Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Devil Commands (1941)

Boris Karloff plays a scientist who has invented a machine that can read people's brain waves.  He believes that with further research, he will be able to read people's thoughts.

Everything was going good for Karloff.  He had just shown his experiment to his peers and his daughter arrived in town for her 20th birthday.  Then everything changes...  Karloff's wife is killed in an automobile accident.  This event changes Karloff's personality.  He is no longer happy and charming.  He is depressed and wants to be left alone.  He goes to his laboratory and turns on his machine.  All of the sudden, brain waves start to appear.  The waves are exactly like the brain waves of his wife while she was alive.  He believes that she is trying to reach him from beyond!  Karloff works day and night trying to make his machine more powerful, so he can talk to his dead wife.  With the help from an assistant and a phony medium, who is actually more in tune with the dead than she thought, Karloff believes he will once again speak with his lost love.

"The Devil Commands" is actually a pretty well done horror / sci-fi film.  It is very interesting to see how modern machinery is used to make contact with the dead.  It is a subject that people have been interested in since the dawn of time I'm sure.  

Karloff's performance was so great.  I really enjoyed seeing him in the beginning of the film.  He is happy, witty, and an all around proper gentleman, much like how he was in real life.  After the accident, his whole personality changes.  It is as if he played two different characters.  It is amazing how good Karloff is in everything that he made.  He really draws you in and you sit on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next word to come out of his mouth.  Very few actors have that effect on me.

"The Devil Commands" is a good B picture.  It isn't a classic by any means, but it is very fun to watch.  Karloff really sold the picture with his excellent acting abilities.

B  I recommend it.

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