Synopsis by Cavett Binion
A fun though abortive bid to pair crime-solving duo Lew Ayres and Laraine Day for a series of thrillers, this murder mystery benefits from good performances by the leads. The plot involves a series of axe murders in Chicago being perpetrated by the patients of an insane asylum, all of whom have been hypnotically conditioned to kill by madman Doctor Santelle (Basil Rathbone). The plot is finally foiled by Oliver Duffy (Ayres), a former actor-turned-amateur sleuth, just in time to save his none-too-bright companion Edwina (Day). Though the suspense elements are fairly well-mounted, they are too frequently diluted by some rather ill-conceived attempts at comic relief. Despite his popularity as Doctor Kildare, Ayres' star potential would fade quickly after this film thanks to his subsequent conscientious-objector status during World War II.
axe-murderer, doctor, private-detective, asylum [mental hospital], detective, investigation, mad-scientist, mental-institution, murder, patient [medical], serial-killer, actor, cover-up, expose [revelation], maniac, psychopath, attack