A scene for THE MONSTER WALKS, directed by Frank R. Strayer for Action Pictures.

The Monster Walks (1932, Frank R. Strayer)

I went into The Monster Walks with what I consider reasonable expectations. I thought it would be bad. I thought it would be a bad, low budget, rainy night in a mansion with a killer ape loose movie.

It is all of those things, but it’s also awful. Director Strayer apparently had such a low budget he wasn’t even able to get shots of the mansion from outside. Inside, he’s going from one setup to another on a set. When he actually utilizes close-ups, it’s a big deal.

The editing, from Byron Robinson, is weak. He probably didn’t have much to work with, but he still cuts the shots poorly. It’s hard to explain; the characters seem paused between the angles.

The problem is Robert Ellis’s script. He doesn’t have any real drama. A girl, played by Vera Reynolds, travels home to the scary mansion for the reading of her father’s will. His body’s there too, which seems unsanitary. The other heirs have it in for her. Maybe.

None of these other heirs have much of anything going on for themselves. They want the money, sure, and they have some secrets, but none of them have anything going on. It’s not just a lack of subplots, it’s a lack of the characters having enough personality to have them.

A tepid performance from Rex Lease–as Reynolds’s beau–doesn’t help either.

Mischa Auer is exceeding creepy as the maid’s son, however. Great Nosferatu outfit on him.

It’s a dismal Walk.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Frank R. Strayer; written by Robert Ellis; director of photography, Jules Cronjager; edited by Byron Robinson; produced by Cliff P. Broughton; released by Action Pictures.

Starring Rex Lease (Dr. Ted Clayton), Vera Reynolds (Ruth Earlton), Sheldon Lewis (Robert Earlton), Mischa Auer (Hanns Krug), Martha Mattox (Mrs. Emma ‘Tanty’ Krug), Sidney Bracey (Herbert Wilkes) and Willie Best (Exodus).

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