Director Mark Robson is most famous for the Bogart vehicle The Harder They Fall, as well as 1949 noir, Champion, but he did a few horror movies as well. This one is produced by Val Lewton, and as usual for him, the film is stylish compared to other low budget shockers, and gets the most out of only a few locations. It’s set in 1912 in Greece, quite an unusual setting, but it plays on an old Greek belief in the vorvolaka spirit which drains people of life.
Karloff plays a general who slowly loses his mind (or does he?) when he is isolated in a house on an island with a reporter, a doctor, and a small group of people – the reason being that they start getting sick one by one. The doctor mentions plague, but as he dies from it, Karloff changes from a rational mindset to slowly believing in occult forces controlling what’s going on… Typically Lewton, it’s quite atmospheric, and there’s one scenes that’s really scary, clever effect. I have a hard time figuring out whether or not Karloff is a good actor. That must mean he isn’t the best. But I seriously can’t decide. Nothing like watching flicks like this after midnight. 6/10.