This slow-paced pic never comes up to its title in the way of shocks, thrills, scares, sex or other dividends for meller regulars. Filmed in England, its gimmick – a ventriloquial dummy’s revenge on his manipulator – has been done before and better by Cavalcanti and Michael Redgrave in a real horror classic – Dead of Night – and The Great Gabbo of 1929.
American newspaperman William Sylvester, assigned to do a story of a hypnotist-ventriloquist suspected of being a fake, takes his girlfriend (Yvonne Romain), along but both are impressed by the act. The hypnotist (Bryant Halliday), invited to perform at a charity affair at the home of Romain’s aunt, hypnotizes the girl and, without the others knowing it, leaves her in a trance.
Haliday plans to repeat, with the girl, an experiment he had done years previously in Berlin, transferring a human soul to the body of a dummy, which he will keep subservient and force it to carry out his demands. While Sylvester is tracking down the truth, Halliday’s dummy, Hugo, takes matters into his own hands.
Sylvester gives an honest, realistic touch to the role of the newspaperman. Halliday, however, burdened with a messy beard and one expression, the hypnotic stare, depends on his resonant voice to make the role credible.