Feature Comedy | 1940 | Sound | B/W
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Comedy horror with Bela Lugosi, East Side Kids, creepy house. Starts with good stock shots of poor district of American city - probably New York City, U.S.A. Street market and barrow stalls on side of road in poor district. Elevated railway.
When film proper starts, we are outside a 'Boy's Club'. Two men and woman stand outside and wait as police drive up. Two 'teenage' boys walk into scene and cop says 'they may be underprivileged, but they sure ain't underdeveloped'. Later a young man acts as a zombie.
New York, maybe Brooklyn, or the east side. Vendors have their carts on the side of the road. Elevated subway. Another street scene of stores and a few shoppers. East side boys club, a black police car drives along the road. Three handcuffed boys get out of the car with the two policemen, they push and shove, up to the door of the boys club where a man, and woman wait for them. A whole crowd of kids comes up, they are going away to summer camp, lots of bad slapstick jokes. The kids are in short trousers and multicoloured ball caps. The bus drives away with lots of cheering.
The bus arrives in Hillside, population 1181, in front of the county court house. The man and woman get off to go get supplies, the bus driver goes to check a back tire, Some of the boys get off the bus, a big group go to the drivers seta, one pretends to drive. The bus driver gets a face full of soot as the engine starts. The bus driver chucks them off the bus. The group of tough guys saunter around the town. They look in the soda shop and oohh, spot the girl of the story. They press up against the window looking in and push each other trying to get in the door. They all lean on the shiny counter of the soda shop and the girl greets them with a smile. Two of the boys order root beer, the other gets fresh and tries to ask her out but she has a date every day of the week. Her name is Margery. A radio broadcast comes on warning about a serial killer, they all look worried. One of them starts to tell a story. The bus drives past the window. They all run out after it and jump on the back. The man and woman walk in a grove of trees as he complains about spending two weeks of holiday with the boys. The bunkhouse with all the boys in it. No bunk beds, one of the boys is black, they talk about the woman who is the trip nurse. A bell rings and the lights go out, and as the boys are lying down, there is a moaning. Ooooo! Sounds like a wolf howling. They go to sleep.
An old timer, with stubble and a battered hat reads from a book sitting on a counter, following with his finger. He is interrupted by a hand knocking at the window. He looks out and it’s a midget. He motions for the man to come outside. He does and the midget leads him to Bela Lugosi in a cape and hat, he asks for directions to the Billings Estate. The billings estate on the top of Billings Mountain. He picks up the midget and puts him in the car, and they drive away. Another car drives up to get gas and the gas station man talks to him through the window. He is apparently a doctor searching for the mad serial killer.
Mugs, the leader of the boys wakes up. The other two jump up as soon as they sees he's out of bed. They sneak out of the bunk house. They slam the door and everyone else sits up in bed. They look at each other and throw back the covers to follow.
Lugosi arrives at the Billings estate. They walk into the Hillside cemetery and visit the grave of one of the Billings women. A gravedigger gets frightened and tries to shoot him but he disappears!!!
The boys walk through the woods, complaining about the mosquitoes, lots of pushing around and bad jokes. The other boys catch up to them.
Lugosi explores the Billings Estate ( I think, very dark)
the boys walk along the road to town, it looks like daylight. The boys stumble across the cemetery. They go in and are shot at by the groundskeeper. The boys carry the injured man to the house. The midget opens the door and lets them come in. Lugosi sits at a table reading the newspaper about the killer lose. Everything is covered in cobwebs. The boys come into the entrance hall, which is also covered with cobwebs. They bring the injured boy upstairs. Lugosi refuses to call for a doctor and asks the boys to wait outside as he tends to the boy. He lights a candle and bends over a boy menacingly. The adults come in after searching for the boys. The nurse runs off in exasperation as the men leave the boys to fend for themselves.
The boys go up to check on Peewee and find lugosi has taken care of him, he lets them stay for the night. He leads them to rooms. One of the boys slaps the bed and a cloud of dust rises. Lugosi leaves them. He drops the candle off with the boy watching peewee. The nurse walks through the woods with her torch. The mayor arrives at the sheriffs, office demands in that he arrest the man at the billings estate. They all go to check on Peewee. They think he is dead and go to find lugosi. Peewee wakes up and starts to act like a zombie. He leaves and locks the other kid in the room.
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