October 29, 2010


With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!

Today on Macabre Mystery Week, Fritz Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). In this iconic scene, the head of a psychiatric hospital becomes so obsessed with the machinations of his patient, the arch-villain Dr. Mabuse, that he becomes possessed by the fiend's spirit while studying his plans to build an "empire of crime." Design-wise, masks and skulls set the stage for the character's duality. Lang used double exposure and a whispered voice-over with chilling results. Testament was Langs second Mabuse film, and the character would be resurrected, like Fantomas and Judex, for a series of films thirty years later (including the fab 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse with Gert "Goldfinger" Frobe). A new Dr. Mabuse film is currently under development. Check out more Dr. Mabuse info at fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. blog, Permission to Kill.

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