Tonight on MeTV- it’s a classic based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe- in which a mysterious scientist conducts ungodly experiments in an attempt to find a shortcut to evolution- and a mate for an intelligent ape, resulting in countless victims in 1800s Paris- as Bela Lugosi portrays the menacing Dr. Mirakle in the 1932 version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue”!
We visit a carnival with medical student Pierre and his fiancee Camille, accompanied by his roommate Paul with his girlfriend. While ogling female dancers and “wild Indians” in the sideshow area, they happen upon what they think is just an animal show featuring an ape. On stage, they see Dr. Mirakle, who, instead of just doing an animal act, gives a rather bizarre lecture about evolution, before unveiling the ape- whom he insists has great intelligence, and actually speaks in a mysterious language! Mirakle , having spotted Camille as she entered the show , shows great interest in her- as does the ape, known as Erik. He appears to be fascinated by the young woman, and snatches her bonnet off her head! When Pierre steps in , the ape grabs him and only Mirakle’s intervention saves him from harm. Mirakle attempts to t use an offer to replace Camille’s bonnet as way to learn where she lives- but no avail- and instead resorts to sending an assistant to follow her to her home.
We then learn what fiendish plan he has in mind- as he abducts a woman of questionable reputation on the street. He uses her as the subject of an awful experiment- he injects a mixture with the ape’s blood into her system, in hopes of creating- a mate for his highly-evolved simian! This crime against nature results in failure.
When the woman’s dead body is discovered later, and brought to the morgue- it is noted that similar victims have been showing up lately. ( Mirakle appears to be pretty busy!). The young medical student Pierre has been following the news of these female fatalities, and his scientific curiosity leads him to the morgue in an attempt to deduce what led to the latest victim’s demise- and-through methods his professors might not approve-he procures a sample of her blood to study.
Meanwhile, Mirakle has not given up on trying to further Erik’s “relationship” with Camille- and, after failing to convince her to come see the ape again- enlists the simian to abduct the fair maiden -resulting in further murder- and confounding the authorities. A suspect himself,Pierre must solve the mystery and find his beloved Camille- who is on the verge of becoming the next victim of the deranged Mirakle!
The role of Mirakle was Bela Lugosi’s follow-up to his portrayal of “Dracula” – we’ll talk about his involvement in the film, and introduce you to our cast which includes popular actor Leon Ames (billed as “Leon Waycoff”)- a short appearance by an actress better known for spending several years on a vintage game show-and , starring as Erik in an ape suit of his own design-Charles Gemora, an icon of movie special effects. There’s plenty of Sven shtick as well- including, after the movie, a bunch of vintage Sven bits, a couple of which we have included as a salute to the great comedian and film-maker who left us this past week- Jerry Lewis.( We’re showing a couple of the more obscure bits , rather than the beloved “Judge Jerry”- but-we may rerun that in the future.)
“Murders in the Rue Morgue” begins at 10 pm eastern/pacific , 9 central, or, check your local listings (or at www.metv.com) for time and channel in your area (And, remember-on Saturday, Sept. 9, our show moves to the new earlier time- 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central!) And- in the Chicago area- viewers can get a second dosage of the “Invisible Ray” at 11 am on WCIU, the U- and that time slot will stay the same this fall!
Our Halloween season of appearances is getting closer- as it gets nearer, be sure to check our site here to see where I’ll be- just click on the “appearances” tab!
Please join us for Bela making some Poe choices tonight on MeTV!