old Dark House, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff star in the second-echelon Universal melodrama The Strange Door. Based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story, the film casts Laughton as unhinged French aristocrat Alan De Maletroit. Angered when his sweetheart jilts him in favor of his brother Edmond (Paul Cavanuagh), De Maletroit tosses Edmond in his castle dungeon, then years later forces Edmond's daughter Blanche (Sally Forrest) into a marriage of convenience with the seemingly worthless Dennis de Beaulieu (Richard Stapley). Imprisoned within the walls of the castle by the overbearing De Maletroit, Blanche and Dennis fall genuinely in love, then conspire with De Maletroit's long-suffering servant Voltan (Boris Karloff) to escape. But the villain's torture chamber is just large enough for the three would-be escapees ... While Strange Door permits Charles Laughton plenty of room to dole out ham in thick, juicy slices, poor Boris Karloff has nearly nothing to do, much to the disappointment of his fans. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Night Key
In this crime thriller, an old, ailing scientist has been robbed of the burglar alarm he invented by his partner, who owns a security company. The scientist invents a superior alarm to provide for his daughter and sells it to the company for royalties, but his partner refuses to sell it. The scientist then invents a device that nullifies his partner's alarms and breaks into stores to prove that it works. He is kidnapped by a gang, who force him to give them the device by kidnapping his daughter. They go on a crime spree, and the scientist escapes and convinces his partner to help him catch the crooks. They rescue his daughter, and the partner pays him in full for all his inventions. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Richard Greene
    Richard Greene - Beckett
  • Boris Karloff
    Boris Karloff - Dr. Meissen
  • Lon Chaney, Jr.
    Lon Chaney, Jr. - Gargon
  • Image coming soon
    John Hoyt - Stieken
  • Michael Pate
    Michael Pate - Von Melcher
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.