The Black Room

The Black Room ★★★★

"The Black Room" is an underappreciated Gothic tale from Boris Karloff's filmography. The film sees him in a dual role as brothers destined to end their bloodline through betrayal. The elder son, Gregor is a sadistic and depraved baron of a small town. However, he schemes to murder his popular twin brother, Anton and take his place before the townsfolk revolt against his reign.

Directed by the ever reliable Roy William Neill, this is a sumptuous piece of Gothic storytelling that feels more at home with the Universal Monsters series than the run of Columbia's mad doctor pictures. This film has everything you could want from the genre. It features two great performances from Karloff as he gets to flex his acting chops by creating two distinct characters. A castle with secret passages, a pit where bodies are disposed of, candle lit cinematography. You name it. This film is not only dripping with atmosphere, it also has a great story and terrific performances.

I watched this via Eureka's "Karloff at Columbia" box set which features six films he made with the studio, five of which are mad doctor films, with this one being the outlier. It also came with four radio plays that are terrific too! It's a great set and this was a great film. A must watch for any Karloff fan!

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