Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff

08/13/2015 19:01

Film: Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff

Year: 1949

Director: Charles Barton

Writer: Hugh Wedlock Jr., Howard Snyder, John Grant and Oscar Brodney

Starring: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Boris Karloff



This film begins at a hotel near a place called Lost Caverns. A bunch of newspaper people are there and there is buzz about a famous defense lawyer coming to stay, he is played by Nicholas Joy. When he arrives and checks in, a bumbling bellhop creates a mess of things, the bellhop is played by Lou Costello. He ends up getting fired for his antics. Costello threatens Joy and we see Bud Abbott, who is a manager, whisks him away.

Costello goes to apologize to Joy, but finds him dead. Others discover what is going in the room, making Costello the prime suspect in the murder. The police arrive and begin their investigation.

In Costello’s room, Abbott tries to make sense of what is going on and Costello pulls out a handkerchief he accidentally took from Joy’s room, with his blood on it. He also finds a gun in his bed and tries to explain. Abbott believes he did not do it, but he has a lot to prove.

It turns out that there are other people staying at the hotel that Joy had defended and there are telegraphs saying he was going to write a book of their cases. This makes a hotel full of suspects. Can Abbott and Costello prove that Costello is not the one who did it before it is too late? Is the legendary Boris Karloff the killer or is he trying to pin the murders on Costello so he will not take the heat?

I have to say that this is a great blend of ‘who-done-it’ horror and slapstick comedy. Costello is great as bumbling bellhop who uses a lot of puns and other comedy he was known for. He plays well off of Abbott who seems to be the intelligent one, but he also adds to the comedy. They make quite the pair.

Karloff does not have a large part in this, but he does have a couple scenes of hypnotizing Costello, which turns into a comedy routine.

The story was actually really solid in this as well. Most of the movie follows Abbott and Costello as they prove his innocence. The audience knows he did not do it, but the way things are found point to him. As the title implies, it makes you think that Karloff is the killer, but there some nice twists that make you wonder as well. There are some things that if you are quick to catch make a lot of sense in the end.

I was really surprised by this blend of comedy and horror. This one is not all that scary, but there is a lot of comedy mixed with elements of the horror genre. If you like Abbott and Costello, I would definitely give this a watch. If you like Karloff, he is solid in the little screen time he gets, but it is not a lot. It is in black and white, as well as from the 1940s, so I would keep that in mind. Other than that, this is one is pretty solid.


My Rating: 7 out of 10