For Reel

Ghosts on the Loose (1943)
October 30, 2016, 5:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William Beaudine
2 Stars
ghosts-on-the-looseGhosts on the Loose was a transitional film for the East Side Kids, who were ditching their “juvenile delinquent” roots for broader, less specific comic personalities. Leo Gorcey’s malapropisms come to the fore, Huntz Hall firmly takes his place as the second lead, and this would be the last film to star personalities like Sunshine Sammy Morrison, arguably the highlight of the group’s horror comedy outings in the early 1940s. Unfortunately, although the title and the reteaming of the gang with Bela Lugosi show potential, the film barely qualifies as a horror picture—Lugosi plays a Nazi spy who attempts to scare the men out of a mansion largely through the use of rotating paintings. Director William Beaudine has a fine sense of tone and sustains a few suspenseful sequences due to the pacing, but the screenplay simply isn’t inventive enough to keep much interest. Worse yet, the plot simply takes too long to get going—about a third of the film is spent at a wedding, free of genre thrills and a discernible lack of narrative progression. Later horror-comedy pictures from the team, including the enjoyable The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters, display a better understanding of the genre hybrid by not skimping on the inventive horror elements.

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