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Horror - Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2 - Chandu The Magician

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Chandu The Magician
Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2
Bela Lugosi, Edmund Lowe, Irene Ware
Directed by Marcel Varnel and William Cameron Menzies
Black and white
20th Century Fox 1932
Fox Home Entertainment 2008
71 minutes

Bela Lugosi gives what some horror movie experts see as his best post Dracula performances in Chandu The Magician. Edmund Lowe who plays Chandu -at the time a very popular radio serial character-cannot compete with the magnetism, pure evil, and scenery chewing abilities of Bela Lugosi on this finally on DVD horror classic. Chandu The Magician, Dragonwyck, and Dr. Renault's Secret come in the Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2 DVD set (all are reviewed on this site)

For a movie made in 1932, Chandu the Magician looks pretty good on DVD. There are however a few scenes that are obviously missing a second or two of footage and there are minor streaks across the screen

Chandu The Magician is a movie both horror and special effects fans will enjoy. William C. Menzies who co-directed this movie really knows how to make magic on the screen.  According to the featurette on this movie experts are still wondering how some of that magic and the travelling camera shots were done.

The movie opens with Chandu (Edmund Lowe) being accepted as a yogi and given his name. He performs a couple of cool tricks for the camera before being made aware of the existence of the evil Roxor (Bela Lugosi) who wants to dominate the world. Of course, the evil magician played by Lugosi owns a lot of really cool looking contraption: Chandu's brother-in-law's death ray machine with which Roxor will conquer the world.

Chandu learns he must not only stop Roxor and save the world but also save his brother-in-law and his niece (played by June Lang in a very revealing nightgown).

This is a horror movie that plays much like a serial. There is even a bit of occasional comic relief in the character of Miggles, Chandu's Cockney accented sidekick of sorts. Its one weakness is the heavy duty musical score that was fashionable at the time.

Special features on the Chandu The Magician DVD are a read commentary track by Lugosi biographer Gregory William Mank and a very interesting short feature on the movie itself that includes special effects and miniature magician Ray Harryhausen.

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