The Black Room (1935)

“The house began with murder. It will end the same way.” Boris Karloff starred in three classic horror films in 1935 – The Bride of Frankenstein, The Raven and The Black Room. Not a bad year! Best of all, The Black Room, which was directed by Roy William Neill (The Scarlet Claw), features great performances from Karloff in dual roles as both a good and evil twin. The action takes place at a nineteenth-century Tyrolean castle where twins Gregor and Anton are born into a baronial family. According to an ancient prophecy, the younger twin will one day kill the older one in the creepy Black Room of the castle. Flash forward 20 years later and the older brother, Gregor, has become a tyrannical ruler (and serial murderer), while the younger sensitive brother, Anton, who was born with a paralyzed right arm, has been out roaming the countryside. Rapidly losing grip of his power, Gregor summons Anton to the castle with seemingly good intentions to help stabilize his control over the restless population. However, Gregor actually has forged a sinister plan that involves throwing Anton into a stake pit, assuming his identity, regaining power and marrying the beautiful “Thea” (Marian Marsh). Bottom line: The Black Room is a must-see for Karloff fans as he masterfully pulls off the roles of Gregor and Anton, as well as Gregor impersonating Anton. Karloff (1887-1969) was born William Henry Pratt.

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