We're in a bad patch here. This must be payback for the good ones recently observed. Apparently we were getting cocky. Oh you think this is supposed to be fun, do you? You think this is supposed to be enjoyable? Here, pally: try this on for size. It's the 1935 equivalent of that stupid 90s horror film where people were killed by something on the internet:

 

 

Does anyone really believe that the presence of Lugosi in a non-Transylvanian role guarantees a good chill? He walks through these pictures with such sluggish apathy he makes the Mummy look like Pee-Wee Herman. I know, I know, he was a Great Actor, Cruelly Treated by Hollywood. So you’re a great actor? So act, already.

I do like the jagged beams, which are somehow the universally understood symbol for aether-piercing electrical marvels like radio and TV:

 

 

But the TV camera itself - well.

 

 

This looks like the ocular array of some hideous robot spider:

 

 


The plot: a TV inventor is murdered - by TELEVISION! In the middle of a demonstration, no less. Rival TV scientists are suspected. The mystery is solved by everyone standing around in rooms reading their scripts as if they were reciting insurance form boilerplate, and then Bela solves the crime. Somehow. Seems the TV was used to amplify an interstellar frequency, which Bela calls “Ze Death Ray!” By this point you have no idea what’s going on, or how anything added up - and the movie’s barely an hour long.

Here’s a glimpse. Behold, the brilliant promise of TV, circa 1935.