The Corpse Vanishes

The Corpse Vanishes is a 1942 American mystery and horror film starring Bela Lugosi, directed by Wallace Fox, and written by Harvey Gates. Lugosi portrays a mad scientist who injects his aging wife (played by Elizabeth Russell) with fluids from virginal young brides in order to preserve her beauty. Luana Walters as a journalist and Tristram Coffin as a small town doctor investigate and solve the disappearances of the brides.

The film was later the subject of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode in 1989.

The Corpse Vanishes
Theatrical poster
Directed byWallace Fox
Produced bySam Katzman
Jack Dietz
Written byScreenplay:
Harvey Gates
Sam Robins
Gerald Schnitzer
StarringBela Lugosi
Luana Walters
Tristram Coffin
Minerva Urecal
Elizabeth Russell
CinematographyArthur Reed
Edited byRobert Golden
Banner Productions
Distributed byMonogram Pictures Corporation
Release date
May 8, 1942
Running time
64 minutes
CountryUnited States


On the day of Alice Wentworth's wedding, mad scientist Dr. Lorenz sends the young bride an unusual orchid, the scent of which places the young woman in a state of suspended animation resembling death. He then spirits her body away to the basement laboratory of his isolated mansion and extracts glandular fluid from behind her ears to inject into his vain and aged wife in order to renew her youth and beauty. This is only the latest in a series of brides who appear to die at the altar and whose corpses subsequently vanish en route to the hospital or mortuary, and the police are thoroughly stymied.

A young journalist, Patricia Hunter, investigates the case and discovers it involves an unusual orchid. She is directed to Lorenz, a known expert on orchids, and visits his mansion where she meets with a chilly reception from his wife. She is forced to spend the night when a storm washes out the bridge to town, and discovers horror in the cellar beneath the Lorenz mansion: a crazed old woman and her two sons, one a sadistic dwarf and the other a hulking half-wit, all of whom assist Lorenz in his activities; and a mausoleum in which he keeps the bodies of his bride-victims, not all of whom may be entirely dead yet.

Also staying the night is a neighboring young doctor, who attends Countess Lorenz for other medical issues. When Patricia confides in him what she is investigating and what she has witnessed in the house, he agrees to help her. She leaves the next day for the city and, with her editor, develops a plan to trap Lorenz with a staged wedding and plenty of police protection, but he outfoxes them, chloroforming Hunter and carrying her to his laboratory to now use her bodily fluids upon his wife. However, during his escape, his dwarf-accomplice is shot and captured by the police. Back at the mansion, Lorenz is stabbed by the crazed old woman, Fagah, who holds Lorenz responsible for her sons' deaths. He strangles her, then collapses and dies. Fagah rallies weakly and stabs the Countess to death. The police, and the young doctor who has led them to the mansion, arrive and Hunter is freed.



Filming started 13 March 1942.[1]


Home media

In 2009, the film was available on DVD.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 showed the movie in the fifth episode of their first season. The movie was considered so bad that when Tom Servo was questioned by Joel if there was anything positive from the movie, he short circuits. The MST3K episode is available in the collectors volume 16.


Bela Lugosi also starred in another 1942 horror film, Bowery at Midnight. In a scene in that film outside a cinema, an advertising poster for The Corpse Vanishes outside the cinema doors features Lugosi's image and name.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Colorized publicity shot.

The Corpse Vanishes was featured in episode #105 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 along with Chapter 3 of Radar Men from the Moon, a Commando Cody serial. The episode debuted in December 1989 on the Comedy Channel.[2] MST3K writer Mary Jo Pehl describes the movie as "nonstop boredom and yawns aplenty" and a "low-key quasi-thriller."[3]

Like all the other first-season MST3K episodes, The Corpse Vanishes did not make the Top 100 list of episodes as voted upon by MST3K Season 11 Kickstarter backers.[4] Writer Jim Vogel also took a dim view of the episode, ranking it #184 (out of 191 total MST3K episodes). "It's not the worst movie in the world, although it is very weird," Vogel says, remarking that the low energy level from the riffers makes this an MST3K episode likely to bore the audience.[5]

