Directed by Joseph H. Lewis [Other horror films: The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942)]
I have a mildly fun story relating to this movie: I’ve seen Invisible Ghost once before (it’s even possible I’ve seen it twice, but I think it was just once), and the only thing I remembered about it was the opening. I mean, I remembered the opening with 100% clarity, but literally anything past that, I didn’t have an inkling.
To this day, I’m not sure why that was the case. Perhaps I fell asleep during my first viewing – it’s happened before, especially in October, when I can consume quite a bit of horror. Whatever the case, Invisible Ghost isn’t near as forgettable as my anecdote might make it sound. It’s not one of the classics, by any means, but it is a nicely serviceable film.
I appreciate how the film takes a somewhat psychological approach to the murders that are plaguing a household. I do wish that they added a little depth and explanation in the ending, as we’re not really told why the murderer is committing these murders, but either way, it is nice to have a different solution than so many other horror films from the same time period.
Bela Lugosi, of course, was a pleasure to see in this. Lugosi (The Devil Bat, Dracula, Night of Terror, and many others) did quite well, especially toward the end, as a somewhat tragic figure. Clarence Muse (White Zombie and Black Moon) is a strong runner-up – despite playing a servant (as so many black men had to do back then), I enjoyed his characterization as one of the thoroughly competent characters here. Polly Ann Young and John McGuire (in a dual role) both did decent, and McGuire had some strong moments, but I don’t know if he’ll end up being memorable.
Really, Invisible Ghost as a whole may not end up being that memorable, but I do think the story is decently strong, and as the film is just around an hour and change, it’s pretty digestible. I do enjoy the more suspenseful sequences, not to mention the answers presented, but I just wish they added a little more in the finale.
For a short and cheap film, Invisible Ghost is okay. It’s far from a classic, but it’s watchable, and though it may not stand out all that well, if you want a Bela Lugosi performance you’ve perhaps not yet bore witness to, you could certainly do worse than this.