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BLACK DRAGONS
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: William Nigh

Starring:
Bela Lugosi
Joan Barclay
George Pembroke
Clayton Moore

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Psycho Monsieur Colomb is killing off a group of "transformed" American industrialists that are planning on sabotaging the U.S.'s role in World War II. A smart detective is soon on the case, attempting to piece together the whole macabre scheme.
Is it good movie?
There's something very odd about BLACK DRAGONS. I think it was a movie ahead of its time. The flick has this very outlandish concept involving doubles and body-switching and fiendish plots to rig World War II and a very weird doctor/killer. It all feels like something that would work more in lines with today's movie standards as either a super high-profile drama or a totally whacked-out B-movie. The problem is, what I saw was made in the early 1940's as some serious form of cinema.

Hence, just like the previous "oldie" I just reviewed, BLACK DRAGONS comes off as another exercise in ridiculousness in terms of modern movie viewers. You've got Bella Lugosi playing this creepy killer guy who sort of gets dropped into the story out of nowhere. Then you've got people being stalked by him that end up acting like feeling-less drones once Bella pounces on 'em. Then there are these Japanese daggers that are left in the hands of these dead victims who are somehow miraculously unloaded to be discovered at the most open of places. Confused yet? I sure was. It's just too much to handle for a mere 61-minute movie.

To further frustrate things, we are constantly bombarded with newspaper clippings as a means of telling the story. This may seem like a minor complaint, but if you saw how many friggin' times a paper came spinning at the screen, you'd be a little bit pissed too. I was also bothered by the big whine-factor that all these old men in the flick seemed to be displaying. It didn't seem logical the way all these men would quickly cower in fear at the mere mention of Lugosi's menacing character.

It's a shame that the proceedings came off as so convoluted because there was potential for some kind of fun flick. And Lugosi appears to be having a blast as the maniacal Monsieur Colomb. His accented stalker achieves the kind of eerie dread that could work in today's genre movies. BLACK DRAGONS just couldn't nail the time period.

Video / Audio
Video Full Screen 1.33:1

Audio English, Dutch, Italian, French, & Spanish dolby digital.

The Extras
Two episodes of this weird 1936 series called UNDERSEA KINGDOM.

Last Call
A potentially clever high concept that was completely hindered by its time period. There was just too much info and not enough finesse. At least Lugosi added some nice, creepy charm, but nowhere near enough to make BLACK DRAGONS worthy of recommendation.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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