The MST3K version of The Corpse Vanishes was released on July 20, 2010, by Shout! Factory as part of the Mystery Science Theater Collection, Vol. XVI DVD set along with Warrior of the Lost World (episode #501), Santa Claus (episode #521), and Night of the Blood Beast (episode #701).[6]

See also


  1. ^ Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Mar 1942: 22.
  2. ^ Episode guide: 105- The Corpse Vanishes (with short: Radar Men from the Moon, Chapter 3: 'Bridge of Death'). Satellite News. Retrieved on 2018-07-12.
  3. ^ Beaulieu, Trace; et al. (1996). The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide (1st ed.). New York: Bantam Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780553377835.
  4. ^ Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000 Update #41. Kickstarter. Retrieved on 2018-07-12.
  5. ^ Ranking Every MST3K Episode, From Worst to Best. Vorel, Jim. Paste Magazine. April 13, 2017. Retrieved on 2018-07-12.
  6. ^ MST3K: Volume XVI. Shout! Factory. Retrieved on 2018-07-12.

External links

Mystery Science Theater 3000

A Yank in Korea

A Yank in Korea is a 1951 American war film directed by Lew Landers and starring Lon McCallister. It was one of the first movies about the Korean War.

Arthur Reed

Arthur Reed may refer to:

Arthur Reed (footballer, born 1894) (1894–?), English footballer

Arthur Reed, namesake of the Cromer Lifeboat Ruby and Arthur Reed II ON 1097

Arthur Reed (politician) (1881–1961), British Member of Parliament for Exeter, 1931–1945

Arthur Reed (1860–1984), American longevity claimant, died aged 123 years, 292 days; see longevity claims

Arthur Reed (RAF officer) (1898–?), World War I flying ace

Arthur Reed (Australian footballer) (1883–1951), Australian rules footballer

Arthur Reed (cinematographer) for The Corpse Vanishes

Bowery at Midnight

Bowery at Midnight is a 1942 American horror film directed by Wallace Fox and starring Bela Lugosi and John Archer.

Glen Glenn (sound engineer)

Glen Percy Raymond Glenn (November 25, 1907 – August 21, 1960) was a Canadian-American sound engineer who went to Los Angeles in the 1930s to pursue a career in movies.

He was born in Chipman, New Brunswick, Canada to parents Lionel Glenn and Adella Clarke. He immigrated to America in 1926. He settled in New York and became an electrical engineer. He went to Los Angeles in 1931.Glenn was known for his involvement in the sound department of more than 300 movies and television shows. Some include the 1942 movie The Corpse Vanishes, the 1950s television shows I Love Lucy, The Millionaire, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Glenn also co-founded the Glen Glenn Sound Company in 1937 with fellow engineer Harry Eckles. Glen Glenn Sound eventually worked on the soundtracks of more than 20,000 motion pictures and television shows. The company was acquired by the audio post production company Todd-AO in 1986.Glenn and his wife Mary Helen were both killed in an automobile accident while vacationing in New Brunswick, Canada. Their car plunged off of a high dirt road and landed in the water of the Newcastle Creek in Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada. Glenn was 52 years old.Glenn and his wife are buried in unmarked graves at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Jack Armstrong (serial)

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Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land

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Jungle Manhunt

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Million Dollar Racket

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Prince of Pirates

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Savage Mutiny

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Six-Gun Trail

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Son of Geronimo

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Spotlight Scandals

Spotlight Scandals or Spotlight Revue is a 1943 American musical comedy film directed by William Beaudine.It was the first of a four picture contract comic actor Billy Gilbert signed with Monogram Pictures. Butch and Buddy, the team who appeared with Gilbert at Universal, travelled with them. The film was originally called 24 Hours Leave.

Texas Wildcats

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The Enemy General

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Three of a Kind (1944 film)

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Trouble Chasers

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Twist Around the Clock

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Wallace Fox

Wallace Fox (9 March 1895 – 30 June 1958) was an American film director. He directed 84 films between 1927 and 1953. He was born in Purcell, Oklahoma, and died in Hollywood, California.

Films directed by Wallace Fox
Films produced by Sam Katzman
Victory Studios
Other 1930s
Jungle Jim series
East Side Kids
The Teen Agers
Rock musicals

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