Bela Lugosi is in top form as the mad Dr.Vollin who is obsessed with Poe. Boris Karloff, billed as Karloff, is a gangster on the run who runs to the wrong place. Roger Corman’s 1963 horror spoof “The Raven” is not a remake of this one.
Dancer Jean Thatcher (Irene Ware) is injured in a car accident. She may not make it. Looks like Dr.Richard Vollin (Bela Lugosi) is the only one who can save her. Jean’s father the judge tries to get him to operate. He says he’s in research now but a feed to his ego brings him to the hospital. He saves her.
Vollin is obsessed with Poe. He has a figure of a raven he calls his talisman. He even built a torture chamber in the basement based on Poe’s writings. He’s also obsessed with Jean. A special dance number she calls The Spirit Of Poe sends Vollin into high gear.
The judge isn’t happy and tells Vollin he’s noticed that Jean is infatuated with him. Then he finds out Vollin is also taken with Jean. He tells him to leave her alone. She’s engaged to Dr.Jerry Halden and that’s just fine with him. Vollin warns him not to get in his way.
Vollin gets a visitor. It’s Edmond Bateman (Karloff). He just shot his way out of San Quentin. He was in for a bank robbery where he used an acetylene torch on a teller. He’s just the man Vollin is looking for. Bateman says he’s tired of being ugly because it makes him do ugly things. He wants Vollin to make him good looking.
Vollin agrees if he does something for him. But first he’ll take care of his face. It’ll only take ten minutes. He should have spent more time. Bateman sees himself in a bunch of mirrors and puts bullets in them all while Vollin looks on and laughs.
He shows Bateman his basement. He lies down on a table that is right out of “The Pit And The Pendulum.” Bateman locks him in. Vollin says if he doesn’t release him his face will always look the same. Bateman lets him out.
Vollin has a few guests over for the weekend. The list includes Jean and Jerry. The judge refuses to come. It’s a dark and stormy night as Vollin talks about Poe. It shakes Jean up and she heads upstairs. Bateman walks into the room and she screams. No harm done. Now the judge shows up after all.
Time for Vollin to put his plan into action. Bateman grabs the judge from his room and takes him to the basement. He puts him on the table and it’ll be fifteen minutes until the pendulum reaches him. Now there are lots of surprises in store for Jean and Jerry.
It’s a great serial type ending and Bela is an absolute blast to watch. This isn’t as good as 1934’s “The Black Cat” but definitely worth watching.