“Circumambulating evolution, in a swoop?”
Boris Karloff is Nathaniel Billings the owner of the Billings Tavern in Jenksville. Short on cash and long on debt Billings sells the 18th century tavern to Winnie Slade (Jeff Donnell). She plans on turning it into a hotel. The only stipulation is that Billings must be able to continue working in his basement laboratory.
Billings’ housekeeper Amelia Jones (Maude Eburne), (who sleepwalks as a Chicken), and hired hand Ebenezer (George McKay) also continue to work in the inn. Winnie doesn’t know the nature of Billings' experiments. Winnie’s ex-husband Bill (Larry Parks) shows up and is against the purchase, however, he is too late to try to put a stop to it. Not trusting Billings he decides to stay at the inn for awhile to keep an eye on everything.
Billings is using traveling salesmen as guinea pigs. He is attempting to create a race of super-humans to help the war effort. Apparently the place is a magnet for stupid traveling salesmen.
At dinner, the residents hear ghost sounds. Bill thinks its part of a scam to scare them away. When Bill investigates he discovers the body of a traveling salesman in the basement. Mr. Johnson (Eddie Laughton) is an experiment that did not go as planned. Bill reports the death to the local sheriff, Dr Arthur Lorencz (Peter Lorre).
Dr. Lorencz is the local doctor, sheriff, undertaker, mayor, bank owner and a host of other professionals. He also carries a Siamese kitten in his pocket. Apparently it has an amazing instinct for crime and corruption. After making inquiries, Lorencz realizes the potential for profit from Billings’ invention and decides to work with him on his experiments. They discuss using Bill as a test subject but quickly abandon the idea. They turn their attention to Maxie, a powder puff salesman (Maxie Rosenbloom).
It’s your basic comedy plot. Confusion, misinformation, a cast of eccentric characters. Each one stranger than the last. A little slapstick. Plus it has all the clichés, creaking floors, hidden panels, ghost noises. The music score adds to the romp factor. Throw in a mad bomber and a couple dumb cops and you get the gist of it. Or maybe you don't.
“The Boogie Man Will Get You” was released in 1942 and was directed by Lew Landers. The movie is a comedy/horror. There is no boogie man in “The Boogie Man Will Get You”. As a comedy it’s OK. I’m not big on comedies but coming in at about 66 minutes it’s not too time consuming. You do have to pay attention to the dialogue or you will miss some charming repartee. The best part about the movie is of course Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. I was also amused by Maxie the powder puff salesman (Maxie Rosenbloom). It’s a little bit of fluff.