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Film / Murders in the Rue Morgue

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"Will my search never end?"
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A horror movie by Universal from year 1932. It is an adaptation of The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe. The film changes a lot from the original short story, turning a murder mystery into a typical Universal Horror Mad Scientist tale. However, it keeps just enough intact, so there are major spoilers concerning it.

It is the year 1845 and a carnival has come to Paris. One of the sideshows feature a man named Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) and his gorilla Erik, which he touts to be the missing link between man and ape. He spends his free time by trying to prove this claim, namely kidnapping women and injecting them with Erik's blood to find out if they are compatible.

This method proves to be fatal to his test subjects and the string of bodies he is leaving behind attracts the curiosity of the medical student Pierre Dupin. Coincidentally, Dr. Mirakle has took interest on Dupin's sweetheart Camille, as Erik has took liking to her. Perhaps she has the right type of blood?

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Not to be confused with the 1971 film of the same name, which has practically nothing to do with the Poe story except the name.

Examples in this movie:

  • Adaptation Species Change: The killer ape is a gorilla rather than an orangutan, like in the book.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Dupin.
  • Ass Shove: Well, he says "nose", but this is what Pierre's flatmate means when he talks about the difficulties of earning enough to provide a French bread for supper.
  • Axe Before Entering:
    • The crowd breaking down the door of Camille's apartment.
    • The gendarmes breaking down the backdoor to Dr. Mirakle's hideout.
  • An Axe to Grind: Janos prefers carrying an axe.
  • Belly Dancer: The carnival in the opening has a few.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Dr. Mirakle exemplifies Type II.
  • Brown Face: Discussed. Camille asks Dupin if the belly-dancers are really that brown or if it's just painted on, and when he volunteers to check she slaps him.
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  • The Coroner: The unnamed coroner who supplies Dupin with material and specimens from the morgue.
  • Damsel in Distress: Camille in the end, as she is kidnapped by Erik.
  • Disney Villain Death: Erik's death.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The first victim of Dr. Mirakle. The closest her comes to being stated outright is when the coroner asks "Profession?" and an underling just nods and says "Yes".
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Mirakle has no problem with murder during his search for the connection of man and ape. The only thing that bugs him are his repetitive failures.
  • Eyepatch of Power: One of the vagrants under the bridge wear one.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Erik attacking Camille's mother.
  • The Igor: Janos.
  • Killer Gorilla: Erik, Dr. Mirakle's savage ape.
  • Knife Fight: Dr. Mirakle witnesses two men knife fighting over an implied street walker. He picks her up after the two men perish, and experiments on her.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Mirakle is an evil Mad Scientist with a doctorate.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dr. Mirakle.
  • Outside Ride: Dupin lifts a ride from a carriage to find Dr. Mirakle's hideout.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Dupin's roommate Paul.
  • The Power of Blood: Dr. Mirakle beliefs that Erik's blood is a key component in finding the missing link between man and ape.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It doesn’t take much convincing for the woman in the opening scene to walk off with the sinister looking Mirakle.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The film opens with Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake Overture".
  • Screaming Woman: Camille and her mother when Erik breaks into their apartment.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Dr. Mirakle's death at Erik's hands.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Camille fares much better than her short story counterpart.
  • Touch of the Monster: The promotional material shows part of the scene where Erik looms over Camille while she is asleep.
  • Trap Door: Dr. Mirakle keeps one under his bound test subjects for easy disposing.


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