Invisible Ghost (1941)

invisible ghost poster 1941 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Different role for Lugosi, some fun psychology for the time

Could have been bigger

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Invisible Ghost

Studio:  Sam Katzman Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  April 25, 1941

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

invisible ghost bela lugosi killer

Let me help you with this…coat!!!

Murder is plaguing the home of Dr. Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi).  After the leaving of his wife (Betty Compson), Kessler was left broken, but it could be more than that.  When a murder occurs and Ralph Dickson (John McGuire), the fiancé of Kessler’s daughter Virginia (Polly Ann Young), is blamed for the crime, the real murderer might get away…but the taste for murder could be in the murderer’s blood!

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, Invisible Ghost is a horror mystery thriller.  The film is in the public domain and readily available online.

The title Invisible Ghost always made me laugh for the fact that in movies, ghosts generally are invisible…or if ghosts are real, we don’t see them.  Invisible Ghost always seemed a bit redundant…and the title kind of relevant.  Due to aspects of the story a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect.

invisible ghost bela lugosi polly ann young john mcguire

If only there was some way to prove you’re not a killer…oh, well

There are two strange stories going on in the movie.  You have the people being killed in the home of Kessler and everyone’s response is “well, that’s weird that people are dying”.  There is a mini-mystery and a solution where an innocent man pays the price…but it still feels like “oh well” even when the murders start again.  The mystery feels like it should be of more concern.

The plot swirls around Kessler who is in mourning, but it turns out it is in vain because his wife is alive.  You think she could be the killer since she’s crazy, but it turns out Kessler is the killer and doesn’t know it.  Seeing his dead wife triggers Kessler, and Kessler turns into a murderer when it happens.  Lugosi has a bit of a meatier role than normal since he plays the nice guy (something he generally doesn’t play) and the bad guy at the same time.  I particularly like John McGuire as the doomed fiancé and also his twin who shows up after his execution…it is almost treated as well at least there is another guy like him.

invisible ghost mrs kessler betty compson

Why does it feel like somebody’s watching me?

The movie is rather low budget.  The film has some fun with Lugosi’s killer trances, but it isn’t a very visual film.  The movie mostly pays out as a set movie and you could easily see this movie being adapted for the stage at the time.  It is very confined.

Invisible Ghost is an odd horror movie-thriller.  The film utilizes Lugosi in a way he is generally not used in horror films (which is good), but it also feels so low budget that the filmmakers might have been able to make the movie into something bigger if they had the budget.  The movie’s ending is a little “well we wrapped that up” despite the fact that so many lives have been ruined…which is typical of films from this time.

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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