Dr. Vollin is a brilliant but unstable surgeon with a morbid obsession for instruments of torture. He saves the life of Jean Thatcher, a beautiful young socialite injured in an automobile accident and becomes increasingly attracted to her.

Director: Lew Landers
Writers: Edgar Allen Poe, David Boehm, Guy Endore
Staring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews
Streaming: Peacock
Release Date: July 8, 1935

The Raven is based off Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of the same name. Most people when they hear the title, The Raven, their immediate thoughts go to the poorly received 2012 adaption of the ode. It behooves people to go into the past, to 1935, to when Bela Lugosi was the king creep and advocate of creepiness on screen.

Lugoisi plays the mysterious Dr. Vollin, a man with a hidden violent side which is brought out when a love he lusts for is taken away. After Dr. Vollin saves the life of Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware), the eccentric man falls for her hard. His ideal happy ending is halted by Judge Thatcher (Samuel S. Hinds), who constantly forbids and halts his affections. Dr. Vollin’s plan for revenge on the Judge begins when he traps the aid of Edmond Bateman (Boris Karloff). The final act of the movie is Dr. Vollin bringing his plan to fruition while hosting a dinner of friends on a classic stormy night.

The Raven hits its stride in the last 25 minutes. The last act when all the guests are in in Dr. Vollin’s house and all hell breaks loose when the visitors decide that it is time for bed. Little to everyone’s knowledge, Dr. Vollin wants to put the the Judge and other’s to night-night forever.

The pendulum torture chamber of doom is in The Raven, as well as the classic Star Wars (1977) walls closing in on you. Other torture devices are shown, but those two are the one’s most pertinent to the story. And yes, I am aware that Star Wars came out after The Raven, but still for point of reference.

As I mentioned at the start, The Raven is carried by Lugoisi and his superhuman ability to be a massive creep.

Okay, maybe not the song above…but still Lugoisi is awesome. I now need to watch the Dracula (1931) ASAP. I also saw that he was in Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and now I need to rewatch that.

One other thing about The Raven. There are some Frankenstein vibes from the character of Bateman. He is a man who is hated by society then is remade into a monster by Dr. Violin. He hates the way he looks and his self-revulsion is compounded when he is introduced to the guests at Dr. Violin’s party. Bateman’s mindset is changed when a character shows him sympathy, resulting in a shift in consciousness. Now he needs to rethink how he looks at society.

All a bit familiar, right? Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein came out in 1818.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.0/5 Stars)


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