Invisible Ghost (1941)

It was ghastly. I don’t believe I was ever more startled in my life than when Mrs. Mason screamed…

~Bela Lugosi as Mr. Kessler

The Invisible Ghost_Artwork

Bela Lugosi made a total of 9 films under producer Sam Katzman while at Monogram Pictures.  These of course were ultra low-budget films geared toward neighborhood theaters. They range from being ridiculous and tremendously entertaining (The Ape Man, 1943) to being yawners (Bowery at Midnight, 1942).  Voodoo Man (1944) benefits from a fun cast including Lugosi, John Carradine and George Zucco, and direction by William “One Shot” Beaudine. At least that’s my opinion.  However, all are worth seeing do to Lugosi’s presence.

  • Invisible Ghost (1941)
  • Spooks Run Wild (1941)* – with the East Side Kids
  • The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
  • Bowery at Midnight (1942)
  • The Ape Man (1943)
  • Ghosts on the Loose (1943)* – with the East Side Kids
  • Black Dragons (1944)
  • Voodoo Man (1944)
  • Return of the Ape Man (1944)

Invisible Ghost (1941) features Lugosi as sleep-walking looney Mr. Kessler, who mourns the memory of his cheating wife and seeks revenge on women by suffocating them with his robe.

Invisible Ghost_Titles

The great Clarence Muse (Porgy and Bess, 1959; Car Wash, 1976; The Black Stallion, 1979) plays Kessler’s butler.  Muse is good in this film sans the comedic Willie Best/Mantan Moreland stereotypes, and plays the role straight up.  Lugosi’s character is surprisingly sympathetic and he is given some latitude and depth, playing the emotionally-disturbed Kessler.  Lugosi was such an underrated actor.

Clarence Muse

Invisible Ghost is atmospheric too and gets going when Bela starts creeping around.  I like the use of thunderstorms, lightning, falling ran and the usual “old dark house” accoutrements to make this one of the more atmospheric Bela-Monogramers.

Bela as Mr. Kessler

Get ’em Bela…

Bela Creeping

Bela_Invisible Ghost

Check out this cool French-language (Belgian?) poster:

The Invisible Ghost_French 1941

2 Responses to “Invisible Ghost (1941)”

  1. Love this film, watched again last night – great atmosphere. Bela carries it off, although I couldn’t help but wonder what the film would have been like with Vincent Price playing Kessler – the unbalanced character seems closer to Price than Lugosi’s Valentino-from-hell romantic figure.

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