The Cat Creeps is the first of three talkie versions of John Willard's durable stage melodrama The Cat and the Canary (filmed under its original title in 1927). Twenty years after the death of misanthropic millionaire Cyrus West, the old man's heirs are summoned to the spooky ancestral mansion for the reading of two recently discovered sealed envelopes. The first contains West's will; the second envelope is to be opened only if the terms of that will are carried out. Summoned to the West estate for the "grand opening" are West's grandniece Annabelle (Helen Twelvetrees) and several predatory would-be heirs. On the verge of opening the second envelope, the sinister Lawyer Crosby (Lawrence Grant) disappears behind a secret panel -- only to turn up murdered a few moments later. Is Annabelle --the last person to see Crosby alive -- the guilty party? And what's all this about an escaped lunatic wandering through the ghostly mansion? Alas, The Cat Creeps is evidently a lost film; not even the simultaneously-filmed Spanish version is still extant. Fortunately, the original sound discs have been recovered, allowing future generations to at least hear this landmark "old dark house" chiller.
by Hal Erickson synopsis