Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949)

abbott and costello meet the killer boris karloff poster 1949 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Boris Karloff makes his appearance

Rather generic Abbott and Costello, not enough Karloff

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  August 22, 1949

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


I’m praying you’ll play Frankenstein…

Freddie Phillips (Lou Costello) and Casey Edwards (Bud Abbott) work at the Lost Caverns Resort Hotel.  When Amos Strickland (Nicholas Joy) is found dead after getting Freddie fired, Casey falls under suspicion for his murder.  With only Casey on his side, Freddie must find the real killer as the bodies begin to pile up.  Strickland’s former clients, led by Swami Talpur (Boris Karloff), realize they will be suspects and set out to ensure Freddie will be found guilty…but who is the real killer?

Directed by Charles Barton, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff is officially titled Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.  The film follows the Abbott and Costello series entry Africa Screams (also in 1949) and has been collected in different formats.  The movie was released in 1956 with the very popular Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.


You can hypnotize an idiot

Abbott and Costello are hit or miss.  If you are a fan of slapstick, they are always a hit…if not, it could sometimes be a struggle (I’d argue that Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a good “all audience” film).  Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff probably falls into a “just fans” category.

The story of Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff falls into the typical Abbott and Costello routine.  Lou is mistaken for the killer and playing the straight man, Abbott must try to help him.  It was originally a Bob Hope film called Easy Does It, but it was reworked into an Abbott and Costello film.  The film was also originally intended for a female murder named Madame Switzer, but the joining of Karloff to the cast ended up with a retitling.  The title of course is misleading because Karloff really isn’t the killer in the end…so I guess that the movie’s title is the ultimate red herring misleader.


They have the dead man’s hand

Abbott and Costello are always the same character, and as mentioned, if you like them, you probably will like them here.  I like that Boris Karloff showed up since he didn’t want to be part of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (though he did help promote the movie).  Karloff however isn’t in the film enough, but the movie has many character actors show-up to make up the cast.

The movie has some interesting sets once the group leaves the hotel.  The cavern set with the molten rock (I’m guessing…it is hard to tell in black-and-white) is fun though like many Abbott and Costello skits the scenes go too long (they have to get their money’s worth from the set).  A scene where Abbott and Costello pretend bodies are playing cards led to the film being banned in Denmark.

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff isn’t the best film, but if you are a fan you’ll still probably like it.  Due to an illness with Costello, the comedy duo didn’t immediately pop out another hit.  Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff was followed by Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion in 1950.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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