Movie Review: Night Monster (1942)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1942 horror movie starring Bela Lugosi and Lionell Atwill.

Synopsis: A rich and reclusive amputee invites the doctors who left him crippled to his mansion. One-by-one, they, along with the home's other guests, are murdered by a mysterious figure. Sensing his new love interest might also be in danger, a mystery writer must figure out who is behind the murders before it is too late.

Who's In It?


My oldest daughter and I had one of our father/daughter movie nights this past weekend and, after going through a relatively long list of possibilities, picked this one out because it sounded different. Unfortunately, while the movie had some promise, it just wasn't as good as I hoped it would be.

My biggest problem with this movie is it is very predictable. The film had the potential to be a decent murder mystery, especially since the primary suspect, Kurt Ingston (Morgan), at least from all appearances, is physically unable to carry out the crimes. Unfortunately, the writers decided to spoil that almost immediately by revealing his means for doing so and, as a result of that, the rest of the film wasn't overly difficult to figure out.

It also didn't help that the film, in general, was actually kind of dull. There's a whole lot of talking early on and not a whole lot of action. That, when combined with a not-so-hard-to-figure-out mystery just didn't work for me.

Another thing I found about this movie is I wasn't a fan of the casting. The two biggest names in this film, Lugosi and Atwill, were given relatively minor roles instead of being cast in a way that allowed them to live up to their star billing.

Lugosi, for example, was cast as the butler when he would have easily been a better choice for the mysterious Angor Singh than Asther was (Asther didn't even look or act the part). Atwill wasn't even around for a good chunk of the movie. Films like this are only as good as your top-billed stars are allowed to be.

Night Monster

Night Monster is horrific tale filled with strange characters, secret passages, dark storms and a murderer who has mastered the art of “mind over matter”. Kurt Ingston (Ralph Mo...

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Final Opinion

I think this movie had some potential as a murder mystery. However, because of the writers letting a pretty big cat out of the bag early on, it just never managed to live up to its potential. I was very disappointed as a result.

My Grade: D

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Updated: 09/06/2016, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/21/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here does not have Night Monster catalogued amongst its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I expect not to be watching what could have been a film classic in the very near future, if at all.

How would a colorized reboot or remake, with appropriate casting, less talk, more action, fare nowadays?

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