Strangler of the Swamp (1946)

“Terror Stalks the Bayou!” A nice little atmospheric horror film produced on a miniscule budget by PRC, Strangler of the Swamp opens with the haunting lines: “Old legends – strange tales – never die in the lonely swamp land. Villages and hamlets lie remote and almost forgotten. Small ferryboats glide between the shores, and the ferryman is a very important person. Day and night he is at the command of his passengers. On his little barge ride the good and the evil; the friendly and the hostile; the superstitious and the enlightened; the living and – sometimes – the dead.” Hanged for a crime he didn’t commit, “Ferryman Douglas” (Charles Middleton, best known as “Ming the Merciless” in the Flash Gordon series) vows to return from the dead and “strangle all the hangmen and their descendents for generations to come.” All hell breaks loose upon the arrival of the dead ferryman’s daughter “Maria” (Rosemary LaPlanche), who decides to take over the ferry service, which basically consists of a rundown shack in the middle of an extremely foggy swamp. Genuinely creepy, the film was directed by Frank Wisbar – a remake of his 1936 German film Fahrmann Maria. Believe it or not, the film has a running time of just under 59 minutes! Film director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) appears in the film as Maria’s love interest “Chris Sanders.”

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