Condemned To Live (1935) - Frank Strayer

Haphazardly thrown together horror movies have been dripping out of Grindhouse theaters for decades; movies like this one which was shot in about a week and pushed out to make a quick buck. The acting is horrible and the actors look as if they are wearing found clothing; the picture is extra blurry and cuts in weird places as if they were filming it on scraps of reel tape. All of these quirks make it beautiful in its own way.

When examining Condemned to Live it is apparent that Frank Strayer came right off of the success of Vampire Bat (1933) and decided to repackage the movie and put it out again. The movie has no real "Monster" to speak of, in fact the villain (known as "the Fiend" in this picture) is more of a repackaging of a psychotic with vampiristic overtones; Professor Kristen doesn't ever actually drink the blood of his victims but he does gnaw on their necks. The village in the movie is taken right out of "The Bride of Frankenstein" and they even throw in a hunchback to drive home the fact that this is a horror movie. He isn't even needed.

The movie is pretty tame and most of the killings are done off screen and didn't hold up my interest very well. The movie is bland and feels like it needs a shot of something to keep it on its toes. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone, but I wouldn't complain if it fell into a horror movie marathon at a local theater.

What good can there be in a hunchback?
  • Shot in 10 days
  • Used costumes and sets from The Bride of Frankenstein
  • Used the same music and a few sets from The Vampire Bat