The Devil Doll (1936)
Watched this movie on Turner Classic on Halloween (it took me a long time to get around to writing this).
It's about an escaped convict (Lionel Barrymore) who hooks up with this crazy chick (Rafaela Ottiano) who likes to shrink people using her late husband's shrinking device. He then sends the little people to off the jerks who framed him for murder.
The movie is funny (dialogue like "We should make him small still makes me laugh), sad (all the guy really wants is his estranged daughter's love) and terrifying (Lionel Barrymore spends half the movie dressed as an old lady. How fucked up is that?).
Plus the FX were very well done, way better than what anyone could have done with CG, which does make me wonder what the fuck is the point. Take The Invisible Man, for example, which was made a couple years before this movie even. Wicked fucking FX. Hollow Man? Suck ass FX. Of course, The Invisible Man is hands down, no argument, a superior film by an epic margin, but still.
Anyway, I was sort of surprised at how good this movie was. I guess it is Tod Browning (the second viewing of Freaks showed it in a slightly better light. I'm still not crazy about that movie, but it didn't offend me quite as much the second time around), and I kind of liked Lionel Barrymore. I don't think I've seen too much of him in anything else before.
Yeah, the movie looked like it was going to be really stupid, but it was well done and it had a sort of environmental message - the reason buddy and his wacky (but kind of cool) wife invent the shrinking machine in the first place is to combat overpopulation and world hunger. Interesting idea. Of course, all these things start out very nobly. Look at what happened to Boris Karloff in Corridors of Smack. He just wanted to help people, but he got addicted to morphine and turned into a crazed junkie. It's terrible the things people will do for science.
Yeah, this movie was pretty good.
Directed by: Tod Browning. Written by: Garrett Fort, Guy Endore & Eric von Stroheim, based on the novel Burn, Witch, Burn by Abraham Merritt. Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Rafaela Ottiano, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Grace Ford.
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