GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE
THE EAST SIDE KIDS MEET BELA LUGOSI
The most notable aspect of Ghosts on the Loose is its misleading title. There are no ghosts or haunted houses in the film, nor even the suggestion or belief that there are any. The closest the film comes is a running cameo from a next-door neighbour who rings up the police because she believes the noises she hears are ghosts. Being Monogram, Ghosts on the Loose is an amazingly cheap production the camera is static throughout, the photography is poor. Moreover, the film is directed by legendary B-budget director William One-Shot Beaudine, who helmed a number of the East Side Kids comedies.
Nevertheless, The East Side Kids have a engagingly energetic level of knockabout comedy. Leo Gorcey has a unique screen presence a total motormouth with an Irish accent that you could chisel bricks with. Much of the comedy centres around his malapropisms morals on the wall, intimidating evidence, you should go to an optimist and get your eyes checked and so on. There is an amusing ending where Huntz Hall contracts German measles, which consist of swastikas all over his face.
Unfortunately, an engaging beginning pans into a pitiful middle. The hauntings centred around faces appearing behind portraits, a picture of Napoleon that turns around, and some odd noises are utterly banal. That is as scary as the film gets. The wartime propagandist message is dreadfully forced. Bela Lugosi, typecast again one is certain the ghostly associations of the title have more to do with the simple fact of his casting than anything else is given almost nothing to do.
Director William Beaudine had a prolific career that lasted from the 1910s until his death in the 1970s. He was mostly known as a director who could shoot fastly and cheaply. He made some 350+ films, although this figure is misleading as many of these were silent films and not feature length. Beaudine did make a number of other genre films, including the Old Dark House film The Living Ghost (1942), the comedy Lucky Ghost (1942), the mad scientist film The Ape Man (1943), the mad scientist film Voodoo Man (1944), the mad scientist film The Face of Marble (1946), the East Side Kids/Bowery Boys Old Dark House comedy Spook Busters (1946), the Bowery Boys film Ghost Chasers (1951), the mad scientist comedy Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952), the Bowery Boys film Jalopy (1953), the Bowery Boys film Paris Playboys (1954), the Bowery Boys film Up in Smoke (1957), the notorious Z-budget films Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966) and Jesse James Meets Frankensteins Daughter (1966), and The Green Hornet (1974), a compilation of episodes of the superhero tv series.
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