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“You’ll never get rid of me, Toddy.” Somehow, when Boris Karloff says this line, you believe him. Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they try to keep from getting snatched and “Burked” in The Body Snatcher (1945), an RKO Val Lewton production featuring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in their last of eight collaborations.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 66 – The Body Snatcher (1945)
A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.– IMDb
- Director: Robert Wise
- Robert Louis Stevenson (short story),
- Philip MacDonald (written for the screen by)
- Val Lewton (written for the screen by) (as Carlos Keith)
- Producer: Val Lewton
- Music: Roy Webb
- Cinematography: Robert De Grasse (director of photography)
- Featured Cast:
- Boris Karloff as Cabman John Gray
- Béla Lugosi as Joseph
- Henry Daniell as Dr. Wolfe “Toddy” MacFarlane
- Edith Atwater as Meg Camden
- Russell Wade as Donald Fettes
- Rita Corday as Mrs. Marsh
- Sharyn Moffett as Georgina Marsh
- Donna Lee as the Street Singer
- Robert Clarke as Richardson – Medical Student (uncredited)
- Bill Williams as Survis – Medical Student (uncredited)
Your loyal Grue-Crew can’t gush enough over The Body Snatcher and considering the cast and crew, it’s easy to see why! This one is Whitney’s pick and she gives her customary, insightful point-of-view into the motivations of the story’s characters. According to Chad, Karloff gives what might be his best performance and even though Lugosi’s part is small, his character and one pivotal scene with Karloff are critical to the film’s success. Jeff reveals his growing fan-boy crush on all things Lewton and wallows in cast-related and historical trivia as usual. This time he’s even talking about Bill Williams and Robert Clarke.
As a whole, the Classic Era Grue-Crew love the look and feel of The Body Snatcher and give it the highest recommendation!
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era is part of the Decades of Horror 3-week rotation with the 1970s and 1980s. In three weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be The Black Cat (1934), from Universal, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and again starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, this time in their first of eight screen collaborations.
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