One of Rialto Film’s long-running series of Edgar Wallace films — one of the fathers of the giallo — this Alfred Vohrer (Dead Eyes of London, Creature with the Blue Hand) film predates Argento reimagining the form and instead feels very visually like Bava’s Blood and Black Lace without Bava’s camera gymnastics.
In the English dubbed version, the film starts with Wallace’s name appearing on the screen and a voice saying, “Good evening. This is Edgar Wallace speaking.” That’s a real scary moment, because at this point, Wallace had been dead for 37 years.
There’s a poisoned cat mask — I know, right!?! — and a pool hall turning into a battle royal, as well as a woman menaced by a blowtorch — yeah, that kind of stuff didn’t just start in the 1980’s, Siskel and Ebert — and a maniacal dummy named Snookie. Plus, it’s all set to some bouncy jazz!
I wouldn’t trust any single person in this movie. It’s literally all a pit of vipers. Well, maybe you can trust Scotland Yard. But every actor, carnie, gangster and moll in this — I thought you knew what a wretched hive of scum and villany was, but then I watched this movie!