Warner Bros.' followup to its 3D hit House of Wax, Phantom of the Rue Morgue bears only the slightest resemblance to its alleged inspiration, the Edgar Allan Poe mystery yarn Murders in the Rue Morgue. Karl Malden delivers one of the hammiest performances on record as mad scientist Dr. Marais, who uses a trained gorilla to exact revenge on those who've wronged him. At the top of Marais' hit list are the many beautiful women who've spurned his advances, including such French pastries as Yvonne (Allyn McLerie), Arlette (Veola Vonn) and Camille (Dolores Dorn). Each of these unfortunate ladies have been given bracelets decorated with bells, designed to attract the homicidal ape's attention. Psychology professor Paul Dupin (Steve Forrest) conducts a private investigation of the killings, only to be arrested for the murders himself by the supremely confident (and rather dense) Inspector Bonnard (Claude Dauphin). This leaves Dupin's sweetheart Jeanette (Patricia Medina) virtually defenseless when she is targetted for extermination by Doc Marais. Outside of such incidental pleasures as seeing Merv Griffin play a French medical student, Phantom of the Rue Morgue offers a vast array of unsubtle 3D "shock" effects, which come off as hilarious when the film is shown "flat" (as it always is these days).
by Hal Erickson synopsis