Thursday, October 11, 2018

Psychobabble’s 31 Favorite Universal Horrors: #21


Halloween season simply isn’t Halloween season without a regular dose of classic Universal horror (1923-1963). Every day this October, I’ll be giving you a steady IV drip of it by counting down Psychobabble’s 31 Favorite Universal Horrors!

#21. The Man Who Laughs (1928- dir. Paul Leni)

As was the case with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s not really fair to call The Man Who Laughs a horror movie. Many have, though, since Conrad Viedt grotesque smile is so terrifying. However, his Gwynplaine is not a fiend but the victim of a vile child slaver who disfigures his face. Gwynplaine ends up working in a sideshow, and there’s a genuinely romantic sub-plot and Olga Baklanova—who apparently started getting type cast in freak show movies after this—plays a memorably vampy duchess. The melodramatic aspects of The Man Who Laughs hit the emotions harder than any horror themes, but you may still find Viedt’s smile haunting your nightmares for years to come.

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