Arsenic and Super Zombies

After four films playing almost identical mad doctor roles, Boris Karloff did the only logical thing: lampooned himself. Possibly aggrieved after not earning a part in the film adaption of Arsenic and Old Lace (despite playing a key part in the stage version), Boogie Man Will Get You softly remakes that classic, but now with a wartime tinge.

Karloff isn’t out to cure cancer or resurrect the dead this time, rather seeking to turn men into super soldiers to help stamp out the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, he’s clueless, even oblivious to the chaos he’s creating, imprisoning door-to-door salesmen for use in his experiments. That’s a running gag, noting how few people care if obnoxious, disruptive salespeople go missing. In fact, most would likely celebrate their now fewer numbers.

… the comic pacing isn’t enough to keep Boogie Man Will Get You consistently hilarious

In perfect casting, Karloff pairs with Peter Lorre, equally unhinged as the small town’s mayor, sheriff, landlord, and crematory director. Combined, their madness is played entirely for laughs; there’s hardly a thrill anywhere in this dark comedy, the laughs consistently morbid.

Boogie Man Will Get You is populated by oddballs, from a maid who wants to build a home for her chickens (even though she doesn’t have any), the wide-eyed young woman willing to buy the house sight unseen (while letting Karloff stay in the basement), and the frenzied husband trying to create anything from a no-win situation.

Barely longer than an hour, the comic pacing isn’t enough to keep Boogie Man Will Get You consistently hilarious, but in spurts, it’s a joyful knock-off. Karloff and Lorre make even the failed gags work in their favor, and the frantic tone contains various missteps, mistaken identities, and wild misunderstanding. Charmingly weird, Boogie Man Will Get You stereotypes those small outskirts of the American populace, the last of the truly isolated small towns, and the only place screwball personalities like this still existed. To help with the war means to do so on their own terms, asinine as their ideas are.

The finale brings a dozen or so characters together using askew logic gifted to a movie like this, and the script runs with it. Boogie Man Will Get You doesn’t drift toward sci-fi madness – it’s never clear if Karloff’s invention will/can work in the first place – but instead remains grounded, aside from the characters themselves. Karloff rarely had this much breezy fun on screen; it’s worth seeing for that alone.


While Mill Creek’s encoding isn’t the best (and Boogie Man Will Get You shares space with Devil Commands), this doesn’t diminish an otherwise crisp master. Seemingly scanned recently, resolution remains high. Sadly, a shot of edge enhancement mars the purity, but the result is visible ringing on high contrast edges only. Grain does not appear impacted at all. Damage varies, from minor to severe. Another clean-up pass wouldn’t hurt.

Generous in contrast and black levels, both extremes excel, but these are extremes. There’s notable black crush, but gray scale in-between displays proper refinement. A delicate touch is used to ensure smooth gradients except at the peaks.


Solid audio produces crisp dialog and a score weak in range, but well defined. Hissing, static, and popping disappear, if those were ever an issue in the first place.


The Monster Party Podcast foursome deliver info during their commentary track.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Boogie Man Will Get You
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 26 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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