The horror in phantom of the Rue Morgue is more to be taken lightly than seriously, since the shocker quality in Edgar Allen Poe’s chiller tale, Murders in the Rue Morgue, has been dimmed considerably by the passage of time.
Murders and gory bodies abound in the Henry Blanke production, which gives fulsome attention to the bloody violence loosed by the title’s phantom.
The script follows regulation horror lines in getting the Poe yarn on film and Roy Del Ruth’s direction also is standard. Performances by Karl Malden, Claude Dauphin, Patricia Medina, Steve Forrest and the others fall into the same groove and none manages to rise above the material.
Malden is the mad scientist who has his trained ape destroy all pretty girls who spurn him. After Allyn McLerie, Veola Vonn and Dolores Dorn have died violent deaths, the rather stupid police inspector played by Dauphin figures Forrest, young professor of psychology, is the guilty party.
The 3-D color lensing by Peverell Marley is good, and puts the turn-of-the-century Paris scenes on display to full advantage.