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Universal Horror Collection Volume 2 Main

Universal Horror Collection: Volume 2 - The Strange Case of Doctor Rx Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Universal Horror Collection Volume 2 Large

Directed by William Nigh
Written by Clarence Upson Young
1942, 66 minutes, Not Rated
Released on July 23rd, 2019

Patric Knowles as Jerry Church
Anne Gwynne as Kit Logan Church
Lionel Atwill as Dr. Fish
Edmund MacDonald as Det. Bill Hurd
Samuel S. Hinds as Dudley Crispin
Shemp Howard as Det. Sgt. Sweeney
Mantan Moreland as Horatio B. Fitz Washington

Universal Horror Collection Vol 2 09 Universal Horror Collection Vol 2 10


In recent weeks, five mobsters on trial have been acquitted of their crimes only to be found murdered by a serial killer known only as Doctor Rx. The victims all shared the same lawyer, Dudley Crispin, who has himself been receiving death threats during this latest trial. Police have few leads, so Crispin hires famed private eye Jerry Church to solve the mystery. Joined by his feisty new bride Kit and a pair of hapless detectives named Hurd and Sweeney, Church sets out to catch the killer. The plot thickens when a sixth man dies in court and Church begins receiving strange notes and clues. As he continues his investigation, the tables are quickly turned as Dr. Rx sets his sights on him as his seventh victim!

The Strange Case of Doctor Rx is an early entry in the budding serial killer subgenre that, while light on horror and suspense, carries some familiar elements. The murderer leaves a calling card with each victim to taunt the police and when he finally appears in the final reel, he is wearing a creepy mask. This film carries an interesting premise, but the numerous comedic subplots derail any real chills. It is competently directed and most of the characters are well-defined, but the end result is too rushed to be effective and requires lengthy exposition to wrap it up.

Genre movies of this era rarely ran much longer than an hour, so by necessity the stories had to move quickly. In The Strange Case of Dr. Rx, the more serious elements are downplayed and the general tone is non-threatening, but the picture smacks of missed opportunities. The most egregious failing is the miscasting of Lionel Atwill, a top star of the day known for playing villains. His character is so minimal that his entire screen time is under five minutes, and ultimately serves as a red herring. This is easily the weakest title in this collection but it does have some merit – including a supporting performance from Shemp Howard of Three Stooges fame as a bumbling detective.

 Universal Horror Collection Vol 2 11 Universal Horror Collection Vol 2 12

the mad doctor of market street previous the mad ghoul next


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