Movie Review: The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Synopsis: Police are baffled when several brides drop dead at the alter and their bodies are later stolen. Society columnist Patricia Hunter notices all the brides were wearing the same orchid with a peculiar odor and, with her editor's reluctant approval, researches the clue. Her investigation brings her to a mad scientist, who is using the (not dead) brides' glandular fluids to maintain his wife's beauty.

Who's in it? The movie stars Bela Lugosi, Luana Walters, Tristram Coffin, Elizabeth Russell and Minerva Urecal.

Review: I've known about this movie for some time now but never had an opportunity to watch it until this morning. At first, I wasn't sure what to think about it but it ended up being a good film.

The movie probably could have used a little more of a mystery, especially when it came to how the brides were "killed" while exchanging vows at the altar. However, even without they mystery, it was an entertaining movie. This is especially true when Patricia (Walters) arrives at Dr. Lorenz's (Lugosi) mansion and sees all the weird stuff that is happening.

While Dr. Lorenz was an interesting character, I was more intrigued by his wife (Russell), who seemed to be perfectly OK with what he was doing and was probably the main mastermind. Lorenz could at least claim he was making the effort for her, her motivation was much more selfish. The fact she didn't even try to hide her contempt for Patricia should have been a very big red flag for the reporter.

I'm not going to lie, some parts of the movie did remind me a bit too much of Dracula, especially when Lugosi was standing in the bedroom looking at his sleeping intended victim. In fact, if shown by itself, I'm not so certain it would be easy to tell that scene didn't come from the vampire flick. The fact he and his wife slept in coffins didn't help with this comparison to Lugosi's most famous role.

I do wish the movie would have explained why Lorenz preferred using brides. His attempt to use Patricia for his purposes proved it wasn't necessary and it did seem like an unnecessary risk, especially after all the newspaper attention. It's not like there weren't easier ways for him to abduct young women. If there was a scientific reason for that preference, it would have been nice to know.

Final Opinion: As I said, there are parts that are a little too similar to Dracula, but the overall film is entertaining and worth taking the time to watch.

My Grade: B+


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