105. The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

Bela Lugosi forever lives as Dracula. The Hungarian American actor began appearing in plays in his native Hungary before transitioning to silent films. First in Hungary, then Germany, then finally America, Lugosi gravitated to villainous roles as typecasting began to take hold. Starring in the Broadway production of Dracula in 1927, the show ran 261 performances prior to touring much of the United States and drawing the gaze of Universal. Paul Muni, Conrad Veidt, and John Carradine were all considered ahead of casting Lugosi as the Count. The rest as they say is history. Isaac Asimov Body Splash, Chiro-Gyro, Flame Throwing Flower, Tiger-Bot Magazine, Tag, Barbershop, Tom’s Head Explodes. “A corpse is a horse of corpse of corpse”, “It’s the Little Rascals music again”, “Wallace Fox. I’d like to hunt him down and skin him and make him into a little rug.” “I’ll get it!” or “Hey why’s the groom looking at us?”

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Joel Gets A Haircut

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:partying_face: My favorite Season One! And my favorite Ed Wood movie that he wasn’t actually involved in. :wink: It does have many wood-like qualities to it… certainly the acting qualifies… which helps explain why they do an above-average job of riffing it. All that it’s missing is Tor Johnson.

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Going To The City.

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Invention Exchange. Chiro-Gyro and Flame Thrower Flower.

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A Master’s Betrayal.

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Meanwhile Back at the Addams Family Home.

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Trailer of The Corpse Vanishes (1942).

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Not a favorite of mine but still a solid episode. Bela Lugosi is his usual creepy self. The riffing is okay. This is early in the series. A middling episode at best even in season one. BTW, this is one of the oldest movies they ever did, along with The Mad Monster.

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This is a favorite of mine mostly because of the film’s genera of ‘girl reporter’. I am fond of the type and wish MST#K had done more. The print is pretty bad but the movie keeps going the whole time. Bela is great as Bella and his wife is pretty creepy. The riffs and host segments are very good for season 1.
All around a solid episode.

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Not the best movie Bela ever did. Not the worst movie Bela ever did. It’s very watchable, but it’s still got that early season 1 not-quite-theredness. You gotta love how quickly Reporter Girl and Dr. Bland decided to get together after solving a mystery that the police probably should have been able to crack pretty easily. It’s got Bela being weird and he’s got a gang of kooky minions, so it’s got that going for it.

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If you’re not fond of chases, then this chapter of Radar Men from the Moon is not going to be for you. On the plus side, the plot sees some genuine advancement rather than getting sidetracked in padding.

The feature happens to be one of the steps in the sad decline of Bela Lugosi’s career where he was being typecast in mad scientist roles. Its most glaring flaw (pointed out by Crow in the end) is that Lorenz insists on kidnapping the brides in such an overt fashion. My best guess as to why is that whatever he’s extracting from the brides can only come from virgins. Of course, this doesn’t consider the possibility that the lovebirds might jump the gun. More innocent times, folks. Though it would have been neat if, much like in Cast a Deadly Spell, Lorenz ended up being taken away by an eldritch abomination during the climax because it turned out that Pat is a girl with some experience. But it’s doubtful the Hays Office would have been amused.

As poverty row studio mad scientist films go, it’s engaging in its own right. A good thing too, as the riffing is still a bit tepid and the host segments unmemorable. The one exception is this rather surreal barbershop sketch that must be seen to be believed.

And now comes the first crack in the belief that the Bechdel Test can divine feminist intent in a movie. It passes quite handily, with a bride and her mother talking about the possibility of the former dying at the altar, the Countess harassing Pat, and Pat explaining her scheme to Peggy. Yet the climax involves our spunky girl reporter being damsel-napped by Lorenz and remaining quite helpless throughout. What’s more, during the conclusion where’s she tying the knot with Foster, it’s explicitly indicated that she’ll be abandoning her reporting career. So chew on that, why don’t you.

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The Bechdel Test is meant to make consumers/viewers/reviewers analyze and perhaps reconsider what we consider “the norm” and how we come to hold those beliefs.

The folks who made it never said its ultimate goal or main purpose was to “divine feminist intent in a movie.” It sets a bar fathoms lower than that and most movies still can’t get over it.

Besides which, I’ve never heard of anyone trying to sell Neufield or any other B-Movie peddler from this era as either an overt or stealth feminist. I mean… what? That really came out nowhere, S_D. You clearly have a problem with the Test based on a misunderstanding of it, but grafting your issue onto to this movie, of all movies, looks really weird.

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Lugosi’s minion Toby is played by famous little person actor Angelo Rossitto. About ten years before Corpse Vanishes Mr. Rossitto starred in Freaks. And in the 80’s he would of course play the Master half of MASTER BLASTER in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!

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I probably should have included a clarifying statement in the original post, but too late now. I personally regard the Bechdel Test as a mildly interesting thought experiment, which led me to apply it to MST3K movies. For the record, the count as of Season 12 and not including KTMA exclusive movies is 105 Pass, 90 Fail, and 1 Ambiguous. However, I have never believed it to divine feminist intent. Even if I had, seeing movies such as this one along with The Atomic Brain, Angels’ Revenge and (Gawd help us) Horrors of Spider Island pass would have quickly disabused me of that notion. However, there are people who appear to believe that, and I don’t appreciate being categorized as such.

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