Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 05 - The Sinister Ray (1936)

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Discovering the poisoned needle just in time, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) only fakes his demise. Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), however, believes her friend to be dead but, locked up in Poten's attic, manages to attract attention by using the sun's reflection on a mirror. Poten (Bela Lugosi), meanwhile, is also using the sun's ray to make sure that Andrews remains dead. A goldfish bowl is suspended over Martin's head -- the suddenly kindhearted Victor having first ordered the living content saved -- and the rays from the sun reflected through the bowl threaten to disintegrate him. This chapter begs the question of what could be so sinister about sunshine hitting an ordinary goldfish bowl. Are the sun's rays, magnified through glass and water, meant to explode Herman Brix' head? Or did Bela Lugosi intend to scald his victim? Considering the fact that Brix is already believed by the villain to be dead this makes perhaps the weakest and most ludicrous "cliffhanger" ever concocted -- all of which, of course, only adds to Shadow of Chinatown's high camp value.