Before I Hang (1940) Review

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Stem Cell research gone wrong.

Before I Hang (1940): 3 out of 10: Boris Karloff stars as Dr. Kevorkian in this expose of stem cell research gone wrong.

Okay maybe that is not completely accurate but one might certainly think along those lines as Karloff plays a doctor found guilty of a mercy killing who is sentenced to hang despite almost creating a promising youth serum.

Karloff quickly finds himself in a prison trying to perfect his youth serum using the blood of a recently hanged killer. All the while the clock is ticking against his very own execution. He injects himself with the serum. It works. The governor pardons him. He goes off to save the world.

Actually, that is also not completely accurate. Apparently, the blood came from the prisoner “Abby Normal” and Karloff gets that look in his eyes and his over-sized handkerchief out of his pocket and the population of actors still in the movie starts dropping precipitously.

The movie is poorly directed and despite some initially good, albeit rushed, ideas it quickly falls into the old blood memory turns a man into a killer nonsense. The pacing is bizarre with a ton of plot explained through voice-over (the hanging verdict, in particular, seems unlikely as shown). This is in the first half of the film mind you, in the second half it’s just Karloff stalking the elderly which drags on like a race with two people using walkers.

A weak film that starts strong and quickly goes nowhere.

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