THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS
1946, Warner Bros., 88 min, USA, Dir: Robert Florey

Volatile (and dead) concert pianist Francis Ingram (Victor Francen) has left his Italian estate to his American nurse (Andrea King), much to the chagrin of an avaricious brother and nephew. Peter Lorre is the dead musician’s astrology-obsessed, mentally unbalanced librarian who becomes convinced that his late employer’s left hand - now missing from the corpse - is creeping about the villa, bent on murdering all those who oppose Ingram’s last testament. The rest of the household, including King’s paramour Robert Alda and police commissioner J. Carrol Naish, soon become convinced he may be right. The over-the-top Max Steiner score ably punctuates the deranged proceedings.


THE WOLF MAN
1941, Universal, 70 min, USA, Dir: George Waggner

Lon Chaney Jr. achieves cinematic immortality in the title role, one of Universal’s great movie monsters. Bitten by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi, in a wonderful cameo) while visiting a gypsy camp, Larry Talbot (Chaney) is cursed to become a hairy beast “when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Noted horror scribe Curt Siodmak penned the original screenplay for this eerie classic, which costars Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy and Maria Ouspenskaya, whose portrayal of an old gypsy fortuneteller is unforgettable.


FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN
1943, Universal, 74 min, France/USA, Dir: Roy William Neill

Cursed to turn into murderous beast with every full moon, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) heads for Frankenstein’s castle, hoping its secrets can bring an end to his misery. Instead, he finds the scientist’s titular creation (Bela Lugosi) encased in ice. Penned by writer Curt Siodmak, this first meeting of the Universal movie monsters includes appearances by horror stalwarts Lionel Atwill, Dwight Frye and Maria Ouspenskaya.


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