The Cat and the Canary (1927) 31 Days of Horror: Terror-Thon at the Somerville Theatre   Leave a comment

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Last weekend, I sat in the beautiful Somerville Theatre for thirteen hours. I saw seven films. Some I had seen before, others were new to me. I hadn’t seen any of them in the theatre before so it was a real treat to sit back in a comfortable seat, munch on some popcorn and watch a fun mix of horror films. Here’s my take on the films I saw at the mini festival.

catcanary1

This comedy/horror silent tells the story of a group of distant relatives gathering at midnight in a spooky old mansion to hear the reading of their loopy relative’s will. Laura La Plante stars as the beautiful heiress Annabelle West who stands to inherit millions unless a doctor proves her insane. Enter an escaped lunatic from the local asylum, missing valuables, and a corpse. The house doesn’t help. Creepy, old, and covered in cobwebs, the manse looks a lot more haunted than the cleaned up versions we’re used to today. Doors creek, drapes billow in the wind, and bookshelves reveal hidden passageways. I want to live there myself. The slapstick is overdone in places, but most of the gags work great. Flora Finch, as Aunt Susan has a wonderfully expressive face and some great bits. I don’t think much of leading man Creighton Hale in this. Hale plays the sweet, goofy Paul who has loved Annabelle since childhood. I get where they were going with him, I just don’t think they arrived there. In addition to the basic story, a few red herrings and a funny Scooby-Doo chase scene make it fun. An able cast, fun titles with spooky effects, and a lovely score made me glad I watched it.

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