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Comedy Movies - Spooks Run Wild

Buy Spooks Run Wild (dvd cover)
Bela Lugosi, the East Side Kids, Dennis Moore
Directed by Phil Rosen
Monogram Pictures 1941

Spooks Run Wild stars horror movie legend Bela Lugosi and the East Side Kids comedy gang in one of those weird comedy meets horror clichés films that were popular in the forties and fifties. This basically public domain movie is not a classic by far but is still an interesting and at times funny curiosity.

The premise is the East Side Kids (grown men paying teenage hoodlums) are sent to a summer camp for a couple of weeks at the same time as the "Monster Killer" is on the loose in the region. Bela Lugosi, dwarf assistant in tow, shows up followed by a guy who looks like Freud. When Muggs leaves camp in the middle of the night, the East Side gang follows him, cut through a cemetery where Pee Wee gets shot by the gun-happy groundskeeper, and everybody find refuge at the Billings Estate where Lugosi says he can patch up their friend. That is when Spooks Run Wild and why Lugosi seems to be having a lot of fun in this horror comedy and find it hard to keep a straight face.

To make a long story short, the East Side Kids go running around the creepy old house trying to find Pee Wee and stop Nardo and his dwarf assistant Luigi. A whole bunch of hijinx later all is well that ends well.

Spooks Run Wild is not a big budget movie. Even the least perspicacious viewer will notice that although the East Side Kids are supposed to be out at night they are being filmed in broad daylight. This is nothing the same serious dose of willing suspension of disbelief needed to buy the premise of grown men playing teens can't fix.

It should be noted that this version of Spooks Run Wild has not been restored in any way. The film is grainy and features many vertical lines running through the picture. Splices are visible as when the characters jump a couple of inches in the scene and are particularly visible at the beginning of the movie right before the bus driver walks to the back of the bus. But hey, until a pristine restored print is found this version is watchable

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