MILL CREEK NIGHTMARE WORLDS: Shadow of Chinatown (1936)

Shadow of Chinatown is a 65-minute version of the 300-minute long serial of the same name. It’s all about San Francisco’s Chinatown is being destroyed by Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi) and The Dragon Lady (Luana Walters), hired by white businesses to decimate the new Chinese businessmen who are taking away their profits. Unlike most serials of the time, it’s intriguing to see a movie in which white people are attacking Asians instead of sinister Fu Manchu being a stereotypical bad guy.

Look, it’s a movie in which Bela Lugosi mesmerizes women into hating the Chinese as much as he does.

This was directed and written by Robert F. Hill, who had 116 directing credits in his career. After World War II, Universal sent him to Japan to open a movie studio where he warned that the locals would try to attack him if he started an American studio in their country. He needed to get a doctor’s permit to prove his wife needed care back home before Universal would let him give up. The next person who tried had that happen as Japanese filmmakers attacked him and used the studio Universal built for themselves.

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