Friday, September 23, 2011

Spook Chasers (1957)

Another one of the Leo Gorcey-less Bowery Boys films that marked the final seven outings of the series. If it wasn't for Huntz Hall you'd never know this was a Bowery Boys film since other than his mugging it could have been from almost any other series.

Hanging out in Clancy's Cafe, the replacement for Louie's Sweet Shop, the boys help try to calm down Clancy when the doctor comes in because Clancy missed a follow up visit. The doctor advises a rest for Clancy's nerves, but Clancy balks since he realizes it will take all his savings to go away. A real estate agent and his secretary suggest buying a country home, and he does. In typical fashion it turns out to be a wreck of a place.

Deciding to fix the place up things begin to look up when Sach finds a stash of hidden money. Clancy is thrilled and he uses the money to pay off the house. Unfortunately the money belonged to a dead gangster and his cronies were looking for the place. In order to get it back they decide to stage a haunting.

Amusing film is actually quite good as these by the numbers films go. It hits all the jokes and all the right notes as it goes through almost every sort of fake haunting joke you can think of. On it's own terms it actually a fun little film.

If there is any real problem its Huntz Hall who's mugging gets out of control. It's understandable that Allied Artists would push him forward once Leo Gorcey left the series, but at the same time Gorcey kept Hall in line and allowed him someone to play off of. They were two characters and the earlier films could fold around them seamlessly. Alone Hall stands out like a sore thumb against all of the more real characters he was now surrounded by. While the film is good it's clear why the series days were numbered.

Worth seeing if you run across it (the film is in the Turner Classic rotation)

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