31 Days Of Horror: Mad Love

It's hard to believe that's it October already but here we are and Halloween is fast approaching. This is the only time of year that my preferred genre of choice, the horror film seems to be accepted by the general public and I don't stand out like a weirdo like when I'm renting zombie movies on Christmas Eve. So I've decided to present one brilliant masterpiece of horror/ thriller until Halloween. These films will be presented in no particular order. First up Mad Love from 1935.

Mad Love is a remake of the 1924 silent film The Hands of Orlac. I haven't seen the original yet but Mad Love is Peter Lorre's American screen debut and it is one creepy performance. Lorre plays Dr. Gogol a brilliant surgeon who is madly in love with Grand Guignol actress Frances Drake. She's already married to brilliant pianist Colin Clive (the once good Dr. Frankenstein). Lorre is so obsessive that he keeps a wax mannequin of Drake in his room to talk to and embrace when the need takes him.

Clive is in a horrific train accident and loses his hands. Drake pleads with Lorre to help them and he grafts new hands on to Clive. The hands of a recently executed murderer - Rollo the knife thrower. As Clive recovers he finds that he can no longer play the piano but suddenly has the ability to throw knives at people.

This movie was the last film directed by The Mummy director Karl Freund. Freund was a brilliant cinematographer - responsible for some of the coolest looking movies of all time, The Golem, The Last Laugh, Metropolis to name a few and had only directed a couple of movies but would continue on as a cinematographer and eventual create the three camera technique that is still used to shoot TV sitcoms.

Lorre owns this movie. His performance is so disturbing. From his enjoyment of watching the Theatre des Horreurs performances - particularly Drake getting tortured - to his keeping the mannequin of Frances Drake in his apartment and the creepy way he talks to himself in a mirror. He is just unsettling to watch. This is an excellent thriller.

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