Alex Gregor (Lon Chaney Jr.) is a mentalist. His stage name is “Gregor the Great”. His stage partner and fiancé is Maura Daniel (Evelyn Ankers). In his act he puts Maura under hypnosis and through her reads people’s minds. One night a heckler (Arthur Hohl) comes on stage. When Alex puts him in a trance the man dies. Alex firmly believes that he killed the man. The coroner says the man was an alcoholic with a bad heart and died of natural causes. Alex doesn’t believe him. He quits the act and breaks off his engagement with Maura.

Alex’s manager, George Keene (Milburn Stone), tells Alex that he just needs a rest. He recommends that Alex stay with their mutual friend Madame Valerie Monet (Tala Birell). Valerie owns a rambling mansion and wax museum. Valerie runs the museum with her assistant Rudi Polden (Martin Kosleck). Rudi is a disgraced plastic surgeon. Also living with her is her niece Nina Coudreau (Elena Verdugo).

Alex is too stupid to realize that Valerie is in love with him or that Nina is infatuated with him, but he is not blind to the fact that Rudi is obsessed with Nina to the point of being willing to rape her if he ever got the chance. To add to the overlapping unrequited love triangles Maura finds out where Alex is and shows up to try to get him back.

Valerie ends up jealous of both Maura and Nina. She has a showdown with Alex. Alex gives her his hypnotic eye and she falls down. Believing he killed Valerie he panics and runs off in a stupor. When he finally returns to the museum Valerie is gone.

Her disappearance brings Inspector Brant (Douglass Dumbrille). Brant had been called in by Alex when he thought he had killed the drunk on stage. Now Brant has a real mystery to investigate. Suspecting that Valerie was murdered, and not a believer in mind reading or mental murder, Brant makes it a point to be a nuisance to Alex. Alex was the last known person to see Valerie so he is the prime suspect. When Nina disappears Alex resorts to desperate measures to find the truth. He needs to put Maura in a trance and read the mind of a killer.

“The Frozen Ghost” was released in 1945 and was directed by Harold Young. It is a mystery and a film noir. It is also the fourth film in the Inner Sanctum franchise. The title of this story is a little confusing since there is no ghost and no one is actually frozen. There is the suggestion of suspended animation but how that is managed is never covered. So OK the movie has some plot holes you could drive a truck through. It was still spooky.

You certainly can’t say the movie didn’t have atmosphere. You have an eerie wax museum in a creepy mansion with a huge furnace in the basement that you know is going to be used for something nefarious eventually. The movie was engaging and the story interesting. There were also some very good actors in it. Keeping in mind it is actually one of Universal’s low budget films it’s pretty good.

One thing I’ve noticed about these Inner Sanctum films is that, so far, all of Chaney’s characters are very bad at reading women. They have no idea when they’re being duped by women and they have no idea when various women are in love with them. They are also very bad at how they handle the situation when they finally figure it out. They are innocent idiots. Add in murder mystery and sometimes a paranormal influence and they end up being creepy romances. Is that a genre? If not perhaps it should be.