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1934 / Horror
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8.0 / 10
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Directed by Roy William Neill
Written by Garnett Weston
Starring Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie Albright, Edward Ellis, Edwin Maxwell, Vince Barnett and Helen Flint

Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.

The following tags are associated with this movie: mystery, novel adaptation
The 9th Guest (1934)
Review by Michael Mahoney

8 / 10
Based off a forgotten novel from 1930 written by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, The 9th Guest is an extraordinarily fun spiritual prequel to Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians (also known as And There There Were None).

While the story is certainly more mystery than it is horror, there are many suspenseful sequences in the film. The deaths are pretty good for the time period, my favorite being a rather brutal electrocution, complete with a terrible shrieking. The characters are all pretty interesting also, and the fact that they know each other (as opposed to Christie's later work) lends to additional suspicion and tension as the film goes on.

Given the film is just over an hour, it's not that much an investment, but even go, it's still a positive that most of the performances are pretty entertaining. Vince Barnett (unsurprisingly) was used purely for comedic effect, and didn't add much to the story. Everyone else, though, did well, my favorites being Sidney Bracey, Samuel S. Hinds, Edward Ellis, and Hardie Albright. Albright in particular was pretty captivating in his role, especially toward the end.

I really do love the mystery feel of these early horror films - The Bat, The Cat and the Canary, The Monster Walks; all films that I really enjoy. And given the classic set-up of this one, plus the pretty entertaining story, this movie really lives up to it's expectations. I rather enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and this time I still found it a rather fresh film.
Other novel adaptation movies that you may enjoy

The Penthouse (1989)

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

Mad Love (1935)

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