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Voodoo Man

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    Ian Jane
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  • Voodoo Man



    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: November 24th, 2015.
    Director: William Beaudine
    Cast: Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, Louise Currie, John Carradine, Ralph Dawson
    Year: 1944
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    In this 1944 Monogram production directed by William Beaudine, women are disappearing at an alarming rate - the latest to get snatched up is bridesmaid Stella Saunders (Louise Currie) en route to the wedding of her cousin, Betty Benston (Wanda McKay). It turns out that there's a reason behind the abductions - a man named Dr. Richard Marlowe (Bela Lugosi) remains so committed to his long dead wife, Evelyn (Ellen Hall), that he's been snatching up lovely ladies as fast as fast can be, hoping to transfer their life essence into her by way of his special voodoo powers!

    A writer named Tod Andrews (Ralph Dawson as Michael Ames), Betty's fiancé, figures he's the right man to figure out just what's going on here - will he be able to free the women from Marlowe's voodoo dungeon in time or will he fall prey to the doctor's diabolical henchmen, Toby (John Carradine) and Nicholas (George Zucco)?

    A fun, if patently ridiculous, way to kill an hour (yep, it's a short one), Voodoo Man's strongest asset is the top billed Bela Lugosi. He's a lot of fun as the main villain here, seeming to have a good time in the role and using his odd looks and weird screen presence pretty effectively. Of course, casting him alongside Zucco and Carradine is a nice move on the studio's part and fans of classic horror should definitely enjoy seeing the three of them get a decent amount of screen time here. The ladies in the cast are all plenty easy to look at and Ralph Dawson is perfectly fine as the dashing hero.

    The movie also features some pretty neat set and costume design. Seeing Lugosi all decked out in his 'Voodoo Man' outfit is pretty neat and the dungeon sets that are supposed to represent his basement chamber are kind of interesting looking. The whole thing wears its poverty row origins very plainly on its sleeve but there's no shortage of charm here. A quirky harp-centric score is also noteworthy, simply because it's… odd and uncommon, while the plethora of 'weird science' devices and concepts that are scattered about give the film some quirky character. Throw in some zombies, all sorts of wacky 1940's era dialogue and this one is a fun watch. It might not be high art, but it never aspires to be - plenty of cheap thrills to be had here.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Voodoo Man debuts on Blu-ray from Olive Films in a 1.37.1 fullframe transfer presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Detail here is pretty solid and while some minor print damage is present in the form of some small scratches and specks throughout the film, the source used for the transfer was evidently in fairly good condition. Grain is present throughout the presentation but it never gets so heavy as to distract from the generally solid detail and texture that the HD transfer offers. Black levels are only okay, however, and contrast is a bit all over the place.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono Audio track on the disc is pretty good. The score sounds quite strong here and helps to really ramp up the tension in the last twenty minutes or so. The dialogue stays crisp and clear, it's never a problem understanding any of the characters. Levels are well balanced if a little low at times. As it is with a lot of older movies, the limitations of the source material do come through, as they should, but this is a clean track that suits the movie just fine and which doesn't suffer from any serious problems. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind offered on this disc.

    There are no extras, just a static menu and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    One of the better pictures that Lugosi made with Monogram, Voodoo Man is briskly paced, fun to watch and decidedly bizarre. It's got a good cast and some memorably unusual set pieces and fans of low budget forties horror pictures should get a kick out of it. Olive's Blu-ray is barebones but offers a decent, if imperfect, presentation of the film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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