The third Inner Sanctum mystery is Dead Man’s Eyes, a tightly wound little mystery in which an eye transplant leads to murder, naturally. Lon Chaney stars as a talented painter who’s not very observant. I mean, most artists are highly observant, even if it’s in a poetic, ethereal way. If he was paying attention, he wouldn’t have washed his eyes out with ACID. Seriously, homeboy is reaching for some eyewash, but picks up a bottle of acid instead and bathes his eyeballs with the stuff. It’s one of the most ridiculous accidents I’ve ever witnessed on film and leads to a charming story that drags its heels to an insipid degree.
The second Inner Sanctum mystery is Weird Woman, a tale of Polynesian hoodoo and good ol’ American voodoo. Again the film stars Lon Chaney Jr., who reprises his throaty whisper narration that he gave me the willies in Calling Dr. Death. Does he pull the same gag in all of the Inner Sanctum films? Guess I’ll find out. This time around he’s an anthropology professor who’s expertise is the effect of superstition on mankind. It’s very familiar to his Steele character in Calling Dr. Death, and again he’s framed for some heinous shit he didn’t pull. Some guys can’t catch a break, huh?
I really dug Inner Sanctum the other day – a film based on the popular mystery radio show series (1941-52). Reading more about it, I found out that Universal produced six other films under the Inner Sanctum banner prior to the 1948 one I had watched. All of them are streaming on YouTube, so I decided to do a run of them for the rest of the week. The first one is 1943’s Calling Dr. Death, a murder mystery filled with red herrings, wrapped around some trippy sequences of hypnosis. The complete lack of believable crime solving skills by the law makes it tough to take seriously, but for what Calling Dr. Death lacks in credibility, it makes up for in some really fun psychedelic visuals and breakneck pace.